Libor rates
The London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, establishes the interest rate that banks pay to borrow from one another. It is supposed to represent an honest estimation of the interest rate banks would offer each other for loans. The LIBOR rate dictates interest rates for over $350 trillion in investments. Several years ago, Britain’s Barclays bank discovered that if they fabricated estimates of interest rates (as opposed to reporting honest predictions), they could manipulate the LIBOR in whichever direction that would make them the most money. The LIBOR rate was long thought to be an indicator of rates on the open market but in fact this was not the case. Soon, most other big banks followed suit: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Lloyds of London, RBS, UBS, and at least ten others. These blatant manipulations resulted in more than $10 billion in investment losses for U.S. cities and towns alone. The full extent of the damage caused by this exercise in greed may never be completely known. Investment funds, pensions, retirement accounts and individual investors likely lost hundreds of billions of dollars. Advocates claim even consumers may have been affected by these small but widespread manipulations of worldwide interest rates. With Barclays disgrace, the parent company of the New Your Stock Exchange won the contract to administer LIBOR rates. However, consumer advocates say that the NYSE is no different from the previous administrator, the British Bankers Association. They claim both of these entities are akin to the fox guarding the henhouse and say the LIBOR should be administered through a neutral third party, possibly the Federal Reserve.

Pending Legislation: None

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