Weil on Finance: Losing Uninsured Deposits
Happy Hump Day, View fans. Here’s a look at my morning reading.
Back in March, European governments were racing to assure bank customers that the rescue plan for Cyprus and its failing banking system wouldn’t be a template for the future. They were wrong. At the time, lots of Cypriots were upset to learn they had lost their uninsured deposits, because those were being confiscated. That’s the way it’s supposed to work –- the deposits are uninsured, so customers (also known as creditors) shouldn’t expect them to be treated otherwise when their bank is collapsing. Anyway, the European Union is finally making progress toward setting up its banking union. Lo and behold, uninsured deposits could be subject to seizure, just like everyone should have figured all along. The key piece of legislation “envisages losses on shareholders, unsecured creditors including junior and senior bondholders, and potentially deposits of over 100,000 euros,” according to the Irish Times. “A minimum bail-in equating to 8 percent of total liabilities must be invoked before resolution or national funds can be used, according to the general approach reached.”
Wall Street banks have little to fear from the Volcker rule
The lead sentence on this Bloomberg News story today says it all: “Wall Street banks avoided their worst fears of the Volcker rule after regulators crafted the ban on speculative trading to leave market-making operations intact.”
A new SEC task force is investigating dumb accounting tricks
Here’s a bit of investor-relations advice for companies when it comes to reporting earnings: If you’re using a GAAP label for a non-GAAP earnings measurement, this is a bad idea. For instance, calling something “net income” or “EPS” that isn’t the same as net income or earnings per share under generally accepted accounting principles is inaccurate and generally a dumb thing to do. But I’ve seen companies do it before. And now the Securities and Exchange Commission has an accounting-fraud task force that’s looking to make examples out of companies that engage in this sort of thing, according to this article by Michael Rapoport of the Wall Street Journal.
Is the balance-sheet recession over?
Cullen Roche of Orcam Financial Group, who runs the blog Pragmatic Capitalist, says it looks that way. Households have begun leveraging again. Household debt last quarter showed its first year-over-year gains since the financial crisis began.
If you're hungry, don’t get a dog (or a cat)
It is currently legal to eat cats and dogs in Pennsylvania, but it may not be for long, according to Philadelphia magazine: “The state senate is considering legislation that would ban the practice, following reports of college kids cooking dogs.”
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)