Your bank charges may soon be sharply increasing if you bank with Bank of America, Barclays, Bear Stearns, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, J P Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC or UBS.
These are the thirteen banks that are being probed by the European Commission, which has charged them all with acting to stop two big exchanges, Germany’s Deutche Borse and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, from entering the trillion pound Credit Default Swap market during the period 2006-2009, in breach of European anti-trust regulations. Credit Default Swaps are a type of bet on the credit of a country or company and played a significant part in the financial crisis that damaged the economies of so many countries. Also being investigated is the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, which has a large number of banks in its membership.
During the period being probed by the regulators disgraced bankers Bob Diamond of Barclays and Fred Goodwin of the Royal Bank of Scotland were in control, or out of control some might argue. For proven anti-trust breaches the EU regulators have the power to fine up to 10% of a company’s global turnover, which could mean a fine of £3 billion for Barclays, this expected to be covered by the bank increasing costs to its customers.
Curiously a number of senior politicians have asked the press to stop banker-bashing, raising suspicions among the cynical majority that they have been paid for doing so, and/or grooming themselves for lucrative future jobs with their good friends at the banks.