China Doesn't Want Its Bankers 'Sitting There Collecting Free Money' Anymore

In other words, no more finance.
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(Getty Images)

A lot of free money to be had here. (Getty Images)

There was once a time when every few months, everyone stood up and freaked out about China in perfect unison (we're looking at you, Jim Chanos). These spasms weren't just the regular release of incredulity over China's truly insane markets, but also semi-rational responses to Beijing's schizophrenic regulatory approach, which vacillates between “go hog wild” and “malefactors will be jailed.”

But now, aside from dedicated sinophobes, China's travails carry significantly less emotional impact on western markets. Which is too bad, because we're still getting stuff like this over the transom:

China’s battle to counter rising stress in its financial system has escalated this week, with regulators making a fresh warning to banks not to engage in speculation that creates unhealthy asset bubbles and prevents money from flowing to more productive parts of the economy.[...]

Without offering details, the banking regulator warned of “severe penalties” for banks found to have committed serious violations of its new guidelines. It criticized behavior it described as “working without bending down” and “sitting there collecting free money,” adding that banks should do more to ensure money flowed to China’s “real economy.”

Far be it from Dealbreaker to impugn the wisdom of China's market regulators, but these prohibitions seem like they kind of amount to No More Banking. “Sitting there collecting free money” is actually a somewhat workable definition of finance. Not to say that banking is for the lazy – there's plenty of legwork that goes into finding that profitable perch. But asking bankers to bank without “sitting there collecting free money” is like asking rice pickers to work without, um, bending down.

Speaking of bending down, that's evidently something plenty of Chinese bankers have had to do at some point or another.

China Regulator Warns Banks Away From Speculative Activity [WSJ]

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