Sprott plans a gold bank without loans or leverage

Section:

Sprott Makes a Bet on a Different Type of Bank

By Boyd Erman
The Globe and Mail, Toronto
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/streetwis...

Eric Sprott, one of the most vocal critics of the global financial system, wants to start a bank. But it won't be like any bank most people are used to seeing.

Mr. Sprott and the asset management firm he founded, Sprott Inc., are investing in an Ontario-based currency trading company known as Continental Currency Exchange Corp. They, along with the current management of Continental, are applying to federal regulators for permission to turn the 17-branch operation into the Continental Bank of Canada. They expect to get a decision early next year.

The bank Mr. Sprott and his partners envisage would seek to address all the things that Mr. Sprott has warned against in the global financial system, such as too much leverage and a lack of confidence in paper currency.

Continental Bank would take deposits, but it would make no loans, unlike most current banks that are built on a model of lending out far more money than they actually have on hand.

... Dispatch continues below ...



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Sona Drills 85.4g Gold/Ton Over 4 Metres at Elizabeth Gold Deposit,
Extending the Mineralization of the Southwest Vein on the Property

Company Press Release, October 27, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Sona Resources Corp. reports on five drillling holes in the third round of assay results from the recently completed drill program at its 100 percent-owned Elizabeth Gold Deposit Property in the Lillooet Mining District of southern British Columbia. Highlights from the diamond drilling include:

-- Hole E10-66 intersected 17.4g gold/ton over 1.54 metres.

-- Hole E10-67 intersected 96.4g gold/ton over 2.5 metres, including one assay interval of 383g of gold/ton over 0.5 metres.

-- Hole E10-69 intersected 85.4g gold/ton over 4.03 metres, including one assay interval of 230g gold/ton over 1 metre.

Four drill holes, E10-66 to E10-69, targeted the southwestern end of the Southwest Vein, and three of the holes have expanded the mineralized zone in that direction. The Southwest Vein gold mineralization has now been intersected over a strike length of 325 metres, with the deepest hole drilled less than 200 metres from surface.

"The assay results from the Southwest Zone quartz vein continue to be extremely positive," says John P. Thompson, Sona's president and CEO. "We are expanding the Southwest Vein, and this high-grade gold mineralization remains wide open down dip and along strike to the southwest."

For the company's full press release, please visit:

http://sonaresources.com/_resources/news/SONA_NR19_2010.pdf



Taking it a step further, customers who don't trust government-issued currency may some day be able to keep their deposits in the form of gold and other precious metals that they could tap for everyday purchases. That idea is in keeping with Mr. Sprott's musings about chequing accounts backed by precious metals -- customers could deposit gold, then make purchases by cheque and have their accounts debited accordingly.

"Our firm, Sprott Inc., and Eric have taken a very committed view that the financial system requires a substantial reset," Sprott Inc. chief executive officer Peter Grosskopf said in an interview. Given that, "Eric has always thought that offering consumers access to an unlevered bank is a good idea," he said.

In a levered financial system, relatively small losses by banks on their loans and investments can push a bank close to collapse. This bank would have no leverage and instead would make money thanks to profit margins on services such as selling foreign exchange and precious metals.

"It's the old commerce model of providing service instead of credit," said Scott Penfound, vice-president of operations at Continental Currency.

Mr. Penfound will stay on to manage the business and he and his family will continue to own 49 per cent of the company. Mr. Sprott and Sprott Inc. would together control 51 per cent of the bank, with Mr. Sprott having the larger share. Sprott Inc.'s stake would be a passive one, Mr. Grosskopf said.

Fear of financial system meltdown and a loss of value in paper currency as central banks print more and more money drove gold to record highs approaching $2,000 (U.S.) an ounce before last week's big selloff in financial and commodity markets.

Much of the buying has been driven by people who share Mr. Sprott's concerns about the financial system and who believe that some day gold and silver may once again be the foundation of commerce. Mr. Sprott wrote in a July commentary that he believes that "gold and silver are the ultimate alternative for a chequing account in a vulnerable banking jurisdiction."

One of the criticisms of gold as an alternative to paper currency has always been that it is not very practical. Secure storage is an issue, and it is not easy to take a few ounces to the store to buy groceries or to pay for the dry cleaning.

Being able to write a cheque against an account at an institution that actually holds physical gold or silver brings the idea of precious metals as an everyday currency closer to reality.

To be sure, the gold-based banking idea is a long-term goal. For Continental, having a stamp of approval from regulators will set it apart from other companies operating in the foreign exchange and metal sales businesses, Mr. Penfound said. The company will also have more capital, thanks to the new investors, to expand and to deal with regulatory requirements.

Another more immediate benefit of a banking licence is access to the interbank foreign exchange trading system, which would allow Continental to offer more services to customers, Mr. Grosskopf said.

For example, instead of simply offering to exchange Canadian dollars for foreign currency at its branches around Ontario, Continental could sell its clients pre-paid currency cards that they could take when travelling to foreign countries.

"We can sleep at night because risk is not something in the model," Mr. Penfound said.

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Prophecy Platinum Drills 120.9 Meters
Grading 1.26 g/t PGM+Au at Yukon Wellgreen Project

Company Press Release
Monday, September 26, 2011

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada -- Prophecy Platinum Corp. (TSX-V: NKL, OTC-QX: PNIKF, Frankfurt: P94P) has announced the drill results received from its 2011 drilling Wellgreen platinum group elements, nickel, and copper project in the Yukon Territory.

Borehole WS11-188 encountered 457 meters of mineralization grading 0.47% nickel equivalent (including 0.72 grams per ton platinum, paladium, and gold) from surface to the footwall contact. Within this larger swath of mineralization, the hole encountered a high-grade section of 17.8 meters of 3.14 grams per ton platinum, palladium, and gold, 1.03% nickel, and 0.74% copper (1.77% nickel equivalent).

The hole was drilled completely outside of current resource boundaries, between the East Zone resource and the West Zone resource that was reported in the company's press release no July 14, 2011.

The high-grade intercept located between the two resources not only demonstrates that the East and West Zone resource form a single, geologically contiguous body but also indicates that the higher-grade material in the East Zone continues to the west and at depth at Wellgreen.

For drill result tables and maps, please see the company's full press release here:

http://www.prophecyplat.com/news_2011_sep26_prophecy_platinum_wellgreen_...