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INVESTORS LOSE BIG WITH LAX OVERSIGHT

SEC incompetence - Sept. 13

The St. Petersburg Times does a public service when it publishes letters such as in Business last Sunday. People depend on the Securities and Exchange Commission to monitor financial reports for accuracy. When it doesn't do it, the public becomes nothing but a sucker. Sure, Bernie Madoff is the big story, but what about all the other lying reports that cost John Doe so much, such as WorldCom and its $12 billion lie, Tyco and so many others.

I believed the SEC-approved reports for those companies and Crown Bank (RGF Financial). Their steady growth and profit made them appear to be a good and safe investment, but the reports were lies, approved by the SEC, causing individuals great losses.

It could not be worse than if the SEC was in cahoots with the crooks. All the while we pay their salaries.

Not only that, when I contacted people at the SEC, they said they could not discuss the matter. As a congressman said to the SEC, you could not find your way out of a dark room with two flashlights, nor hit your butt with both hands, and you are less than useless. When the public buys a stock, they may as well forget the research, as the statistics are just whatever the company may wish to tell you. Buyer, beware!

Henry L. "Harry" King, Clearwater

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Property insurance

Bad time to hike rates 25 percent

I just received my property insurance bill from Southern Oak Insurance, and it represents a 25 percent increase over last year's bill. Here we are in a recession, millions out of work and millions losing their homes, and yet insurance companies can get a 25 percent increase. What a scam. What worries me is this insurance company, which purchased my policy from Citizens, is a startup company, and if something does happen and policyholders file claims, will it just declare bankruptcy and leave us with the bills for repairs ?

Our good governor, Charlie Crist, ran on a platform of getting property insurance under control. Yeah, he sure did a good job.

John Conklin, St. Petersburg

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Bank credit reductions

At credit-cutting banks, cut bonus

The Times reports that banks recently reduced credit limits on 58 million credit cards held by people who pay on time. Minimum payments and interest rates also have been drastically increased.

Our economy needs all the help it can get, but these actions have a severe negative impact and would not be permitted in many countries. Worst of all, many of the banks were handed billions in TARP taxpayer funds.

Right now it is possible to do something about this. The administration has appointed respected attorney Kenneth Feinberg to review actions of banks receiving TARP funds, and to make recommendations about bonus payments to bank executives.

If you are concerned about this, and want the recession to end, write to your representatives and to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, asking them to urge that no bonus payments at all be allowed by any banks that have drastically reduced credit availability, and urging them to reinstate credit to people who have made payments on time.

If banks do not cooperate, the government should set up a consumer credit agency to make funds available to individuals and small businesses. So far, despite all the "bailouts," the average consumer has received nothing.

The Great Depression, which began in 1929, was caused and prolonged by a severe credit shortage, and it took 10 years and a war to end it.

Perhaps our elected representatives will realize the dangers caused by the bank actions and will do something about this situation.

Bob Anderson, Largo

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