With a slight effort of memory (not a difficult one) we can recollect the unhappy time when we heard about “subprime” loans in the United States: something that seemed quite remote from our daily living, and which we, in the majority of cases, did not give great importance to.
History is teaching us, on the contrary, that precisely that circumstance, with the consequent failures of over-exposed banking institutions, marked the beginning of the world economic crisis we still have to come to terms with.
In 1933, F. Delano Roosevelt, considering that banks were not unrelated to the epochal economic crisis that was plaguing the world, ordered that banks be closed for four days in order to fix new rules of conduct and control – rules that , in light of current events, seem to be no longer adequate.
This was in the United States. What about Italy?
A Google search brings up a number of reports; I have collected but a few, concerning the most recent times:
Thumbs down for Deutsche Bank, Depfa, Ubs and Jp Morgan in the first round of the legal battle with the Milan prosecutors regarding the 1.68bn derivative transaction underwritten in 2005 with the Milan Municipal Government. Yesterday judge Oscar Magi found the four credit institutions guilty at first instance of aggravated fraud.
Bper: board member Guido Leoni suspended from office
Guido Leoni, former president of the Modena-based bank, has been suspended from directorship of Banca Popolare dell´Emilia-Romagna. The suspension was decided by the Bper’s Board of Directors, "following a non-final first-instance guilty verdict " issued against the banker for Unipol’s attempted takeover of Bnl. On 31 October last year, the Court of Milan sentenced Leoni, among others, to three years and six months of incarceration and a fine of 900,000″
Two and a half years of incarceration for the former governor of the Bank of Italy, Antonio Fazio, one year and eight months for Unipol’s former top managers Giovanni Consorte and Ivano Sacchetti, one year for Bpi’s former leader Gianpiero Fiorani. These are the final sentences pronounced tonight by the second criminal section of the Court of Cassation in the trial for Bpi’s attempted takeover of Antonveneta.
Massimo Ponzellini, former president of Banca Popolare di Milano and current president of Impregilo, was placed under house arrest by the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office because of loans granted to companies related to Francesco Corallo, subjected to a supervision measure, which cannot, however ,be enforced, himself being fugitive.
While bank managers, several of whom are much-discussed persons, assign themselves astronomical remunerations, loans to businesses are granted in dribs and drabs, against personal guarantees, at interest rates that often approach fifteen per cent; credit withdrawal letters have become a constant feature.
Like every other business, tourism, too, has financial needs, and a banking system clinging to its privileges is certainly not helping to promote it.
Quite likely, it should not be banks that inquire about their clients, bur rather the other way round.