Saturday, June 11, 2011

Trust In Banks Is Misplaced, Just Count The Ways

What's wrong with U.S. banks lately?  Plenty.  They can't stop hackers from breaking into their systems and stealing your private data.  Maybe they'd have better security if they paid their IT staff as much as their junior rainmakers.  The Fed wants to increase the number of banks who provide it with details about their capitalization.  Look for more banks to raise their campaign contributions to fight that one, especially with an election year coming.

European banks aren't any better off.  For the sake of my readers who aren't aware of European banks' exposure to Greek debt, Germany's leaders are very aware of the disastrous consequences a Greek default would have on their banks' viability.  Find a European bank whose solvency isn't threatened by sovereign debt defaults and you'll be the luckiest investor in the world, until three seconds later when some hedge fund arbitrages the alpha out of that share price. 

There are many more reasons not to trust large banks.  I've mentioned enough to give me a reason not to invest in them for now. 

Full disclosure:  No positions in bank stocks at this time.