There is a “gaming” culture in the US Banking system that is has survived the Financial Meltdown – call it “the never give the suckers an even break” or “fiduciary trust? Why me worry?”. Unfortunately it appears to have spread across the border. And as witness I have the following unsolicited offer from Citibank from US Thanksgiving Day 2008:
Now lets be clear – I have never dealt with Citibank except through a credit card which was terminated at least 3 years ago and was in Citi’s hands thanks to the TD/Canada Trust merger required divestment. Citi as credit card provider lasted for two years when I found their practices so bad I had to terminate the card. Let me assure readers this “loan” was not solicited in any way by myself.
And for that reason and the palpable lack of any documentation for what this loan deal/agreement obligated me to that raised the issue of junk financing by a major financial institution that just received $20 billion in US Taxpayers bailout money. Barely avoiding bankruptcy for the toxic loans and mortgages it has on its books and here is Citi out there trying to give away money in a fashion that only Country Wide Financial CEO Anthony Mozilo would consider praiseworthy.
This is why the issue of White Collar Crime Going Scott Free in the US-Now-World Financial Crisis has to be addressed. The culture of “gaming the system” and “fiduciary trust be damned” now permeates broad sectors of the US Banking and Financial systems. Unless penalties are imposed various bankers and hedge funders will consider any future regulations as “warnings only” and “or lets wait and see how long you have to delay until the rules can be bent or gamed“. Under the Bush Administration that would not be long; under Obama … we shall have to see if Eric Holder is upto this and the many other tasks on his plate(Guantanamo prisoners, Bush administration malfeasance, district attorneys appointments in disarray, FBI and Antitrust needing overhaul, etc, etc). On the Economic front I see the Obama Transition team preparing with real intellectual people power. Wish I could say the same for Justice.