World View: HSBC Cash Withdrawal Restrictions Raise Fears of Bank Runs
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- 29 die in clashes at three-way commemoration of Egypt's revolution
- HSBC cash withdrawal restrictions raise fears of bank runs
- Ukraine anti-government protests continue, despite offer of compromise
- France's president Hollande announces end of relationship with Trierweiler
29 die in clashes at three-way commemoration of Egypt's revolution
Supporters of Egypt's government cheer with national flags (Al-Ahram)
Clashes killed 29 people, as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took
to the streets on Saturday to commemorate the third anniversary of the
January 25, 2011, Egyptian Revolution, which resulted in the ouster of
Hosni Mubarak. However, the demonstrators today are not nearly as
united as they were in 2011. On Saturday, there were three distinct
groups of demonstrators:
The only ones allowed into Tahrir Square were the pro-government
demonstrators. However, all three groups were marching, and the army
used teargas and birdshot to disperse the crowds. 29 people died in
the resulting clashes.
- Pro-government demonstrators, many waving Egyptian flags
around Tahrir Square, and many calling for General Abdel al-Fattah
al-Sisi to run for President of Egypt.
- Muslim Brotherhood supporters, demanding that Mohamed Morsi,
ousted by an army coup on July 3, be reinstated as Egypt's president.
Several MB supporters were killed or arrested on Saturday.
- Secular and independent groups, opposed to both the Muslim
Brotherhood and the military government.
Today the major debate in Egypt is whether the country if better off
or worse off than under Mubarak. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and BBC
HSBC cash withdrawal restrictions raise fears of bank runs
Some customers of London-based international banking firm HSBC are
being told that they can't make withdrawals above $5,000 or so without
being questioned about the reason for the withdrawal. In some cases
the bank has been demanding documentation before the withdrawal can be
permitted, although they now say they've reversed that policy.
HSBC is saying that they're just trying to protect their customers,
and they issued this statement:
"We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash
withdrawals when they are unusual and out of keeping with the
normal running of their account. Since last November, in some
instances we may have also asked these customers to show us
evidence of what the cash is required for.
The reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers,
and to minimize the opportunity for financial crime. However,
following feedback, we are immediately updating guidance to our
customer facing staff to reiterate that it is not mandatory for
customers to provide documentary evidence for large cash
withdrawals, and on its own, failure to show evidence is not a
reason to refuse a withdrawal. We are writing to apologize to any
customer who has been given incorrect information and
This announcement is triggering visceral fears of bank runs among a
lot of people who remember the Cyprus bank bailout last year that kept
people from withdrawing more then 300 euros per day, and permanently
cost large depositors 40-80% of their deposits.
It's also reminiscent of HSBC's 2007 announcement that it had $1.75 billion in bad debts, resulting
from bad subprime mortgages written by subsidiary Household Finance
Corp., which HSBC had acquired in 2003.
Then, last year, HSBC was found to have, for five years, been
laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug mobs, organizations
linked to al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, and Russian gangsters.
So is HSBC in trouble again? Or are these new policies really all
about protecting their customers? I guess each depositor will have to
make his own decision. BBC and ZeroHedge and Rollin Stone (Feb 2013)
Ukraine anti-government protests continue, despite offer of compromise
Anti-government protests in Ukraine are spreading from the capital
city, Kiev, into cities in the western part of the nation. Western
Ukraine is populated by ethnic Ukrainians, who largely oppose the
current Russia-linked government, and who want Ukraine to have closer
ties to Europe. Eastern Ukraine is populated by ethnic Russians, who
prefer closer ties to Russia.
Protests in Kiev are large, but remain mostly peaceful. President
Viktor Yanukovych offered several concessions to the opposition,
including the appointment of anti-government activists to ministerial
positions in the government. However, the opposition is demanding
that Yanukovych step down, and that new elections be held. BBC
France's president Hollande announces end of relationship with Trierweiler
Valérie Trierweiler, 48 (left) and Julie Gayet, 41 (AFP)
France's President François Hollande reportedly met for lunch on
Thursday with his girlfriend Valérie Trierweiler, who has lived with
him in the Élysée Palace since he took office last year. On
Saturday, Hollande called an AFP reporter and gave this quote:
"I wish to make it known that I have ended my
partnership with Valerie Trierweiler."
This harsh statement indicates that the luncheon meeting was not a
The announcement comes just as Trierweiler is just about to leave for
India on a humanitarian trip, and a couple of weeks before Hollande
will be making a state visit to the United States. Apparently
Trierweiler will still go to India, but will not accompany Hollande on
the state visit. Trierweiler is expected to resume her career as a
Trierweiler's relationship with 59 year old Hollande unraveled quickly
after press reports two weeks ago indicated that Hollande was spending
nights with an actress, Julie Gayet. Trierweiler and Hollande share
something in common: She's France's least popular "first lady" in
decades, while he's the least popular prime minister in decades. It
is not expected that Gayet will move into the Élysée Palace. AFP and Telegraph (London)
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