Sunday, October 13, 2013

IT'S THE HONORABLE THING TO DO

Hara-kiri
Johann Wagener 10-13-13

Hara-kiri, (also known as seppuku), is an ancient Japanese form of ritualistic suicide by disembowelment that defeated samurai, or those whose shame was ‘too unbearable’, would use to restore their honor in death. It’s usually stabbing yourself in the stomach (Hara) and cutting (Kiri).

Since the recent financial crisis and housing collapse, some of Wall Street’s biggest banks have faced fines from regulators reaching into billion-dollar territory. In the latest news, JPMorgan Chase is looking at $11 billion in fines for pushing crap mortgage securities on unwary investors.

That sounds like a hefty amount of cash—it’s about the gross domestic product of Kenya, and tops that of Iceland and Bahrain. As journalist Pat Garafalo has noted, $11 billion is equal to what all the major banks paid together in 2012. The sum would be the largest single financial fine in history, if in fact it ever is paid (JPMorgan Chase is reported to be in negotiations that might reduce it).
It's only a suggestion, but I think any banker worth his salt should at least consider it.