I am a frequent and loyal reader of your column in NUVO magazine. In your most recent article "Banker's Don't Make Change" (Hoppe, Jan. 7-14), I was surprised to learn that Spanish banks operate effectively as nonprofit organizations with any surplus being distributed for public benefit. Spanish banks, you mention "have no shareholders and pay no dividends."
A holding in an international fund I own is Banco Santander, a 150-year-old bank in Madrid, Spain. The bank's home page lists them as having 2,300,000 shareholders and reported a profit of 9 billion euros in 2007 and paid a hefty 7.6 percent dividend yield. While they do list a number of philanthropic causes, this clearly sounds very much like a "forprofit" institution. So Banco Santander is either breaking Spanish laws or is somehow exempted.
I am not saying your facts are necessarily wrong; could it be that only certain Spanish commercial banks operate as nonprofits? In any case, you may want to check into this, and perhaps qualify your statement.
As far as the rest of your article, I absolutely agree that the conduct of many U.S. banks has been deplorable.
Link to the Santander home page: www.santander.com/csgs/Satellite?pagename=SANCorporativo/GSDistribuidora/SC_Index.
Best regards. Keep up the good work.
John P. Mayer