Monday, October 13, 2008

Now let's remember how this all began...

Remember, this crisis came about because banks were suspicious of each other and consequently unwilling to lend to each other in the fallout of the US toxic mortgage securitisation fiasco. A fiasco mostly down to over-eager commission-only salespeople, and gullible bankers who had not heard of the expression "too good to be true".

Some dodgy mortgage problems were unearthed at Northern Rock, since the combination of 110% mortgage and over optimistic valuations were coupled to skyrocketing energy and commodity prices. Add the effects of the US mortgage time bomb going off, and the UK housing price boom was declared over for the time being, since no one could get the same sort of laissez-faire mortgage deals that had fuelled the price boom for so long.

Never mind that comparisons with the sort of toxic mortgages that sank the US system were extreme and not relevant. But then a pompous and witless governor of the BoE made "that" remark about moral hazard, the US faffed about while assuming that they were invulnerable to the possibility of trillion dollar financial failures, and the floodgates opened as short sellers were handed a one-way bet on UK financial stocks.

Initially some banks were hoping to force some of their more leery competitors out of the market or drive their prices down for a cheap acquisition; but it got out of hand as the short speculators circled and achieved a number of direct hits. It was not so much a case of tasting blood in the water, as much as looking in vain for water in the blood; having shot most of the banks in a barrel, then they set about savaging general equities - most of which were/are innocent bystanders.

Vast amounts of shareholder value have been destroyed in the UK and elsewhere without justification, and the bottom feeding speculators will probably double their money in the next 12 months.

So remind us, what was this Brown bloke up to for the past eleven years before he decided over a curry with his mates to become a bottom feeder and help himself to shares in banks after he drove their values down?

Does anyone fancy starting a no-win-no-fee class action for insider dealing and general financial malpractise to recover losses from him and his government in the form of the sort of personal guarantees that the rest of us have to produce when dealing with banks in the normal course of life?

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