Is HSBC’s bailout refusal hiding their balance sheets from others?

Whitehall sources said that they had discovered that some major UK lenders – including RBS, HSBC and Barclays – have had only 20 per cent of their balance sheets made up of “traditional” loans to UK households and firms. Meanwhile, up to 80 percent is tied up in loans to foreign nationals and companies, bond issues and other investments. As HSBC continues to say they will not take money from the government one must ask why. In the United States it is clear to almost everyone that HSBC does not want anyone to look at their books. Does the same hold true in the UK?

If 80 percent is an accurate figure, where is US and UK bailout money going? In the United States it certainly is not having the desired effect. Homeowners are not being helped, while banks acquire other banks and strengthen their own balance sheets.

On the opposite side of the coin, foreign investments and the entire global economy has been effected by toxic assets and general distrust. It is unwise to assume that the 80 percent is safe, wise, or uneffected.