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Thursday, 3 January 2013

‘The year of shame 2012’ get any worse in 2013?

THE year 2012 has been labelled “the year of shame'' for the banking industry.

It doesn't matter that such nasty name-calling refers more to the problems at British banks.

Whatever happens in London is bound to attract world interest as it is a major financial centre vying for top spot with New York.

When scandals fall in thick, the tarnish on the banks there becomes even more significant.

To make matters worse, it is now apparent that the Libor interest rate rigging problem is more widespread than originally thought.

Source: Accounting (click to link and enlarge)

It was not just a case of a few bad apples causing the rot, said The Guardian.

The problem was cultural, the report said, implying that it would require a wide spectrum of action to overhaul mindsets and unhealthy practices, possibly from ground level.

This requires much work on an international platform as there is no knowing how far and deep the rot has spread.

No doubt, banks in London and New York are the major players in the financial industry, and the other smaller players are feeling the heat as the ripple effect wears on.

As arrests related to the Libor rigging are ongoing, reports liken the revelations and subsequent documentation to a “blizzard.''

A blizzard is a severe snowstorm that often affects visibility, and points to very difficult weather conditions.

In banking and Libor rigging, in particular, this possibly refers to the layers of greed, conspiracy and corruption among the people responsible for conducting the trades.

Going into 2013, more arrests, fines and revelations are expected; the blizzard, therefore, is expected to be stronger.

In view of such a possible scenario, what are the central banks and other banks supposed to do to prevent any international backlash?

Not to underestimate the long-drawn effects of bank weakness, these external parties should quickly cooperate on an international basis to share information, iron out potential problems and try to prevent a big crisis from erupting.

With sound and consistent monitoring, a lot of negative effects can be pre-empted and, thus, avoided.

Associate editor Yap Leng Kuen wonders if it is too late to find a shield from blizzards.

Related posts:
The Libor fuss!
HSBC Bank fined $1.92 billion for money laundering

LIBOR Scandal.

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