Periodic reminder that Helen & Lorenzo are not American!

Lorenzo takes a more global approach than I do, but our values, instincts, and formative experiences are all from outside the US. I may be a lawyer, for example, but I am not an American lawyer.

I understand American legal reasoning and can interpret American law (because the US is part of the larger, English-origin common law family of jurisdictions) but I have never practised there except in a very limited "let's make a deal" sense, acting for an Australian, English, or Scottish client.

I also dislike what British commentators call "Americabrain", which is importing US culture-war nonsense into the UK and EU (on which point, I agree with French president Emmanuel Macron). The UK has very different racial history, for example - we abolished slavery and then tried to extirpate it globally while half the US still thought slavery was absolutely fine.

I will persist in drawing on UK and Commonwealth law and history for this reason, and I frankly expect Americans to keep up. Google is your friend!

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There used to be a right to a basic bank account before the Post Office was privatised. There is no longer, however. Note: I am writing from the UK, hence reference to UK legislation and my experience there.

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Aug 1, 2023·edited Aug 1, 2023

I suggest that charities could offer people with no fixed address a service that gives them one, formatted as if it were an apartment. This would give people an anchor.

The banks would catch wise pretty quickly, but they would also be able to point to the dot on the I and the cross on the T.

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“Are you politically exposed” as a standard question in opening a new bank account is a new one over here in America, in particular for a little old lady of modest means well known to the community. Everyone is being asked that question, Sir.

What’s the crime by the way in political exposure? <??

Its a crime to be political? The answer depends on who’s in power? Yes. That’s not normal in America or the West.

Over here the system is not your rights only exist if specified by law , but the opposite - you have rights unless convicted, presumption of innocence, etc.

Your argument is nonsense David.

In truth what’s happening is erratic and incompetent repression happening randomly to the unfavored or the unlucky without any competent program or system. Some rando with a badge or a Civil service job gets a notion and a victim is randomly made an example of regardless of whether they were a threat or even committed any illegal or even political act or speech.

This is random repression and spasms of violence and prosecutions and arrests by a dying system.

Incompetent repression is usually the worst choice, but erratic and bizarre, random repression the worst choice of all - especially when if confronted the wanna be tyrant backs down.

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Jul 30, 2023Liked by Helen Dale

Different but related topic.

Poor people (who by definition cannot maintain large balances) are frequently charged exorbitant banking fees.

The large national banks (in the U.S.) frequently charge account maintenance fees that require account holders to work 2-4 hours per month to pay for those accounts.

That is an enormous part of an already stressed budget.

A bank account and an associated debit card is a requirement of normal life (to get paid, to collect social security, to order things from Amazon).

A banking charter requires the bank to serve the community. The poor continue to be a part of the community.

The partial solution for the poor who don't have a bank account is to use check cashing services and drive to pay cash. Very expensive.

Immoral to gouge the poor.

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Fortunately, basic bank accounts in the UK don't have account-keeping fees (by law). Banking in the US has always horrified me -- both for its overcharging (charging for money transfers between accounts denominated in the same currency, for example) and for its glacial slowness (payments take days and sometimes weeks).

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Jul 30, 2023Liked by Helen Dale

Americans have been sold on the innate superiority of our systems.

A brief visit overseas shows that is jingoism.

Lots of good things in the U.S., but often not the best.

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Have you seen that early Louis CK stand up bit about when the bank charged him money because he didn't have enough money? It's a good bit.

"Sir You have insufficient funds".

"Well that's a nice way to put it, and I agree, I find my funds to be grossly insufficient!"


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I've never actually used a bank. Only credit unions.

Banking with a big bank makes zero sense, unless you have millions of dollars, and you're worried about FDIC, or NCUA deposit insurance limits.

Banks, traditionally, charged you to look and see your balance. Everything has been electronic for so long, it makes no sense to charge for machine automated processes.

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Also subject to exactly the same rules.

And the fact that à process is automated does not mean that it is free, leaving aside anything else the software needs to be paid for.

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Some rules are the same for banks and credit unions, some are drastically different.

As for the cost of the software, it was already there running on the backend. Our credit union had a touchtone phone money management system for the past 30+ years.

Credit Unions often give near zero rate of return for savings. They can make plenty of money on the interest they earn -- with your money. It's less that they are charging you, and more that you make less on your deposits.

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I agree that credit unions often offer good value and have used them. As you say there is no such thing as a free lunch either.

As for the software the fact that it exists has nothing to do with whether it is paid for or not, that is somewhat like my taking your car on the basis that you have already paid for it, irrespective of any financing you might have.

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The credit union I use has changed website providers a few times over the years. To that effect, yeah, they have subscriber payments I'm sure, but they can more than cover that with the cost of interest earned on deposits.

I know that automation costs money, but it's nowhere near as burdensome as human customer service.

That's why so many online banks have no *real* customer service. Because they can automate the majority of the process. Sure people need to intervene for some transactions, but not the vast majority.

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Ok, but leaving aside the assertion about finances of your CU I'm not really sure what to make of that.

As for the comment on how much your CU's website provider costs, I'm confused. Are you using website as a sort of portmanteau for the suite of hardware and software required to run even a CU?

If so, how do you even begin to know that they can cover this cost with the interest they make on your deposits?

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I have been saying for some time that subjective AML laws and regulations would be used for more authoritarian measures.

I do happen to know them, and how they are applied and enforced, here in the US like the back of my hand.

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This explains why when we changed bank accounts for my 89 year old mother here in Western NY state we were asked if she was Politically exposed.

And this is just POLITICS IS POWER and nothing more.

Fortunately we answered NO.

And simply put this is just the exercise of power and just this sort of thing that sent the war weary populations of Afghanistan and Iraq back to war in 2003 - we had won it all- that set the Afghans against us in the 1970s, then the Iranians who were far more familiar with MIT than the CIA (Massachusettitti being a 1970s Iranian slang word, oh yes] into revolution in the 1970s and without fail leads to happy smiling and peaceful people to adopt stern countenance, grow beards, arm themselves and see the Yankees off. This includes the Amish who yes were sporting TRUMP 2020 on their buggies and lawns [they live down the road from me]. In fairness the Amish had beards already, but the Amish being political is End Times type Omen. As of this writing the Amish haven't returned to their Anabaptist ways although a renewed interest in Jan Zizka has been noted in popular culture.

The Anabaptists were the Al Qaeda of 500 years ago in Bohemia you know.

There's just something about Theocratic Hypocrites that pisses people off.



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"HMRC needs to accept that a bit of lost tax revenue is a bloody sight better then Travellers up and down the country actively pushed into a life of crime."

1. It's about power not tax revenue.

2. The Travellers like all crime and displaced people serve Powers that be as both club and boogeyman as hired gangs and scapegoats - and utterly expendable. In America the same marginalized communities provide jobs for our in house colonialism and the prison industry, social workers, rehab. I don't know about HMG but in America the demand for criminals far outstrips the readily available supply, requiring comprehensive measures for recycling and renewables that would turn the actual Green Energy types Green with Envy were they to look into emulation of these successful public/private businesses.

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"The way to defeat one’s opponents is with argument."

Helen, this is Childish.

And it's not true now even if it ever was.

The Enlightenment was always fantasy and now under pressure it died even as mere image or ideal.

The Ideal for them's running things is a version of Ghenghis Khan's what is good [with other people doing the dirty work of course. Say those Traveller fellows].

Enlightement's dead, bury it.

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I keep coming back to Napoleon’s Dictum, otherwise known as Hanlon’s Razor. “Never ascribe to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.”

Few of our lawmakers have ever had a job outside of politics or the law. They have no idea how ordinary people live. If a law has undesirable effects they amend it, adding complications, instead of repealing it. In software that guarantees trouble.

The legal principle that it is better for 10 guilty people to go free, than for one innocent to suffer, implies that laws should be written to minimize inconvenience to honest people, even if that means some wrongdoers slip through the cracks.

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Thank you for writing this, this whole piece was immensely helpful and informative. Things seem even worse than I thought, but at least there's some good writing about it, so there's the positive 😆

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As promised Helen, Flaubert writes from the Ether...


Lo, I entreat, let us grasp hold of reason and shun the descent into madness. Allow individuals their lawful political opinions, and venture forth into the arena of debate to conquer adversaries with the prowess of argument, not the treachery of covert financial sabotage.

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Next I shall Tax ChatGPT with Madame Bovary, updated for the 21st Century: Mx Bovary is a recently transitioned female working in HR...

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The Mark of the Beast is rapidly going from Revelation to reality.

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Yes but find the humor -

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Thank you for the view on debanking from a professional in the field.

However, the Farage fiasco was heavily oriented toward diversity and inclusion. The dossier on Farage was dripping in libellous accusations of racism and all the "phobias". This is new. Where does it come from?

It is straight out of the WEF song sheet - see https://therenwhere.substack.com/p/the-world-economic-forum

and https://www.weforum.org/projects/community-of-chief-diversity-and-inclusion-officers

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Please don't ban me, but this post which I pretty much agree with is not really about corporate finance but about private, retail and and commercial banking.

If you don't ban me for irreducible pedantry I'll make a much more constructive comment on one of the recent posts I have bookmarked 😀

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It reflects my experience as a corporate solicitor, I suspect. I managed a lot of investment rounds for start-ups and spin-outs, and because my investors tended to be business angels and UHNW & HNW individuals, I (or my secretary) also copped all the KYC (and CDD/EDD) over how/where they sourced their funds.

Drove me right around the bend.

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Yes I bet it did. And it even messes up "pure" corporate finance, especially trade finance and lending to "emerging markets" focused businesses.

And yet the money keeps getting laundered!

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A guy I went to school with works for the credit union as a regional manager. He's gone over some of how it's structured.

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Not a Brit here, I saw "Traveler" used a couple times in this piece. Based on context cues is this a euphemism for Gypsies / Roma, immigrants in general?

I would love to see how the concept of "PEP" is actually applied. It sounds like anyone of a certain level of prominence is one, or perhaps eligible to be one, but it's not clear how the designation occurs and triggers one of these de-bankings.

In Farage's case it seems to have just been a pretext.

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I believe Traveler is a euphemism for Gypsie. We do have them here in the USA, too.

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“BDS advocates—like the rest of us—have both freedom of speech and the duty to engage in debate. So do their opponents. The way to defeat one’s opponents is with argument, not by stealthing around in the background to shut down their bank accounts (or seeking to get them sacked or disbarred).”

The Left (not liberals) doesn’t play by those rules. As everything is “structural” this and that, free speech is an instrumental value, not a fundamental value. Attacking free speech, canceling, debanking, etc. is how the Left counters the structural power of the Right (aka liberals and conservatives).

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