Friday, June 22, 2012

Dryer Lint Can Be Used As Collateral In The EU

Dig this. Here's the gist of the latest developments.

Many EU banks are facing bank runs as panicked depositors withdraw their money, fearing for its safety. The banks need to borrow money to cover these withdrawals as all banks lend out most of the money they take in deposits. The European Central Bank (ECB) can provide that cash through loans.

Up to now, the ECB would loan money to a bank if the bank put up some solid collateral. The struggling banks have run out of solid collateral and are on the verge of failing. As soon as one big bank fails, the EU bank run will become widespread as no one will trust any bank. To prevent this, the ECB is now accepting things like mortgages as collateral. That is, the banks can use loans to guarantee loans.

This is problematic in places like Spain, where real estate prices have cratered and mortgages are no longer backed by anything real. Those mortgages can be wiped out if the homeowner bails out and declares bankruptcy. In short, the ECB is accepting unenforceable IOUs as collateral.

Going further, the ECB may soon stop considering credit ratings from external sources like Moody's when it makes it's loans. So those nasty credit agencies don't like you? Well fie on them! We'll give you money anyway!

This is all nonsense. No one expects Spanish mortgages to have any real value for a long time to come and Moody's is just playing by the rules. Freaked out by the prospect of mobs of raging customers banging at the doors of big, European banks, the ECB is throwing away standard measures of creditworthiness and is simply handing out money in exchange for dryer lint.

Thanks to your dryer, you may have vast sources of untapped wealth!


tim eisele said...

So it looks like this summary of the Europe situation, using Lego minifigures, is still playing out. Since that graphic was made, everybody else is almost done handing over their bad debts to the ECB. The ECB is now getting ready for the final stage, where they dump it all on the general populace.

K T Cat said...


K T Cat said...

OK, a more serious reply after wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes over the Lego thing.

Yep, they're going to dump it on the populace in the form of inflation. No need for messy taxes when you can just print the money. The populace won't be able to make heads or tails of the changes in collateral rules, either, so political fig leaves abound.