I just wanted to let you know an interesting (coincidental?) thing that happened to me recently as I made a major transfer from one particular bank to deposit into a new (different) bank.
I don’t much believe in coincidences (there’s often a reason) and in this case I have little doubt it was coincidental…
Having procrastinated long enough, I had finally researched and opened a new bank account with a smaller and more local bank so as to liquidate from another bank which so happens to be one of the ’empty shell’ banks (too big to fail). Although I also belong to a credit union (which I highly recommend to help diversify and to help insulate from some of the potential systemic risks of a traditional bank), I chose to have some of my ‘money’ located closer to home rather than sitting somewhere in a Mega-corporation which is highly levered and massively exposed to derivatives.
Side Note: I also highly recommend that you be your own banker. Keep a substantial amount of cash (whatever that means for you) in a Safe at home. While we need to keep a ‘bank’ account in order to reasonably function in today’s modern world, you’re not earning any real interest there – and apparently new banking rules have changed your deposit money to ‘unsecured debt’ – and might be subject to a ‘bail-in’ during the next financial crisis.
Back to the story: I stopped at my new local bank branch to make my first significant deposit (withdrawal from the TBTF bank). They indicated the transaction would be quick (e.g. today’s world of electronic banking transactions are ‘light speed’, except for bank policy ‘hold’ times). Well, not 30 minutes later I was checking out at a nearby Home Depot with my debit card from the TBTF bank, and what do you know — the debit card was declined!
I paid by another means, and upon getting home I logged into the TBTF bank and discovered that they put a block on transactions and I had to call them up…
Upon calling them, they said they needed to verify a few purchases. The thing is – all of them were entirely normal, and common (e.g. Amazon, a local ‘big box’ store, etc..). Nothing was suspicious whatsoever. No doubt the real reason they shut me down (albeit temporarily) was because I’ve liquidated nearly all of it to another bank. Although they did not say that…
Anyway, I’ve been reading more and more articles lately about how banks are making it difficult to withdraw your own cash, and especially if it’s more than ‘just’ a few hundred bucks or your ATM limit. While truly it has become an electronic digit world of so called money, the flip side is that cash has become demonized in the process.
So that’s all I wanted to say – it just seemed interesting.
I wonder if others have had issues with their banks lately?
UPDATE: One week later – they shut me off again! Tried to make a debit card purchase at the battery dealer while adding several more batteries for my off-grid system, and the card was declined. Absolutely amazing. I called them up again, and this guy went back and forth with some other department – and confirmed the decline due to apparent suspicious behavior (he couldn’t really explain how or why or what they consider as a threshold). The thing is, I have purchased from this place several times before – all without issue. All of this has suddenly happened since I decided to withdraw the bulk of the money from their bank. The lesson here is that even though it’s your money – THEY have a firm grip on the spigot and can cut you off in an instant…
I’m sure glad that I’m now finally mostly out of that too-big-to-fail bank, and I feel better going ‘local’ — even though they’re all part of the same overall system. However some banks are MUCH more exposed to derivatives failure than others – namely the top 6 too-big-to-fail-banks.
Too Big To Fail Bank Derivatives Exposure
Total Assets: $2.6 trillion
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $63 trillion
Total Assets: $1.8 trillion
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $60 trillion
Total Assets: $856 billion
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $57 trillion
Bank Of America
Total Assets: $2 trillion
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $54 trillion
Total Assets: $801 billion
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $38 trillion
Total Assets: $1.7 trillion
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $5 trillion