Surprise! Guess Where the World's Most Profitable Banking Center Is...

Recently by Simon Black: Your Monies and Positions Are Not Safe

If the global financial crisis has taught the world anything, it’s that there is massive weakness running through western banking systems.

The big banks in New York and London, once considered to be the strongest and most stable in the world, have been completely exposed for what they are – weak, toxic, and corrupt.

Between subprime debt, shaky sovereign bonds, and uncertain consumer loans, most of these banks are sitting on incalculable losses. They get around disclosing their true financial condition by using clever accounting tricks (which are completely legal thanks to government regulators).

The Mystery of Banking Murray N. Rothbard Best Price: $2.23 Buy New $7.57 (as of 07:55 UTC - Details)

As such, they can go on borrowing money from the Federal Reserve at 0% and loaning it to the US government at 2% – a practice that has essentially become the banks’ core business.

If you haven’t noticed, most banks hardly lend against anything that isn’t guaranteed by the government anymore. A Fannie Mae conforming loan is a no-brainer, but making a small business loan is a non-starter.

By way of personal experience, one company that I co-own is a very successful retail products brand. We went to the bank to obtain a loan to buy more inventory, secured by accounts receivables and contracts from mass retailers (think Wal Mart and Target).

And yet, no bank would finance us, even with our strong revenues, brand success, documented future cash flows, and excellent credit. The only loan they would grant had to be matched and secured by cash. In other words, they would happily loan $1 million… as long as we deposited $1 million in cash as collateral.

This is hardly a well-functioning system… let alone the pinnacle of global banking.

I’ve long pounded the table on banking overseas – foreign banks are often healthier, more innovative, more secure… and best of all, not controlled by your home government.

You may be surprised, for example, to learn that, according to recent FT data, the country with the most profitable banking sector (as a percentage of average capital) is none other than… Pakistan! The country’s banks posted an average profit of 36.41% of capital. Brazil, Indonesia, and Egypt rounded out the top 4, all exceeding 30%.