For nearly two decades, countless non-profits in the U.S. were forced to pay big banks enormous sums of money to settle or terminate bilateral contracts known as Interest Rate Swaps (IRSs). Officials at non-profits had entered into these costly contracts unaware that each contract has only one winner, and that big banks did not intend to be the losers. The effects of such monetary transfers have been catastrophic. Money-strapped non-profits had to dismiss schoolteachers, shut off water supply to thousands of poor households, and downsize many other essential public services. Local and state governments, public school districts, universities, hospitals and transit authorities from New York to Los Angeles have been among the largest hit. This book presents selected cases and highlights the lack of evidence that decision makers at non-profits had fully understood the terms and complexities of IRSs. The evident unequal bargaining power thus gives rise to the high likelihood of unconscionable contracting. Additionally, for terminating these contracts, big banks collected huge sums of money for services that had not been, and will never be, rendered. Accordingly, questions arise as to whether these termination payments are tantamount to unjust enrichment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)