Correction:“Chop, chop”, January 30th

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The real danger of Brexit

Correction: In a recent article on the restructuring of big banks (“Chop, chop”, January 30th), we said Barclays planned to “shut up shop” in Asia. In fact, it is only closing its share-trading business there. Sorry.




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Reshaping banking: Shake your money makers

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The real danger of Brexit

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Reshaping banking


The Swiss government rejects the nationalisation of money creation

CHILDREN are sometimes reassured that new siblings arrive via friendly storks. The reality is messier. Money creation is much the same. The “stork” in this case is the central bank; many think it transfers money to private banks, which act as intermediaries, pushing the money around the economy. In reality, most money is created by private banks. They generate deposits every time they make a loan, a process central banks can influence but not control. That alarms some, who worry that banks use this power heedlessly, thereby stoking disruptive booms and busts.
Campaigners in many rich countries want to strip private banks of the power to create money. In Switzerland members of the “Vollgeld Initiative” presented the government with enough signatures in December to trigger a national referendum on the subject. Bank deposits, they point out, make up some 87% of the readily available money in …

Fast and flexible: wealth management the Bahamas way

The Bahamas’ ability to create investment products quickly in response to clients’ specific needs gives it an advantage as an international financial centre, though greater communication efforts may be needed to convince its critics regarding the country’s compliance with international regulation. This Leadership Series roundtable article was sponsored by the Bahamas Financial Services Board, Equity Bank and Trust, Deltec and the Bahamas Ministry of Financial Services and independently edited by The Banker.

Bernie and the banks: Bernie Sanders’s obsession with Glass-Steagall is misplaced

A CENTRAL part of the Sanders economic plan is to break up big banks by reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act. Until its repeal in 1999 Glass-Steagall separated supposedly staid deposit-taking banks from riskier investment activities. Today, large “universal” banks like Citigroup and Bank of America both take in customer deposits and trade in risky global markets. Breaking up the banks has some merit as an idea; it is more realistic than many of Mr Sanders’s other proposals (see article). This week, Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Fed, said it was worth considering (among other policies). Nonetheless, a focus on Glass-Steagall—to the exclusion of other ideas for making banking safer—is misplaced.The root problem with banking is simple; that some banks are “too-big-to-fail”. The problem has two parts. First, the government feels obliged to bail out a large financial institution if it fails. Second, the probability of a bank failing is large enough to be worth worrying about. Glass-Steagall would address one part of the first problem, by moderately reducing the government’s incentive to bail out banks.One reason governments rescue banks at the height of a crisis is to protect the payments system. If a commercial bank goes into bankruptcy, depositors may not be able to access their funds to pay bills. This is catastrophic for the economy, as it causes spending to …