On human nature and making firewood from the fallen tree, the funny side of the credit crunch

I am going to try to put together the few funny bits I’ve come across with during this global human misery that we all now call credit crunch:

DG

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On banks paying interest to people with mortgages or how NOT to run a banking operation: The answer

So it finally happened. This morning I received the letter from Birmingham Midshires answering the million dollar question: What happens when the Bank of England takes the base interest rate down to 0.5% or below and you are paying them 0.5% or higher below BoE base rate?

Well, since the bank’s decision back in March 5, it has taken them over a month to communicate with customers, but if you had hopes of getting paid for having a mortgage (absurd and ridicule thought, but these are absurd and ridicule times), drop it, in an interest only mortgage BM informs me that:

We’re writing to you following the Bank of England’s decision on 5 March 2009 to decrease the Base Rate. We’ll be reducing our interest rates on 1 April 2009, and so you’ll receive the benefit of the reduced rate from this date. We want to keep you informed of how these changes will affect you as outlined below. Continue reading

On Du-BAN-i, the new Gulf Emirate formerly known as Dubai. The party is over

Can’t stay away from the news these days, can you? A friend sends me a message forwarded to her from Dubai. She looked into moving down there as a Retail Manager for a fashion house down there, but the conditions where apocalyptic, lucky enough she had her father’s employer’s legal department have a closer look to the contract and decided to pull out at the last minute.

DuBANi

However, a staff member of hers at the time, decided to go easy and move from Supervisor in London to Store Manager in Dubai. Apparently it has been a gross mistake, they pay in advance your rent and utility bills, flights in business class to Paris for training that are great to make your friends back home envious, but if you decide to quit before the 12/18 month contract expires, you have to pay everything back, or face imprisonment. She calls UK in tears every night. She could just go, but her family lives in Doha, and that would ban her of ever going back to the Gulf.

At least, my Italian friend pulled out when she was told she had to surrender her passport until the end of the contract, literally living in a sand and sun prison.

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On staying away from news, good or bad. A detox therapy for the brain

I have been saying for a while that terrorist groups (or freedom Fighters, depending what side you take) would take advantage of brainless governments and hit them now, when it really hurts. ETA in Spain and now IRA (real IRA, friends of IRA, an IRA Facebook ring) in Northern Ireland have tried their chance, and won. The credit crunch is exactly the ally they needed. Continue reading

On the new clothes of the Spanish economy, where’s a child to tell the truth when you need it?

Hobbes, what Spain needs now, is the child in the crowd that that the emperor is walking down the street fully naked, and tells the truth. But they do not listen.

Today, it was the turn of the FT.com (Spain’s recession: After the fiesta). Paul Preston is considered one of the top specialists in the Spanish Civil War, and now it seems it takes the Financial Times to state the obvious. What is wrong with Spaniards that need a foreign voice to see reality as it is or was? Even El Pais, the leading left-wing Spanish newspaper, needs to quote the FT to comment on the matter.  Continue reading

It’s Good To Know: Economic Depression

Recession here, recession there, we already know now that a recession defines the reduction of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for at least two quarters.

But how about a depression? There are now talks of a possible return to 1929’s depression. But what is it exactly, or how is it defined by economists? You’ve got as many flavours as you like, there is no widely accepted definition, but according to The Economist there are tow rules of thumb: Continue reading

On bonuses, RBS, and how to improve going forward

So the UK government decided to scrap the bonuses at RBS (FT.com).

UK gov, or its tax payers, owns 68% of the bank, so they say they are going to honour the contractual bonuses and scrap those directed to anyone related to the credit debacle (and slap wrist to the executive directors, they’ve been naughty, naughty, naughty… non-execs were nowhere to be found for comment, reprimand or else, probably busy un-overseeing a different company).

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