What do you do when the lights are off?


Right now Swedbank are publishing press releases, which makes it look like that despite the recent reported scandal of the bank - enabling money laundering to the tune of 14B SEK (1.4B EUR) - the “average Joes” and everyday citizen is flocking to the stock and buying up all they can afford.

This news came only days after:

  1. Hans Lindblad, Director General of the Swedish National Debt Office, very publicly called out the bank in what he declared actions of “serial greed”.

  2. Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen was reminded for her previous statements of denial on the matter and forced to backtrack.

  3. Reports that this is only the beginning of the bad new news cycle for the bank.

So what is the drill here, people?
What’s really going on?

- Well, there are two potential scenarios unwinding here.

Scenario #1: People are eating the dirty fish with a greater appetite than ever.

This is a very careful and reasonably well (albeit obvious) PR stunt by the bank in order to show that it has the underlying support of the “small people” (yes Carl-Henric Svanberg of BP, we still remember this).

Normally after a scandal like this, if the bank has strong business fundamentals, large brokerages will buy the bank as the share price dips. These dips occur because the small holdings (read “average Joes), tend to sell off out of emotion and disgust. For a very clear example of this, read on the Wells Fargo scandal(s) from the past few years.

By going out into the press in this case, the bank is trying to uphold its image as a business for the people and one that cares about their interests. “See – even Anders the mailman is buying up shares today because he believes in us. Nothing to see here folks, keep moving.”

So in reality the people might be angry, but Swedbank´s PR machine makes it sound like they aren’t. And if this is the case, society might just have its heart in the right place - not buying into a company who just made a huge and irreparable stupidity.

Ethics and morals: 1 / Banks: 0

Scenario #2: Scenario #1 is true (much harder to digest).

What if scenario #1 is actually happening? What if people don’t really care? What if people, who, while over their vegan dinners and electric-vehicles-are-the-future conversations, at the end of those same dinners and conversations, go home, log into their accounts and buy up shares of Swedbank on the dip in order to make a good return later?

What does that say about our positions on things? Are we basically engineered to be self-serving and do what feels good only for us? Do we brag about our “lifestyle” choices and laud these over others only to allow us to quietly choke down the fact that we really will sell out for the sake a few coins when the lights go out and no one is looking?

Ethics and morals: 0 / Banks: 1

But there is also a third potential scenario…

That people don’t actually reflect of understand these choices that they are making. The “average Joe” may be operating in moralistic silos, and really don’t see how one action is actually diluting (or enhancing) other efforts. And if this is the case, maybe we still have a chance after all.

You need to decide for yourself and own your decisions each and every day. It’s not the 1%, society, Bilderberg group, politicians or Russian chat-bots that control you and your decisions. It’s time to start taking some responsibility - whatever path you choose.

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