“A Law Abused: Why Dodd-Frank is Killing Off Community Banks” by Ellen Brown (Occupy.com)

The Dodd-Frank regulations are so lethal to community banks that some say the intent was to force them to sell out to the megabanks. Community banks are rapidly disappearing — except in North Dakota, where they are thriving.

At over 2,300 pages, the Dodd Frank Act is the longest and most complicated bill ever passed by the U.S. legislature. It was supposed to end “too big to fail” and “bailouts,” and to “promote financial stability.” But Dodd-Frank’s “orderly liquidation authority” has replaced bailouts with bail-ins, meaning that in the event of insolvency, big banks are to recapitalize themselves with the savings of their creditors and depositors.

The banks deemed too big are more than 30% bigger than before the Act was passed in 2010, and 80% bigger than before the banking crisis of 2008. The six largest U.S. financial institutions now have assets of some $10 trillion, amounting to almost 60% of GDP; and they control nearly 50% of all bank deposits.

Meanwhile, their smaller competitors are struggling to survive. Community banks and credit unions are disappearing at the rate of one a day. Access to local banking services is disappearing along with them. Small and medium-size businesses – the ones that hire two-thirds of new employees – are having trouble getting loans; students are struggling with sky-high interest rates; homeowners have been replaced by hedge funds acting as absentee landlords; and bank fees are up, increasing the rolls of the unbanked and underbanked, and driving them into the predatory arms of payday lenders.

Even some well-heeled clients are being rejected. In an October 19, 2015 article titled “Big Banks to America’s Firms: We Don’t Want Your Cash,” the Wall Street Journal reported that some Wall Street banks are now telling big depositors to take their money elsewhere or be charged a deposit fee.

Municipal governments are also being rejected as customers. Bank of America just announced that it no longer wants the business of some smaller cities, which have been given 90 days to find somewhere else to put their money. Hundreds of local BofA branches are also disappearing.

Hardest hit, however, are the community banks. Today there are 1,524 fewer banks with assets under $1 billion than there were in June 2010, before the Dodd-Frank regulations were signed into law.

Collateral Damage or Intended Result?

The rapid demise of community banking is blamed largely on Dodd-Frank’s massively complex rules and onerous capitalization requirements. Just doing the paperwork requires an army of compliance officers, and increased capital and loan requirements are eliminating the smaller banks’ profit margins. They have little recourse but to sell to the larger banks, which have large staffs capable of dealing with the regulations, and which skirt the capital requirements by parking assets in off-balance-sheet vehicles. (See “How Wall Street Captured Washington’s Effort to Rein in Banks” in Reuters in April 2015.)

According to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, the disappearance of community banks was not an unintended consequence of Dodd-Frank. He said in a speech in July:

“The Dodd-Frank architecture, first of all, has made us less financially stable. Since the passage of Dodd-Frank, the big banks are bigger and the small banks are fewer. But because Washington can control a handful of big established firms much easier than many small and zealous competitors, this is likely an intended consequence of the Act. Dodd-Frank concentrates greater assets in fewer institutions. It codifies into law ‘Too Big to Fail’…”

In an article titled “The FDIC’s New Capital Rules and Their Expected Impact on Community Banks,” Richard Morris and Monica Reyes Grajales concur. They note that “a full discussion of the rules would resemble an advanced course in calculus,” and that the regulators have ignored protests that the rules would have a devastating impact on community banks. Why? The authors suggest that the rules reflect “the new vision of bank regulation – that there should be bigger and fewer banks in the industry.”

The Failure of Regulation

Obviously, making the big banks bigger also serves the interests of the megabanks, whose lobbyists are well known to have their fingerprints all over the legislation. How they have been able to manipulate the rules was seen last December, when legislation drafted by Citigroup and slipped into the Omnibus Spending Bill loosened the Dodd-Frank regulations on derivatives. As noted in a Mother Jones article before the legislation was passed:

“The Citi-drafted legislation will benefit five of the largest banks in the country – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. These financial institutions control more than 90 percent of the $700 trillion derivatives market. If this measure becomes law, these banks will be able to use FDIC-insured money to bet on nearly anything they want. And if there’s another economic downturn, they can count on a taxpayer bailout of their derivatives trading business.”

Regulation is clearly inadequate to keep these banks honest and ensure that they serve the public interest. The world’s largest private banks have been caught in criminal acts that former bank fraud investigator Prof. William K. Black calls the greatest frauds in history. The litany of frauds involves more than a dozen felonies, including bid-rigging on municipal bond debt; colluding to rig interest rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars in mortgages, derivatives and other contracts; exposing investors to excessive risk; and engaging in multiple forms of mortgage fraud. According to US Attorney General Eric Holder, the guilty have gone unpunished because they are “too big to prosecute.” If they are too big to prosecute, they are too big to regulate.

But that doesn’t mean Congress won’t try. Dodd-Frank gives the Federal Reserve “heightened prudential supervision” over “systemically important” banks, essentially putting them under government control. According to Hensarling, writing in the Wall Street Journal in July, Dodd-Frank is turning America’s largest financial institutions into “functional utilities” and is delivering the power to allocate capital to political actors in Washington.

Thomas Hoenig, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, gave a speech in 2011 in which he also described banking as a “public utility.” (What he actually said was, “You’re a public utility, for crying out loud.”) Six months later, Hoenig was appointed vice chairman of the FDIC.

If the megabanks are going to be true public utilities, they probably need to be publicly-owned entities, which capture profits and direct credit in a way that actually serves the people. If Dodd-Frank’s several thousand pages of regulations cannot create a stable and sustainable banking system, the regulatory approach has failed. The whole system needs to be revamped.

Restoring Community Banking: The Model of North Dakota

Even if the megabanks were to become true public utilities, we would still need a thriving community banking sector. Community banks service local markets in a way that the megabanks with their standardized lending models are neither interested in nor capable of.

How can the community banks be preserved and nurtured? For some ideas, we can look to a state where they are still thriving – North Dakota. In a September 2015 article titled “How One State Escaped Wall Street’s Rule and Created a Banking System That’s 83% Locally Owned,” Stacy Mitchell writes that North Dakota’s banking sector bears little resemblance to that of the rest of the country:

“North Dakotans do not depend on Wall Street banks to decide the fate of their livelihoods and the future of their communities, and rely instead on locally owned banks and credit unions. With 89 small and mid-sized community banks and 38 credit unions, North Dakota has six times as many locally owned financial institutions per person as the rest of the nation. And these local banks and credit unions control a resounding 83 percent of deposits in the state — more than twice the 30 percent market share that small and mid-sized financial institutions have nationally.”

Their secret is the century-old Bank of North Dakota, the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, which partners with and supports the state’s local banks. In an April 2015 article titled “Is Dodd-Frank Killing Community Banks? The More Important Question is How to Save Them”, Matt Stannard writes:

“Public banks offer unique benefits to community banks, including collateralization of deposits, protection from poaching of customers by big banks, the creation of more successful deals, and… regulatory compliance. The Bank of North Dakota, the nation’s only public bank, directly supports community banks and enables them to meet regulatory requirements such as asset to loan ratios and deposit to loan ratios… [I]t keeps community banks solvent in other ways, lessening the impact of regulatory compliance on banks’ bottom lines.

“We know from FDIC data in 2009 that North Dakota had almost 16 banks per 100,000 people, the most in the country. A more important figure, however, is community banks’ loan averages per capita, which was $12,000 in North Dakota, compared to only $3,000 nationally… During the last decade, banks in North Dakota with less than $1 billion in assets have averaged a stunning 434 percent more small business lending than the national average.”

The BND has also been very profitable for the state and its citizens. Over the last 21 years, the BND has generated almost $1 billion in profit and returned nearly $400 million to the state’s general fund, where it is available to support education and other public services while reducing the tax burden on residents and businesses.

The partnership of a state-owned bank with local community banks is a proven alternative for maintaining the viability of local credit and banking services. Other states would do well to follow North Dakota’s lead, not only to protect their local communities and local banks, but to bolster their revenues, escape Washington’s noose, and provide a bail-in-proof depository for their public funds.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling “Web of Debt.” Her latest book, “The Public Bank Solution,” explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

– See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/law-abused-why-dodd-frank-killing-community-banks#sthash.xCeqvdfd.dpuf

OccupyForum presents . . . Strike Debt Bay Area: How The Other Half Isn’t Allowed to Bank (Monday, October 26)

Monday, October 26th from 6 – 9 pm at Global Exchange

2017 Mission Street near the 16th Street BART station

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

OccupyForum presents…

Strike Debt Bay Area:

How The Other Half

Isn’t Allowed to Bank

Strike Debt Bay Area (SDBA) is dedicated to fighting unjust debt.

Our latest project: Human Interest Lending

Right now there are more predatory payday lenders in the US than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. And new ones keep popping up! In fact, payday lenders are often owned by the same banks that won’t provide accounts or loans to poor customers. Most progressives are so opposed to predatory lending that they want to shut payday lending down altogether … without providing an alternative for people who are cash-strapped and in need. Strike Debt Bay Area, an offshoot of Occupy Oakland, has found an answer in our hometown of Oakland.

Community Check Cashing (CCC) is a non-profit, providing the same services that for-profit payday lenders do — at a third to a half of what they charge. CCC estimates that it has saved its customer base over $1,200,000 in the six years it has been open.

As activists, we’ve been exploring ways CCC can be strengthened and its model can be expanded — with the ultimate goal of taking out the for-profit payday lenders. We call this project Human Interest Lending. We’ll provide some history of the banks and the social contract, and talk about where we want to go. We’ll also update attendees on some of Strike Debt Bay Area’s other projects, including ending Student Debt and saving the Berkeley Post Office.

Debbie Notkin is on the board of the James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award, and blogs at Body Impolitic (www.laurietobyedison.com/body-impolitic-blog). She is an active member of Strike Debt Bay Area. She is contracts manager for a large nonfiction publishing company.

JP Massar is an activist with Strike Debt Bay Area, the Oakland Privacy Working Group, the Oakland Livable Wage Assembly and Occupy Oakland, a writer on the national progressive blog Daily Kos, the former policy chair for the Siegel for Oakland Mayoral campaign, and occasionally he can be seen marching against police violence or testifying against police militarization at the Berkeley and Oakland City Council.

Time will be allotted for discussion and announcements.

Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

Action Council Events — October 22 to October 28

Thursday, Oct. 22
                7:00 pm  St. Syprian’s Episcopal Church  2097 Turk St. S.F.
                HOW THE 99% TAKES ON THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL
                COMPLEX
                Speaker:  Tom Gallagher of Progressive Democrats
                A free public forum.  Snacks and beverages served.
                7:30 to 9:30 pm.  First Congregational Church
                2345 Channing Way, Berkeley
                THE DEVIL’S CHESS BOARD
                Speaker:  David Talbot  on his book about how Allen
                Dulles made the CIA into a powerful secretive and ruthless
                organization that changed world history.  This was a
                transition from democracy to corporate control.
                tickets $15.00 at the door or advance tickets $12. at KPFA.
                org.
Friday Oct. 23
                 12:30 to 1:30   S.F. City Hall
                 RISE UP OCTOBER!
                 A national day of protest.  Stop police brutality!  No more
                 stolen lives.    Say their names, Demand Justice!
                 sponsored by World Can’t Wait, Stop Mass Incarceration,
                 Revolution Books.
                 more info   415-864-5153
                 6:00 to until we leave
                 4096 17th St.  (near Market and Castro)
                 Scott Wiener’s Condo
                 FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE HOMELESS
                 Wiener Roast.  Declare that San Francisco is not for sale.
                 Homelessness is not a crime!
                 Scott Wiener is not on the side of people needing shelter
                 eviction protection and affordable housing.  Please bring
                 food to share.  There will be a lot of homeless people
                 there.
                 more info    swapmeetinkingly@gmail.com
                 6 – 9 pm  2940 16th St.  
                 SILENT ART AUCTION
                 S.F Living Wage coalition fund raiser
                 Live music, poetry and art
                 more info    415-863-2847
Saturday Oct. 24
                1:00 – 4:40 pm  Onmi Commons 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland
                KPFA LIVE STREAM AND MEDIA TRAINING
                Experts will train you to be a citizen journalist.
                Hands on workshop.   Q and A time
                Bring your mobile device.
                Info   KPFA.org
               4:30 to 5:30 pm  Ommi Commons   4799 Shattuck, Oakland
               DEBTOR’S ASSEMBLY WITH RESOURCES FOR 
               RESISTANCE!
               Come and join to draw awareness to the fight against unjust
               debt.  Discussion and planning to make positive change.
 
Sunday Oct 25
 
               1:30 to 4:00 pm  North Berkeley Senior Center
                M.L.K. and Hearst St, Berkeley
               THE HIDDEN STRUCTURE OF VIOLENCE ;
               AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT  
               Two giants of non violence activism Elder’s Guild Marc Pelesic
               and Kathy Kelly, Voices of Creative Non Violence will talk about
               their new book, The Hidden Structures of Violence – Who 
               Benefits from Global Violence and War
               no charge.  Co sponsored by Berkeley Gray Panthers,
               Project Censored, Network of Spiritual Progressives,
               Western States Legal Foundation, Democratic World
               Federalist, Democratic Socialists of America
               info    510-526-1788
               2 – 4 pm.  215 Golden Gate Ave. S.F.  Unite Now Union office
                S.F. OCCUPY ACTION COUNCIL
                Open discussion of ideas to strengthen efforts to improve
                the lives of the ordinary people of our city, state and nation.
                The 99% need to unite and take the control of our nation from
                the moneyed 1%.  Your ideas and that your group are needed
                to be shared in order to support each other and increase our                       effectiveness.
Wednesday, Oct. 28
                7:30 to 9:30 pm.  Humanist Hall 390 27th St, (between 
                Telegraph and Broadway) Oakland
                THE SECRET OF THE SEVEN SISTERS
                a film about the cartel whose purpose is to dominate the
                world by controlling the oil.
                There is an optional pot luck at 6:30
                 Film at 7:30  Discussion following
                 $5.00 donation requested.  No one turned away

 

Chris Hedges from resistanceradioprn

June 21, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Chris Hedges – 06.21.15

Chris Hedges is a longtime foreign correspondent who was part of a team
that won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage. He has been in combat zones
more times than he wishes to recount. He is a powerful social critic and
critic of capitalism, and is the author of more than ten books, including
War is a Force that Gives us Meaning; Death of the Liberal Class; and Days
of Destruction, Days of Revolt. He is a columnist for Truthdig.

Press Release — Wiener Roast

First They Came For The Homeless
Picture

Media Advisory: October 19, 2015
Contact: Mike Zint 510-725-9261, mzint02@gmail.com; Mike Wilson 510-299-0493,
electionamend@gmail.com
When: All-night, starting Friday October 23, 2015 at 6:00PM
Where: 4096 17th St. (near Diamond St.), San Francisco, CA
Why: To demand that San Francisco’s most upwardly-mobile politician serve
the City’s residents with the greatest needs, rather than the fewest
First They Came for the Homeless
will host a Les Misérables-themed
Scott Wiener Roast
outside his residence
Bring furniture, jokes, food to share
You’re encouraged to wear Les Misérables costumes
or nothing at all
Our Demands:
1. Stop criminalizing homelessness – it only makes the problem worse. Harassing
homeless people for sitting or lying on sidewalks, depriving them of sleep, driving them
out of parks that are their best available sanctuary makes it impossible for them to heal
the damage done to their lives.
2. Allow homeless folks to take care of themselves. With proper rest and even a
minimal sense of security, homeless people will have a better chance of organizing their
lives and of becoming self-sufficient. As San Francisco provides shelter beds for less than
20% of its homeless population, urban camping areas must exist within the City limits as
an alternative.
3. Create housing that the homeless can afford. Salt Lake City has demonstrated that
this is cheaper than hounding homeless folks like criminals and wasting money on
emergency services that obviously don’t solve the problem of homelessness.
As the 2016 election season ramps up, Americans are – true to form – hearing lots of arguments
about what to do to fix the economy. In this election cycle, we’re hearing more about growing
income inequality than ever before. According to a study by the Brookings Institute (see link
below), San Francisco has the second-highest income gap in the country, and the prevailing
strategy among the City’s power brokers appears to be to make it number one.
One of San Francisco’s rising politicians – Scott Wiener, Dist. 8 – has tried to make a name for
himself as a man-of-the-people by pushing for further codification of tenants rights. But these
measures will do little to narrow the chasm between haves and have-nots. On the suffering of
the City’s poorest residents, Wiener had this to say:
[T]aking over public space and creating structures on it – is unacceptable in any
location at any point in time. The city and our police department need to be
much more consistent in quickly addressing this behavior and sending a clear
message that it will never be tolerated.
(https://instagram.com/p/8ldK8qRV6w/?taken-by=scott_wiener)
Wiener is very involved in plans to clean up Buena Vista Park, which is in his District. To make
plans for eliminating the park as a safe place for homeless people to camp, Wiener has met with
local property owners, reps from SFPD and DPW, but has not shown any willingness to consider
the needs of homeless folks who depend on the parks as alternatives to inadequate and
dangerous shelters or “affordable” housing options that the City’s poorest residents can’t access.
Wiener has very real hopes of winning the State Senate seat for San Francisco next year. In his
last two campaigns, more than 40% of his contributions have come from real estate
development firms and the tech industry – forces that are widening the income gap. Clearly,
Scott Wiener is a tool for those who are aggressively expropriating the scant means the poor
have to survive in San Francisco.
First They Came for the Homeless:
https://www.facebook.com/First-they-came-for-the-homeless-253882908111999/
Brookings Institute: Some Cities Are Still More Unequal Than Others
http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2015/03/city-inequality-berube-holmes

WIENER ROAST 3

First they came for the homeless's photo.
10/20/2015: Press release!!

Media Advisory: October 19, 2015
Contact: Mike Zint 510-725-9261, mzint02@gmail.com; Mike Wilson 510-299-0493,
electionamend@gmail.com

When: All-night, starting Friday October 23, 2015 at 6:00PM
Where: 4096 17th St. (near Diamond St.), San Francisco, CA
Why: To demand that San Francisco’s most upwardly-mobile politician serve
the City’s residents with the greatest needs, rather than the fewest
First They Came for the Homeless
will host a Les Misérables-themed
Scott Wiener Roast
outside his residence
Bring furniture, jokes, food to share
You’re encouraged to wear Les Misérables costumes
or nothing at all
Our Demands:
1. Stop criminalizing homelessness – it only makes the problem worse. Harassing
homeless people for sitting or lying on sidewalks, depriving them of sleep, driving them
out of parks that are their best available sanctuary makes it impossible for them to heal
the damage done to their lives.
2. Allow homeless folks to take care of themselves. With proper rest and even a
minimal sense of security, homeless people will have a better chance of organizing their
lives and of becoming self-sufficient. As San Francisco provides shelter beds for less than
20% of its homeless population, urban camping areas must exist within the City limits as
an alternative.
3. Create housing that the homeless can afford. Salt Lake City has demonstrated that
this is cheaper than hounding homeless folks like criminals and wasting money on
emergency services that obviously don’t solve the problem of homelessness.
As the 2016 election season ramps up, Americans are – true to form – hearing lots of arguments about what to do to fix the economy. In this election cycle, we’re hearing more about growing income inequality than ever before. According to a study by the Brookings Institute (see link below), San Francisco has the second-highest income gap in the country, and the prevailing strategy among the City’s power brokers appears to be to make it number one.
One of San Francisco’s rising politicians – Scott Wiener, Dist. 8 – has tried to make a name for
himself as a man-of-the-people by pushing for further codification of tenants rights. But these
measures will do little to narrow the chasm between haves and have-nots. On the suffering of
the City’s poorest residents, Wiener had this to say:
[T]aking over public space and creating structures on it – is unacceptable in any
location at any point in time. The city and our police department need to be
much more consistent in quickly addressing this behavior and sending a clear
message that it will never be tolerated.
Wiener is very involved in plans to clean up Buena Vista Park, which is in his District. To make plans for eliminating the park as a safe place for homeless people to camp, Wiener has met with local property owners, reps from SFPD and DPW, but has not shown any willingness to consider the needs of homeless folks who depend on the parks as alternatives to inadequate and dangerous shelters or “affordable” housing options that the City’s poorest residents can’t access.
Wiener has very real hopes of winning the State Senate seat for San Francisco next year. In his last two campaigns, more than 40% of his contributions have come from real estate
development firms and the tech industry – forces that are widening the income gap. Clearly,
Scott Wiener is a tool for those who are aggressively expropriating the scant means the poor
have to survive in San Francisco.
Brookings Institute:
Some Cities Are Still More Unequal Than Others
http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2015/03/city-inequality-berube-holmes

Truth Official Trailer (2015) Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford Drama Movie HD

Truth trailer (2015):  Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford

Controversy surrounds CBS anchor Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and “60 Minutes” producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) after the network broadcasts a report about President George W. Bush and his military service.
Release date: 2015 (USA)
Director: James Vanderbilt
Screenplay: James Vanderbilt
Music composed by: Brian Tyler
Story by: Mary Mapes

Cast:
Cate Blanchett (Mary Mapes)
Robert Redford (Dan Rather)
Elisabeth Moss (Lucy Scott)
Dennis Quaid (Colonel Roger Charles)