ANALISTS CAUTION BANKING CRISIS MAY NOT BE OVER



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ANALISTS CAUTION BANKING CRISIS MAY NOT BE OVER



Some U.S. banks began repaying billions of dollars in government bailout funds and are urged to help the US with economic recovery. As U.S. banks repay billions of dollars in government bailout funds, President Obama held meetings with top bank executives in December, telling them it is time to return the favor. "The way I see it, having recovered with the help of the American government and the American taxpayer, our banks now have a greater obligation to the goal of a wider recovery," President Obama said.

But the president may be giving the financial sector too much credit. "It was in a free fall and it was a very scary period," said economist Martin Neil Baily said. Baily is an author and former adviser in the Clinton administration, says after the failure of Lehman Brothers towards the end of 2008, many of the world's largest banks feared the worst as the collapse of the housing bubble exposed investments in risky subprime loans. "The banks that came closest were Citibank, Bank of America and if those had not been supported by the government, I think it might have caused a cascading crisis that would have been much worse than the one we actually had," Baily added. Although he says the worst is over, Bailey says the banking crisis is not.
More than 130 US banks failed in 2009, the most since 1992. He predicts high failure rates for smaller, regional banks in 2010 as commercial real estate loans come due. "So there may actually be a worsening of credit availability to small and medium sized business in the next year or so," Bailey said.

Analysts say the biggest problem is high unemployment, which weakens demand and makes banks reluctant to lend. But US Bankcorp chief Richard Davis sees the situation differently. "We're probably more optimistic than the pundits might be," Davis said. "With that in mind, we're putting everything we can, it's the coal to our engine, lending is what we do. And so we want to make more loans. We have to find a way to qualify more people and not put ourselves at risk."

While some economists predict continued recovery in 2010, Baily says the only certainty is that banks are unlikely to make the same mistakes - twice. "You know, forecasting's become a very hazardous business so I don't want to commit myself too much. I don't think we know exactly what's going to happen but it's certainly possible that we could get very sluggish growth over the next year or two and possibly even growth could stall out if it doesn't get underway," Bailey said. If the so called "double dip" scenario happens, in which the economy starts to shrink again, Baily says it would make a strong case for a second stimulus - something the Obama administration hopes will not be necessary.

 

11. What are the main instruments of financial system in order to increase confidence in the security of financial institutions and to prevent the so-called “runs” on banks by depositors seeking to withdraw their deposits in times of economic crisis?

12. They say that economic crisis usually starts with the crisis of financial system. What do you think subject to this statement? Comment it from your own point of view. Describe the nowadays situation within the frameworks of financial systems in different countries.

13. Which role does a government play within financial system of a country? How can it assist the banks during the periods of financial crisis? Before answering read and translate the following radio broadcast and explain its business and linguistic peculiarities:

 

THE GROWING CREDIT CRISIS FORCES MANY COUNTRIES

TO SEEK GOVERNMENT HELP

As the credit crisis grew worse, companies sought loans and aid from the government. The Treasury’s answer was a seven hundred billion dollar rescue plan. On September fifteenth, Lehman Brothers, a one hundred fifty-eight year-old investment bank, sought legal protection from its creditors. It had failed to find a buyer after months of searching. With over six hundred billion dollars in debt, Lehman's failure was the largest bankruptcy in United States history. At the same time, the nation's biggest insurance company, American International Group, had gotten into trouble selling credit default swaps. These are contracts similar to insurance that protect the holder against credit risk.

Credit rating agencies downgraded A.I.G. because of concerns it could not honor its contracts. Unable to get new loans, A.I.G. asked for government help. The Federal Reserve agreed to loan A.I.G. eighty-five billion dollars in return for eighty percent of the company. But it was not enough. By November, the government had extended a total of about one hundred fifty billion dollars in aid to A.I.G — the most to any single company during the crisis.

As banks refused to lend, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson proposed a plan to loosen credit markets by buying risky assets. Congress approved the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of Two Thousand Eight on October third. The bill provided seven hundred billion dollars to buy hard-to-value securities from banks. But within weeks, the government changed plans. The Treasury moved to invest two hundred fifty billion dollars directly in banks to help them lend money again. Lack of credit not only hurt banks but manufacturers, too. Falling car sales threatened America's carmakers. The big three automakers - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - told Congress that they needed loans or they faced bankruptcy.

In December, President Bush offered G.M. and Chrysler over seventeen billion dollars in loans. As the year ended, the Federal Reserve tried to support economic growth by lowering its main interest rate to nearly zero for the first time. But there was one more bad surprise. New York money manager Bernard Madoff admitted he had cheated investors out of fifty billion dollars. The news only added to the sense that two thousand eight was the worst economic year since the nineteen thirties.

 

14. What does World Bank mean? Which main functions and widely spread programs of this bank system do you know? Read and translate the following broadcast record in order to get some additional information subject to the problem under discussion. Let’s analyze this text from the positions of business and linguistics:

 

DEVELOPMENT MARKETPLACE: TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION

Many people around the world are trying to create new kinds of businesses. Entrepreneurs organize, build and support their business proposals. They may have ideas about new products. Or, they may have ideas about new ways to do business. Social entrepreneurs are similar to business entrepreneurs. However, social entrepreneurs try to improve conditions in their communities. They organize, build, and support new and creative projects. Their goal is to improve people’s lives. Their work is very important. Usually, social entrepreneurs do not receive much support for their work. However, the World Bank is trying to change this. The bank recognizes the need for social entrepreneurs and has developed a special program to offer them support.

About every eighteen months, the World Bank brings together social entrepreneurs in a friendly competition called the Development Marketplace. During the gathering in Washington D.C., competitors explain their ideas to groups that can provide financial and technical support.

At the end of the two-day competition, winners are given money to carry out their plans within one year.

The World Bank competition serves as a chance for the development community to share ideas. Non-governmental organizations, aid groups, government agencies, educators and private companies are able to discuss new ways to solve social problems. Anyone can compete in the Development Marketplace. The only requirement is that their idea be creative, designed to change people’s lives, and help end poverty. Also, other people must be able to copy the idea in their own communities. A group of judges from the World Bank and other organizations chooses the winners.

One hundred eighteen social entrepreneurs from fifty-five countries were in Washington last week for this year’s Development Marketplace. The judges chose thirty winning projects from twenty-two countries. Africa was the area with the biggest number of winners – fourteen. India had the largest number of winners from a single country with five. Benin, Cambodia, Kenya and Senegal each had two winners. Each competitor proposed a project in one of three areas: water supply, healthy living conditions and energy services for the poor. The winning projects shared five million dollars. Each project received up to two hundred thousand dollars. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz described the winners as imaginative people with the ability to solve difficult development problems.

Each social entrepreneur competing at the Development Marketplace offered a creative approach to ease world poverty. One of the winners was a proposal for China to use native freshwater shellfish called mussels to clean polluted lakes. David Aldridge works for Cambridge Environmental Consultants. He says that mussels can clean about forty liters of water a day by taking in organic matter. The project will start in three Chinese lakes. If it is effective, it may expand into more lakes. Mister Aldridge says the mussels also will produce pearls – a kind of jewel. Local people will be able to sell the pearls for money.

A winning proposal in India is called “Fences for Fuel.” It uses the native Jatropha plants. Jatropha plants produce oil that can provide a clean and renewable form of energy. The group Humana People to People India plans to work with farmers’ groups in forty villages in the Jaipur area. The groups will establish a supply of the plants for villagers. The villagers can use the plants to build fences around their gardens and fields to protect the soil.

Another winner at the Development Marketplace was a proposal to use solar power to make ice. Carl Erickson is the president of Solar Ice Company. The United States-based company is trying to help farmers in Kenya. Money from the World Bank will help the company establish milk collection centers near farming communities. The centers will use solar-powered technology to keep milk cold and to store it overnight.

In Kenya, dairy farmers collect cow’s milk in the morning and in the afternoon. The morning milk can be sold at market. But, the afternoon milk often goes bad before it can be transported to collection centers is larger cities. Now, new Solar Ice Collection Centers will permit dairy farmers to sell their afternoon milk. Farmers could increase their earnings by up to twenty dollars a day. Carl Erickson estimates the project could affect as many as six hundred fifty thousand people in farming areas throughout Kenya.

Another winning proposal at the Development Marketplace will provide energy to communities in Nepal that lack electricity. The American-based company EcoSystems will use World Bank money to pay for a pedal generator. This device looks like a bicycle. People who ride the pedal generator can produce an environmentally safe source of power. This power can charge a large twelve-volt battery, which in turn, can charge several small six-volt rechargeable batteries. The small batteries can be transported to farming areas in Nepal for a small cost. EcoSystems believe its project will support two hundred homes in Nepal.

Not all of the projects competing at the Development Marketplace were winners. Yet, many creative ideas were presented. For example, the organization Accion Contra el Hambre, or A.C.H., proposed a safe drinking water system for Palestinians in Gaza. The water supply in the Palestinian territories is not good. In addition, bottled drinking water transported into the territories costs too much for poor people to buy. The A.C.H. proposed a device to clean water using the sun’s energy. The group calls the device a solar still. It looks like a big box with a glass top. The sun heats water in the bottom of the box. The water changes into steam. This steam is trapped on the glass inside the box. It becomes condensation or drops of clean water. The water drops are then collected in another container for drinking. A.C.H says its solar still can clean chemical and biological pollutants from water. It says homes throughout the Palestinian territories could be equipped with solar stills.

Safe drinking water is also a problem in Mozambique. Water wells become empty during the country’s dry season. As a result, women and children spend huge amounts of time collecting and carrying water from other sources. Rainwater harvested in underground storage containers can ease the situation. A group called Practica Foundation wants to capture rainwater and guide it into natural aquifers. An aquifer is an underground layer of rock or sand that can contain water. Wells can be dug into aquifers. Water that passes from an aquifer into a well could be lifted out using a rope pump system. Practica Foundation estimates about ten thousand liters of water could be collected during a series of heavy rains. An estimated eleven thousand people in Mozambique would be affected. The rainwater harvesting system could be built locally with low-cost equipment.

The Development Marketplace started in nineteen ninety-eight as a small competition within the World Bank. The goal was to provide money for projects that were not able to find money through usual financial supporters. Over the years, the competition has grown into an international event. About forty-two million dollars has been awarded to one thousand projects in more than seventy countries. More than two thousand five hundred people entered ideas for this year’s competition.

 

15. Which famous world banks do you know? Describe their major activities briefly. Hope the following broadcast report will help you to answer this question:

 

DEVELOPMENT BANKS: LENDERS WITH INTEREST IN PROGRESS

Development banks are international lending groups. They lend money to developing countries to help fuel economic growth and social progress. They are not part of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or the United Nations. The money comes from member countries and borrowing on world markets. Development banks provide long-term loans at market rates. They provide even longer-term loans at below market interest rates. These banks also provide technical assistance and advice.

There are four main ones. The oldest is the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. It began in nineteen fifty-nine. President Juscelino Kubitschek of Brazil had proposed a bank to aid economic growth in the Americas. The Organization of American States agreed. Today the bank is worth over one hundred thousand million dollars. It holds only four percent of that. The other money is guaranteed by its members.

Forty-seven countries around the world own the bank. The United States owns thirty percent as the largest shareholder. Twenty-six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean borrow from the bank.

The African Development Bank has its roots in an agreement signed in Sudan in nineteen sixty-three. It is based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

There are twenty-four members in the Americas, Europe and Asia in addition to the fifty-three in Africa. The country with the most votes in the bank is Nigeria, followed as of July by the United States, Japan and Egypt.

The Asian Development Bank started in nineteen sixty-six. It is based in Manila, in the Philippines. There are sixty-three members, mostly in Asia. Like all development banks, it is supervised by a Board of Governors.

Traditionally the bank president is Japanese. Japan and the United States were equally the top shareholders at the end of last year, followed by China, India and Australia. The bank says Indonesia has borrowed the most, but China, Pakistan and India have also been major borrowers in recent years.

The newest of the four main development banks is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It opened in nineteen ninety-one as the Soviet Union broke apart. The main office is in London. The United States is the largest shareholder. The bank was formed to support economic growth and democracy in Central Europe.

 

16. “English has become the de facto international language of finance.” Do you agree with such statement? Prove your point of view subject to the international language of financing after reading and translation of the following media record:

 

THE LONG AND SHORT OF CORNERING THE MARKET

IN GLOBAL FINANCE LINGO

Today we look at the jargon of international finance. With giant American corporations leading the drive toward the globalization of business, English has become the de facto international language of finance.

SALIH NEFTCI: "Financial market terminology is only in English. If you don't speak English, you basically cannot do it." That's financial economics professor Salih Neftci, who is designing a groundbreaking new program in Global Finance for the New School in New York City. Like English itself, Neftci is all over the globe, with teaching and other responsibilities in China, the United States and Europe.

SALIH NEFTCI: "Even if you speak French, Spanish, German or Mandarin - which are great languages! - finance is only English. It's actually very mundane English. It's not going to make you look like a very big intellectual. But it has its purpose and it works. The purpose is to make money the best way. The notion of hedging, for example." Hedging, Neftci explains, is what banks and other businesses do to offset the risk that the price of their asset will rise or fall contrary to their wishes. Nefcti notes that financiers often take seemingly contrary positions to protect their assets.

SALIH NEFTCI: "A position is a bet. I bet that the oil price will go up. So I bought oil. Now I look at the conditions. It doesn't look that good. It's best to get out before your losses accumulate. Then you unwind the position. That's what means: unwind the position. Make the position reverse, and get out of your commitment." It all depends on whether investors are facing a bull market or a bear market. A bull market is a sustained period in which investment prices rise higher than their historical average. A bear market means investment prices are lower. Of course one can diversify one's strategy - that is, spread out one's risks. A bearish spread is one that bets that the price of a security will decline, and a bullish spread is a bet that the price will rise. A butterfly spread mixes both bull and bear. Whichever strategy is adopted, Salih Nefcti says financial people don't usually engage in punting.

SALIH NEFTCI: "You think [for example that] oil prices are going up [and] you buy oil. That's punting. You just take pure speculation. Usually they don't do that. They buy something; they sell something. For example, they're buying Indian stocks [and] they are selling Chinese stocks. They can either do it with cash, or they can do it just by positioning themselves, which is long-short. So I am long India, I am short China." Long and short are specialized forms of buying and selling.

SALIH NEFTCI: "Suppose you think something is going up, some asset like stocks. There are two ways to do it. You put your hand in your pocket, and get the money. You give your money. You get the asset. Going long is not that. "Going long is, I go to a broker and say 'I will buy it in one month.' I sign the contract; I don't even put the deposit [down], but I committed myself. If during this one month the value goes up, I don't even have to buy it. I just sort of agree on getting the difference in the price. 'Long' and 'short,' these are very quick words, but that is why it is useful. Because it is very practical." The future will always be an abstraction until it becomes the present. At the end of the day, world agricultural markets still deal with down-to-earth physical things that we depend on or enjoy. Finding that balance between future possibilities and present realities can help a financier to corner the market in some so-called soft commodities like sugar, salt, cotton or coffee.

SALIH NEFTCI: "Cornering the market means I went on the market, I got promises from people to deliver to me something, say coffee, at the same time I bought all the physical coffee. Notice I am buying the promise, but I am also buying the coffee. So when it the time comes to deliver, they're not going to be able to find it. And then coffee prices will go up and I am the one who is holding coffee, so I benefit. It's illegal in America. If the feds nail you [charge you] with that, well, it's going to be pretty bad." Indeed, like international finance itself, the specialized English terms used by the men and women who trade in the international marketplace are complex. However, Nefcti says that finance people like to keep it all very simple:

SALIH NEFTCI: "Unfortunately, financial markets have one dimension. They are not interested in losers. They are only interested in winners!" Those are terms almost anyone can understand.

 

16. Prepare your own oral composition, “The role of financial system under the rules of private enterprise system”. Let’s discuss your composition.*

 

 

*С дополнительными материалами для изучения и закрепления пройденной темы Вы можете ознакомиться в разделе Приложения (Chapter VIII “REFERENCE SOURCES”; APPENDIX XVI).

UNIT XVII

COMMERCIAL BANKING

I. Listening

CREDIT CARDS ARE EASY TO GET, BUT HARDER TO PAY

 



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