Avoiding loan recall in a coming recession

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

Your bank may make you bankrupt in a coming recession.

This scenario has happened to me (with no bad consequence as I was well prepared) and also to one company I unfortunately invested in.

1. The scenario.

Your banker may be quite accommodating to your requirements and give you the best interest rate. You may have been happy for a few years and have lost your ability to move to another bank (having sunk into a too highly geared or “highly leveraged” condition, being unable to lower your debt to asset ratio to suit the market).

When the values of your assets come down during the RECESSION or when the bank wants to reduce its exposure in some types of loan, you may be DELEVERAGED by your bank, and no other bank can accept your high debt ratio for any new substitution loan.

So your assets are destined for a fire sale with terrible consequences. If this is the case for a company then an administrator or liquidator will have to step in.

2. How to avoid this scenario?

1. You have to avoid receiving “special deals” and avoid any deal involving exclusive rights and sole rights to any particular bank.

(Added on 09 Feb 2017) Your bank manager may also try to trap you! See reference [1] for some interesting details.

2. You have to always keep your debt ratio acceptable by at least two different banks, and only borrow half of the necessary loan from each bank, even at the cost of paying higher interest rates.

If ownership and policy of one bank suddenly change, you can borrow all your loan from the other bank and have time to shop for a replacement for your first bank.

3. Always maintain the ability to reduce your debt to asset ratio to suit the anticipated market condition. This requires financial discipline and up to date knowledge of the market condition.

For example, in the final stage of a share market bubble or housing bubble, you should not take on additional loans and so you may miss the chance for making a quick buck but you don’t carry the risk of having a fire sale of your assets.

4. During good time, try to reduce the principal of the loan so that when bad time comes your repayment obligation can be reduced.

5. Have plans for sustainable repayments in bad time . When time is too tough, you may have to talk to the bank to show your plan for repayment and to ask the for an extension of your loan.

6. Never borrow money to deposit into an interest earning account (even in the same bank). This exposes you to a real risk of losing money while still owing a loan.

Reference:

[1]. Ex-HBOS banker ‘sold his soul for swag’, bbc new, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38842723, 2 February 2017.

 

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Collapse of online banking is not a remote risk.

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

#banking, #internet banking, #collapse .
Your bank may be on its week long holiday (for Christmas or Easter) and your internet banking is suspended. You have only some small cash to survive one week (ATM’s only give small amount of cash) and you cannot execute large payments to meet all your contractual obligations.

How may your internet banking get suspended?

For some banks, one of them is Westpac Bank in Australia, if you log in with your (short) account number and supply the wrong password twice, the internet access is locked up. The internet lock will remain until you personally turn up at a branch to request its removal.

You have to survive on your own cash, Automatic Teller Machine cash and credit/debit cards until your branch of the bank re-opens.

How may the bank get sabotaged?

If a malicious person does not like you and happens to know your short account number he can attempt log-in to that account number twice and your internet banking will be locked!

If that malicious person runs a software to serially attemp to log into each internet account twice then all internet banking of those accounts in the bank will be locked.

You can imagine the chaos and the amount of extortional LATE FEES people have to pay.

Is there a prevention for this type of chaos?

Yes, if the banks are willing to implement a simple prevention: A bank can send a random four digits code to the mobile phone of the customer for unlocking the internet banking so that the customer can attempt his next login.

They can do it but why should they when not doing it brings the extortionally large LATE FEES income?

In the mean time, you can only execute large payments few days before the long (bank) holidays and hope that the collapse does not come yet.

 

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Detecting counterfeit currency, Australian dollars.

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

There are many countries in the world using polymer currency notes. Australia, Canada, the EU, UK are among them. Being unfamiliar with the characteristics of polymer notes may expose you to significant real risk of loss by receiving counterfeit changes.
This posting shows the most effective ways to distinguish between real and counterfeit Australian polymer notes. Vietnamese polymer currency notes [3,4] (printed under technology licensed by Note Printing Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia) are also mentioned to illustrate detection techniques.
You need no tool for most of these tests but you may need to carry a genuine $50AUS note with you all the time as your sample. The tools for some of the tests are a high power (x10) magnifying glass and a UV LED torch. The technique can be readily applied to other polymer notes such as Canadian and UK ones.

 1. Hidden image.

hiddenimageFigure 1: The back side of a $50 AUS is shown with overlays of its hidden image of the Australian coat of arms next to the clear window and of its UV fluorescent smaller sized serial number. The same note without the added hidden figure is shown in figure 2 of the next section.
When view from either side against a strong background light, a hidden image is shown next to the clear window. It is the Australian coat of arms.This is the first line of defense against counterfeits.
NOTE:
There have been reports of counterfeits of Vietnamese polymer currency (made under license from Australia Note Printing) with crude hidden images [3].

2. Uncreasable polymer base

crumbled.jpg

flatdollaraustvvietFigure 1: An Australian polymer note being scrunched, note the serial number. Figure 2: The same note recovers its original condition after 5 minutes. Figure 3: Comparison of the recovery of Australian polymer note after only 10 minutes and a Vietnamese note (printed on non-Australian polymer) after 24 hours. The Vietnamese note still had not recovered.

The polymer for Australian notes is soft, uncreasable but tough and is hard to tear at the edge. Counterfeit Australian dollars and counterfeit Vietnamese currency notes appearing in Vietnam are mostly made from non-tough materials [3].
Recovery and toughness tests are carried out by scrunching and by stretching the edge with your fingers . The note will spring back and will not be torn. ===>This test is good for Australian $50 notes, the note will be replaced free of charge with a new one at any Australian bank if it is not that tough.
Polymer currency not printed on that special Australian supplied polymer will not recover and is not that tough. For example, some genuine Vietnamese notes (using Australian technology but not printed on Australian supplied polymer) have been found to be unable to withstand the scrunching test and is not that tough (see the figures of this step and see also references [1], [2], [3]).

3. Integral clear plastic window with raised number and white stars by fused ink.

clearwindow

Figure 1: Integral clear plastic window with raised numbers and white stars printed with fused ink. The star wings inside a red circle at the bottom for alignment test and the weave patterns are also seen.

3/- There is an integral clear plastic window with raised numbers and white seven pointed stars printed with fused ink. The clear window cannot be detached from the note (The test is by scratching the edge of the clear windows with your fingernails). The white colour of the seven pointed stars have been fused into the polymer and can only be scratched off but cannot be rubbed off (The test for non-fused colours is by scratching the colours on the clear windows with your fingernails.) ===> These are effective features against counterfeits.
Polymer notes of other countries even have raised features on transparent windows. .
===> Counterfeiters are currently making only stuck on windows but they have produced clear windows with metal strips to make counterfeit $100 Canadian notes. (see [5].).

4. Fused inks for the whole note, some features are raised printed.

fusedinked

Figure 1: Surface texture of $50 AUS polymer note and print quality of its smallest letters.

All inks on the polymer notes are FUSED into the polymer base. Some features on Australian polymer notes are raised printed, they are printed with raised ink and have a feel of thickness [2]. The name of the country and other prints of the same colour are raised printed.
The created touch is commonly known as the touch feel of the note.

5. See through stars for checking double sided alignment.

polymeraust100dollars

Figure 1: An $100 AUD note with its magnified fine prints and its circled see through star on the bottom left corner.

A circled see through seven pointed star for checking the perfect alignment of double sided printing is placed on each polymer note. For a $50 AUD note, the star is near to the sharp bottom corners of the transparent window. (Alignment is checked by looking at images on both sides against any strong background light.). The gaps between the seven wings of the combined pictures from both side should be regular.
===> This is an effective feature against counterfeits.

6. Fine printing.

fineprint50dollarFinePrintFinestLettersfineprint500000KarlMagn

Figure 1: The front of a $50 AUS with indicated magnified fine printings and partially enhanced Australian coat of arms that is normally invisible. Figure 2, 3: Comparison fine printing of sizes 0.5mm and 0.2mm on US dollar note on cloth material, Figure 4: Comparison fine printing on a Vietnamese polymer note printed with licensed Australian technology. Figure 5: A quality 10X magnifying glass for seeing fine features on currency notes.

The fine printings on the Australian polymer notes compare well with the fine printing on the US cloth based notes and the Vietnamese polymer notes printed with licensed Australian technology.
The comparison figure shows US letters of height of 0.5mm (or 1/50inch) in bronze colour found on the curved character line bordering the unprinted area reserved for the hidden figure. It is near the green treasury seal.
===> You need to be familiar with these printings to check their quality.
Tools:
1. 10X magnifying glass. 2. You need to carry a $50 AUS note with you all the time to make non-arguable judgment on the print quality of notes.

7. Weave patterns of fine inclined lines.

Weave50dollar.jpg

weave500000vndFigure 1: Clear window, alignment star and weave pattern on a $50 AUS note. Figure 2: Comparison figure of Vietnamese weave patterns. Vietnamese patterns are finer and more easily seen but are not as effective as Australian patterns.

Very fine weave patterns are printed on the front of the notes near the transparent window. The lines are inclined at various angles to stop counterfeiters from using inkjet printers to produce them. The lines will be badly broken up when printed by any ink-jet printer on counterfeits.

8. UV-light serial number features.
There are two serial numbers on the back side of each note. One of them lights up under UV light from common inexpensive torches. Under a short wavelength UV, a big number will appear showing the value of the note.

Note:
Counterfeiters have now used UV fluorescent ink [3].

9. Unused most effective available 1st line of defence: Holograms.

hologramvnd

HologramMagn

Figure 1: Looking at a LED torch through the anti-counterfeit hologram window of a Vietnamese polymer note reveals a hard to counterfeit pattern. Figure 2: Composite photos of the magnified views of a blue security band on a $100US note. The checker pattern on the blue security band moves smoothly downward when the viewing angle changes from left to right.

Note Printing Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia has provided Vietnamese money Printer with a hologram technology for anti-counterfeiting. The technology has been applied to the Vietnamese currency worth more than $2US. This hologram method currently appears to be the MOST EFFECTIVE first defense line against counterfeit notes.
The new 100 US dollar notes have a blue hologram bands with tiny pictures of the number 100 in checker pattern. When the viewed at varying angle from left to right these patterns smoothly move downward as if they float on the notes.
Canadian 20 dollar notes have both see through and metallic holograms. Hologram technology should be added to Australian notes.

10. Unused most effective available 2nd line of defence: Burried hidden small print or a security wire

secwireVND.jpg

secureline

Figure 1: Small print is hidden inside the base material of a Vietnamese polymer note. Figure 2: Small print is hidden inside the base material of a US currency note made of cloth material.

Small print buried inside the base material now replaces the old metallic wire buried inside the base material. It is seen when the note is hold up against a strong background light. The technology has been applied to Vietnamese notes, it would be an effective addition to Australian notes.
===> Counterfeiters have produced hidden figures but they are too crude for security small prints.
11. Unused most effective available 3rd line of defence: Iridescent ink for features.

iridVND.jpg

iridvndusd

Figure 1: A Vietnamese note is placed flat on top of the left half of an US note, with its colour changing emblem near to the colour changing “bell in a bottle” of the $100US note. Both are shone by a strong light beam at normal angle (top picture) then at glancing angle (bottom picture). The change in colour (from bronze to green) on the $100US note is obvious while the change on Vietnamese note is barely noticeable. Figure 2: The gold coloured ink for the emblem of a coiled reptile (?) on a Vietnamese note is claimed to change to a grey metallic colour (left part of the composite photo) when viewed from a glancing angle under daylight. The technology has been shown applicable to polymer notes.

4/- On a cloth based $100 US note, the picture of a bell in a bottle can be made to clearly change from bronze to green by shining a strong light beam at normal and at glancing angle. The test is easy when you have a LED torch to shine a strong light beam onto the ink and change the beam angle from normal to glancing.
The technology has been applied to Vietnamese polymer notes with less effectiveness. The gold coloured ink for the emblem of a coiled reptile (?) on a Vietnamese note is claimed by Vietnamese State Bank to change to a grey metallic colour when viewed from a glancing angle under daylight. Although this anti-counterfeit feature does not seem to work well on Vietnamese polymer notes but could be made better if adopted on Australian notes.
12. Unused most effective available 4th line of defence: Magnetic ink.

magntest

Figure 1: The ink on any genuine US note is magnetic and is clearly seen attracted by a fridge magnet.

When holding the rectangular note vertically by grabbing its upper short side, you can easily see that the ink on the US dollar notes is attracted by a fridge magnet hold in the other hand.
Tool: You need a ceramic fridge magnet for this test.
It is desirable to have this technology added to polymer notes.

13. Effective detection strategy.
The seven tests have been given are in order of increasing difficulty. They are thus in the right order for an effective detection strategy. From my searches using the Internet, I have not found any case of counterfeit AUS dollars passing more than four of these eight tests.
NOTES:
1. There are also UV torches sold to detect counterfeit currencies of most countries but high quality UV lights are required for this anti-counterfeit feature on many new notes. A high quality UV light source has UV of short wavelength and narrow spectrum with little visible light emitted. It is neither small nor cheap.
2. Iodine pens give yellow ink mark which darkens to brown on contact with starch from ordinary paper. These pens are sold to detect fake US dollars and will not work on polymer notes.
Step 14: Reducing your exposure to counterfeit currency.
When traveling and using unfamiliar currency or when your senses are not acute, you can reduce your risk to counterfeit currency by adopting these cautionary rules:
1. Carry a variety of high value notes so that you can combine them to pay each of the purchase charges without receiving any change in high value notes.
2. Only receive high value currency notes from registered banks (They are obliged to check currency notes when receiving and give you genuine usable notes).
3. Ask the banks to give you the combinations suitable for your trip until your next bank visit.

NOTES:
Counterfeiters have had decades of practice in counterfeiting Vietnamese polymer currency [3,4] (printed under technology licensed by Note Printing Australia), They have been operating with little risk of apprehension across the borders there and they are so confident that they openly advertised their counterfeits to ignorant greedy people at 30% of the values of genuine money.
They have now targeted the Australian polymer dollars. This is not a surprise as Australia is the first country to issue polymer currency (since 1988) but its currency notes are now lacking modern effective anti-counterfeit features such as holograms and tiny hidden printing. Australia is now in the process of replacing her polymer notes. Five dollars notes are being replaced by the ones with more modern design and gradually larger denomination notes will also be replaced.

References.
[1]. Chris Vedelago, Cameron Houston, Australia flooded with fake $50 notes so good they fool banks, The Courier, http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3757999/austral…, posted 28 Feb 2016.
[2]. Counterfeit Detection Guide, Could you spot a counterfeit banknote?, Reserve Bank of Australia, http://banknotes.rba.gov.au/counterfeit-detection…, accessed 20 July, 2016.
[3]. M.Anh, Cách nhận biết tiền giả 200.000 đồng, Báo VietNamNet,
http://vietnamnet.vn/vn/kinh-doanh/285822/cach-nha… posted 26/01/2016
[4]. Bắt khẩn cấp kẻ rao bán tiền giả trên Facebook, Báo VietNamNet, http://vietnamnet.vn/vn/kinh-doanh/287820/bat-kha…, posted 02/02/2016
[5]. Security Features, Bank of Canada, http://www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/bank-note-ser…, accessed 20 July 2016.
[6]. tonytran2015, Detecting Counterfeit Currency, US dollars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, https://survivaltricks.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/detecting-counterfeit-currency-us-dollars/ … posted on Jul 15, 2016.

 

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Slide Sky-Disks with grid masks showing azimuths and altitudes.

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).
Figure: Illustration of a rotatable Sky map with an overlaid grid mask showing azimuths and latitudes of stars for a user at 40 degree latitude.

(Note: There was a software error which initially set the publication date wrongly on October 19th, 2016. The true publication date is Nov 3rd, 2016.)

It is an advantage to know the arrangement of stars for the nights before engaging in nightly activities such as going to the country side or navigating your way by stars. It is difficult to have a good display of the night sky with current commercially available circular star maps as they are equidistant-azimuthal and have a lot of distortion for visualization whereas easy visualization requires that groups of stars should appears with the same shape as actually observed in the sky and the constant altitude curves should be nearly circular around the zenith point.

The device given in this posting gives the desired displays with low distortion for the night sky. I give it the name Slide Sky-Disk (which is similar to the name Circular Slide Rules of similar looking mathematical devices used before the age of calculators).

It is made of two maps of stars and of interchangeable viewing grids to give elevation and azimuth angles of stars to observers located near to 0 degree, 20 degrees, 40 degrees and 60 degrees in latitude.

It will be useful to people who want to learn the stars by themselves or need to refresh their nightly detailed knowledge of the sky before going out. It is low cost, light weight, small, flexible, durable and quite portable. If made from waterproof materials, it may also be used as a low cost standby star maps for pilots, travelers, hikers and seamen (My is made from CD discs, flexible CD cases and plastic films, they are all waterproof).

The device is made by following instructions in the next 4 steps. PLEASE READ THROUGH ALL STEPS BEFORE STARTING ANY CONSTRUCTION.

Step 1: Making the base maps for the Slide Sky-Disks.

Figures 1, 2: Two base maps.

The two maps of the North and South regions of the Celestial sphere made by Inversion Projection (Stereoscopic Projection) are used for the Northern and Southern hemispheres respectively.

The maps are to be printed on both sides of a thick sheet of A4 paper to make a base disc. Alternatively they can be printed on ordinary A4 papers and pasted on the opposite sides of a thick disk used as the base disc. I used 2 CD discs and print the maps as their labels.

Step 2: Making rotatable overlaying masks giving azimuth and elevation on the Slide-Sky-Disks.

Figures 1, 2, 3, 4: The grid masks for observers at 0 degree, 20 degrees, 40 degrees and 60 degrees in latitude.

A grid mask is placed on top of the base map to read the azimuth and the elevation of the stars drawn on the map. The grid masks must match the type of coordinates used for drawing the  Celestial sphere. An observer must use the mask drawn for his latitude.

Description of curves on grid masks:

The smallest circle of each grid is graduated into 12 intervals of 30 degrees each to show the azimuth angle of the star or direction from True North (or True South for Southern latitudes). The curves radiating from the center represent the great circles from the zenith to the terrestrial points of 0 degree (North), 30, 60, 90 degree (East) , 120, 150, 180 degree (South), 210, 240, 270 degree (West), 300, 330 (The North line points toward the map’s center in Northern hemisphere and away from it in Southern hemisphere.). The red circular arcs represent the constant elevation circles in the sky. They are placed at 30, 60 and 90 degrees from the zenith. The circle at 90 degrees from the zenith represents the horizon on flat locations. The graduation can also be read from the horizon circle toward the center to show the elevation angle of the star. The position of any star in the sky can be read against the grid.

Four grid masks are given here for use with both Celestial spheres. You have to select one that is based on a latitude nearest to your current latitude.

For latitude between 0 degree and 10 degree select the mask based on 0 degree latitude.

For latitude between 10 degree North and 30 degree select the mask based on 20 degree latitude.

For latitude between 30 degree North and 50 degree select the mask based on 40 degree latitude.

For latitude between 50 degree North and 70 degree select the mask based on 60 degree latitude.
You can make all four masks as each can be easily fit into and removed from the device as you move to a location with a different latitude.

Make each mask with the CORRECT size and print it at the CENTER of an uncut A4 waterproof transparent film by a photocopier. If this cannot be done you may have to print the mask on an ordinary piece of paper, place a transparent film on top of it and trace the grid lines onto the waterproof transparent film using a pen with waterproof ink.

Step 3: Making the grid holder for a Slide-Sky-Disk.

Figure: The grids holder is made from a flexible CD case.

The grid holder is made from a flexible plastic CD box. The front circular window has been cut for viewing the map. A small rear window is cut for moving the map. A grid is drawn onto a square transparent film and fitted to the front cover. It is to be held in place by the four plastic lugs (visible in the picture). The base map will be fitted on to the holding stub on the back cover and it can be rotated relative to the case and the grid on the front cover.

Step 4: Final assemblage of a Slide-Sky-Disk.


slide-sky-disk

Figure 1: Photograph of an actual Slide Sky-Disk fitted with a mask for 40 degree. Figure 2: Photograph with Sky-Disk rotated anti-clockwise by about 25 degrees.
Push  the CD with the picture of the chosen hemisphere onto the holding stub of the CD case. Make sure that it can be easily rotated inside the holder. Close the case and the Slide Sky-Disk is ready for use. The disc is rotated by access through the small window on the back cover.

Step 5: Using the Slide-Sky-Disks.

The sky at night is represented by the circular sky map centered on the corresponding Celestial pole under the transparent window carrying the grid showing azimuth and altitude (that is the disc rotates under the viewing window).

1/- Check that the center cross of the grid is on the declination line corresponding to your required latitude.

2/- Rotate the map to place the current date on the opposite side of the window. The map and the grid gives the view of the mid-night sky for the date.

3/- Then rotate the core map by half a division (15 degree on the equator or half a month) to decrease or increase the Right Ascension for every hour ahead of or after midnight. R.A. increases in the clockwise direction for Northern and counter-clockwise for Southern hemisphere.

4/- As the latitude for the grid is not being exactly that of the observer and the true time at the location is not being equal to the zonal time the slide star disk may not give very accurate values of elevation and azimuth angle for the stars within 30 degree of the zenith. However the lines joining these stars still give accurate directions and they help identifying other stars near the horizon. The stars near the horizon can be read from the Slide Sky-Disk with more accurate values of azimuth and elevation angles.

Examples:

The sky of December 21st can be visualized for any latitude using these Slide Sky-Disks in combination with a Slide Sky Map [3] . You may have to click on each image to have a clearer view.

Figures 1,2: Night sky on Dec 21st at latitudes of 60°N, 40°N. Figs. 3,4: of 20°N. Fig 5,6,7: of 0°. Fig 8,9: of 20°S. Fig 10, 11: of 40°S and 60°S.



References.



[1]. tonytran2015, Finding North and time by stars. Posted on August 28, 2015

[2]. tonytran2015,  . Posted on May 25, 2016

[3]. tonytran2015, Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars, posted on October 7, 2016

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Navigating with an AM MW radio receiver, posted January 17, 2017The Scorpius constellation, posted January 8, 2017, The Orion constellation., posted December 26, 2016, Rice as emergency food.Using GPS in off-grid situationsSlide Sky-Disks with grid masks showing azimuths and altitudesSlide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars.

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