Monday, October 10, 2016

Following four bank bail-ins last year, most Italians are hiding their cash outside of banks and buying gold

With the global shock that the Cyprus bank bail-ins did to depositor psyches back in 2013, the media has gone out of its way to hide any news of bank insolvencies that might lead to runs on the banks.  And this includes four little reported bail-ins that took place in Italy just last year.

But with the growing threat of even more Italian banks becoming insolvent, and the Damocles Sword of Deutsche Bank threatening the entire European financial system, depositors in Italy are not waiting around for the next crisis to take place, and over the past year have been taking out their cash to hide in their 'mattresses' and buying physical gold as a hedge for what they believe is coming very soon.

People in Cyprus had to find this out the hard way in early 2013. People awoke on an otherwise normal Saturday morning to the shock that the money in their bank accounts had been taken by a bail-in to recapitalize the banks. 
Not surprisingly, many Italians aren’t just waiting around to get “Cyprused.” 
I recently spent weeks on the ground in Italy investigating the ongoing banking crisis. I spoke with a prominent lawyer who told me that most Italians are now distrustful of the banks. They’re keeping a substantial portion of their savings in cash under their mattresses. They’re also buying lots of gold. 
I’ve been to Italy numerous times over the years. But this time, I saw something new. 
There were signs everywhere advertising gold bullion, like the one below. 
I think it indicates a strong demand for gold and a strong distrust of the banks. It seems to me like a slow motion bank run is already happening. This is the last thing Italy’s banking system needs. It’s further bleeding the capital in the banking system. 
I only see the situation getting worse… 
Italians are rightly afraid of bail-ins. That fear is leading them to withdraw their savings as cash and also to buy gold. This further drains the banks’ capital, making it more likely they’ll need to do a bail-in to remain solvent, which fuels even more withdrawals. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. - International Man


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