Sunday, September 16, 2007

Northern Rock bank run in England

This is what I have been fearing over the last couple of months, really since June but more so since the August credit crunch.

London's Daily Telegraph explained this run by bank depositors by saying the "fears were prompted by the revelation this morning that [Northern Rock] Britain's fifth-biggest mortgage lender had to ask the Bank of England for emergency financial assistance."

Source: GoldMoney - Founder's Commentary

Do we have to worry about this in Canada?  Probably not.  Canada is tied with Australia for the soundest banking systems in the world.  The CDC insures accounts up to $100k per account.  If you have > $100k you may want to purchase alternate insurance or redistribute your holdings.  There have been only 2 bank failures since 1923, both with small regional banks in the 1980s.

Here's a huge paper from World Bank's web site outlining deposit insurance coverage per country.

Interesting to note that CMHC no longer holds a monopoly over housing mortgage insurance.  Three other companies, PMI, Triad, and AIG have offerings.

However, one thing to watch may be the drying up of liquidity in the financial sector, specifically in equity markets.  Another thing to note is that for foreign-owned banks to operate in Canada, all they need is a minimum of $10 million in capital to startup operations.

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