Cantona’s Goalfree Bank-Run
Soccer hero Eric Cantona inspired internauts but failed to impress the home team December 7 as France’s much hyped bank-run disrupted very little if any business at the nation’s 25,000 bank outlets. But that doesn’t mean the wider message failed to hit the mark.
Cantona may not have persuaded the 98% of his countrymen that hold bank accounts to close them and crash the system (see Organised Bank Run) — mainly because virtually all salaries, social benefits and health reimbursements are digitally transferred to beneficiaries’ bank accounts and most householders settle their bills in the same way.
But he and those behind the Bankrun 2010 website with its 20 like-minded social-web-based Twitter and Facebook campaigns around the world, certainly rattled some powerful golden cages.
These two French academics interviewed by France 24 (the English language arm of the French news station) make that clear:
Senior Bank Directors, some central Bankers, Government Ministers and Eurozone officials all joined hands loudly to denounce the “crass irresponsibility” of those attempting to provoke a run on banks — a clear enough sign that politicans and financiers remain very sensitive to the popular venom still directed at the global banking system and are conscious of the electorate’s wish to punish delinquent bankers and their political co-conspirators.
The mass media loved the build-up, particularly as it offered yet another opportunity to thrash still unrepentant global bankers for the impunity with which they have mindlessly wrecked the finances of the developed world since mid-2007. Their surely criminal act, has left millions in recession, homeless and jobless while also terminally savaging the Eurozone and pitching Europe into an epic monetary and economic struggle for survival.
The great French bank run — more of a flaneur than the usual revolutionary furore — was, as the disappointed media quickly pointed out, not helped by the abject failure of the footballing hero himself to make more than a token gesture in the direction of moving his millions out of various bank vaults and into his cellar.
Not that he or anyone else could have done so with any ease.In practice collapsing the banks in the way that Cantona suggested, was never going to be easy. First, the great majority of agencies do not hold large amounts of cash for security reasons. Thus it is impossible to arrive with a plastic bag and withdraw the contents of your accounts. Nor would you be better served by the ATM where withdrawals are capped weekly, even for high-value premium cardholders. Withdrawing large amounts involves giving at least 48 hours notice said a spokeman for Société Générale,both for practical reasons, but also due to regulations on money laundering. However Société Générale and other banks admitted the popularity of Cantona’s appeal was further evidence of the ongoing poor image the banks have since the financial crisis began three years ago. To improve matters, Société Générale told Journal du Dimanche newspaper it was engaged in customer satisfaction surveys and training staff in the best possible way to respond to customer animosity.
Meanwhile at least one US financial activist, former broker and options trader Max Keiser, is on a campaign to crash the US financial giant JP Morgan, over a silver hedge. He explains his campaign in a 28 minute rant on this (note) Russian TV programme available on YouTube:
And you thought the financial crisis was over? We’re into a decade or more of Sturm Und Drang.
Story: Ken Pottinger