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经济学人:生日“不”快乐 Unhappy birthday to you

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Finance and Economics;The Dodd-Frank act;Unhappy birthday to you;

A tiny Texas bank challenges Dodd-Frank;
Call the State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, and the person answering says the bank is happy to help at any of its three (count'em) locations. Ask for the chief executive, Jim Purcell, and there is a brief pause to check where, among the 40 employees, he might be.
拿起电话,打给德克萨斯州立银行Big Spring,你会听到人工应答,“本银行及两所分行的所有工作人员将竭诚为您服务。”如果你要找行长吉姆?珀塞尔,电话里会出现短暂的停顿,似乎接线员在40名同事中搜索行长的具体位置。

America still has thousands of these tiny banks. They provide funds and senior managers to customers that may be relegated to automated phone-hell at bigger institutions. And, in the case of Mr Purcell, they bring a willingness to take a public stand against the government that executives at bigger banks generally prefer to take behind closed doors.

现在,仍有成千上万所这样的小型银行活跃在美国。他们甚至为“小客户”提供资金和资深经理的服务,尽管在一些较大的银行,这些客户可能会“沦落”到只配享有自动应答机的待遇。像Big Spring这样的银行,珀塞尔先生们非常乐意提供面向大众、平民化的服务。相比之下,较大银行的主管们普遍更喜欢在私密的会客室里提供专业化服务。
July 21st was the second anniversary of the Dodd-Frank act, the massive rewrite of America's financial system sold as an effort to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis. The birthday came just after, in characteristic form, a rule tied to Dodd-Frank for mortgage “simplification” was submitted by the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): it runs to 1,099 pages (a compliance nightmare for small banks) and is packed with clauses that could limit the availability of credit.
The heads of America's large financial institutions rail privately about the costly and contradictory demands of the Dodd-Frank act. But their criticism in public is measured, out of fear that it could prompt retribution by regulators or make them fodder for bank-bashing politicians. It is better, they say, quietly to lobby for preferential carve-outs, an approach that may serve their own interests but only adds to the sense of systemic unfairness.
Into this mess has stepped Mr Purcell, who, notwithstanding the size of his institution ($260m in deposits, making it the 177th-largest bank in Texas), has suddenly turned into a rather important banker in America. On June 21st his bank became a plaintiff in a legal challenge brought with two free-market entities in Washington, DC, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the 60 Plus Association, arguing that Dodd-Frank is unconstitutional.
尽管珀塞尔先生掌管的银行规模已经扩大(拥有2.6亿美金的存款,让其荣登德州第177家最大的银行榜单),他其实惹上了麻烦,因为自己蓦然之间已经变成美国一个相当重要的银行家。6月21日,Big Spring银行成为一宗法律纠纷的原告,与华盛顿地区的2个自由市场共同体(即Competitive Enterprise Institute and the 60 Plus Association)打起了官司,后者声称多德弗兰克法案违反了宪法。
Mr Purcell's business model, common among Texas rural banks, was to keep loans on its books, internalising both their returns and their risks. In practice, this meant making small loans (under $60,000) at relatively high rates (7%, because small loans suffer from diseconomies of scale) with short terms (five years, to protect the bank against interest-rate risk) and final “balloon” payments that are usually rolled over. This approach differs radically from that of the major banks, which syndicated mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bank has not repossessed a home in seven years, or cost taxpayers a penny, but balloon payments and high rates are targeted under Dodd-Frank, which grants regulators wide discretion to decide what is “abusive”. Mr Purcell has stopped issuing mortgages and, because of other Dodd-Frank rules, processing international remittances.
珀塞尔先生的商业模式在德州的农村银行里运用得很普遍,就是增加贷款金额,从而收获贷款利息和风险。实际上,这意味着银行在短期内(为了保护银行免于利率浮动的风险,最长贷款时间为5年),靠小额贷款(低于6万美金)获取较高贷款利息(利率为7%,因为小额贷款规模太小)。还有一项,是气球型贷款,利息往往是翻番的。这一经营方法迥异于大型银行,而且是从房利美和房贷美获得聚合的抵押资产。Big Spring在七年的时间里,从未占有一间房屋,或者花纳税人一分钱,但是ballon和高利率在Dodd-Frank政策下就遭到质疑,这要求改革者必须极其谨慎,判断什么被“滥用”。由于多德弗兰克法案关于国际汇款业务的其他规则,珀塞尔先生已经停止征收抵押资产。
As a consequence, he concludes, some good customers will go to the giant, government-backed banks, and some poorer customers may not get credit at all. His lawsuit attacks two key entities created by Dodd-Frank, the CFPB and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a group of government officials which can designate which financial institutions are too big to fail—and thus which will receive government support—with the attendant benefit of lower funding costs.
Each of the entities was given rights that may infringe on powers vested in at least one of the three traditional branches of American government, and thus to constitutional checks on power, according to the plaintiffs. They cite, for example, the method the Obama administration used to circumvent Senate approval (which is explicitly required under Dodd-Frank) for the appointment of the head of the CFPB and the technique of funding the bureau through mandated payments by the Fed.
A response by the government could come in August, an initial verdict by the upcoming election. An eventual appeal to the Supreme Court would not be a surprise. Mr Purcell faces obstacles in his case, but its very existence airs important questions about whether efforts to make finance safer have gone too far.

重点单词   查看全部解释    
mortgage ['mɔ:gidʒ]


n. 按揭,抵押贷款
vt. 抵押

approval [ə'pru:vəl]


n. 批准,认可,同意,赞同

response [ri'spɔns]


n. 回答,响应,反应,答复
n. [宗

massive ['mæsiv]


adj. 巨大的,大规模的,大量的,大范围的

availability [ə.veilə'biliti]


n. 有效,有用,有益;可得到的人(或物)

cite [sait]


vt. 引用,引证,举(例)

balloon [bə'lu:n]


n. 气球
vt. 使膨胀

compliance [kəm'plaiəns]


n. 顺从,遵从,灵活

challenge ['tʃælindʒ]


n. 挑战
v. 向 ... 挑战

protection [prə'tekʃən]


n. 保护,防卫


关键字: 经济学人 银行