Banks Should Give US Lawmakers The Finger

Well, it looks like the 'Volker Rule', which will effectively bar federally insured banks from engaging in prop trading activities, will become law.

There will, however, be one notable exception on the prop trading front - US government securities. As The New York Times reports, the financial reform 'proposals say that banks will continue to be allowed to trade government bonds, including securities issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mea and other government-sponsored enterprises'.

We all know that prop trading wasn't a main cause of the financial crisis, and that the Volker Rule is just a political move engineered by lawmakers who are as much to blame for our current economic woes as any banker. And if lawmakers are going to ban prop trading, banks should give government securities a wide berth too.

Finally, MarketWatch reports that Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Greece's government bond ratings by four notches from A3 to Ba1 (ie to junk status). The move caused equity markets to ease back their gains Monday.

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