Monday, March 19, 2007

Fresh Dutch Hatin' Flava

Well, well, well. ABN Amro, the world's least consistently managed major bank, is the subject of takeover speculation. The leading culprit is, apparently Barclays. This is probably good news for for the hapless shareholders of the bank, including the Children's Investment Fund, and Teh Children that get a cut of its management fee. ABN Amro, as I have ranted in the comments of this post, has, at least in the corner of the world of finance in which I operate, a reputation for capricious and muddled management.

Now, where does this leave the Brooklyn resident, and more importantly, those looking for information on the Atlantic Yards project, and most importantly, those looking to direct the flow of information on the Atlantic Yards project? It's a good question, because I am not a man known for arbitrarily hating on Dutch banks. The Dutch East India Company and its bullsh1t overpriced eighteenth century nutmeg monopoly, that's another question. Dutch East India Trading, the NY-based record label that put out records by mid-Brooklyn art-rock heroes of the 80s Phantom Tollbooth? Still another question. But I digress.

The reason why we should be interested in this news comes back to apress release from venerable libertarian Gary Popkin urging a boycott of Barclays over its naming rights deal for the ugly @ss neighbourhood-destroying new Nets arena. This would be the Barclays with a very small retail presence in the US financial services market.

Now, having watched Gary fruitlessly trawl for nominating signatures at the 7th Avenue subway stop, it's clear that he relishes being the Forlorn Hope (a term of Dutch origin, by the way, and if you click on one wikipedia link during this post, make it this one) of the New York participatory political process. But in this respect he may be ahead of the curve.

Because ABN Amro, in addition to a rather sleepy commercial and investment banking division, also has a pretty large retail banking operation in the Midwest. This is centred on its purchase, really quite a long time ago, of Lasalle Bank. Should Barclays acquire ABN, it would, in addition to providing Barclays with much better distribution for its financial products, also provide Brooklyn stadium hataz with something to reject.

If that's not enough for you, and it would be quite understandable if concerned Brooklynites boycotting a Midwestern retail bank were having a minimal effect, then consider that Barclays would also be buying a diamond bank. We know how much you Slopers hate the conflict diamonds, and think it is also fair to ask your diamond dealer if ABN or Barclays tainted your rock. Beats the hell out of trying to work out who assembled your exchange traded fund.


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