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With iron-ore stockpiles at record highs in China amid the escalating cash-for-steel financing debacles, one can only imagine the squeeze that is about to occur on the banks of a nation that is almost entirely economically dependent on said iron-ore mining production… which made us think when we saw this sign “justifying” holding low cash amounts in an Aussie bank ATM…
So no need for a withdrawal halt per se when you simply make it impossible for customers to get their money out…
Update: things are back to normal – Lloyds will gladly accept your deposits again:
Lloyds Banking Group says problems affecting cash machines and debit cards have been resolved
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) January 26, 2014
First HSBC bungles up an attempt at pseudo-capital controls by explaining that large cash withdrawals need a justification, and are limited in order “to protect our customers” (from what – their money?), which will likely result in even faster deposit withdrawals, and now another major UK bank – Lloyds/TSB – has admitted it are experiencing cash separation anxiety manifesting itself in ATMs failing to work and a difficult in paying using debit cards. Sky reports that customers of Lloyds and TSB, as well as those with Halifax, have reported difficulties paying for goods in shops and getting money out of ATMs.
All three banks are under the Lloyds Banking Group which said: “We are aware that some customers are unable to use their debit cards either to make purchases or to withdraw money from ATMs. “We are working hard to resolve this as swiftly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Further from SkyNews, TSB, which operates as a separate business within the group, issued a statement saying: “We are aware that some TSB customers are unable to use their debit cards either to make purchases or to withdraw money from ATMs. “This has impacted all Lloyds Banking Group brands. We are working hard to resolve this and unreservedly apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
TSB chief executive Paul Pester said in a tweet: “My apologies to TSB customers having problems with their cards. I’m working hard with my team now to try to fix the problems.”
Clients were not happy:
On the microblogging site, one TSB customer Nicky Kate said: “Really embarrassed to get my card declined while out shopping, never had any problems with lloyds then they changed my account.”
Hannah Smith: “I am a TSB customer with a Lloyds card still (like everyone else). And I’ve been embarrassed three times today re: card declined.”
Another customer Julia Abbott said: “Lloyds bank atm and card service down. 20 mins on hold to be told this. Nothing even on website. Shoddy lloyds. … shoddy.”
Helen Needham said: “#lloyds bank having problems with there card service… Can’t pay for anything or get money out!”
Another Twitter user wrote: “This problem is also affecting Halifax debit cards as I found out trying to pay for lunch with my wife!”
And Jane Lucy Jones tweeted Halifax, saying: “Why can’t I get any money out of any cashpoints, what is going on?
What is going on is known as a “glitch” for now, and perhaps as “preemptive planning” depending on who you ask. Sure, in a few months in may be called a bail-in (see Cyprus), but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.
A letter sent to a ZH reader yesterday by JPMorgan Chase, specifically its Business Banking division, reveals something disturbing. For whatever reason, JPM has decided that after November 17, 2013, it will halt the use of international wire transfers (saying it would “cancel any international wire transfers, including recurring ones”), but more importantly, limits the cash activity in associated business accounts to only $50,000 per statement cycle. “Cash activity is the combined total of cash deposits made at branches, night drops and ATMs and cash withdrawals made at branches and ATMs.”
Why? “These changes will help us more effectively manage the risks involved with these types of transactions.” So… JPM is now engaged in the risk-management of ATM withdrawals?
Reading between the lines, this sounds perilously close to capital controls to us.
While we have no way of knowing just how pervasive this novel proactive at Chase bank is and what extent of customers is affected, what is also left unsaid is what the Business Customer is supposed to do with the excess cash: we assume investing it all in stocks, and JPM especially, is permitted? But more importantly, how long before the $50,000 limit becomes $20,000, then $10,000, then $5,000 and so on, until Business Customers are advised that the bank will conduct an excess cash flow sweep every month and invest the proceeds in a mutual fund of the customer’s choosing?
Full redacted letter below:
- Toward Free Exchange Rather Than Capital Controls (economicsone.com)
- Easing troubles in the long run (thehindu.com)
- Capital controls to be lifted by January: Anastasiades (cyprus-mail.com)
- Capital controls to be lifted in the first months of 2014, Cyprus FinMin says (famagusta-gazette.com)
- Capital controls to be lifted except cross-border transfers (UPDATED) (cyprus-mail.com)
- Cyprus Capital Controls Could ‘End in Months’ (blogs.wsj.com)
- 5 Years Later: Winners & Losers of the Financial Crisis (fool.com)
- RBI chief says policy not to resort to capital controls – Reuters India (in.reuters.com)