It’s no secret that I don’t really have a head for numbers. Well, that’s not necessarily true; if you needed someone to calculate how to get to your Defense cap on World of Warcraft back in 2005, I was your go-to guy, but as far as the worldwide financial markets go, I’m kind of clueless to the point of borderline retardation.
The ironic part of this is that for the past two years, one of my main copywriting clients has been a bloke that lives in the UK that needs a daily stream of financial news posts for a huge network of websites and blogs. This means that I literally write about international financial developments for a living, even though my own personal credit score is so bad that banks will attempt to eject me from their premises with holy water and a crucifix.
Back in 2010 when I started copywriting in earnest, I didn’t know jack shit about financial matters. Today I know quite a bit, though most of my expertise lies in the financial developments of the EU, and particularly the UK. However, with the more I learn about how things work across the pond, the less I want to delve into how things in the US work, simply because the financial news I write daily tends to be both depressing and infuriating and I can’t deal with learning about how bad things are here without reaching for a high-powered assault rifle and a stack of building blueprints.
One of the biggest clusterfucks going on right now in the UK is how British banks are pretty much massive fuckheads. The UK housing market is especially in shambles right now, with UK banks being criticized by the British government for not making mortgages more available to people looking to buy houses. These same banks blithely claim that it’s not their fault that no one’s coming through their doors for a loan, but the truth is these banks are making it so fucking hard to actually qualify for a mortgage that only the ridiculously well-off can get one.
These banks pull a lot of bullshit, and there doesn’t seem to be much that the government can really do about it unless they do something outright illegal. The biggest thing recently is that Barclays, one of the big “high street” banks over in the UK, got caught lying about their interbank lending rates in order to make themselves look good on paper. They did some sort of financial gymnastics in order to cook their books, artificially deflating the rate they borrow funds at wholesale to make it look like their risk as a borrower was lower than it actually was. This has been universally seen as pretty much the height of dick moves on the part of Barclays, and both the chairman and the chief executive officer were more or less forced out of office as a result.
Of course that’s just one bank out of many in the UK that try to get away with goofy, pigheaded shit in an effort to make some money. For every bank that gets caught doing something actually illegal and not just immoral, the amount of gray area fuckitude is outstanding. Going back to the mortgage thing, the Bank of England (the UK version of the Fed) tried to get banks to lower the interest rates on their mortgages by instituting a scheme that would provide government-guaranteed low-cost wholesale lending to banks, provided they promised to pass on the savings to mortgage customers. Well, the banks that took the cash have complied by dropping interest rates, but there were no other requirements on getting the cash from the BoE, so banks went ahead and made it even more fucking impossible to get a loan.
The average cost of a house in the UK is around £160,000 right now. However, most banks that dropped their interest rates are only offering loans with ridiculous down payment requirements – we’re talking 40% deposits in some cases. 40% of £160,000 is something like £64,000 – after a rough conversion to USD, that’s over one hundred thousand fucking dollars.
Are you fucking kidding me? How have the majority of Brits not risen up as one and slain these assholes? Is there any wonder that there were riots last year in the UK? The worst part is that the country is probably one of the more well-off ones in the EU, as they never went over to the Euro and most countries on the continent are almost literally shitting their pants over the prospect of the Euro going tits-up. It doesn’t help that Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel is a complete cunt to countries like Greece. Makes me want to go burn my copy of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS in protest.