Some Afternoon Amusement Courtesy Of RBS: There Is No Spoon - Or Bank Run

Tyler Durden's picture

We were pleasantly surprised earlier today when we discovered that the "head of European rates" at RBS, or as it is better known in the US as CRT LLC (see here, here and here), Harvinder Sian, not only sends out mollifying notes to clients with extended references to "excitable" blogs such as Zero Hedge, but that apparently cost-cutting measures have forced RBS to cancel their over-budget Dow Jones wire service.

Our good friends at Alphaville, who it turns out are the first and last (and also somewhere in the middle) to diligently comb through RBS research, point out this amusing note that was sent out earlier (emphasis from the original):

The Greek rumour mill today centres on risks for the banking sector. The website Zero Hedge carries a rather hysterical story that “Greeks Scramble To Pull Out €8 Billion From Local Banks As Greece Responds With Money Control Measures”.

The central point of the article is that private bank customers have
pulled €8bn out of Greece in a combination bank accounts, stock sales,
property sales and other sources. It then asserts (wrongly, see below)
that this is a ‘plain vanilla run on the bank’.

Let’s walk through it . . .


The quotes attributed to private bankers (€8bn outflow etc) are not
sourced but that is usually the case. We have heard of some ship owners
for instance moving assets to Cyprus and Switzerland too, so this part
of the story is not far fetched. The key point however is not the health of banks here but that the money and asset transfers are A MOVE TO AVOID HIGHER TAXES.

So, just in case you missed the point (it also appears that cost-cutting has also eliminated double underlining of text when trying to overemphasize a point) the premise is that there is no bank run, and it is all done to avoid taxes. Get it?


So, let's go back to the original Dow Jones article which we sourced, and which RBS apparently did not have access to:

Once again, for the government-subsidized seats, it starts off as follows:

Wealthy Greeks have moved around EUR8 billion out of local banks in the past three months fearing a possible new tax on bank accounts, increased government scrutiny on assets and a run on the banks if Athens is forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund, according to private bankers and other people with knowledge of the situation.

So yes, while CRT's RBS' CAPS LOCK FULLY BOLD TEXT would like to draw your attention to one component of the gentle and timid withdrawal of €8 billion in deposits, two of the other considerations would tend to imply that there may be something more to this than the bank which is allegedly loaded to the gills with PIGGS exposure would want you to believe.

Continuing with the Dow Jones' own quotes, the agency quotes several people who seem to have a slightly less sanguine opinion on matters:

"There is a lot of uncertainty out there," said a senior private banker at a Greek bank. 


"We've had a number of customers asking to move funds out of Greece, mostly to Cyprus, Luxembourg and Switzerland."


"We estimate that EUR8 billion has moved out of Greece to accounts abroad since December. It's money from bank accounts, stock sales, property sales and other sources. This is pretty substantial considering that there is only EUR30 billion under management in private banks here"

Oh crap.

"Some of our clients are concerned about a run on the banks if the IMF gets involved," said another private banker, this one from a foreign bank. "They believe the situation in Greece will get worse before it gets better. There is also very little clarity from the government about its intentions on new tax measures."

Of course, RBS would never see a scenario in which the IMF would get involved (despite extended "technical" IMF delegations on the ground currently), and thus precipitate the gating factor for what Greece-based finance professionals, who, with all due respect, have just slightly more credibility than analysts at conflicted semi-nationalized banks. Lest we forget, a recent back of the envelope analysis indicates that the UK (which incidentally is a 70.33% holder of RBS) has quarter of a trillion pounds exposure to the PIIGS, of which no matter how you spin it, Greece will be the first domino. So yes, we tend to take any RBS analysis with just a little shaker of salt. And what an analysis it is:


Very little. Let’s start off by saying that Greece has a sovereign debt problem that is hitting the banks.
The banks themselves started the crisis in fairly robust condition and
to date there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE OF A DEPOSITER [SIC] RUN

Yet going back to the top, keep in mind that RBS' primary observation is that all the money moves over the past three months have been done in order to AVOID HIGHER TAXES. We seem to have a slightly pedantic, if undergraduate, understanding of Einstein's Theory of Relativity as pertains to time travel, but it does strike us a little perplexing from a purely chronological perspective how Greeks in December and January could have been pulling money in advance of such notification. Namely:

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou earlier this month [as in February] urged Greeks with accounts  abroad to repatriate their money and said the capital will be taxed at a 5% rate.  He said those who choose to keep their money abroad should declare their deposits and pay a tax of 8% for the first six months. Thereafter he threatened that Greece will use all laws at its disposal, such as double-taxation agreements, to ask foreign banks for information on Greek account holders.

And just to get the Greek perspective, instead of the 70.33% point of view of the UK, here is the last relevant bit from Dow Jones:

"For us this is the first step towards taxing all accounts in Greece," said the chief financial officer of a major Greek shipping company. "The line is minimum deposits here and moving all assets abroad." "Money will flow back into Greece when the situation returns to normal. This won't happen for at least a year and there is not a lot of trust for the Greek banking system right now," he added.

We are confident that with RBS' amazing approach to chronology they should now be able to go back in time and advise themselves on how to avoid listening to their own advice, and instead of going bankrupt, pardon, being bailed out, and arguing over semantics, continue to grow and flourish, without making the the UK taxpayer just 70.33% pregnant with a morass of toxic assets.

We will, however, acknowledge, that our estimate of money multiplier effects on deposits was grossly exaggerated. Obviously, the full impact of €8 billion in deposits getting withdrawn via fractional reserve multiplication would be vastly more substantial only in a world in which Central Bankers, such as Mr. King, were not engaged in gross monetary policy manipulation. We do stand corrected by RBS' much more practical realization that courtesy of QE (which in England, it appears, will be extended shortly after the economy confirms it has relapsed) and excess reserves, two concepts which have so far allowed RBS to survive whereas othersie Mr. Sian and all his colleagues would have long been unemployed, the money multiplier collapses, and in countries such as Greece and the UK, central bankers are happy if it stands at anything above 1.

Which is why, just like RBS, we urge our readers to completely ignore the fact that an €8 billion bank run kind and nurturing deposit withdrawal in a country of 8 million is anything even barely relevant, and if possible, please, PLEASE, not only read much more RBS research, but any time that an CRT RBS fixed income salesperson calls and offers to offload some of the bank's inventory of PIIGS bond holdings, that you should do so with no questions asked.

After all, who can possibly mistrust RBS?

An artist's rendering of timid, peaceful future Greek non-bank runners.

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Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Some Afternoon Amusement Courtesy Of RBS: There Is No Spoon - Or Bank Run"

Tyler, a Matrix reference! I didn't know you were a fan.

John McCloy's picture

Who says life does not imitate art. People always wanted to be in the movies..well Welcome to the Matrix.

WaterWings's picture

To the Guns of Navarone! Greek freedom fighters - the ghosts of Peck and Niven are still on your side!

Neo of Zion's picture

always appreciated. Red pill special on Aisle 8

MarketTruth's picture

There are no rioting crowds in this video

There are no rioting crowds in this video

besodemuerte's picture

That picture is priceless.  Great post.   

MarketTruth's picture

If anyone from ZH is reading this and is in NYC, you know, near a certain <cough> Broad St. <cough> with a can of spray paint....

We thank you.

SteveNYC's picture

I'll have to assume some responsibility to the cause, due to my name!

Frank Owen's picture

Maybe more V for Vendetta than Matrix... though both very similar *cough*

Lionhead's picture

First they deny your existence (ZH), then they begin to criticize & cast doubt, then they mount counter attacks, then you eat their lunch as they fade away into oblivion. Standard operating procedure. Disregard them...

cougar_w's picture

... then you win. -- Ghandi

bobby02's picture

Not to support RBS, but "according to private bankers and other people with knowledge of the situation" and "a private banker" in the Dow Jones articles is not sourcing. Their version is certainly plausible, but no "proof" is offered.

Just sayin'

Anonymous's picture

In other words, Dow Jones "sourced" multiple people who did not want to be fired and who corroborated each other. I would say that counts as proof.

Just sayin'

Anonymous's picture

Maybe you could clarify: Is the Greek finance minister referring to taxing the interest and/or capital gains on the accounts or the principal of the accounts? Principal is how I am understanding it. Sounds like Argentina.

masterinchancery's picture

I am sure that Greeks abroad will be racing to repatriate their capital so that 5% of it can immediately be taxed away--in some alternate universe.

Selah's picture

"excitable" blog?

How about an "informed and sometimes rational discussion"?

I have reason to suspect that any "falsehoods" or "attempts to deceive" would be and have been called-out on ZH with a quickness. Truth hurts much more than lies....

By the time that "sovereign default" is discussed, it is pretty much a forgone conclusion.

Ben said that our spending level is unsustainable.

I'm checking off "Grain Mill" and "Cast Nets" this month on my list. Maybe more 40 cal. Can't go wrong with more Franklin half dollars. More containers to catch rain-water.

My list is getting short... Fish hooks and butane lighters. Cartons of cigarettes. Nicotine addicts will give me Silver for smokes...





Astute Investor's picture

"Excitable" blog? No

"Excitable" boy? Yes

Selah's picture

He took little Suzie to the Junior Prom
Excitable boy, they all said
And he raped her and killed her, then he took her home
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy
After ten long years they let him out of the home
Excitable boy, they all said
And he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy

deadhead's picture

Send lawyers, guns, and money

velobabe's picture

wink. my alma mater Warren William Zevon, i knew his x wife Crystal

hedgeless_horseman's picture

RBS fixed income salesperson calls and offers to offload some of the bank's inventory of PIIGS bond holdings, that you should do so with no questions asked.

Should someone let Scott Griffin know that the Home Office has his back on this one?    Relax, Scott.  Harvinder the Mollifier is all over it dude. Keep 'em smiling and dialing.



GoldSilverDoc's picture

Game, set, and match. Winner, Durden.

deadhead's picture


by the way Havinder, suck it.  you're wrong, ZH is correct.

here's a little future prediction for you: any Greek with money is going to get it the hell out of Greece and pronto.



DoChenRollingBearing's picture

ZH has the record to prove it.

Unless Greece gets a "nice & comfy" bailout, the rest of PIIS will likely see this too.  Oh, and perhaps the rest of Euroland.  Oh, and perhaps here too?

Just pulled some more dough out of the bank today.  Half is going into gold.

Postal's picture

See, this is what you get for pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes. Or spoons.

Anonymous's picture

yep - these guys definitely have their finger on the pulse of the market

Anonymous's picture

Well - you guys *are* excitable.

WaterWings's picture

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Who cares if everyone takes their money from the bank because of taxes, currency controls, or just to walk around with it in their pockets?


Bank run, bitches.

Anonymous's picture

I'll send Bob Jamjar round to kick his ass.

junkyard dog's picture

Hysterical and excitable? Words from someone who only eats Kibbles & Bits. These people have never been locked into a blog about gold here: knives and spears only, check firearms at the door. And if one thinks they know something about bonds, give a try at a comment here. There are bloggers here who know what is going on. They may speak in a funny way, at times even condescending, but they give everyone a chance to make a mistake in thought. So, RBS, grow some nuts and jump on in, no reservation needed. Ass bags available at the exit.


JW n FL's picture

Keep up the GREAT "CAPS LOCK FULLY BOLD TEXT" work Tyler!

carbonmutant's picture

RBS must be holding a lot of Greek paper...

Anonymous's picture

Yep they hold a LOT OF PAPER - most of it bad and purifying.
Now tell me again how good they are at making profits on a taxpayer freebie. But OH YES we HAVE to have a billion or two for bonuses to ensure we can make more losses for the taxpayers. We are so good at our jobs we can singlehanded and blindfolded run a company and the truth to ground in less time than it take to light a Cuban cigar.
Please Scotty beam me up - this planets about to go to critical mass.

MarketTruth's picture

This looks very orderly in Greece:



carbonmutant's picture

 The reporter referred to this as a scuffle... probably because there no Molotovs.

Double down's picture

That is because they are drunk!  Better than Ouzo!!

JW n FL's picture


This is the new, newer and / or newest Tea Baggers party push? The reason that these type of events have very little affect... is because there is no real position being pushed... to be yet more clear, the events lack substance... stay home and smoke weed and / or go to Church and pray for the end crap... either way or any variation of is weak... and I have been exceedingly kind.


How about a push for a law that requires “AAA” rated corps who have consumed cheap money at the expense of the tax payer… not be allowed to Lobby in any form the U.S. Government… The Tax payer should not pay for the Corporations Lobby against the Tax Payer… how about a something everyone can get behind and support beyond the typical “I know you are… But what am I?” Banter of blue collar verse other… the middle is stupid… the middle Voted for change and got Lobby part Duex… so what would make the largest change and have immediate effect? Kill off the Lobby… it serves almost everyone’s best interests… Oops? No more $10,000 dollar coffee brunches for the Congressional Crooks and Scumbag Senate members?


Never mind… it sounded GREAT!


MarketTruth's picture

Many have called, faxed, e-mailed etc their gov reps about various topics such as the bailout. Overwhelmingly against things and guess what.

RESULT: They CONgress still passes this junk. Not a darn thing has changed or has been done. Banksters still get bonuses and no one goes to jail for anything. Everyone from Pelosi and her nice newish LARGE plane to the parties in Global Change that cost taxpayers millions to the HUGE waste of private Haliburton contractors in Iraq making HUGE profits, etc, etc and plenty more etc.

ACTION: Go to strike April 15 to 18. Grind the entire USA to a halt lock, stock and barrel.

Once they US Gov realizes what is going on and the action to strike at a moment's notice can easily happen again, perhaps THEN it will be time to talk terms and conditions. Nothing else seems to be working. If you have a better idea go ahead and post it.

SteveNYC's picture

I'm in. Sitting at home, weed, Pink Floyd....sounds pretty good to me.

Gordon_Gekko's picture


deadhead's picture


A jobless recovery is when the USA's central bank, the Federal Reserve, prints up lots and lots of US dollars and gives them to a small group of very big banks.  Closely following that, this same central bank prints up even more dollars and gives them to the US Treasury in exchange for little pieces of paper.

I hope this helps.



Gordon_Gekko's picture

Thx deadhead. Just wanted to shout out loud how completely and totally idiotic our society has become. The lack of intelligence in this particular generation(s) of our race is simply breathtaking. BTW, Miles has a nice take on this in the comment below.

carbonmutant's picture

A recovery with out inflation.

WaterWings's picture

A recovery with out [rioting].

Miles Kendig's picture

GG - A jobless recovery is an economic state where the renumeration pool grows at a geometrical rate for fewer employees within the member institution structure of the federal reserve system while stating that personal and corporate tax receipts are drastically lower due to the dire condition of the same institutions requiring greater burden sharing with the rest of society.... Leading to this condition of "shared sacrifice" as defined by those that define which aspects of our economy are really important. Their own.  In other words, a jobless recovery is a condition wherein society learns who is supposed to meet whose needs, through coercion.  So, express a little gratitude to those that have managed to "save" their world at our expense.  After all, they are telling us that they are doing God work.  So kneel, kiss the ring and be grateful you are so privileged as to have this rare opportunity....

Gordon_Gekko's picture

Bingo! Spot on Miles. To my mind, whoever accepts such moronic phrases unquestioningly deserves what's coming their way. Natural selection, if you will.

TheGoodDoctor's picture

Ok, ok. But what is the mathematical equation to this? I know what the pictograph would be. :)

Anonymous's picture

It's a jobless recovery when working slobs are still slos, but are no longer working - while at the same time, rich Wall Street SOBs are still SOBs and but get richer.

Any question?