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Getting paid to buy a house seems too good to be true. Yet negative interest rates have driven mortgage rates in Denmark into that Alice in Wonderland world. At first it was just for the banks, but now the public can get paid to take out a 10-year mortgage too. Isn’t that awesome? But why would banks pay you to take out a loan? Because Denmark is home to six SIFIs (Systemically Important Financial Institutions) that depend on the covered bond market for funding by repacking mortgage debt into covered bonds that are then sold, mostly, to other banks and the public through “institutional investors” investing for insurance and pension funds as well as other Funds. Easy credit and paying people to buy homes (negative mortgage rates) should push real estate prices even higher even as covered bonds transfer some risk from the bond originator to other banks and the public. But negative yields have a negative impact on bank earnings. Danske Bank has been exposed to negative interest rates longer than any other bank and have been rocked by yet another scandal as they drove retail customers to high fee “investment” products. “By the time the higher fees were included, clients were losing money. The bank nevertheless recommended the product and collected the fees.” This scandal now jeopardizes “a significant part of fee income in many banks across Europe” FSA (Financial Supervisory Authority) head Jesper Berg says. Further he stated that “If that is threatened, there is a more generic issue across Europe.” Yes indeed, if banks cannot generate profits and only bleed losses through negative rates, how long can that last? No one knows the answer to that, because there is no historic precedence. We are in unchartered waters without a lifeboat and sharks circling. No one knows when this bubble will pop, but do you really think this can go on forever? Additionally and critically, allowing the public to feel like they are participating in wealth growth has been a key tool in monetary regime transitions. Happy days are here again! Last year saw central bankers bought the most gold in 50 years and accumulation has escalated even more this year. Denmark’s central bank has begun to accumulate gold too. How about you?