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"First used by Léon Degrelle, Belgian fascist politician and journalist, in 1937 as a pejorative term for high financiers.[1]

  1. A banker who is seen as criminally irresponsible, or as extorting bailout money from the taxpayers.[2]

e.g. "Hearing Sir Fred the Shred and the rest of them utter some hedged half-apologies has not made the public feel any warmer to the banksters.[3]

A portmanteau or blend word derived from combining "banker" and "gangster." Usually referred to in the plural form "banksters" to refer to a predatory element within the banks and financial services industry, such as those offering "too good to be true" adjustable mortgage rates for home buyers. e.g. "The banksters just foreclosed on my mom's Mcmansion, and now she's living in her SUV."[4]

The term was popularized by (among others) the economist Murray N. Rothbard, used by him to attack what he held to be the inherently fraudulent nature of Fractional reserve banking (as opposed to 100% gold reserve banking, which he defended as the only honest form of banking). Frequently used in reference to The Fed.

In more recent popular usage, often refers in a vague way to the forces of "Wall Street", or to those persons in the financial services industry who grow rich despite the continued impoverishment of those who depend on their services, and despite their apparent inability to succeed in business without constant government assistance (see Cronie capitalism).

"The Fed is an organized cartel of banksters, who are creating inflation, ripping off the public, destroying the savings of the average American."

"The banksters crashed the economy, but thanks to generous federal bailouts, they won't have to sacrifice their fat bonuses."[5]



- Mayer Amschel Rothschild (Head of the Jewish Rothschild elitist banking-finance family)

See Also


  1. Jean-Michel Étienne, Le mouvement rexiste jusqu'en 1940, Paris, Armand Colin, Cahiers de la fondation nationale des sciences politiques, n° 195, 1968, p.49
  3. 2009, February 15, Andrew Rawnsley, The cabinet's quarrels are a warning of the storms ahead, The Observer,

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