Banking: Investment Brokering

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

— Henry Ford

In the article, Banking Part Two: Demand Deposits, we discussed a primary function of the banking industry, storage of the depositor’s funds. Equally important is the brokering link banking provides in the investment transaction, the connection between creditor and debtor.

It is a prerequisite for honest banking that we differentiate between these two functions. The depositor’s request for simple storage of his monies must be honored as agreed upon: as storage rather than investment. On the other hand, when the request is to experience risk and earn return, the bank certainly can offer some assistance, although not substantially different from other investment brokers.

And this point, in itself, deserves some clarification. It is often thought that the bank, itself, is the payer of interest to the depositor. In most cases, this is not true. Interest is paid for the “utilization” of capital. In contrast, a “fee” is often paid for the service of connecting the creditor and his funds to a debtor who needs funds to carry out a productive venture. In effect, this would be a “finder’s” fee.

It is unlikely in a “truly free market” that capital would change hands over and over, like it often does in our “directed economy”, before it is actually put to work. This is a highly inefficient use of capital which is facilitated in a large part by the “dilution” and direction of currency perpetuated by federal monetary policies. There is only one purpose of this redundant transfer system: unwarranted commissions to unnecessary middlemen.

There is an essential element of present banking practices that differs from brokering. The bank, using FDIC insurance as the facilitator, convinces the citizen to hand his money over, which enables the bank to market the depositor’s money as their own. While the depositor feels he is protected by the illusion of insurance that FDIC provides, the bank invests his money in common market risk, collecting the greater return while passing the risk to the taxpayer through the FDIC program. This inefficient and unethical practice would be eliminated if banks simply had to compete within the markets like everyone else.

They are able to avoid most competition with the help of the largest bank monopoly, the Federal Reserve Bank. The Reserve doles out monies, a good amount of it new monies at below market interest rates to its favorite beneficiaries. By this action, profit is built into the system and outside capital providers are left at a marked disadvantage. This system also disadvantages not once but twice, one of the largest suppliers of outside capital, the depositor investor. Not only is he kept in the dark about where his money is actually going and what it is really worth to someone else, but he can never compete with the source money, the Federal Reserve. None of these nefarious actions should ever be confused for real work or actual productive activity.

Since investment is always some variation of the credit-debt transaction, a bank or bank-like firm is a natural place for this linkage to occur. The individual investor may connect with the individual debtor or a group [mutual] can be created and interact with either one debtor or any variation. What sorely is needed is true disclosure of the terms and risks along with strict performance of contract law.

The depositor/investor needs to know exactly where the funds are going and what the cost of the transaction will be. Beyond that, it is simply a matter of collecting information and deciding where the best place for investment might be. As soon as the investor discovers the bank offers no different avenues for return than the rest of the marketplace — in fact, it is the same marketplace — competition can resume and the depositor’s capital will find its most efficient path.

One area where a bank may have some advantage would be brokering mortgages. However, this would disappear if the banks continued their current practice of “stacking” interest rates, using the depositor’s monies as their own and subsequently multiplying the rate. In a true free market, how could the current interest system ever compete with a true mortgage “broker”, who would be willing to connect groups of investment/depositors with groups of home buyers for a simple fee? Competitive interest properly belongs to the owner of the capital, not someone who merely passes other’s capital through their hands, and a market free of privilege would bear this out very quickly.

This is all due to proper alignment of risk. The creditor bears all risk and hopefully receives return, the debtor pays interest and builds equity or grows capital and the broker, the intermediary, simply obtains a fee for his service. The fee could certainly be contracted as a portion of interest if all parties agree, but the current status quo practice where the depositor supplies the funds, the Feds provide the insurance and the banks reap all the reward is simply legalized fraud.

It certainly is pointless for the Federal Government to offer insurance on these market investments and it would only tilt the table towards whatever industry it chose to insure and punish who it passed by. Risk must be acknowledged; when it is ignored catastrophes occur in the markets. Federal insurance simply passes the risk of the marketplace to the taxpayer, a blatant socialization of risk accompanied by privatization of profit.

Private sector insurance would certainly be an option, but many of the same problems and questionable behavior is widespread within the insurance world. Certainly this is an oversimplification but what sense does it make to insure principle and not seek the identical return? If one must maintain the same quantity of principle in order to replenish the original investment if the worst case scenario came to pass, what is the point of compensation only in the form of a premium rather than the entire return? Any less of a posted “reserve” for an investment would be a further passing of the risk while still collecting the premium for protection.

What might be a beneficial option is a “mutual” insurance fund. Some insurance companies use the pretense of operating in this fashion mostly as a reference to past practices. Still, it must be realized that risk never goes away and must be accounted for in an honest manner.

When we peel away the bank’s illusion of secure return we find the everyday world of market investment. There is no sane reason for citizen depositor/investors, whether laborers, entrepreneurs, professionals or retired to experience the risk of the market and have the rewards skimmed off by the collusive activities of the Federal Government and the banking cartel. Depositors must be given free choice as to whether they prefer storage of their funds or the risk of investment with the possible and full return that the market may or may not provide.

It has taken centuries of hard work for the banks to cement themselves into the monopolizing position they are in today. It is arguable they have devoted far more energy to seeking power than they have to fulfilling their practical niche in the economic system. They will do whatever it takes to maintain this dominant position, including threats of “economic collapse” and mantras like “too big to fail”. Obviously, they have the force of the state behind them.

We still have some degree of choice. A deposit is not a deposit until we consent to transferring our funds from our person to the bank’s property. We must all do what is best for our own economic survival, none of us should sacrifice our personal financial welfare for some theoretical concept, but that shouldn’t stop us for really pondering the best options for our personal capital. What you don’t decide, will be decided for you.

Debt, on the other hand, once the debtor commits to the debt, is not consensual. You must pay your debt or suffer the consequences, all of which are detrimental to your general welfare. Debts are primarily owned by banks and banks not only profit but owe their very existence to debt. Without debt, banking as we know it would cease to exist. Debt is a contractual commitment to honor and uphold the existing oppressive financial system.

Do everything in your power to get out and stay out of debt. You and the world will be better off for it.

Gene DeNardo is a freelance writer and jazz musician living in the Pacific Northwest. Read other articles by Gene, or visit Gene's website.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on November 1st, 2010 at 9:31am #

    So, the tool is being misused! Bur aren’t most people in US misused. Some sent to colleges others to death or to do dangerous work!
    And isn’t also schooling, media, constitution, abused?
    I can’t see how one is gonna wrest banking [an useful tool] from mafia if children are badused to the point that they know nothing about their own business or their inheritance; which wld include sanity and knowledge. tnx

  2. gene said on November 1st, 2010 at 10:39am #

    thanks for the comment.

    I think you are wrestling with the “chicken and the egg” concept and that is one I don’t have the capacity to answer.

    What I will say is that as long as banking and anything else that you mentioned have the capacity to be “used” rather than existing solely for the value they create and people freely choose to give to them, we will have the problems you mention. in other words, the “use” value must come solely from those who choose to “use” the tool, if we use your word, while the value received by those who offer the service is also determined solely by the user.

    Any time the value is determine instead by the service provider, you get what we have.

  3. bozh said on November 1st, 2010 at 1:00pm #

    Gene, with respect!
    Of necessary truth or absolutely certain truth [invented by aristotle and named the idea :APODICTIC truth; the word not used in US and elsewhere] we are ok, so is banking and we have adequate knowledge at a point-in-time of all salient events; including banking.
    It is the relentless propagation by the clerico-noble class that we r not ok; that we r stupid, want smthing for nothing, lazy, sinful [the latter an invented disease, which by now had convinced 99.999% of americans that it is so.

    So, to me, it’s not an egg-chicken proposition but rise of priestly class and waging poverty an ignorance on peasants which constitutes the FIRST CAUSE for our ‘ignorance”

    In short we know [all of us together, if we’d be allowed to share it] all we need to know.
    Even the bible says: sufficient onto the day is the rigor thereof. Meaning tomorrow we’l know more if people wld be honest.
    And honesty can be restored gradually as swiss are showing right now! tnx

  4. kalidas said on November 1st, 2010 at 3:43pm #

    Not to mention self flagellation, both economic and personal.

    In this society of cheaters and the cheated, people, (homo-mutabilis), quite often cheat themselves.
    Knowingly and unknowingly.

  5. gene said on November 1st, 2010 at 4:36pm #

    coercive authority is a seedbed for abuse.

  6. kalidas said on November 1st, 2010 at 7:58pm #

    As is desire.

  7. Don Hawkins said on November 2nd, 2010 at 1:14pm #

    Tomorrow it’s only a day away the Fed and QE-2 some say 500 billion or a half a trillion yes they are going to electronically with the use of zero’s and one’s probably a super computer or two buy up the toxic stuff mercury, CO 2, plastic in the oceans, dead trees, all the bug’s in the bed’s, other inert element’s in the rivers Worldwide and then with the use of a satellite beam all of it into space not all of course save a little for us the little people to help clean up so as we feel like we are still useful. One hell of a plan indeed.

  8. Don Hawkins said on November 2nd, 2010 at 1:23pm #

    Here’s another way to look at it come on Wall Street you are slipping .5trillion.