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现代银行业的道德风险:银行如何创造和摧毁货币
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“我只是一个做上帝工作的银行家。” 劳埃德·布兰克费恩

关于银行被救助的道德风险和人们从抵押贷款中救助的道德风险已经谈了很多。 提出的主要问题是,这种“救助”蔓延会影响我们经济和政治体系的完整性吗? 但更有趣、更少讨论的是现代银行业的机制及其道德含义。

在房地产繁荣时期,数以万亿计的抵押贷款被借出,造成房地产泡沫并最终导致金融市场崩溃。 但是这些钱是从哪里来的呢? 绝大多数人认为银行以一种利率从美联储或储户那里借钱,以另一种利率借钱,然后产生利差。 这个概念是完全错误的。 银行创造货币,将其贷出,通过复利赚取利润,并在偿还时销毁它们创造的相同货币。

部分准备金银行的机制

现代银行业的机制是不透明的、被误解的并且可以说是不诚实的。 现代法定货币、美元、欧元、日元等都是以债务为基础的。 对于存在的每一美元,在某处都有相同数量的借据。 典型的抵押贷款的例子最好地说明了这一点。

想象一下,杰克想花 100,000 美元去吉尔的房子,但他没有钱买,所以他去当地的银行申请抵押贷款,得到批准。 银行会向杰克索要一张 100,000 美元的期票,一张借据,一旦他签署,他们就会开立一个账户,从无到有为杰克创造 100,000 美元,以换取他的借据。 那 100,000 美元是银行的负债,他们的资产就是借据。 银行刚刚“创造”了 100,000 美元,这得到了杰克的善意支持,以偿还他所购买的房屋的契约。 现在银行把这笔钱借给杰克,加上复利。 利息是银行为将债务货币化而收取的费用。 Jill 不会想要 Jack 的 100K 借条,所以银行为他提供了将借条兑换成美元的服务,并为这项服务向他收取利息。 随着杰克偿还他的抵押贷款本金,借据的价值也将被提取,直到所有“创造”的钱都被销毁,借据一文不值。

在杰克签署借条之前,这笔钱从未存在过。 它是完全且仅作为他的期票的表达而创建的。 所有的汽车贷款、学生贷款和个人贷款都是以这种方式创造的,除了由联邦政府处理的铸币外,创造货币是银行和美联储的专有权利。 银行受限于他们在美联储的储备金额可以创造多少资金。 这个公式很复杂,但为了简单起见,它大约是他们储备的 10 倍(实际上更多)。 如果银行在美联储有 1 万美元的准备金,他们现在支付利息,他们可以创造和贷出大约 10 万美元。 银行因创造和出租货币的特权而获得报酬。 这是我们现代的部分准备金银行系统。

这与借用或租用的其他物品有何不同? 房屋出租时,业主必须先买下房屋,然后再出租,没收资本以换取资产,即房屋。 住宅房地产的典型回报率约为 5%,任何回报率为 10% 的东西都会被瞬间抢购一空。 那么,当银行将“创造”的钱贷出去时,他们能赚多少钱? 假设杰克一直是个好孩子,他的 5 美元抵押贷款获得了 100,000% 的固定利率贷款,为期 10 年。 银行有义务保留 10,000 美元的准备金,即贷款金额的 10%,但他们并没有放弃这笔钱,现在还支付了利息,因此银行现在没有借贷成本,只有机会成本。 银行 10,000 美元的回报是杰克对 5 美元支付 100,000% 的复利,或者 5,000 美元,他们的钱的回报率是 50%。 在他还清本金的同时,银行也释放了相应的准备金,因此保证金保持不变。 在一张未偿余额为 20 美元的 10,000% 利息信用卡上,银行持有 1,000 美元的准备金,每年可赚取 200%。 当然,银行需要支付工资、租金、管理费、营销等,但它仍然是一种非常有利可图的商业模式。

银行有什么特别之处可以让它们如此盈利? 首先,什么是钱? 金钱是两件事:财富的储存和交换的手段。 许多人将金钱定义为人类劳动。 假设杰克是一名卡车司机,年收入 50,000 美元(非常接近美国家庭收入的中位数)。 杰克最近结婚了,买了房子,成为了一个好孩子,不再把钱花在酒和女人上,现在他每个月节省 1,000 美元,大约是杰克和美国普通家庭一周的工作量(税前) . 当他问他的银行他们会在他的储蓄账户上付给他多少钱时,他们说是 1%。 这对杰克来说似乎是合理的,因为他们以 100,000% 的利率借给了他 5 美元。 事实上,对他来说,这似乎是一个非常低的利润,因为他假设银行正在借出像杰克这样的其他人存款的钱。 银行不借出存款,存款用作准备金。

立即订购

杰克要想赚到 100,000 美元,就需要他开两年的卡车,银行每年要付给他几千美元的利息。 然而,对于一家银行来说,100,000 美元是在几毫秒内以数字方式创建的,他们每年支付 5,000 美元的利息,如果借款人违约,银行将依法取消对房屋的全部赎回权。 杰克开卡车两年赚了 2 万,这是他工作的价值储存,但是银行做了什么来换取他们借给杰克的 100 万的利息?

货币是转移到价值储存的人力劳动,如美元、欧元、黄金或白银。 例如,当有人为一公斤鱼支付 30 美元时,他们支付的不是海洋中的鱼,而是他们盘子里的鱼。 在深蓝色的大海中游泳的快乐鱼和在你面前闪闪发光的烤大比目鱼之间的区别在于人类的努力。 所有其他想要获得资产回报的企业必须首先用通过工作赚取的钱购买资产。 对于银行来说,情况并非如此。 他们从他们没有创造的东西上赚取利息。

事实上,明尼苏达州法官 Martin V. Mahoney 和陪审团正是出于这个原因,才取消了对被告 Jerome Daly 的止赎。 戴利辩称,他与蒙哥马利第一国民银行之间的合同中没有对价。 对价意味着双方必须放弃某些东西才能签订合同。 例如,如果杰克提议免费粉刷吉尔的公寓,他们之间就没有合同。 如果杰克放弃画画,吉尔就不能起诉他。 马奥尼法官裁定该银行没有放弃合同中的任何内容。 他们凭空创造了钱,因此他们没有对合同做出任何承诺; 没有对价,银行无法取消赎回权。

对于除了银行之外的所有人来说,金钱是人类劳动、创造力甚至运气的表现。 但对于银行来说,钱只是他们“创造”来换取借条的东西。 杰克工作十年来回报的价值不应该与银行在眨眼之间创造的价值相同。 它们是两个不同的东西,但它们被视为一个。

银行是如何亏损的?

It seems incredible with such a business model how banks could ever lose money, but they do. The problem for the banks is always the IOU’s. Fiat money is based entirely on outstanding debts. Modern money is based on debt and every dollar must be tied to outstanding IOU. But when the underlying IOU that backs up the debt becomes worthless, the bank must back up the ‘created’ money up with real money: deleveraging.

Let’s say Jack loses his job and stops paying his mortgage, and his \$100,000 house is now worth \$50,000 due to a crash in housing prices. Once Jack has been found to be certifiably broke, the bank must replace the IOU with reserves in the amount of the loan outstanding. Assuming Jack never made a payment, the bank must now add \$90,000 to its reserves which, plus the original \$10,000, will constitute the full amount of money they created. Once they foreclose on his house and get the \$50,000 the bank is now in the whole for 50 grand. This is why banks traditionally only loaned 80% of the value of a home. The 20% was calculated to pay for expenses and fees, leaving them in a breakeven scenario in the case of an initial default.

But the bank’s bag of tricks seems to have no end, according to “福布斯”:

“They (the commercial banks) are allowed to accrue interest on non-performing mortgages until the actual foreclosure takes place, which on average takes about 16 months. All the phantom interest that is not actually collected is booked as income until the actual act of foreclosure. As a resullt, many bank financial statements actually look much better than they actually are. At foreclosure all the phantom income comes off the books of the banks. This certainly explains some of the reluctance of banks to speed up the foreclosure process.”

The same leverage that allows banks to make 50% returns on mortgages, and 200% returns on credit cards works in reverse when people default on loans, and it sucks up the bank’s liquidity like a thirsty sailor.

The liquidity problems of banks are directly tied to the very same leverage they use to make their immense margins. Banks are given a machine that makes money, for which they must leave deposit of 10% of the money they want to ‘create’. When they give the machine back, they must show that all the money they created has been ‘destroyed’ (paid back) or they must make up the difference.

Banking is a fabulous business on the simple condition that risk is always controlled. When greed trumps risk, banks go south.

The Lure of Sub-prime

Banks will often package loans, securitize them into mortgage backed securities, and sell them off. The principal money is destroyed and the IOU is passed on to the buyer of the security. The banks keeps the margin they make on the deal, plus whatever interest had been paid before they sold the loan, along with fees etc. The problems began when greedy souls noted the difference between a 5% mortgage and 8% mortgage. For the Ivy league trained, this is no mere 3%, but a healthy 30% (10 leverage * 3%). Over a ten year period, the difference in the amount of interest paid on a 5% \$100k mortgage (\$27K) and an 8% \$100k mortgage(\$45K) is a whopping 66% increase in ROI. Jack sees 3% and says big deal, Lloyd Blankfien sees 66% and gets himself into a frenzy doing God’s work…

Combine the greed with a rising prices that kept foreclosures to a minimum (who defaults on a house they can sell and make money on?) and it is clear how the leveraged orgy began and what kept it going. As Citibank’s Charles Prince put it “you have to keep dancing while the music is playing”.

Perfect Games and Rigged Games

The New York Times :

“Perfect trading quarters on Wall Street are about as rare as perfect games in Major League Baseball. On Sunday, Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics pitched what was only the 19th perfect game in baseball history. But Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase Company produced the equivalent of four perfect games during the first quarter(2010). Each one finished the period without losing money (trading) for even one day.”

Did the same “beautiful minds” doing “God’s work” that blew up the world financial system suddenly find their fast ball? More like Vaseline and a razor blade, or in banking lingo, the carry trade.

The Fed Discount Window was a mechanism used by the Fed to make very short term loans to member banks facing liquidity problems, the loans where generally paid back within hours and the rate was 100 basis points (1%) above the Fed funds rate. During the credit crunch in 2008 the Fed loosened the terms on the Discount Window, extending the terms up to 90 days (one quarter) and reducing the rate to 25 basis points (.25%).

So how did the banks turn this into a money machine? They borrowed from the Fed using around 30 times leverage at .25% and immediately bought US Treasury 10 Year Notes at 3.5%. Doesn’t seem like a big spread? Imagine that you start with \$10 million in assets. You borrow \$300 million, you make 3.25% (3.5% – lending cost .25%) on 300 million dollars. The banks interest earnings are \$9.75 million a year, or about \$800K a month on an initial outlay of \$10 million, 8% return a month or 97% a year. One hell of a big strike zone.

This begs the question of how interested are the banks in stopping wars and reigning in the federal budget deficit. The moral hazard here is twofold as the banks reap risk free, incredibly high returns from budget deficits and all the destruction they entail and the taxpayer ends up paying the spread. The Fed charges banks .25% and the Treasury pays the banks 3.5% and the difference is paid by Jack and Jill.

In the current PIGS crisis, Portugal, Ireland and Greece are being ‘bailed out’ to insure that the banks receive full payment on the bonds they hold. At least one generation will live and work in austerity in order to pay back banks with ‘real’ money raised with hard earned taxes to pay for that which was created without a drop of sweat and with a few clicks of a mouse.

纽约时报

In May of 2010, two months after the banks ‘perfect’ quarter, 纽约时报 ran a front page piece about a middle class family in Florida that had opted without qualms for strategic default on their home .

“Foreclosure has allowed them to stabilize the family business. Go to Outback occasionally for a steak. Take their gas-guzzling airboat out for the weekend. Visit the Hard Rock Casino.”

The article had over 800 comments, a lot even for 纽约时报. The blogoshpere lit up with outrage over these ‘deadbeats’. But how many people understand how banks actually work? Would there be the same outrage if people understood that the money they were given was made with a few clicks of a mouse? You don’t see cover stories in 纽约时报 on the mechanics of banking. It just doesn’t happen.

Everywhere banks are foreclosing on homes and even forcing austerity on entire nations as payment for the money they loaned, and the risks they assumed. But did they actually lend real money? Was the money they lent created through work or was it simply a slight of hand for which they now demand their pound of flesh? As the entire world financial system becomes undone people will begin to understand that money as a store of value and work and the money banks lend are two very different things for which the banks want you to think they are one and the same.

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• 类别: 经济学 •标签: 美联储 
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