“Bankster”: Financial Expression of the Day

The Banksters Banquet

The Banksters Banquet

Bankster,” noun portmanteau of banker and gangster, pronounced /`bangk-stah/ if the user is striving for ‘street cred’ (i.e. street credibility for wannabe gangsters).  A profiteering, predatory or dishonest financier.

Usage note: This term is used primarily as a pejorative. Occupy Wall Street-type dingleberries over-apply the word to describe all those that actually occupy Wall Street jobs. Of course, in many instances the term is rightfully applied to the Fat Cats of Finance (as opposed to the armies of drones working in the industry), who are regularly fleecing the rest of society in the name of helping people save, manage and raise money.

The term is rarely used inside the financial realms because, of course, industry denizens would never think of themselves as unseemly, mobster-like characters.  Rather, they fancy themselves the erudite gatekeepers of the world’s capital flows and benefactors of mankind. Even so, one can easily imagine the most self-entitled, narcissistic money-men like Donald Trump, Anthony Mozillo, or Steven Cohen as self-dubbed banksters.

Bankster was coined by Judge Ferdinand Pecora in the early 1930’s during U.S. Senate committee hearings which he led probing the crash of 1929.  Proving we’ve suffered a severe case of déjà vu all over again, the committee findings could have been read right out of today’s newspapers. Among other things, the committee found that: “…National City sold off bad loans to Latin American countries by packing them into securities and selling them to unsuspecting investors, that Wiggin had shorted Chase shares during the crash, profiting from falling prices, and that Mitchell and top officers at National City had received $2.4 million in interest-free loans from the bank’s coffers.”


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