Jul 09 2012

LIBOR Scandal Has Repercussions Far and Wide

Feature Stories | Published 9 Jul 2012, 2:04 pm | Comments Off on LIBOR Scandal Has Repercussions Far and Wide -

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German financial giant, Deutsche Bank is the latest target of investigation by regulators trying to determine the extent of the growing banking scandal that has revealed rampant manipulation of the all-important London Interbank Offered Rate or LIBOR. The scandal erupted last month after London based Barclay’s PLC reached an agreement with U.S. and British regulators that exposed collusion between its employees and the supposedly independent British Bankers Association which sets the rate.

The disclosure forced the resignation of Barclay’s CEO Bob Diamond and Chairman Marcus Agius and brought a fine from the British and US governments of $450 million. Before his July 3 departure, Diamond indicated that the practice is widespread in the financial industry while information surfaced that officials from the Bank of England may have encouraged the manipulations following the 2008 financial collapse to rebuild confidence in British banking institutions. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone in a recent article wrote that the revelations make it, “harder and harder to make the case that the major banks do not routinely cooperate at the expense of the public when it serves their purposes to do so.”

The LIBOR is a daily estimation of the interest rate banks will pay when borrowing from one another and is used as a benchmark for lending across the globe. American Mortgages, student loans, and credit cards are all tied to the LIBOR. Concern is growing that already cash strapped towns and cities across the country may have lost millions by receiving smaller returns on their investments as a result of the artificially low interest rates fixed by colluding banks.

GUEST: Jennifer Erickson, Director of Competitiveness and Economic Growth and the Center for American Progress

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