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The Banking Bird Feeder

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I bought a bird feeder and hung
it on the patio the other week.

I filled
it with seed every day to see if it would attract the birds.

Within a
week, there were hundreds of birds feeding on the
continuously free and
easily accessible food.

I enjoyed watching them for a while ... but then the birds started
building nests in the boards
of the patio, above the table,
and next to the barbecue.

The worst bit was that soon I found there was lots of bird pooh everywhere: on the patio tiles,
the chairs, the table ...

Then some of the birds
turned mean.

They would
dive bomb me and try to
peck me, even though I had
fed them out of my own

And other birds were
boisterous and loud, sitting on the feeder and
just squawking and screaming at
all hours of the day and night, demanding that I fill it
with more food.

After a while, I couldn't even
sit on my own back porch

So I took down the
bird feeder and in three days
the birds were gone.

I cleaned
up their mess and took down
the many nests they had built
all over the patio.

Soon, the back yard was like
it used to be ... quiet, serene
and no f***ing birds demanding a free meal that they didn't have before and shouldn't have as a right.

It kinda reminded me of Credit Default Swaps and Securitisiation.

To begin with, we put them out there and a few investment bankers pecked.

Then they saw how much money could be made out of these products and they all came pecking.

Soon investment bankers were pecking these products across all markets worldwide, and having a bonus feast out of it.

They made them work with anything and everything, and just loved the way that the more they created money, the more money they made.

There was no rhyme or reason to this of course, as the fact that they had created products that required zero collateral was irrelevant, just as long as the bonus feast lasted.

Then, one day, the feeder dried up as no-one wanted to fill the never-ending leverage bucket.

They wanted to see the collateral behind the products and to check you had the money available if needed.

They were fed up with the investment bankers feeding without accountability.

So all the bad bankers flew away.

Unfortunately, unlike the bird feeder, they left so much crap on the porch that we had to demolish the house and rebuild it.

But that's OK. 

At least we've still got a house ... I think?

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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