From The Economist:
Pinch yourself. Much that could have gone wrong in the euro zone suddenly seems to be going right. Germany’s constitutional court in Karlsruhe has given the go-ahead for a new rescue fund. A banking union is taking shape…this builds on a recent pledge from the European Central Bank (ECB) to act to stop the break-up of the currency. Even angry talk of expelling the Greeks from the euro has died down.
And Europe is moving to becoming a federalist nation, at least for monetary purposes. With many more leaders calling for political federalism too.
Should we break out the Federalist Papers from John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton in 1787?
Continue reading Europe – much that could have gone wrong, suddenly seems to be going right
Most people know the traditional banking model, if only from George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life.
In simplified form: A bank takes deposits from savers, and pays them a low interest rate. Then it lends that money out to borrowers at a higher interest rate. The bank’s profits come from the difference between the rates.
Charming…but far from the truth for the modern bank. An article from NPR’s Planet Money looked into JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in America, and found they do much more than that.
The two most important ‘extra’ activities are charging fees and the outright investing of their own money. Here is how it breaks down:
- $48 billion – interest from loans
- $35 billion – fees
- $11.5 billion – trading
A little less than half of the bank’s revenue comes from non-traditional banking activities (fees, trading). Not so bad, especially with trading accounting for so little. Remember, one of the root causes of the financial crisis was all the big banks exploding their trading. When the market collapsed so did they, but were “too big to fail” and we had to bail them out.
Suffice it to say that banking with deposits and loans is very hard (George Bailey nearly went under), add in too much trading and banks become very unstable.
Continue reading Where do America’s biggest banks make their money?
Did you know that America had an Export-Import Bank?
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) approved a $922 million loan guarantee to support the export of three satellites and related equipment to the Mexican government for the MEXSAT regional mobile satellite system. Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation will purchase the satellites from Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems in El Segundo, Calif. Boeing will produce two satellites with mobile service satellite (MSS) capacity and will subcontract a third satellite with fixed service satellite (FSS) capacity from Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Va.
The three satellites will be used to deploy the MEXSAT system, a next-generation, space-based communications platform that will help support social and economic development within Mexico. Various sectors will benefit from MEXSAT, including programs focusing on education, health care, disaster relief and rural telephonic service.
Mexico is one of Ex-Im Bank’s nine key markets and accounted for $8.3 billion of the Bank’s worldwide credit exposure at the end of FY 2011. In FY 2012 to date, the Bank has authorized approximately $1.8 billion in financing for U.S. exports to Mexico.
Source: Embassy of the United States in Mexico
Continue reading United States loans three satellites, worth $1 billion, to Mexico – MEXSAT
“The interesting thing about Islam,” says Professor Constant Mews, “is that it was a much more commercial culture from the outset than Christianity.”
And from around the middle of the eighth century to the middle of the 13th, while European Christians were struggling through the Dark Ages, the Islamic world enjoyed a golden age.
Arab merchants had a lot to do with it.
“They developed alternative ways of regulating funds,” says Mews.
“In particular the core Islamic principle is simply one of sharing profit and loss. The desire is to promote investment by taking commercial risk.
“Risk, incidentally, is an Arabic word, referring to where you lend money to others without requiring a return unless there is profitable growth.”
And for some 500 years, this financial model underpinned advances in science, the arts, architecture, and innovation generally. Then came the Crusades and the Mongol hordes, and the Islamic model of finance declined, the space becoming filled by that other model.
Islamic finance, however, is undergoing something of a renaissance.
It is now a USD1 trillion industry…Mohamed Ariff continues the litany of statistical growth: there are 57 majority-Muslim nations, 76 countries which already practice Islamic banking, 350 banks, 15 insurance companies and about 1,200 mutual funds.
Keep reading – Jesus saves, Moses lends, Muhammad invests
Continue reading Jesus saves, Moses lends, Muhammad invests – Islamic finance accounts for 1 trillion in banking
A Massachusetts man who pledged to make the last mortgage payment on his home with pennies has fulfilled that promise.
After warning his bank, Thomas Daigle dropped off about 62,000 pennies weighing 800 pounds in two boxes for the final payment on the Milford home he and his wife, Sandra, bought in 1977.
He tells The Milford Daily News he just wanted to make his last payment on April 24 “memorable.”
He started saving his pennies when he moved in.
The optician says his wife laughed whenever he would pick up a penny he found on the ground and say it was going to the mortgage.
Via – U-T San Diego
Continue reading Massachusetts man pays off his mortgage with pennies