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Record bank profits…yea!

December 7, 2011

So, it was another year of record profits for our Canadian banks.

Not just a good year. No, they had a record year.

And they didn’t just beat last year’s profits. profits were up 21% at the Bank of Montreal; 58% at TD.

In business-speak, they call these figures “robust”.

Nor was this a one-year spike in profits. The banks have been setting new year-to-year records since the late 1990’s.

Half the families in the country may be dead broke – but at least our banks continue to do well.

But I guess it’s not hard to have record profits when you get to charge 20% interest on all those dead-broke families maxed out credit cards.

But, the banks are up to their eyeballs in condo developments and heavily into the property bubble. Last week The Economist reported that the Toronto property market was at least 25% overpriced – and that international investors are talking “bubble” and “crash”.


No one here wants to talk about that.

Far better the media swallow their tongues than focus too much light on the subject.

Better to wait until the bubble bursts, and pretend they never saw it coming.

Besides, they too are invested heavily in the new urban middle-class zeitgeist.

Why just last night on CTV’s primetime news (the #1 news program in the city) the newscasters were laughing with each other over recent health findings that proved “sitting on your ass does, in fact, make your ass bigger”.

“Isn’t it funny that watching TV makes your butt bigger?” she says to her co-anchor.

“Chuckle.” “It is. It’s a good thing I go to the gym”, he says back to her delightfully.

What wonderful irony we were all participating in. I was, in fact, sitting on my ass watching TV. I was watching the news tell me that sitting on my ass watching TV will make my ass fatter. And the newsanchors were sitting. And I was sitting. And we are all laughing at our absurdity.

It was all so wonderfully witty.

Almost postmodern.

“And did you hear? The banks had a record year of profit.”

Doing well, despite the fact the overall value of the stock market has dropped 10% this year. Our economy is now worth trillions less than it did last year – and Canadians are living with record debts, and earlier in the news show they announced that the gap between the rich and the poor has never been bigger (the top 10% now have incomes on average 10x’s the bottom 10%. It was 4x’s larger in the 1960’s, 8x’s larger by the end of the ’90’s.)

Yes indeed; another year of record profits…

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