Posted by Kendall Harmon

The daughter of a 92-year-old priest who is paying interest on a loan agreed with the Church of England Pensions Board at 8.6 per cent - more than twice the cur-rent average - has questioned the morality of the scheme.

In 1985, the Revd Eric Quin took out a shared-equity loan in order to purchase a three-bedroom cottage in Cheshire for £45,750. With his wife, he paid £20,750 to put down a 45-per-cent deposit. The Pensions Board paid the remainder, £26,500, on the understanding that it would be entitled to 55 per cent of the final sale price.

The initial interest rate was three per cent - much lower than the 12-per-cent mortgage rate at the time. This rate was gradually increased in line with the pensions of all the fund's members. Mr Quin is now paying interest at a rate of 8.6 per cent. The property has risen in value to £200,000.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinancePensionsStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 4, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China is likely to see a series of bond and financial product defaults as the government accelerates financial deregulation and allows more private ownership in the state-dominated sector, Li Keqiang, Chinese premier, said on Thursday.

Future defaults of financial products in China are “unavoidable” but the government will take steps to ensure they do not pose a threat to the wider financial system, Mr Li told journalists at his annual media conference.

China saw its first domestic bond default in recent history a week ago when Chaori Solar, a small Shanghai-based solar panel producer, failed to pay interest on Rmb1bn ($162m) worth of bonds it sold two years ago.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans are known risk-takers when it comes to their personal finances. While consumer spending has traditionally been one of the great engines of the U.S. economy, it also helped get the country into the Great Recession. So after five years of economic turmoil we’ve presumably become a little better at keeping track of our debts, right?

Not really. Data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that at $11.52 trillion, overall consumer debt is higher than it has been since 2011. And more unsettling, debt is rising at rapid levels. Americans’ debt—that includes mortgages, auto loans, student loans and credit card debt—increased by 2.1%, or $241 billion in the last three months of 2013, the greatest margin of increase since the third quarter of 2007, shortly before the U.S. spiraled into recession.

And on an individual level, many Americans are in a precarious financial position.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 20, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To help money flow more evenly across the currency area, Coeure said the idea of cutting into negative territory the rate the ECB pays banks to hold their deposits overnight was "a very possible option".

"That is something we are considering very seriously. But you should not expect too much of it," he said of a negative deposit rate.

The ECB left policy on hold last week but President Mario Draghi put markets on alert for possible action in March, saying the Governing Council would have more information at its disposal by then, including new forecasts from the bank's staff that will extend into 2016 for the first time.

Read it all from Reuters.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyEuroEuropean Central BankHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A London church has become the first in the country to accept internet currency Bitcoins in its collection plate.

The Rev Chris Brice of St Martin’s Anglican Parish Church in Gospel Oak said the innovation showed that “we are people in touch with what’s going on around us”.

Some supporters of Bitcoins claim the currency wrestles power from corporations and banking giants, and its value has soared in the past 12 months, peaking at more than £615.

Mr Brice said: “The current [financial] system is not all that reliable, given recent events. You’ve got to live in an environment where people are free to experiment with these things. If this doesn’t work we’ll try something else.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 11, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Research by Church Urban Fund reveals Churchgoers are twice as likely to support credit unions than others.

The research also shows many of those that attend church on a regular basis agree that churches should actively support credit unions, in order to strengthen alternatives to payday loans.

More than four in five of those surveyed agreed that payday loans exploit people without access to cheaper forms of credit and almost half believed that churches should raise awareness of credit unions in their local communities, allow them to use church premises, and encourage church members to volunteer their professional skills.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 27, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby boomers make up the largest share of banking customers in the U.S., according to a December Gallup poll. Nearly nine in 10 baby boomers (89%) currently have at least one checking, savings, or money market account at a bank or another financial institution. But Gallup's 2013 retail banking study shows that just 12% of baby boomers with active bank accounts trust banks a "great deal," with the majority placing only "some" or "very little" trust in these institutions.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Institute for American Values’ new report The Way to Wealth, coinciding with the celebration of National Thrift Week, aims to combat the wealth-education gap. (Full disclosure: my wife, Amber, was the lead writer on the report, and it draws a few stories from our research with young adults in Ohio.) The report proposes four rules a person can follow to attain what Benjamin Franklin described as a “modest fortune”: work hard and honestly, spend less than you earn, give back as much as you can, and have a plan. It addresses common objections, like “I need more than a dead-end job,” and notes that working hard and showing up on time, even at the least glamorous jobs, help one to win trust and build a reputation. It says that giving back with your money and time is an important part of the way to wealth, because “it’s a way to be a part of a ‘we’ rather than ‘me,’” and because even the hardest workers sometimes suffer setbacks in life. We hear a lot today about the many forces working against poor and working-class young adults, but the report proposes steps anyone can take to begin pursuing financial stability.

Of course, restoring the financial stability of the “lottery class” will take more than those four rules—for instance, employers must take seriously their responsibility to their employees. And America’s thrift leaders usually had something to say about that, too. For instance, S.W. Straus, the early twentieth-century Chicago realty financier who helped to start the first National Thrift Week in 1916, established a profit-sharing program for his employees. Philadelphia’s John Wannamaker did the same, and also created for his employees a benefits association, savings programs, and a free library.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 21, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...at a few minutes past 6am, Chris Aldridge obediently announced to a nation of banker-bashers that Jenkins reckons it will take "up to a decade to rebuild people's trust in his bank following the financial crisis and a succession of scandals".

That line had been pretty well aired in February when Jenkins smoothed: "I see becoming the 'go-to' bank as a five to 10-year journey," but no matter. It was repeated throughout the show's three hours as a constant reminder to listeners that – whatever Barclays' staggeringly broad sins of the past (mis-selling, rigging interest rates, violating sanctions) – it is now firmly on the side of the angels.

For those still too sleepy to grasp the show's theme of simultaneously serving God and Mammon, there was more to come. Somehow, Jenkins then managed to introduce an endorsement for his bank from the Lord himself – or at least one of his representatives on Earth, in the form of the show's star guest, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all (10 1/3 minutes).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 31, 2013 at 4:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Although the Fed expects to keep reducing the program "in measured steps" next year, the timing and the course isn't preset. "Continued progress [in the economy] is by no means certain," Mr. [Ben] Bernanke said. "The steps that we take will be data-dependent."

If the Fed proceeds at the pace he set out, it would complete the bond-buying program toward the end of 2014 with holdings of nearly $4.5 trillion in bonds, loans and other assets, nearly six times as large as the Fed's total holdings when the financial crisis started in 2008.

Still, officials—worried that investors would quake at the thought of less Fed support—went to lengths to demonstrate that they would keep interest rates low for years to come, even after the bond-buying program ends.
Read it all.

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Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wall Street faces more intensive government scrutiny of trading after U.S. regulators issued what they billed as a strict Volcker rule today, imposing new curbs designed to prevent financial blowups while leaving many details to be worked out later.

The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and three other agencies formally adopted the proprietary trading ban. The rule has been contested by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and their industry allies for more than three years.

Wall Street’s lobbying efforts paid off in easing some provisions of the rule. Regulators granted a broader exemption for banks’ market-making desks, on the condition that traders aren’t paid in a way that rewards proprietary trading. The regulation also exempts some securities tied to foreign sovereign debt.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On June 28 this year, Italian police arrested a silver-haired priest, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, in Rome. The cleric, nicknamed Monsignor Cinquecento after the €500 bills he habitually carried around with him, was charged with fraud and corruption, together with a former secret service agent and a ­financial broker. All three were suspected of attempting to smuggle €20m by private plane across the border from Switzerland.

Prosecutors alleged that the priest, a former banker, was using the Institute for Religious Works – the formal name for the Vatican’s bank – to move money for businessmen based in the Naples region, widely regarded in Italy as a haven of organised crime. Worse still, Scarano (who, together with the other men, has denied any wrongdoing) had until only a month earlier been head of the accounting department at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the treasury of the Vatican.

The arrest, and the headlines that screamed across the Italian press, was the latest shock for the Holy See....

Read it all (if necessary, another link may be found there).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEuropeItaly* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A federal bankruptcy judge granted Detroit unprecedented powers Tuesday to shed billions of dollars in debt, including the ability to slash city employee pensions despite a state constitutional provision protecting them.

In approving the nation’s ­largest-ever municipal filing, Judge Steven Rhodes cleared the way for Detroit’s emergency manager to develop a plan to reorganize the city’s estimated $18 billion in debt. Beyond cutting worker pensions and retiree health benefits, the city could stiff bondholders and sell city assets such as its water and sewer authority and its priceless art collection.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, a trend that could deal another blow to the country's biggest banks.

The loans are a problem now because an increasing number are hitting their 10-year anniversary, at which point borrowers usually must start paying down the principal on the loans as well as the interest they had been paying all along.

More than $221 billion of these loans at the largest banks will hit this mark over the next four years, about 40 percent of the home equity lines of credit now outstanding.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 26, 2013 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny", urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff.

The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March.

In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the "idolatry of money" and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare".

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 26, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hundreds of congregations have filed for bankruptcy or defaulted on loans. University of Illinois law professor Pamela Foohey, who tracks church bankruptcies, says more than 500 congregations filed Chapter 11 between 2006 and 2011—and the pace hasn't slowed since. About 90 congregations filed for bankruptcy in 2012, even as the overall rate of bankruptcy filings declined 13.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the church bond market, once a refuge for cautious investors, is now a black hole, says Rusty Leonard, CEO of Stewardship Partners, a Christian investment management firm.

Before the 2008 economic crash, church bonds had strong investment appeal due to a decades-long safety record. Now, "the market has disappeared," said Leonard. "The options for a new church trying to build a building are significantly reduced. We'll see fewer buildings."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketThe Banking System/Sector

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Posted November 14, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

..before realtors get too confident about the future, it is worth looking at some sobering research from the International Monetary Fund, buried deep inside this autumn’s Global Financial Stability Report. This analysis, which looks at mortgage real estate investment trusts (M-Reits) – which invest in packages of mortgage bonds – did not make headlines when the IMF met last month, because M-Reits are a fairly specialist sector. That is a pity, given that the IMF says the rapidly expanding world of M-Reits has the potential to deliver nasty surprises if, or when, US interest rates rise.

Most notably, even a modest increase in rates could spark fire sales of mortgage-backed bonds, which would raise mortgage interest rates sharply for consumers. And that could not just hurt housing markets but produce knock-on waves of instability in other areas of finance.

“Rapid M-Reit deleveraging has important spillover implications,” the IMF report warns.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 8, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Standard and Poor's (S&P) has cut France's credit rating to AA from AA+.

The moves comes almost two years after the country lost its top-rated AAA status....

S&P said in its statement: "We believe the French government's reforms to taxation, as well as to product, services and labour markets, will not substantially raise France's medium-term growth prospects and that ongoing high unemployment is weakening support for further significant fiscal and structural policy measures."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010France* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 8, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Elite business-school graduates are increasingly heading to work in technology over finance as the lingering aftereffects of the financial crisis—along with Wall Street's long hours and scaled-back pay—sends newly minted M.B.A.s elsewhere.

At Harvard Business School, 18% of job-seeking students landed tech-sector spots this year, up from 12% in 2012. A similar shift is under way at the business schools at Yale University and Cornell University, where the share of graduates going into tech more than doubled over the past two years.

Meanwhile, just 27% of Harvard Business School graduates took jobs in finance this year, down from 35% last year. That figure dropped to 16% from 27% at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 7, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Religious faith is a “powerful and increasingly influential global reality” which must be taken seriously, especially in the City of London, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said God and mammon – material wealth or greed – are not mixable, but this did not mean there was no place for faith in the City.

“That’s on the authority of Jesus Christ who said you can’t serve God and mammon. God and the City, by contrast I think, are eminently mixable.”

He was speaking at a Mansion House dinner hosted by Roger Gifford, a senior banker and Lord...

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishops might have been promoting a strictly Democratic line, but U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black was more ecumenical. Amid the shutdown, Rev. Black offered a daily prayer in the Senate chamber asking God to “save us from the madness. We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness, and our pride.” Later he condemned the “hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.” His listeners in one party no doubt assumed he was talking about the other side.

It is one thing to spiritually shame politicians, as Rev. Black did. Trying to do their jobs is another. The bishops and other clergy in the Circle of Protection go well beyond their competencies when they make such policy prescriptions. Speaking about the moral issues of the day is certainly within their pastoral purview, but the bishops’ calls to raise revenues (aka taxes), for instance, or eliminate “unnecessary” military spending are not.

Bishops routinely assert their authority as “pastors and teachers,” as Bishops Blaire, Gomez and Pates did, but according to the tradition of their own church, they have no teaching authority when it comes to politics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is backing an organisation which it says is a credit to ethical lending in Dudley.

The Church of England deposited £15,000 from its Social Responsibility Fund with Castle & Crystal Credit Union.

Unlike many banks and payday loan companies, credit unions are co-operatives with no external shareholders and only lend money which has been deposited by its members.

Robert Higham, diocesan secretary for the Diocese of Worcester, said: “With a well established credit union in our community, it gives people in need of affordable financial services somewhere to turn and helps them to make ends meet.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ledgers of the country's credit unions enjoyed a boost this week, as dioceses and bishops deposited money, backing up warm words.

In a personal letter that is being sent out to 8000 members of the clergy in mid-November, the Archbishop of Canterbury urges them to support their local credit union: "Our faith in Christ calls us to love the poor and vulnerable with our actions. That is why the Church must be actively involved in supporting the development of real lending alternatives, such as credit unions."

More than 40 bishops are taking up the call immediately, and at least 11 of them planned to mark International Credit Union Day yesterday by opening accounts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector

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Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Top Senate leaders on Monday said they were within striking distance of a deal to sidestep a looming debt crisis and reopen the federal government two weeks after a partisan deadlock forced it to close.

Fourteen days after a partial government shutdown began, senators signaled a bipartisan resolution could come soon.

"I'm very optimistic we will reach an agreement that's reasonable in nature this week to reopen the government, pay the nation's bills and begin long-term negotiations to put our country on sound fiscal footing," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said on the Senate floor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Using an overdraft at a high street bank can cost more than taking out a payday loan, research has shown.

Which?, the consumer group which conducted the study, said that the mainstream credit industry was in as much need of regulation as the much-criticised fringe players.

The research shows authorised overdrafts with a leading bank can be as costly as a payday loan with companies such as Wonga. For example, borrowing £100 for 31 days will cost £30 with a Halifax authorised overdraft or £20 with some Santander accounts.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What started as a mad dash to strike a deal to lift the federal debt limit slowed to a crawl over the weekend as stalemated Senate leaders waited nervously to see whether financial markets would plunge Monday morning and drive the other side toward compromise.

Republicans seemed to think they had more to lose. After talks broke down between President Obama and House leaders, GOP senators quickly cobbled together a plan to end the government shutdown — now entering its third week — and raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) then asked Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to elevate negotiations to the highest level.

On Sunday — with the Treasury Department due to exhaust its borrowing power in just four days — Reid was wielding that leverage to maximum advantage. Rather than making concessions that would undermine Obama’s signature health-care initiative, as Republicans first demanded, Democrats are now on the offensive and seeking to undo what has become a cherished prize for the GOP: deep agency spending cuts known as the sequester.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetFederal ReserveThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

4 Comments
Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is the first time that a royal christening has been marked with coins.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's son will be christened on 23 October, just over three months after his birth.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will perform the christening at the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted October 9, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Commonwealth Bank has frozen several of the Bathurst Anglican diocese’s accounts as it moves to recover as much of the $36 million debt owed as possible.

The sale of the Orange Anglican Grammar School and the Macquarie Anglican Grammar School in Dubbo, finalised last Monday, “crystallised” the amount of debt hanging over the head of the troubled diocese, according to Bishop Ian Palmer, but has left it in a “very difficult place”.

“I am unable to see clearly what the diocese may look like in the future,” Bishop Palmer said in a letter read out to parishes across the diocese.

“[The debt] is large and we cannot repay the bank in full.”

Read it all and the diocesan website is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 8, 2013 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury called for a change in “culture” at financial institutions during a meeting in the House of Lords on Wednesday of last week.

Archbishop Justin gave the keynote address at a roundtable meeting organised by the Islamic Finance Council UK and supported by the Arab Finance Forum and the Cambridge Interfaith Programme.

Archbishop Justin said: ‘The big area that has to change in our financial services structures is not around leverage and levels of debt in financial institutions – although they are crucial and they must change – but more fundamentally, even than that, is the issue of culture. Culture is an area that cannot be legislated, it can only be changed by a transformation in the spirit of society which leads to a sense of what is right and wrong.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 4, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

THE decision by the Church Commissioners to join a new banking consortium marks a new hands-on approach to investment, the Commissioners' Secretary and chief executive, Andrew Brown, said this week.

Mr Brown spoke to the Church Times after the banking giant Royal Bank of Scotland...announced that a Commissioners' backed consortium had been selected as the preferred bidder for 314 of its branches, which will be spun off from the bank to comply with European Union state-aid regulations. The plan is for a new ethical bank under the old Williams & Glyn's brand.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

'Capitalism With A Human Face' was the title of a well-known book written by Sir Samuel Brittan, a leading economic commentator, shortly before the year 2000.

Sadly, the financial calamities of the first decade of the 21st century have revealed that – sometimes at least – capitalism has a very far from human face. Indeed, more than occasionally it has seemed to have the countenance of a monster.

But now, under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, it looks as though the Church of England is attempting to give capitalism the opportunity to develop a new appearance – even a Christ-like face.

The start of this month has seen the news that Justin Welby is hoping to draw up a ten-year action plan with the aim of forcing payday lenders such as Wonga out of business.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

1. The shutdown is unlikely to last long. In the past government shutdowns typically lasted a few days, with the most being 21 when the Republican Congress, led by Newt Gingrich, took on Bill Clinton in 1995.

This stance defies logic. If the reform law is so flawed, why not try to make it better? Why not wait till the law takes full effect and its failure becomes obvious, at which point it could be repealed through less destructive means—without endangering the entire economy?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

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Posted October 1, 2013 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is preparing a “ten-year plan” to put payday lenders such as Wonga out of business.

A Church of England task force will, in collaboration with the Church of Scotland, make church buildings available to credit unions and recruit expert churchgoers as volunteers to help to run them. A leading financier is to meet the archbishop this week on whether he would lead the task force, which will include academics who, it is hoped, will produce a radical new theology of finance.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesPresbyterian* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 1, 2013 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here we go again. The consortium that has just bought 314 branches from the Royal Bank of Scotland is pledging to launch an “ethical” bank. Now, where have we heard that before?

Of course, it was Co-op. The one that claimed its mutual ownership was more righteous than those banks with nasty shareholders and which said it would not get into the sort of mess that brought down the big banks. Well, not until it did get into the same sort of mess, which cast doubt over its entire banking operations.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 1, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Angela Merkel won a landslide personal victory in Germany's general election on Sunday, but her conservatives appeared just short of the votes needed to rule on their own and may have to convince leftist rivals to join a coalition government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Earlier today, I spoke with Larry Summers and accepted his decision to withdraw his name from consideration for Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Larry was a critical contributor to the radical deregulation that was one of many causes of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It was in no small part because of his lack of expertise, false wisdom, and inept leadership that the economy crashed and burned and even today is still failing to be to back to its full growth potential.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReservePolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ever since the euro crisis broke in late 2009 this newspaper has criticised the world’s most powerful woman. We disagreed with Angela Merkel’s needlessly austere medicine: the continent’s recession has been unnecessarily long and brutal as a result. We wanted the chancellor to shrug off her cautious incrementalism and the mantle of her country’s history—and to lead Europe more forcefully. She is largely to blame for the failure to create a full banking union for the euro zone, the first of many institutional changes it still needs. She has refused to lead public opinion, never spelling out to her voters how much Germany is to blame for the euro mess (nor how much its banks have been rescued by its bail-outs). We also worry that she has not done enough at home: in recent years no country in the European Union has made fewer structural reforms, and her energy policies have landed Germany with high subsidies for renewables and high electricity prices.

And yet we believe Mrs Merkel is the right person to lead her country and thus Europe. That is partly because of what she is: the world’s most politically gifted democrat and a far safer bet than her leftist opponents. It is also partly because of what we believe she could still become—the great leader Germany and Europe so desperately needs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

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Posted September 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

R&L: Why did you want to write this book? Tell us what crony capitalism means to you and give us a sense of its greatest threat.

Peter Schweizer: I wanted to write the book because for years I've been involved in policy and the philosophical debate in D.C. concerning the growth and size of government. I've come to the conclusion that while that debate is important and needs to continue to take place, the bottom line is that whether conservatives or liberals are in charge, the government continues to expand.

We've got to change the incentive structure that exists in Washington, and that incentive structure is driven by cronyism, where the state and private sector intersect. If I were to define crony-capitalism, I really use the term cronyism because I don't think that it speaks of capitalism per se, but cronyism is essentially where economic decisions in terms of who accumulates wealth and who doesn't, is not based on merit, it's not based on economic prowess or success or meeting needs in the marketplace. It's based on political connections and relationships whereby you are able to either manipulate the state to your advantage, and to the disadvantage of your competitors.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 20, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A friend of mine was recently preparing to leave the army, and began a training course for a debt recovery agency. He was horrified that the trainees were taught not to waste too much time on people who could stick up for themselves, but to concentrate on the vulnerable who could easily be intimidated, such as the elderly or single mums, from whom far more money could easily be found. He left the course, disgusted.

But the gap which the payday lenders exploit isn’t just a gap in the market. It’s a gap in our collective self discipline. We’re still a society hopelessly hooked on a spendthrift lifestyle. We see something glitzy, we want it, and we want it now, really not paying close enough attention to how on earth we’re going to pay the borrowed money back. The financial crisis that is crushing us at the moment wasn’t simply caused by the banks being feckless lenders: we were all too happy to be feckless borrowers. The banks are now being more careful – perhaps overly so with business ventures – but payday lending still lets people get stuff they can’t afford. Even if one has paid back a loan, there remains the constant text pestering for another: “There is £££ ready for you, just call 0800 XXX XXX and it will be in your account in 15 minutes.” As another friend told me, if you’re struggling, it can be just too hard to resist.

So, Justin Welby, the recently appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, has decided to do something about it....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 15, 2013 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A consortium backed by the Church of England to bid for 315 Royal Bank of Scotland branches has lined up the ex-United Utilities boss Philip Green to front its bid.

Green is to replace John Tiner, the former Financial Services Authority chief executive who stepped down as chairman in the wake of the controversy caused by the parliamentary commission on banking standards investigation into HBOS.

Green is to chair the bid vehicle – one of three that have submitted bids for the RBS branches this week – working alongside former Lloyds Banking Group banker John Maltby who has been lined up as chief executive.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Beth Glover was a juror on the trial of former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre. When the lawyers were discussing the mortgages tied to the securities at the center of the case, Glover realized that, for all intents and purposes, they were talking about her mortgage.

"When they were looking at the subprime mortgage groupings, I think I would have been in one of those," Glover told me. "I didn't have as great as FICO score at that time."

Glover's an Episcopal priest. She says she saw the devastation the financial crisis caused to her parishioners. They lost homes and jobs. Church programs had to be cut for lack of funds.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted August 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is something endearingly audacious about Justin Welby’s expressed desire to compete the titans of Britain’s payday loan industry out of existence. But the Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks raise two connected questions. Can he do it, and should he want to?

The first point is easier to deal with....

There are better ways for the archbishop to help the poor than for the church to dish Wonga. Those on the margins of society will always need occasional access to loans to help tide them over unscheduled expenses or interruptions in income. That these should be appropriately priced goes without saying.

The real challenge, however, is not simply to shave the interest rate by a few points, but to ensure that those who take out loans do so in the full knowledge of the risks and with a realistic plan for managing them. This means two things: first, offering genuine advice to potential borrowers; and second, real assistance should things go wrong....

Read it all (or if necessary another link is there).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A credit unions expert has praised the Church of England for its plan to out-compete payday lending company Wonga.

Dr Peter Davis, of the University of Leicester's School of Management, has worked as a consultant on credit unions and other forms of co-operative around the world - including for the United Nations Anti-Poverty Unit.

He welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury Rev Justin Welby’s plan to build up credit unions as an alternative to payday loans that charge astronomical interest rates.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 1, 2013 at 6:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was not the ideal start to the Archbishop of Canterbury's grand initiative to bring a new morality to Britain's banking sector....

But despite the stumble out of the gate, Welby appears committed to taking on payday loans – small, high-interest, short-term loans to those who can't get credit elsewhere – as a means of "speaking for the poor." And his plan raises questions about just how much clout the Church of England wields through its portfolio of investments and through the influence the church has over its flock – how it ought to wield it.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted August 1, 2013 at 6:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the scriptures tell it, Jesus expelled the money changers from the temple to cleanse it of a “den of thieves.” With some discernible echoes, the newly appointed archbishop of Canterbury has initiated a comparable crusade against newer financiers charging enormous interest on what are called payday loans.

Unlike the biblical showdown, though, the outcome of this newest confrontation seems freighted with moral ambiguity, risk and potential ridicule.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 31, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in this process of liberalisation over the centuries, it seems we have forgotten a couple of key principles. If I lend money, the borrower makes a promise to repay. If I lend money to borrowers I believe will probably default, I am inducing people to make promises they will break. Inducing promise-breaking is straightforwardly unethical.

Again, although short-term high-interest loans may (as Eck and Melanchthon claimed) help people through temporary difficulties without their being forced to liquidate assets (e.g. sell the family car) unnecessarily, if I lend money very short term and at high interest to someone that is already insolvent and that person defaults on other creditors shortly after repaying me, I have profited at the expense of those other creditors. That could be seen as akin to theft — capturing assets that should rightly be used to repay other loans.

It could be difficult to regulate lending that induces promise-breaking or that extorts the assets of other creditors without preventing more innocent lending that helps with liquidity or business launching.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Once again, the Church of England was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, below, its relatively new leader, denounced the demons of payday lending, vowing to defeat them with the church's own credit unions. Yet almost instantly it emerged that his own organisation had played a role in their creation through its huge investment funds.
For those of us who take little interest in this declining institution beyond wondering how it remains an established church in our multi-cultural age, it is just the latest farce involving bungling bishops and clerical contortions.

Yet this weekend, even Catholic-born atheists such as me are forced to concede that the current resident of Lambeth Palace is emerging as one of the most distinctive voices in the country. His deft political touch, sharp media abilities and displays of decent humanity could even help restore his church to the role expected by its followers after decades during which it failed to capitalise on its centrality to national life.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The morality of payday loan firms is under the spotlight. But what do faiths say about money lending and interest?

In general, usury defined as the lending of money at high interest rates, is frowned upon by religion. The three Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - take a very firm stance against it.

Several passages in the Old Testament condemn usury, in particular when lending to the poor and destitute. This led to lending money at interest being forbidden in the Jewish community, explains Dr Alastair McIntosh from the Centre for Human Ecology: "In Jewish tradition charging interest was forbidden within the community, but it was permitted to outsiders."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted July 29, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nicola, a young woman with a daughter aged 3, was homeless, unemployed and “sofa surfing” when she sought the help of the community bank at Trinity Centre in Louth, Lincolnshire.

The centre is part of the local Church of England parish and for two hours every Wednesday morning, the bank — a credit union run entirely by volunteers — opens for business.

Nicola did not even have a bank account. The credit union waived its administrative costs to help her open an account. This meant that she was able to secure an affordable loan through the union that served as a deposit.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Greece ran into financial trouble three years ago, the problem soon spread. Many observers were mystified. How could such a little country set off a continental crisis? The Greeks were stereotyped as a nation of tax-dodgers who had been living high on borrowed money for years. The Portuguese, Italians and Spanish insisted that their finances were fundamentally sound. The Germans wondered what it had to do with them at all. But the contagion was powerful, and Europe’s economy has yet to recover.

America seems in a similar state of denial about Detroit filing for bankruptcy.... Many people think Motown is such an exceptional case that it holds few lessons for other places. What was once the country’s fourth-most-populous city grew rich thanks largely to a single industry. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler once made nearly all the cars sold in America; now, thanks to competition from foreign brands built in non-union states, they sell less than half. Detroit’s population has fallen by 60% since 1950. The murder rate is 11 times the national average. The previous mayor is in prison. Shrubs, weeds and raccoons have reclaimed empty neighbourhoods. The debts racked up when Detroit was big and rich are unpayable now that it is smaller and poor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has described the naming and shaming of bankers in the wake of the financial crisis as "lynch mobbish".

The Most Reverend Justin Welby admitted sympathy for former bankers when hearing evidence as a member of the Banking Standards Commission.

He admitted "thinking, 'I'm not sure I would have been very different,' rather than thinking how bad they were".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 22, 2013 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bankruptcy of Detroit, confirmed in 16 pages filed at 4:06 p.m. Thursday, marks an epic fall for an iconic American city even as it opens a new chapter whose ending is decidedly uncertain.

No one really knows how the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history will end and when — not Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who recommended the step Tuesday, not his lawyers, and not Gov. Rick Snyder, who said he approved the filing “as a last resort to return this great city to financial and civic health for its residents and taxpayers.”

“This decision comes in the wake of 60 years of decline for the city, a period in which reality was often ignored,” the governor wrote in his authorization. “Without this decision, the City’s condition would only worsen. With this decision, we begin to provide a foundation to rebuild and grow Detroit.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is backing a bid for hundreds of branches being offloaded by Royal Bank of Scotland, raising the prospect of a new, ethical bank on the high street.

The Church Commissioners, who manage the Church's investments, are helping to fund a consortium led by the former banker and trade minister Lord Davies looking to take control of 315 RBS branches.

With investment decisions by the Church Commissioners taking into account the advice of the Church of England's Ethical Investment Advisory Group, this would suggest consumers will have a new, ethical banking option if the consortium is successful.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted July 1, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said on Wednesday that the central bank intended to reduce its monetary stimulus later this year — and end the bond purchases entirely by the middle of next year — if unemployment continued to decline at the pace that the Fed expected.

Mr. Bernanke said that the Fed planned to continue the asset purchases until the unemployment rate fell to about 7 percent, the first time that the Fed has specified an economic objective for the bond-buying. The rate stood at 7.6 percent in May.

The Federal Reserve also struck notes of greater optimism about the economic recovery, saying in a statement released after a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee that the economy was expanding “at a moderate pace,” the job market was improving and risks to the recovery had “diminished since last fall.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve

0 Comments
Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking at St Paul's Cathedral this evening, Archbishop Justin said there will never be "perfect" banks, because "in the end no human being is of themselves perfectly good."

But the Archbishop said we can have "potentially good banks", which are motivated by virtue and not just financial bonuses and penalties.

Such a banking system would be "realistic" about human fallibility, but "optimistic" about human potential, he said.-

Read it all and note the audio link to the full address.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 13, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During the testosterone-fuelled boom years, Christian faith was about surviving in the City, but since 2008 and the revelation that it was all built on sand, Christians have been saying unequivocally that the gospel is non-negotiable, that working in commerce isn’t about surviving as a Christian but about transforming the way we do business, that Christianity is disruptive of systemic greed and corruption: that, in short, their work serves their faith and not the other way round. They are converting markets, not just people. These are the new Power Christians.

Welby is their spiritual, as well as titular, leader. Born in 1956 into a privileged, if eccentric family, he has managed a tension between descent from a powerful Conservative dynasty (on his mother’s side, he is a scion of the Butler family, which gave us Rab Butler, the deputy prime minister to Harold Macmillan) and skeletons in the family cupboard (it was seen fit to conceal his paternal Jewish-immigrant lineage from him until he became an adult).

This background may have contributed to Welby the Outsider, part of the establishment but also a thorn in its side. It is no surprise that the relentlessly bourgeois HTB couldn’t contain him. Note that he considerably widened not only his social but his theological circle after he left the Knightsbridge church. Via Africa and the Middle East, he arrived as dean of Liverpool Cathedral, where he operated what he and Dr Williams have dubbed a “mixed economy” of traditions. Now add that eclecticism – one might even call it a catholic taste in denominations – to the can-do attitude of the City whizz-kid and you have someone who can tap effortlessly in to the energy of any kind of Christian witness....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 7, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

European governments are figuring out that taxing financial transactions won't be a magical money machine and that the proposed levy might even damage the European economy.

Reuters first reported Thursday that EU officials are scaling back a transaction tax proposal supported by 11 countries that is supposed to take effect in January. The levy could instead be introduced on a "staggered basis," one official told the news agency. The first phase might only tax sales and purchases of shares, not bonds or derivatives transactions, and at 0.01% instead of 0.1% as currently proposed. A rate of zero is more appropriate.

Enthusiasm for the tax has been dimming for a while, including in governments that have previously backed it. Christian Noyer, the Governor of the Banque de France, said in Paris on Tuesday that the levy will raise "nothing at all." One unnamed EU official told Reuters that a scaled-back transaction tax would reap revenue of less than €3.5 billion. The full-fledged levy, as proposed by the European Commission in February, was supposed to rake in €31 billion a year.

Read it all (if necessary another link may be found here.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroStock MarketTaxesThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010

0 Comments
Posted June 3, 2013 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

European countries plan to scale back a proposed financial transactions tax drastically, initially imposing a tiny charge on share deals only and taking much longer than originally intended to achieve a full roll-out.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketTaxesThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 30, 2013 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no evidence that an FTT would moderate market volatility — and attenuate sudden shifts of mood on financial markets.

A recent report by Anna Pomeranets from the Bank of Canada concluded that there have been instances when an FTT led to an increase in volatility — most significantly on the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange, between 1932 and 1981, where increases in the FTT were associated with rising volatility, increased bid-ask spreads, and lower trading volumes.

Similarly, the idea that capital is under-taxed in current tax regimes is mistaken.

Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-viewpoint/052913-658027-financial-transaction-tax-in-europe-will-not-raise-much-money-and-may-hurt-growth.htm#ixzz2UmJX6SiT
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Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketTaxesThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEurope

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Posted May 30, 2013 at 6:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Barclays has "repeatedly let down society" and needs to clean up its culture in the wake of the £290m fine for rigging Libor, the Church of England said on Wednesday

The annual investment report by the Church Commissioners shows that the discussions with Barclays will be reviewed in July, a year on from the interest rate scandal that led to the departure of the chairman Marcus Agius, the chief executive Bob Diamond and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier.

In the report the commissioners, working with the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG), said they had "commenced an intensive engagement with Barclays seeking robust assurance that, having repeatedly let down society with its conduct, Barclays is making a determined and successful effort to effect a fundamental turnaround in culture".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the thirty or so years that I have been following EU affairs – or is it nearer 35 years now since I studied in French literature in Paris, and German philosophy in Mainz – I have never seen ties between Europe’s two great land states reduced so low.

The French Socialist Party crossed a line by lashing out at Chancellor Angela Merkel in person. It is one thing to protest “German austerity”, it is quite another to rebuke the “selfish intransigence of Mrs Merkel, who thinks of nothing but the deposits of German savers, the trade balance recorded by Berlin and her electoral future”.

There is no justification for such an ad hominem attack. German policy is indeed destructive, but that is structural. It is built into the mechanisms of EMU and the anthropological make-up of the enterprise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEuropeFranceGermany

1 Comments
Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Justin Welby, the new leader of nearly 80m Anglicans around the world, has won a respectful hearing for his ideas on banking and the British economy. Even if they disagree with the details, people have generally not reacted by saying "this man hasn't a clue what he is talking about" or "he should go back to singing hymns."

On April 21st, the archbishop of Canterbury suggested that big, unhealthy banks should be broken up into regional ones, as part of a "revolution in the aims" of banks designed to make sure that they served society as well as their own narrow interests. That sounded very like the proposal made last month by Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, for local lenders modelled on the German system. It comes at a time when the government faces hard decisions about the future of the Royal Bank of Scotland after its rescue by the tax-payer. Given the immediacy of the issue, some people will accuse the archbishop (who lists his hobbies as French culture, sailing and politics) of making narrow political points rather than broad moral ones.

But he also had some longer-term ideas on the financial sector. Drawing on his experience as a member of a parliamentary Banking Standards Commission, he said senior positions in banking ought to form a regulated profession which required qualifications.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 29, 2013 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking on Radio 4... [on Saturday], the Archbishop of Canterbury stressed the implications of Christian ethics for the City of London

The Christian Gopsel has "always had strong social implications" and been concerned with "the common good", the Archbishop of Canterbury said....

In an interview for Radio 4's Week in Westminster, Archbishop Justin said his main mission wasn't to inject morality back into British business. But he said that how the City of London - which “is so important and so full of very gifted people” – behaves in relation to the common good is a major concern not just for the Church but for society generally.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, laughs when it is suggested that he has a mission to raise moral standards in the City. “My key mission is to lead the Church in worshipping Jesus Christ,” he says.

He points out, however, that Christian teaching concerns the “common good”, and he is concerned about “how the City of London, which is so important and so full of very gifted people”, relates to this concept.

Dr Welby is in a unique position to do something about it. Outside the cathedral he enjoys two political pulpits from which to shape the debate: in the House of Lords and on the cross-party parliamentary banking commission.

Read it all (another link ).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 28, 2013 at 11:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The City of London has been affected by a "culture of entitlement" at variance with what others think reasonable, the new Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

But the Most Reverend Justin Welby told the BBC business morality was in many ways much better than in the past.

He also defended his description of the UK's economic situation as a depression rather than a recession.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 27, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Culture change in financial services will not be achieved by "light touch" or "heavy touch" regulation, Archbishop Justin said at a Westminster discussion organised by the Bible Society.

Instead the banking sector must adopt "an aim of service to society and not mere rent-seeking, and a culture of virtue based in the realities of daily life and not a fantasy nirvana," he said.

Describing what this change of culture might look like, the Archbishop said it would require "a ruthless honesty and a deep willingness to be made very uncomfortable indeed through listening to things one does not want to hear".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 23, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking at a Parliamentary event on "finding long-term solutions to the financial crisis", Archbishop Welby said there needs to be a "revolution in the aims" of banks to ensure they serve society rather than "self-regarding interest" or even just shareholders.

“What we’re in at the moment isn’t a recession but some kind of depression,” he said. “It needs something very, very major to get us out of it, in the same way it took something very major to get into it.”

The Archbishop, who sat on the recent Banking Standards Commission but said his ideas were not those of the Commission, also called for professional banking standards to be introduced as a way of transforming ethical standards in banking.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have no way of knowing how this all ends. One problem is that the smartest solution—having Germany and perhaps a handful of other northern countries leave the euro for a new currency (the Deutche Mark 2.0, or a “neuro” for northern Europe)—would make life easier in the south. The south based euro would fall in value, but since debts and contracts are denominated in that currency, the adjustment would be the same as in a normal devaluation. This course would likely lead quickly to a new burst of growth in the south, though inflation and other problems would take a toll over time.

But the euro’s break up day would cause a lot of problems for Germany and its northern friends....

So we’re in an interesting situation. The crisis is crippling the south, but the south has no power to resolve the crisis. The crisis isn’t comfortable for the north but still looks less painful than the solution. So the north, which has the ability to resolve the crisis, doesn’t have the will to do it and the south, which has the will, lacks the ability.

Read it all (and please note that the Financial Times article by Wolfgang Münchau which is mentioned, entitled "The riddle of Europe’s single currency with many values," is indeed a must read as Mr. Read says).

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010

1 Comments
Posted April 17, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In another sign of the housing market's brightening outlook, more home buyers are discovering conventional loans with down payments well below the 20% or higher levels of recent years.

Until recently, many borrowers had to go through a government guaranteed loan program, such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Department of Veterans Affairs, to get a mortgage with less than a 10% down payment.

Now, a growing number of lenders are offering such mortgages without the backing of a government guarantee — the definition of a conventional loan.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector

0 Comments
Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama

6 Comments
Posted April 3, 2013 at 6:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Research by FICO Labs into the growing student lending crisis in the U.S. has found that, as a group, individuals taking out student loans today pose a significantly greater risk of default than those who took out student loans just a few years ago. The situation is compounded by significant growth in the amount of debt that new graduates are carrying.

The delinquency rate between 2005-2007 on student loans that were originated in the three months after October 2005 is 12.4 percent. The comparable figure between 2010-2012 for student loans that were originated in the three months after October 2010 is 15.1 percent, representing an increase in the delinquency rate by nearly 22 percent.

While the delinquency rate is climbing, the average amount of student loan debt is increasing even faster. In 2005, the average U.S. student loan debt was $17,233. By 2012, it had ballooned to more than $27,253 – an increase of 58 percent in seven years. By contrast, the average credit card balance and the average balance on car loans owed by U.S. consumers actually decreased during the same period.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Late one night 20 years ago, when I was an oil executive rather than an Anglican bishop, I had run out of steam and patience toward the end of a complex multinational acquisition. We came to yet another bit of box ticking and I suggested we skip it, because we knew the material was accurate.

“Justin,” our wise investment-bank director said quietly, “you know that’s not how we do it.”

Under pressure, everyone is prone to make bad decisions and that story remains in my mind as I sit on the U.K.’s Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, listening to people talk about banks, bankers and their failures.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketStock MarketTaxesThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The interests of God and Mammon were reconciled in a seasonal spirit this week to accommodate the diary commitments of the parliamentary banking commission’s most intriguing member – the future archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

It is understood that Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the commission looking at the future shape of the City, delayed his report for a day to allow the current bishop of Durham to attend a carol service.

Such is Bishop Welby’s importance to the work of the commission that Mr Tyrie was said to have been insistent that he be there for the finalising of the report into the culture and behaviour of the banks.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After six years of declines, lending for so-called Helocs will rise 30 percent to $79.6 billion in 2012, the highest level since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, according to the economics research unit of Moody’s Corp. Originations next year will jump another 31 percent to $104 billion, it projected.

Lending tied to real estate is reviving as record-low mortgage rates spur the housing recovery while an improving job market makes it easier for people to borrow. A rise in home equity lines is in turn helping the economy, fueling purchase of goods like televisions and refrigerators. Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, accelerated to a 2 percent annual rate last quarter from a 1.5 percent pace in the prior period.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Moody's] said France’s long-term economic growth had been hit by its inflexible labour market and low levels of innovation eroding its competitiveness and industrial base.

Moody's also flagged up the country’s exposure to the continuing eurozone crisis.

It warned the “predictability” of France’s resilence of further shocks in the eurozone was diminishing while the country’s exposure to the highly indebted countries such as Spain and Greece was disproportionately high.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance

1 Comments
Posted November 20, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The threat of the euro’s collapse has abated for the moment, but putting the single currency right will involve years of pain. The pressure for reform and budget cuts is fiercest in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, which all saw mass strikes and clashes with police this week.... But ahead looms a bigger problem that could dwarf any of these: France.

The country has always been at the heart of the euro, as of the European Union. President François Mitterrand argued for the single currency because he hoped to bolster French influence in an EU that would otherwise fall under the sway of a unified Germany. France has gained from the euro: it is borrowing at record low rates and has avoided the troubles of the Mediterranean. Yet even before May, when François Hollande became the country’s first Socialist president since Mitterrand, France had ceded leadership in the euro crisis to Germany. And now its economy looks increasingly vulnerable as well.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010France

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The eurozone's return to recession is particularly bad news because it is now hitting once strong economies like Germany. This means the recession will last longer and have a bigger impact on U.S. consumers and companies.

Figures released today showed that collectively the economies of the 17-country eurozone contracted by 0.1 percent between July and September. While this is a slight improvement over the second quarter of the year when it shrank by 0.2 percent, the definition of a recession is two straight quarters of contraction. Most analysts believe that the recession will continue at least until the end of 2012.

"The recession in southern Europe is slowly creeping to other countries," says Martin Van Vliet, an analyst with ING. "If you look at the indicators for the fourth quarter you see that even Germany many not grow again and that shows that the economy has an enormous need for a new impulse."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

1 Comments
Posted November 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The incoming Archbishop of Canterbury risks provoking a row with ministers by claiming that planned City reforms will fail those in Britain's poorest communities.

Just three days after being named as the new leader of the Church of England, the Right Reverend Justin Welby will demand that legislation is redrafted to shame banks into lending more money to poorer regions.

The House of Lords amendment is his first political act since he was named as the next leader of 80 million Anglicans last Friday. He is currently the Bishop of Durham and takes up the new post next month.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 14, 2012 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Talks to agree the EU's 2013 budget have collapsed, after negotiators from the EU and member states were unable to agree on extra funding for 2012.

The EU Commission and European Parliament had asked for a budget rise of 6.8% in 2013.

But most governments wanted to limit the rise to just 2.8%.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010

0 Comments
Posted November 11, 2012 at 6:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Finance chiefs of the world's 20 leading economies are ringing alarm bells over the U.S. fiscal cliff and Europe's debt woes at a meeting in Mexico this weekend as they look to push back deficit reduction targets to help boost growth.

Unless a fractious U.S. Congress can reach a deal, about $600 billion in government spending cuts and higher taxes are set to kick in on January 1, threatening to push the American economy back into recession and hit world growth.

"The Americans themselves acknowledge that this is a problem," a G20 official said on condition of anonymity. "The U.S. administration says it doesn't want to fall off the fiscal cliff, but right now it can't tell us how exactly it will address it because that issue is on ice ahead of the election."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsG20 Housing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceStock MarketTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateUS Presidential Election 2012

0 Comments
Posted November 5, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To those who were surprised that the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize, I say: “Think twice.” This was not only a deserved award for Europe’s contribution to bringing peace and stabilizing democracies in the recent past. The Nobel Committee was also sending a clear warning to contemporary leaders. I could almost hear them saying: “On this difficult odyssey, don’t abandon ship. In today’s world, the EU is too valuable to squander.”

It was an indirect but powerful rebuttal to the dangerous nationalist and populist rhetoric some politicians have adopted when describing the recent financial crisis.

This message couldn’t have come at a better time.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Greece

0 Comments
Posted November 1, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The middle class has been caught in an economic vise, trying to pay 2012 prices with paychecks that haven't grown since the good times went bust — or even earlier.

Across the nation, family income was down 8 percent last year from what it was in 2000. And in South Carolina, the median income last year was just over $40,000.

That's the lowest wages have been in the Palmetto State since 1985, according inflation-adjusted figures from the U.S. census.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. Government

1 Comments
Posted October 28, 2012 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Europe's economic woes are washing over U.S. multinational companies, contributing to a season of weak corporate earnings.

Domestic sales are growing, as the U.S. housing market and consumer confidence recover. But China's economy has slowed, robbing U.S. companies of their most reliable growth engine of recent years.

Almost uniformly, however, U.S. companies reporting third-quarter results identify Europe as the weakest link in the global economic chain.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Europe--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010

0 Comments
Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the first time since the Great Recession hit, American households are taking on more debt than they are shedding, an epochal shift that might augur a more resilient recovery.

For two of the last three quarters, American households’ total outstanding borrowing on things like credit cards, mortgages and auto loans has increased after falling for 14 consecutive quarters before then. Some economists even see an end to the long, hard process of deleveraging — as they refer to the cutting of debt relative to income or the nation’s economic output. That process, they say, has been a central reason for the extraordinary sluggishness of the recovery.

“We’re at an inflection point,” said Kevin Logan, the chief United States economist for HSBC. “Debt is less of a burden” for households, he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Potentially, the government may amend its complaint to include individuals, present or former employees of Bank of America," Assistant U.S. Attorney Pierre Armand told U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 26, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The financial markets have been notably calm of late. Stock indexes have ticked upwards and interest rates on sovereign bonds have drifted downwards. The euro has also remained relatively stable against the dollar. And investor panic seems to have dissipated.

But appearances can be deceiving, said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Tuesday. "I'm not so sure that the worst of the crisis is behind us," he said at a mechanical engineering conference in Berlin, warning that reform efforts needed to be re-doubled to ensure that trust in the euro returns.

His comments were echoed by Yves Mersch, a member of the European Central Bank Governing Council who was also present at the event. He warned that even if calm had returned to the markets, it could be deceptive. "The bleeding has been stopped, but the patient is not yet in the clear," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

0 Comments
Posted October 25, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The federal government has filed another mortgage-fraud lawsuit against Bank of America, contending that defective loans generated by the bank's Countrywide Financial Corp. subsidiary caused mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lose more than $1 billion.

A statement Wednesday from the office of U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara in New York said that after the subprime mortgage market collapsed in 2007, Calabasas-based Countrywide devised a loan-processing system called "Hustle" to "process loans at high speed and without quality checkpoints."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. Government

0 Comments
Posted October 25, 2012 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For 33 years, Sánchez Gordillo has been mayor of Marinaleda, pop. 2,700, another farming settlement about 100 miles west of Jódar. Like Jódar, Marinaleda is mostly inhabited by jornaleros. Over the decades, Sánchez Gordillo has transformed the poor village into an islet of social justice and relative prosperity, with almost full employment through communal farming, low taxes, a salary of €1,200 ($1,572), food and housing considered as rights, and “direct democracy” exercised through frequent general assemblies. Sánchez Gordillo and his townsmen launched their movement to build what he calls “a communist utopia” after the death of general and dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, occupying land owned by a member of the royal family and distributing it for communal ownership as well as taking over local airports.

His efforts in Marinaleda long ago earned him a regional following, but Sánchez Gordillo and his lieutenant, the 57-year-old Diego Cañamero, the SAT union’s national spokesman, have gained renown in recent months with a series of controversial protests against the austerity measures embraced by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish government. On Aug. 7, the two led union members on raids on Carrefour (CA) and Mercadona supermarkets, leaving the stores with shopping carts full of “expropriated” food they gave away to the hungry poor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeSpain

0 Comments
Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An exit poll showed Mr. Rajoy's conservative party winning 39 or 40 of the parliament's 75 seats in his native Galicia, a gain of at least one seat over the Spanish Socialist Party and two smaller rivals. He had touted Galicia as a regional model for the economic-austerity program his government has pursued amid rising popular protest in the rest of Spain.

In the Basque Country, another exit poll showed a surprisingly strong second-place finish by a new radical separatist coalition, apparently enough to help a more-moderate nationalist party oust the ruling coalition between Mr. Rajoy's party and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party.

The exit polls, taken by the regional government-owned television networks in Galicia and Basque Country, are widely regarded as reliable.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Spain

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Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indeed, the impact of this latest round of unconventional monetary policy is already fading. Analysts at Morgan Stanley this week decided that returns in the high-yield market were no longer attractive in the face of deteriorating fundamentals. The stock market is struggling to make further headway, while yields on mortgage-backed securities have started to turn up after an initial drop. A drop in third-quarter capital expenditure suggests the Fed policy hasn’t been a catalyst for corporate investment at all.

One major reason for the lack of effectiveness of this latest round of quantitative easing may well be a growing concern with the “fiscal cliff”, automatic US tax rises and spending cuts due to kick in on January 1. Uncertainty over “cliff risk” – and the prospects of a deal in Congress on deficit reduction – seems to be offsetting any positive impact of Fed policies.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetFederal ReserveThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate

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Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Adelaide diocese of the Anglican Church must change radically as it faces the tough choice of closing at least a third of its parishes within the next five years.

This was the blunt message from Archbishop Jeffrey Driver to the church last night as he opened its senior decision-making forum, the diocesan synod.

Resources had been drained and the church had endured nine years of turmoil from dealing with the hurt caused by abuse perpetuated by its own ranks.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

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Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No matter who gets elected president next month, the United States economy in 2013 will have only tepid growth.

Does that sound like this year all over again? Yes, indeed.

At least that’s the view of 44 professional economic forecasters, members of the National Association of Business Economics, who on Monday released their outlook for the coming year.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. Government

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Posted October 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Canadian household debt has shot past the sky-high levels that foreshadowed the U.S. housing bust.

But it’s taken a statistical revisions by Statistics Canada to get there.

Canadians’ debt-to-income ratio reached 163.4 per cent in the second quarter, up from 161.7 per cent at the end of last year.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted October 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We do not wish to distress you Only to appeal to you.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We stand here as Occupiers, as women, Queers, disabled, grandmas, young, old, as women of all faiths and none in solidarity with all other groups who are marginalised by economic injustice.

Even when times are good women, along with our children, are usually those who suffer the most. In times of economic crisis our inequality is amplified but we refuse to be victims.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 15, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Four women who chained themselves to the pulpit of St Paul's cathedral cut through the bolts after six hours on the advice of police, avoiding arrest...

he women wrapped chains around their waists after a prayer that Church officials had invited them to give. One, Josie Reid, chained herself to her wheelchair.

The action came on the anniversary of the Occupy protest last year when protesters took over the square outside.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Facebook Inc. (FB) filed its proposal Feb. 1 to go public, it touted the effectiveness of ads linked to customers’ friends, citing research from Nielsen, the audience-counting company.

arbara Jacobs, an assistant director for corporation finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was skeptical, as she and her staff vetted the filing to ensure Facebook had disclosed all material information to investors. The claim appeared to be drawn from marketing materials, not a Nielsen study, she wrote to Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, 42.

She gave him an ultimatum: Produce the study and provide Nielsen’s consent for use of the data -- or don’t use it, she wrote to Ebersman on Feb. 28. Facebook dropped the reference after initial resistance.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General

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Posted October 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The greatest risk to US financial markets stems from other countries’ willingness (or lack thereof) to continue to hold dollar reserves as the value depreciates. If those nations suspect that the US cannot maintain the strength of our currency, they will begin to drain assets from American banks – seeking safer havens for their wealth. That could entail trading US treasury bonds for perceived “safer” currencies such as those of New Zealand or Canada or even switching to an entirely different asset class such as gold or silver.

While there may not be any significant signs of capital flight yet, just look east. The Chinese are the largest, external holder of US debt. And they’re already heading down this path – dropping the share of their portfolio comprised of US dollar assets from 74 to 54 percent in the last five years. It may very well be a harbinger of what’s to come.

Attempting to counter fears fanned by trends like this, Bernanke talks of a “soft landing...”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReserveForeign RelationsPolitics in General

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Posted October 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Greece is teetering on the edge of collapse with its society at risk of disintegrating unless the country's near-empty public coffers are shored up with urgent financial aid, the country's prime minister has warned.

Almost three years after the eruption of Europe's debt drama in Athens, the economic crisis engulfing the nation has become so severe that democracy itself is now imperiled, Antonis Samaras said.

"Greek democracy stands before what is perhaps its greatest challenge," Samaras told the German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview published hours before the announcement in Berlin that Angela Merkel will fly to Athens next week for the first time since the outbreak of the crisis.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Greece

4 Comments
Posted October 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Federal Reserve officials debated the risks of beginning an ambitious new stimulus policy before ultimately giving it a green light, according to minutes of the central bank’s September meeting released Thursday.

The minutes show officials concerned during their two-day meeting that without further action, the unemployment rate could remain stubbornly high. Officials were also troubled by signs of slowing growth abroad, including in China, and the possibility of a so-called fiscal cliff at home.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve

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Posted October 5, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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