May 29th, 2012
Concern over economic crisis outstrips Lehman Brothers aftermath
(PaulWatson) – According to the latest figures out of Google Trends, Americans have been searching for the term “bank run” in record numbers in recent days, outstripping the level of concern displayed following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
The search volume index on Google for “bank run” in the United States region peaked at an all time record level on May 13 and has hovered around this high ever since.
The volume has not been anywhere near this level since the depth of the economic crisis in early 2009 and the current numbers easily dwarf the number of Americans who were searching for “bank run” in the aftermath of the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse.
The state which tops the charts for the “bank run” search term is Michigan. The town where Google searches for “bank run” are highest out of the whole country is Rockford, which by no coincidence is one of the towns being forced to shut off its street lighting to save money.
When the figures are extrapolated globally, Americans are even more concerned about bank runs than Greeks, despite the fact that over $1 billion dollars was withdrawn from Greek banks earlier this month.
The nation whose residents are most concerned about bank runs is Singapore, which is understandable given the country’s exposure to the euro debt crisis, followed by the city-state of Hong Kong and then the United States in third, which beats Greece in fourth.
Even mainstream financial analysts like CNBC’s Jim Cramer are predicting ”financial anarchy” and bank runs in other European countries such as Spain and Italy in the coming weeks.
If Greece returns to the Drachma, European leaders will struggle to convince investors that other countries in the eurozone won’t follow suit.
“The more policy makers continue to openly discuss an exit, the more likely that people in Spain, Ireland, and Portugal pull money out of their local banks,” Andrew Stimpson, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods told Bloomberg.
Fears of bank runs in the U.S. were stoked back in 2010 when America’s third largest bank Citibank notified its customers of a new policy reserving the right to block cash withdrawals for a period of 7 days.
“Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change,” stated the advisory.
The controversy stoked fresh doubt about the FDIC’s shaky guarantee that it could insure deposits in the event of a bank run, highlighting the fact that banks simply do not have anywhere near the reserves to cover such a scenario thanks to the fiat money system where debt is leveraged many times over.
Financial experts have predicted that the failure of 300-500 U.S. banks would absorb all of the FDIC’s insurance funds. This is why there is a genuine fear that the FDIC is completely incapable of containing a run on the banks.