Thursday, 11 April 2013 08:27

The Next Leg Of That Counterparty Led European Bank Run Has Put On It's Running Shoe Featured

On Saturday, 23 July 2011 (nearly two years ago0 I penned the seminal piece "The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs!". In it, I ran down the causes of bank runs in both the EU and the US (Bear Stearns/Lehman, both failures I predicted months in advance). I'd like to quote a piece from this article, for yesterday's news brings it to the forefront yet again...

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The subject of our most recent expose on the European banking system has a plethora of problems, including but not limited to excessive PIIGS exposure, NPA growth up the yin-yang, Texas ratios and Eyles test numbers that’ll make you shiver and razor thin provisions. Focusing on the most pertinent and contagious of the issues at hand leads us back to the initial premise of a European bank run. I laid the foundation for said topic discussion last Thursday in "The Fuel Behind Institutional “Runs on the Bank" Burns Through Europe, Lehman-Style" and the fear du jour is a European version of the Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns style bank run. The aforelinked at explanatory piece is a must read precursor to this illustration of what can only be described as the anatomy of a European bank run - before the fact. Remember how the pieces of the puzzle were perfectly laid together for a Bear Stearns collapse in January of 2008, two months before the bank's actual collapse? Reference "Is this the Breaking of the Bear?" in which Bear Stearns collapse was illustrated in explicit, graphic detail. Lehman Brothers wasn't impossible to see either (Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise? Thursday, February 21st, 2008 | Web chatter on Lehman Brothers Sunday, March 16th, 2008).

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The green represents the unseen canary in the coal mine, and the reason why Bear Stearns and Lehman ultimately collapsed. As excerpted from "The Fuel Behind Institutional “Runs on the Bank" Burns Through Europe, Lehman-Style":

The modern central banking system has proven resilient enough to fortify banks against depositor runs, as was recently exemplified in the recent depositor runs on UK, Irish, Portuguese and Greek banks – most of which received relatively little fanfare. Where the risk truly lies in today’s fiat/fractional reserve banking system is the run on counterparties. Today’s global fractional reserve bank get’s more financing from institutional counterparties than any other source save its short term depositors.  In cases of the perception of extreme risk, these counterparties are prone to pull funding are request overcollateralization for said funding. This is what precipitated the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, the pulling of liquidity by skittish counterparties, and the excessive capital/collateralization calls by other counterparties. Keep in mind that as some counterparties and/or depositors pull liquidity, covenants are tripped that often demand additional capital/collateral/ liquidity be put up by the remaining counterparties, thus daisy-chaining into a modern day run on the bank!

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I'm sure many of you may be asking yourselves, "Well, how likely is this counterparty run to happen today? You know, with the full, unbridled printing press power of the ECB, and all..." Well, don't bet the farm on overconfidence. The risk of a capital haircut for European banks with exposure to sovereign debt of fiscally challenged nations is inevitable. A more important concern appears to be the threat of short-term liquidity and funding difficulties for European banks stemming from said haircuts. This is the one thing that holds the entire European banking sector hostage, yet it is also the one thing that the Europeans refuse to stress test for (twice), thus removing any remaining shred of credibility from European bank stress tests. As I have stated many time before, Multiple Botched and Mismanaged Stress Test Have Created The Makings Of A Pan-European Bank Run!

So, why have I dragged my readers back down this dark corridor of memory lane once again?

Well, Reuters reports: European Union ministers will consider a proposal this week to impose losses on interbank deposits of lenders in dire financial trouble as they shape a draft EU law introducing powers that would also penalize those with big savings.

Such an idea, should ministers back it, could further rattle the confidence of lenders, already nervous about draft legislation to determine who alongside shareholders should suffer losses when a bank gets into trouble.

EU finance ministers, gathering in Dublin this Friday, will discuss how to shape this law that could take effect from 2015, covering what is known as bank recovery and resolution.

The talks follow the recent decision to impose heavy losses on some depositors in Cyprus, in return for an international bailout. That set a precedent, which is likely to be mirrored in these EU rules, making losses for large uninsured savers a permanent feature of future banking crises.

But the ministers will have to tread carefully in their discussions.

ECB President Mario Draghi recently cautioned that Cyprus's bailout was "no template", in a bid to ease market fears that bank deposits would in future be fair game for international lenders supporting struggling euro zone countries.

In a document prepared by government officials in Ireland, which as holder of the rotating EU presidency will chair the ministers' gathering, they write that interbank deposits of less than one month should also be penalized.

Hmmm!!!! It appears as if Irish officials may be prepping for something. I trully wonder what that may be...

The proposal will be part of wider talks to consider when, for example, depositors should be penalized if a bank runs into difficulty. This is known as bail-in.

Shareholders are the first to lose their money, with various rankings of creditors behind them.

Customer bank deposits of up to 100,000 euros would remain protected under an existing EU law and the latest proposals touch on sums above this threshold.

That is, unless EU officials decide to change their mind or coerce EU countries to change the laws. Reference, from just a few weeks ago, 

as excerpted from "Mainstream Media Says Cyprus Salvaged By…": Last week I posed the question "Is The Cypriot Government Crazy Or Do They Really Fear Bankers That Much?" The country even considering imposing loses on bank depositors over creditors seemed absurd at best. Even the faux consolation of compensating holders of pure liquidity (or at least what was formerly believed to be pure liquidity - banks have been closed for a week now and ATM withdrawals have been limited to 100 euro per day due to the capital controls I clearly warned of last year) was a scheme born out of lunacy, and unlikely to compensate anyone for anything.

"While it is acknowledged that bailing in interbank liabilities may carry certain risks," officials write in the document, seen by Reuters, "on balance, it is preferable ... that these liabilities are not excluded from bail-in".

Such a suggestion will dismay many officials, who witnessed a freeze in interbank lending that the European Central Bank is still struggling to unblock despite having provided more than one trillion euros of cheap funds.

The little app below calculates what return you should expect to receive to take on the risk of a potential 40% haircut. The second tab offers what recent Cyprus bank rates were. Do you see a disparity???

It's not just Cyprus either. The problems that plagued Cyprus banks plague banks in much larger nations within, and around the EU. From Ovebanked, Underfunded, and Overly Optimistic: The New Face of Sovereign Europe you see institutions that are literally too big to be handled safely...

The Banks Are Bigger Than Many of the Sovereigns

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Last modified on Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:10

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