Joe Nocera Explains LIBOR

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Former Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond leaves a Parliament hearing on July 4, 2012 in London, England. (Matthew Lloyd/Getty)

The New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera explains the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index in the context of the allegations that Barclays manipulated that key rate benchmark.


Joe Nocera

Comments [21]

Jeff from Melville

I thought that the derivatives trader who called had summed up this issue so well that I transcribed his comment and posted it to my Facebook wall! I'll cut n' paste it here as well. "What this fundamentally does is undermine the idea of what free markets actually are. Of all the free markets we have whether its equities, debt or currency, the idea that the LIBOR itself was the benchmark of what free markets are supposed to be built upon. The underlying trust between the banks that set that globally and how that was supply and demand driven has now been completely blown out of the water because now we know that if LIBOR can manipulated to this degree, then what does that mean about the debt market? What does that mean about the equity market? What does that mean about the home mortgage market? and so on and so on, etc. etc. It fundamentally changes a lot of the way the perception is about how free markets actually work. It makes the system rigged in the average persons mind, let alone those who trusted that at least we had LIBOR and we knew that was safe."

Jul. 11 2012 08:28 AM
yaya pants from nyc

re:David from Fredericksburg, VA
i'm sickened that firefoghters died to save these bankers/traders/financial masters of the universe.
they are base, lowest of the low "people" who raise taxes on the poor and don't pay their taxes/hide money offshore. Don't even get me started with the compensation for 9-11 firefighters and how quickly they turn their backs on those guys.

Jul. 10 2012 11:17 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn, NY

Hi, When will these bankers learn not to be so greedy? When will they learn to care about the people feeding them, us, the borrowers and customers? What about the people who want to just live their lives and have enough to take care of themselves and family? Don't they count? It is so disgusting the way it is now. Eugenia Renskoff

Jul. 10 2012 06:18 PM
Amy from Manhattan

"To the Point" had its main segment on this issue yesterday, & guess what? Congressional Republicans are trying to cut the CFTC's funding, & Democrats are trying to increase it. That's mentioned toward the end (in the last 1/3, I think) of the segment at

Jul. 10 2012 11:05 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

It sickens me that the people of flight 93 saved the dirtbags in the capital building by crashing in Pennsylvania.

This type of sickening nonsense is only going to worsen as Citizens United gets full traction with the upcoming election.

We'll have to edit the Gettysburg Address:

government of the monied, by the monied, for the monied, shall annihilate democracy on this earth.

Jul. 10 2012 11:04 AM
Pete from South East England, surrounded by bankers

The only thing shocking about the Libor scandal over here in the UK is that those in political authority and in the banking establishment are so childishly naive that they are shocked by what has been going on.

I don't think anyone else is at all surprised that such a greed-addled group of sociopaths was lying at every opportunity in order to trouser more loot. Weary resignation at the grotesque moral corruption of those at the top is more the order of the day.

Jul. 10 2012 11:02 AM
Kyle from Somerville Nj

Yet another reason we should blindly trust the elite class. And why did Diamond still get paid? Unreal when will the middle class rise up already?

Jul. 10 2012 10:58 AM
Max from New Jersey suburbs

Why all this fuss? The United States Federal Reserve Bank (privately owned, not a bank, with no reserves) has been artificially manipulating interest rates, grossly distorting any sense of free market, for decades.

Jul. 10 2012 10:58 AM

We do care but my God, we are just so worn down by this constant stream of financial scandal for years now and they just keep going and keep getting away with it. These people are like crack addicts when it comes to derivatives. They just keep doing it Has anyone gone to jail? Maybe one or two small fish? It has become the global world of rackets, the financial world leading the way

Jul. 10 2012 10:57 AM

but who really thinks the free market is trustworthy

Jul. 10 2012 10:56 AM
BK from Hoboken

I am not the least bit surprised that the average American doesn't know what's happening with LIBOR and its implications. The average American is not reading Mr Nocera in the NY Times nor listening to public radio. The average American gets his "news" from 30 second political ads while watching TMZ and eating a Big Mac for dinner.

Jul. 10 2012 10:56 AM
nikki from nyc

really? these guys are just gamblers and crooks. Let's go back to talking about the Higgs boson

Jul. 10 2012 10:55 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ bernie from bklyn

You forgot to add, with BOTH parties in their pockets!

Both the Democratic & Republican parties are wholly owned subsidiaries of the financial industry.

Jul. 10 2012 10:54 AM
martha from greenpoint

I am riveted by this scandal. I DID know about LIBOR because it was discussed during the financial crisis, and I have to say i listen to the BBC far more often than to US media, including WNYC.
This casually crooked banking behavior fits my worst nightmares— and the bankers' messages are somewhat reminiscent of Enron in terms of glee over that crookedness.

Jul. 10 2012 10:54 AM
Kevin from Brooklyn

As a New Yorker, I say anything that could shift financial business from London to New York is a good thing.

Jul. 10 2012 10:52 AM
Leo from queens

Brian, - I am angry!. My mortgage rate was readjusted in 2009 based on the LIBOR rate at the time and it went up by .25%. This led to an increase in my mortgage by over $80 a month.

Jul. 10 2012 10:52 AM
bernie from bklyn

can we just generalize and assume that all bankers and regulators of the financial industry are criminals. until proven otherwise, they're all part of the scam and it's become an industry that is immoral to participate in....

Jul. 10 2012 10:51 AM

How could anything these finance guys do be shocking?
Its all a big casino

Jul. 10 2012 10:50 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

Joe Nocera was shocked?

I guess he hasn't been paying attention. This latest news is not shocking - sickening, yes - but not shocking.

Jul. 10 2012 10:50 AM
Rick from Brooklyn

Could you please ask Mr. Nocera to comment on the Muni Bond fraud involving GE Capital & how these crooks were stealing from all Americans?

Thank you

Jul. 10 2012 10:49 AM
Leo from Queens

I heard that the NY Fed was aware of the LIBOR rate fixing for years - Doesn't this make the NY Fed and many of these banks into an organized criminal cartel stealing from consumers who HAVE to participate within the rigged capitalist system?

Also, the "Great Recession" saw a loss of trillions of dollars in the value of markets and property - about a 3rd of that money was not paper gains, but real money that people like us had invested in funds and 401(k)s. Who pocketed that money?

Jul. 10 2012 10:30 AM

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