Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why are German banks hiding?

French banks are being pounded again today for holding so much Greek debt, but the other story this week (still) is that a number of German banks have decided to withdraw from the stress testing of the European Banking Authority.

To which my response is: are they smoking crack? The banking community has taken a big hit in trust over the last four years, and transparency is the way to restoring it. In order for regulators and the public to know the truth, stress testing has to show what is there. The response of the German banks, that telling the truth about what German banks are holding would exacerbate the euro zone debt crisis only serves to reinforce why German banks and their motives should be distrusted.

Although the UK banks are screaming about new rules on capital adequacy this week, at least they are designed to make the banks safer.

And why in all that is holy would anyone keep their money in such a place. If you're reading this and you're German, the answer is: you shouldn't. Withdraw your cash and put it in an institution that will be honest about what's on its books. Because however ugly it is, what you don't know will hurt you more than what you do.

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