Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Vampire Banking System by Nessa Harcanu - fictitious literary character.

The only banking or investment system that was not in any fiscal danger while the world teetered on the precipice of economic catastrophe was the Vampire Banking System (VBS.) Technically, the consortium of investment houses that make up the VBS are not banks. However, we provide all the services that investment houses offer. VBS institutions make individual and corporate loans, but never make or buy home loans. Each member of the VBS is a private legal Corporation in the country in which it functions. Most people have never heard of the VBS because it is private, and caters mainly to vampires. However, some mortals are allowed to use the services of a member of the VBS.

While great investment firms such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and others went out of existence, the VBS flourished. No individual or company with assets in the VBS institution was ever in danger of losing one dollar.  In fact, from the spring of 2007 until the end of February 2009 the total assets of members of the VBS doubled. How was this possible? Senior members of the VBS institutions have hundreds of years of experience in dealing in precious metal, trading commodities, and knowing the difference between an opportunity and a foolish risk. Vampires running these institutions have extremely long-term perspectives on economic cycles. Most of their clients have very long-term outlooks on their investments.

Starting in the spring of 2007, my firm, Harcanu Associates, began to invest modest amounts of money in complicated trading instruments predicated on the housing disaster that soon followed. As a participant in the VBS Commodities Exchange, we used the expertise of senior traders whose experience in commodity trading goes back to the Middle Ages. Members of the VBS were long oil while the price of oil was going up, and short oil while the price of oil was going down. My firm made judicious purchases of corporate bonds of solid companies whose price had dropped so their effective yields were over 15%. We also bought shares of oil and gas tight line companies that were down 80 or 90% from their highs and now provide yields of 20% or higher. Harcanu Associates will continue to look for opportunities, but given the overall yield our current investments, it is unlikely we make any significant new investments. However, as vampires we are the most prepared for the unexpected and will continue to assure the safety of our investments.

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