Usurious Returns on Phantom Money: The Credit Card Gravy Train


Usurious Returns on Phantom Money: The Credit Card Gravy Train

Hello Everyone!

It’s great to post again.  Here is a very interesting article on credit card Banks and their banking operations by my friend Ellen Brown, yes the very same Ellen Brown that is running for State of California CA Treasurer in 2014.  Ellen Brown Is the Green Party candidate for State of California Treasurer in 2014.  Take a look at some of the books Ellen has published.  Ellen is the current President of the Public Banking Institute.  How do you feel about public banking for the state of California?

Sincerely,

Ed Reidhead

The credit card business is now the most lucrative part of the banking industry, and it’s not just from the interest. It’s the hidden fees.

You pay off your credit card balance every month, thinking you are taking advantage of the “interest-free grace period” and getting free credit. You may even use your credit card when you could have used cash, just to get the free frequent flier or cash-back rewards. But those popular features are misleading. Even when the balance is paid on time every month, credit card use imposes a huge hidden cost on users–hidden because the cost is deducted from what the merchant receives, then passed on to you in the form of higher prices.

Visa and MasterCard charge merchants about 2% of the value of every credit card transaction, and American Express charges even more. That may not sound like much. But consider that for balances that are paid off monthly (meaning most of them), the banks make 2% or more on a loan averaging only about 25 days (depending on when in the month the charge was made and when in the grace period it was paid). Two percent interest for 25 days works out to a 33.5% return annually (1.02^(365/25) — 1), and that figure may be conservative .

Merchant fees were originally designed as a way to avoid usury and Truth-in-Lending laws. Visa and MasterCard are independent entities, but they were set up by big Wall Street banks, and the card-issuing banks get about 80% of the fees. The annual returns not only fall in the usurious category, but they are returns on other people’s money — usually the borrower’s own money!     Here is how it works . . . .

The Ultimate Shell Game

Economist Hyman Minsky observed that anyone can create money; the trick is to get it accepted. The function of the credit card company is to turn your IOU, or promise to pay, into a “negotiable instrument” acceptable in the payment of debt. A negotiable instrument is anything that is signed and convertible into money or that can be used as money.

Under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, when you sign the merchant’s credit card charge receipt, you are creating a “negotiable instrument or other writing which evidences a right to the payment of money.” This negotiable instrument is deposited electronically into the merchant’s checking account, a special account required of all businesses that accept credit.  The account goes up by the amount on the receipt, indicating that the merchant has been paid.  The charge receipt is forwarded to an “acquiring settlement bank,” which bundles your charges and sends them to your own bank. Your bank then sends you a statement and you pay the balance with a check, causing your transaction account to be debited at your bank.

The net effect is that your charge receipt (a negotiable instrument) has become an “asset” against which credit has been advanced.  The bank has simply monetized your IOU, turning it into money.  The credit cycle is so short that this process can occur without the bank’s own money even being involved . Debits and credits are just shuffled back and forth between accounts.

Timothy Madden is a Canadian financial analyst who built software models of credit card accounts in the early 1990s. In personal correspondence, he estimates that payouts from the bank’s own reserves are necessary only about 2% of the time; and the 2% merchant’s fee is sufficient to cover these occasions. The “reserves” necessary to back the short-term advances are thus built into the payments themselves, without drawing from anywhere else.

As for the interest, Madden maintains:

The interest is all gravy because the transactions are funded in fact by the signed payment voucher issued by the card-user at the point of purchase. Assume that the monthly gross sales that are run through credit/charge-cards globally double, from the normal $300 billion to $600 billion for the year-end holiday period. The card companies do not have to worry about where the extra $300 billion will come from because it is provided by the additional $300 billion of signed vouchers themselves. . . .

That is also why virtually all  banks  everywhere have to write-off 100% of credit/charge-card accounts in arrears for 180 days. The basic design of the system recognizes that, once set in motion, the system is entirely self-financing requiring zero equity investment by the operator . . . . The losses cannot be charged off against the operator’s equity because they don’t have any. In the early 1990’s when I was building computer/software models of the credit/charge-card system, my spreadsheets kept “blowing up” because of “divide by zero” errors in my return-on-equity display.

A Private Sales Tax

All this sheds light on why the credit card business has become the most lucrative pursuit of the banking industry. At one time, banking was all about taking deposits and making commercial and residential loans. But in recent years, according to the Federal Reserve, “credit card earnings have been almost always higher than returns on all commercial bank activities.”

Partly, this is because the interest charged on credit card debt is higher than on other commercial loans. But it is on the fees that the banks really make their money. There are late payment fees, fees for exceeding the credit limit, balance transfer fees, cash withdrawal fees, and annual fees, in addition to the very lucrative merchant fees that accrue at the point of sale whether the customer pays his bill or not. The merchant absorbs the fees, and the customers cover the cost with higher prices.

A 2% merchants’ fee is the financial equivalent of a 2% sales tax — one that now adds up to over $30 billion annually in the US. The effect on trade is worse than either a public sales tax or a financial transaction tax (or Tobin tax), since these taxes are designed to be spent back into the economy on services and infrastructure. A private merchant’s tax simply removes purchasing power from the economy.

As financial blogger Yves Smith observes:

[W]hen anyone brings up Tobin taxes (small charges on every [financial] trade) as a way to pay for the bailout and discourage speculation, the financial services industry becomes utterly apoplectic. . . . Yet here in our very midst, we have a Tobin tax equivalent on a very high proportion of retail trade. . . . [Y]ou can think of the rapacious Visa and Mastercharge charges for debit transactions . . . as having two components: the fee they’d be able to charge if they faced some competition, and the premium they extract by controlling the market and refusing to compete on price. In terms of its effect on commerce, this premium is worse than a Tobin tax.

A Tobin tax is intended to have the positive effect of dampening speculation. A private tax on retail sales has the negative effect of dampening consumer trade. It is a self-destruct mechanism that consumes capital and credit at every turn of the credit cycle.

The lucrative credit card business is a major factor in the increasing “financialization” of the economy. Companies like General Electric are largely abandoning product innovation and becoming credit card companies, because that’s where the money is. Financialization is killing the economy, productivity, innovation, and consumer demand.

Busting the Monopoly

Exorbitant merchant fees are made possible because the market is monopolized by a tiny number of credit card companies, and entry into the market is difficult. To participate, you need to be part of a network, and the network requires that all participating banks charge a pre-set fee.

The rules vary, however, by country. An option available in some countries is to provide cheaper credit card services through publicly-owned banks. In Costa Rica, 80% of deposits are held in four publicly-owned banks; and all offer Visa/MC debit cards and will take Visa/MC credit cards. Businesses that choose to affiliate with the two largest public banks pay no transaction fees for that bank’s cards, and for the cards of other banks they pay only a tiny fee, sufficient to cover the bank’s costs.

That works in Costa Rica; but in the US, Visa/MC fees are pre-set, and public banks would have to charge that fee to participate in the system. There is another way, however, that they could recapture the merchant fees and use them for the benefit of the people: by returning them in the form of lower taxes or increased public services.

Local governments pay hefty fees for credit card use themselves. According to the treasurer’s office, the City and County of San Francisco pay $4 million annually just for bank fees, and more than half this sum goes to merchant fees. If the government could recapture these charges through its own bank, it could use the proceeds to expand public services without raising taxes.

If we allowed government to actually make some money, it could be self-funding without taxing the citizens. When an alternative public system is in place, the private mega-bank dinosaurs will no longer be “too big to fail.” They can be allowed to fade into extinction, in a natural process of evolution toward a more efficient and sustainable system of exchange.

Capital One Is The Most Complained-About Credit Card Company- Can you say, Predatory Lending Practices…


Hello!

Does anyone out there have a Capital One Credit card?  I use to until Capital One increased my interest rate for some unclear reason even though I was making regularly scheduled payments to them for years.  Can you say, Predatory Lending Practices?  Please feel free to post any experiences you like to share about Capital One and their business practices.  In this article, it appears that Capital One is the Champion of credit card companies in that it has caused more complaints to be filed than any other credit card issuer.  Here’s a link to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau web site and complaint portal.  I invite you to stand for yourself and everyone else and document predatory credit card practices to the US Government.

Ed

Capital One Is The Most Complained-About Credit Card Company – Source Article

Since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its credit card complaint portal in Sept. 2010, more than 25,000 complaints have been filed with the CFPB. And while the 10 largest credit card issuers account for 93% of all those complaints, one company is responsible for more than 1-in-5 of all complaints filed with the Bureau: Capital One.

That’s according to the Ohio Public Interest Research Group’s new report [PDF] that analyzes some of the available data about the CFPB complaint portal.

With 5,625 complaints filed between Sept. 2010 and Nov. 2013, Capital One cards accounted for 21% of all consumer gripes. Citibank’s credit cards were the second most complained-about (4,514 complaints, 18% of the total), followed by Bank of America (3,320; 13%).

Problems with Capital One cards appear to be a nationwide issue, with Cap One receiving the most complaints from consumers in 43 states. In six of the remaining states — Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Utah — Citi earned the most complaints, with Bank of America being the most-hated card issuer in Alaska.

The complaint portal isn’t just for consumers to scream into a black hole about their credit cards. The idea is that the card company is supposed to respond to each complaint within a given time frame. Of course, the cardholders aren’t always pleased with the card companies’ responses.

If the consumer is unhappy with the card issuer’s response to the complaint, he can file a dispute. Once again, Capital One cardholders filed the most disputes (1,044), meaning about one out of every five Cap One complaints were disputed. This may have been the largest number of disputes, but it’s not the highest rate. That belongs to American Express, where cardholders disputed 26% of the resolutions suggested by the card issuer.

http://www.fraudstoppers.org/


 

http://www.fraudstoppers.org/

Breaking News for California Homeowners Facing Foreclosure:

Your mortgage could be legally unenforceable and you could be entitled to financial compensation for mortgage fraud and other legal violations. Legal errors, contract breaches, appraisal and mortgage fraud have caused the majority of mortgage transactions to be legally unenforceable.

Did you know that a government audit revealed that 83% of the mortgages surveyed contained legal violations?

Did you know these legal violations can turn the tables on your predatory lender and make them pay you to go away?

“I cannot decide for you the moral obligations you wish to pursue; but if a wrong has been committed against you (such as a clouded title or a fraud resulting from a mortgage loan) you have the duty as an American property owner to correct it. Filing a suit (in my book) reflects one’s personal responsibility”. Clouded Titles, p 13.

Stop playing games and wasting time trying to work with your corrupt lender, they are not in business to help you. If you’re interested in learning how to save your house from foreclosure by suing your predatory lender for mortgage fraud, get started right now by clicking here

http://www.fraudstoppers.org/

The Mad Science of the National Debt – by Matt Taibbi


Hello everyone!

Here is the amazing financial reporter of Rolling Stone magazine, Matt Taibbi! Matt has an amazing ability to penetrate the unclear and shadowy topic of Federal Reserve Bank Operations.
Ed

2012: What's the 'real' truth?

Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi. (photo: Current TV)
Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi. (photo: Current TV)

go to original article
Source: Reader Supported News

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

23 May 13

elcome back to the dumb season. It’s debt-ceiling time again.

We’ve been at this two years now. It was back in 2011 when the Republican Party, seized by anti-government furor, first locked on the lifting of the federal debt ceiling – an utterly routine governmental mechanism that allows the Treasury to borrow to pay for spending already approved by the entire Congress, Republicans included – as a place to hold a showdown over … government spending. That first battle resulted in a “Mutually Assured Destruction”-type stalemate, in which both parties agreed that if they couldn’t reach a deal by New Year’s Day 2013, a series of brutal, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts would take effect. At the time, it seemed unthinkable Congress would let that happen. By the time we passed…

View original post 3,683 more words

11 Reasons Why The Federal Reserve Should Be Abolished


11 Reasons Why The Federal Reserve Should Be Abolished

Hello,

Here are some facts about the Federal Reserve Banking System you may not know.  Enjoy this article.

Ed

 

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

If the American people truly understood how the Federal Reserve system works and what it has done to us, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately.  It is a system that was designed by international bankers for the benefit of international bankers, and it is systematically impoverishing the American people.

The Federal Reserve system is the primary reason why our currency has declined in value by well over 95 percent and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger over the past 100 years.

The Fed creates our “booms” and our “busts”, and they have done an absolutely miserable job of managing our economy.  But why do we need a bunch of unelected private bankers to manage our economy and print our money for us in the first place?  Wouldn’t our economy function much more efficiently if we allowed the free market to set interest rates?

And according to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress is the one that is supposed to have the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.  So why is the Federal Reserve doing it?  Sadly, this is the way it works all over the globe today.  In fact, all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank.  But the truth is that there are much better alternatives.  We just need to get people educated.

The following are 11 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be abolished…

read more here…

Paying interest on a loan that never existed?


http://worldfreemansociety.org/paying-interest-on-a-loan-that-never-existed/

Hi,

Here is a gem of an article I found on understanding banking and loans and money better.  Download the Dealing with Bankers PDF, and get started with taking a stand for your survival as a human being.  If you know of any great resources dealing in these issues please post the link in the comments section or email me and I will post them for Everyone.

Ed

IMF members: World economy still needs ‘decisive’ action…


IMF members: World economy still needs ‘decisive’ action…

Hello Everyone!

I find this article very interesting…  it looks as though the future of World financial matters is in the balance…  Which way will it go?

Ed

IMF members: World economy still needs ‘decisive’ action

Published: April 20, 2013

— Finance ministers from around the world emphasized Saturday that much work remains to reach full recovery, especially in advanced economies.

In a joint statement following meetings Saturday in Washington of the International Monetary Fund’s policy-making committee, the finance ministers said that countries “need to act decisively to nurture a sustainable recovery and restore the resilience of the global economy.”

IMF economists this week underlined the need for the eurozone to bring banks back to full health, especially in harder-hit countries, and to rapidly move toward a full banking union with common oversight. Without a properly functioning banking sector, the smaller businesses that can deliver jobs and economic growth will continue to be starved for investment.

“Financial sector repair and reform remain a priority,” the finance ministers said. “Advanced economies need to balance supporting domestic demand with reforms to tackle structural weaknesses that weigh on growth, while implementing credible fiscal plans.”

The IMF this week pared back its 2013 global growth forecast by 0.2 percentage points to 3.3 percent. Most of that growth is coming from emerging and developing markets, while the eurozone economy is expected to contract this year.

After the meeting, Singaporean Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who chairs the IMF’s policy-setting committee, said that “around the table . . . there was a very strong view that we had to place greater emphasis on structural reforms to create jobs, as well as to boost productivity.”

Such reforms to improve growth vary among economies but often include streamlining labor markets, reducing barriers to starting new businesses and removing market-distorting subsidies.

The closing statement from finance ministers said that “accommodative monetary policy is still needed to help bolster growth but . . . eventual exit from monetary expansion will need to be carefully managed and clearly communicated.”

The rate-setting US Federal Reserve has kept interest rates near zero for more than four years, and additionally is pumping $85 billion into bond markets every month to further stimulate investment, in an unprecedentedly loose monetary policy. Central banks in the eurozone and Japan have taken smaller but similar steps toward highly accommodative monetary policy.

With central banks sailing into uncharted waters, worries have arisen that the new monetary policies could stoke inflation or inflate dangerous bubbles in prices of stocks, real estate or other assets. At the same time, with less than strong growth in those regions, there are concerns that the same economies could wither if central banks stop showering them with cash.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said that the Washington-based crisis lender will study the “consequences of unconventional monetary policy . .. and what will be the good exit, as opposed to the more unpleasant exit for all members.”

The latest from Jean Haines at her blog; 2012: What’s the “real” truth


Hello everyone!  I really resonate with what my friend Jean is saying here!  How do you feel about this?  Ed

My Blog Now Takes On A New Direction, by ~Jean

Posted on April 6, 2013 by

Let me start by trying to clear up what I believe is a misunderstanding. I think many of you have misinterpreted Neil’s work in regards to his understanding of money. If you read his most recent article, it is all about breaking the death hold of the cabal on us – via our money system. This is the same reason I long ago focused my blog on the financial aspects of the shift that is taking place and is perhaps the reason why Neil and I met here on my blog. I, like Neil, felt that when we broke this financial stranglehold, then everything else would fall rapidly into place: the abuse of our children, food, planet, working conditions, tax system (illegal in the United States and Canada; there aren’t any laws on the books – don’t know about other places), the out-and-out thievery of our incomes, our Social Security, the usury, and on and on.

My belief is that money, in and of itself, is not the problem. It is the human element, the confused human viewpoint concerning money that is the problem. Neil understands the failed money system completely, and I believe I do, too. It is my belief that we are now moving into a rapid process of change, and Neil is providing the pathway to get to the place many of you now foresee. Please read this quote from Neil’s most recent article:

read more at…

‘We’ve Lost Our Sovereignty To City of London Banks” – Harley Schlanger


Enjoy this insightful interview. Ed

This is a podcast-style 30-minute uninterrupted conversation with Harley Schlanger, historian and national Spokesperson for LaRouchePAC. Harley says America has lost its sovereignty to the City of London Banks. Our currency is being debased so quickly now in order to back TRILLIONS in derivatives exposure that hyperinflation could begin at any moment. Harley is calling for cutting off the shadow banking system from any more government-sponsored bailouts, and he says Obama MUST BE impeached if the United States is to survive. Once this is done, a return to a gold and silver backed credit based system will help restore our nation’s economic backbone.
Harley’s website:
http://www.LaRouchePAC.com

My websites:
http://SGTreport.com/
http://theLibertyMill.com/

Music: “On the Shore” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/”
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode

The content in my videos and on the SGTbull07 channel are provided for informational purposes only. Use the information found in my videos as a starting point for conducting your own research and conduct your own due diligence (DD) BEFORE making any significant investing decisions. SGTbull07 assumes all information to be truthful and reliable; however, I cannot and do not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of this information. Thank you.

What Lies In Your Debt?® It PAYS To Know!


What Lies In Your Debt?

 

This information is to present options to people that are faced with debt.  Enjoy,  Ed

 

Drowning In Credit Card Debt….               Relax!

Well you can stress out trying to find a way to make the minimum payments every month or you can get them to pay you. The facts are simple; you will never pay off credit card debt while making minimum payments!

 

www.whatliesinyourmortgage.com/

Most people out there offer what is normally called a “Mortgage Audit”.  Most of these types of audits are just a waste of money and time with most allowing you to pick a few TILA or RESPA violations that will put a few thousand dollars in your pocket (if you actually prosecute) but do nothing for you in the way of defending your property from the banksters.  At best there is not much you can do with one of these types’ audits to stop or slow down your foreclosure.

The differences between a Securitization Audit versus a Mortgage Audit are vastly different….

Unlike a Mortgage Audit which seeks to find TILA and RESPA violations, a Securitization Audit looks through filings that are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and filed into the public record. It’s meant to follow the chain of title and it makes sure that the transfers as required by the PSA (Pooling and Servicing Agreement) were done and if not, then the plaintiff might have no right to foreclose.

By auditing these filings we can find whether the security was dissolved, the closing dates of the trust, and if the assets to the distributed to the certificate holders and the Trustee no longer has any authority to pursue foreclosure.  All of this can help you win your case.

If you have an alphabet soup plaintiff such as U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION AS TRUSEE FOR MARM 2006-O-A2 then without a doubt your mortgage has been securitized.

If that is the case then you more than likely have a great chance that your mortgage was bifurcated (separated) from your note. This will cause your mortgage to be an “unsecured mortgage”, meaning the lien on your home will no longer be secured by you’re the mortgage and your mortgage now becomes an unsecured debt such as a credit card would be.

A securitization audit will find the chain of title to the trust and whether the Trustee still has any authority to foreclose.

Will I benefit if I have already been foreclosed?

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