Bank Run Fears: Customers Being Forced to Provide Evidence For Why They Need Cash
by Mac Slavo
Jan 26, 2014
In early 2013 the country of Cyprus locked down private banking accounts and restricted access to depositor funds. It was the first widely documented instance of a “bail-in,” as bank officials and European regulators determined that bad loans taken on by the banks were now the responsibility of the banks’ customers. This led to a country-wide confiscation of 10% or more of all customer funds. In the heat of the Cyprian financial panic banks limited cash withdrawals to around $300 and ramped up security to prevent angry Cypriots from breaking down the doors.
What happened in Cyprus was big news all over the world, but within a few news cycles, once European and American officials assured the people it was a limited-scope event, the general population swept potential fears under the rug.
No one really reported on the fact that the European Union quickly instituted new regulatory policies that would force bail-ins across the entire continent should such a crisis take hold again. Likewise, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke assured Americans that the crisis in Cyprus and Europe posed no risk to the US financial system, citing FDIC insurance for U.S. bank depositors as the safety net that would prevent a similar situation in the United States.
The United States, Europe, China and all of the world’s developed economies are, if officials are to be believed, completely immune to what happened in Cyprus. The current belief by the best and brightest is that these countries are simply too big to ever be faced with a total collapse of their banking systems.
But what if they were wrong? What if private debt reached such obscene levels that the loans taken on by lenders could never be repaid? What if a country like China, which holds trillions of dollars in cash reserves and has modern central banking regulations, did face such a problem?