by ilene - March 31st, 2011 11:53 am
Courtesy of Jim Quinn, The Burning Platform
“We now have an economy in which five banks control over 50 percent of the entire banking industry, four or five corporations own most of the mainstream media, and the top one percent of families hold a greater share of the nation’s wealth than any time since 1930. This sort of concentration of wealth and power is a classic setup for the failure of a democratic republic and the stifling of organic economic growth.” - Jesse –http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/
by ilene - February 16th, 2011 4:37 pm
Courtesy of Karl Denninger, The Market Ticker
In its complaint, Allstate alleges the defendants "made numerous misrepresentations and omissions regarding the riskiness and credit quality" of the loans backing the securities sold as part of the transaction. JPMorgan Chase acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual — along with the banks’ assets — back in 2008 when the housing meltdown hit. While both firms are technically defunct, each still has structured finance trading platforms unwinding.
Same basic allegations in the last lawsuit. Statistical sampling says "you intentionally hosed us."
In a land with an actual justice system by now there would be some people in "pound-me-in-the-ass" Federal Prison. Instead, we do the quaint lawsuit thing.
"Everything’s ****ed up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that."
I put down my notebook. "Just that?"
"That’s right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything’s ****ed up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."
And until we, the people, demand that this change and enforce that demand with an Egypt-like protest, it won’t change, and you, dear reader, will keep getting screwed.
Right up until the debt bubble pops…. which it will.
Pic credit: Jr. Deputy Accountant
by ilene - January 25th, 2011 4:07 pm
One of the big reasons there have been so few fraud charges leveled against what looks like clear and widespread banking industry is that under the law, “fraud” is pretty difficult to prove. Needless to say, that puts commentators in a bit of a bind, because they can be depicted as being hysterical if they use the “f” words, since behavior that is often fraud by any common sense standard may be hard or impossible to prove in court.
The hurdle in litigation and prosecution is proving intent. Basically, the party who is being accused has to not only have done something bad, he has to have been demonstrably aware that he was up to no good. Thus po-faced claims of “I had no idea this was improper, my accountants/lawyers knew about it and didn’t say anything” or “everyone in the industry was doing it, so I had not reason to think this was irregular” is a “get out of jail free” card. Similarly, even if lower level employees knew that their company was up to stuff that stank, if the decision-makers can plausibly claim ignorance, again they can probably get away with it.
So it is gratifying in a perverse way to see a case in which the perp not only looks to have engaged in chicanery, but the facts make it pretty hard for him to say he didn’t know he was pulling a fast one. And even more fun, it involves JP Morgan, which has somehow managed to create the impression that it was better than all the other TARP banks, when on the mortgage front, there is plenty evidence to suggest that all the major banks have been up to their eyeballs in bad practices.
The case involves the bond insurer Ambac and the mortgage company EMC, which was the Bear Stearns conduit for buying mortgages to securitize and now thus part of JP Morgan. In 2010, reports surfaced that EMC had been falsifying mortgage data to keep its pipeline moving as fast as Bear wanted and contain costs.
But a suit by bond insurer Ambac alleges far more serious misbehavior. The discovery process in outstanding putback litigation has unearthed a scheme to defraud investors and Ambac and led the bond insurer to add fraud charges to its complaint. The Atlantic, which broke the 2010 story, gives a…
by ilene - November 8th, 2010 8:03 pm
There’s definitely something to Simon Johnson’s new theory that it’s no longer about "Too Big To Fail" but rather "Too Global
In a big piece at The New Republic, the former IMF economist and professor argues that the key to escaping the Dodd-Frank resolution authority is to become so big internationally that governments around the world see the need to ensure your survival.
This June, Dimon returned from a two-week visit to China, India, and Russia, and announced an even more aggressive expansion. Senior executives were ordered to look beyond Western Europe—where most of JP Morgan’s foreign investment banking is focused—and seek opportunities in emerging markets. In addition to Brazil, Russia, India, and China—the emerging powerhouses known as the BRIC countries—JP Morgan is looking at Southeast Asian nations, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. The bank plans to triple its private banking assets in Asia over the next five years and hopes to make Asia the source of half its non-domestic business. “We are going to get the whole company behind [the international strategy],” Dimon told The New York Times.
If Dimon is successful, he will create a bank that is not just too big to fail, but too global to fail. There is no conspiracy here: JP Morgan is simply responding to the available incentives. This international push is terrific corporate strategy and completely legal under our reformed financial system. But it also happens to be very dangerous for the rest of us.
It’s not just JPMorgan, he reckons. All the big banks will begin pursuing the strategy of getting so global that a US-only wind-down isn’t a reasonable end, come a crisis.
by ilene - October 21st, 2010 9:10 pm
I truly love this site and JDA’s constant commitment to speaking her mind, delivering lively commentary on economic events, and throwing in the perfect picture to go with it. So Happy 2nd Birthday, JDA!! – Ilene
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
I can’t believe it but it’s been two years. Two long, exciting, thrilling, mind-numbing years.
Couldn’t have done it without you, stalker, commenter, subscriber, reader, casual checker outer, supporter, donor, asshat and nemesis. I’d especially like to thank Ben Bernanke for making this moment possible, were it not for his constant shenanigans, I would not have had a single thing to write about these past two years and my little world would be that much emptier.
Thanks to TLP for carrying the load when Google is pissing me off and/or hating and being my constant source of entertainment when everything else sucks raw donkey balls.
Thanks to my wonderfully strange readers who delight and fascinate me all while feeding my constantly hungry ego.
And thanks most of all to J.P. Morgan and the fine Rothschild family; were it not for your hard diabolical work, I really wouldn’t have anything at all to say as this world just wouldn’t need me.
While I’m thrilled to say JDA is celebrating two years on this trip, I have to say I certainly didn’t think I’d still have so much to write about on the financial doomsday front two years later. Oh well. See you kids in a decade, I’ll still be here bitching about Fed asshats and the pending commercial real estate collapse, I’m sure.
by ilene - October 20th, 2010 1:19 am
Courtesy of John Nyaradi of Wall Street Sector Selector
Red Flag: We Expect Lower Prices Ahead
Daily Technical Sentiment Indicators: Neutral
Short Term Market Condition: Oversold (short term bullish)
Short Term Trend: Neutral
Just about everyone has heard about or read “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in which he describes how unexpected, highly improbable events can have massive impact.
I think that recent developments in U.S. financial markets could be a “black turkey,” larger, more destructive and uglier than any black swan ever could be.
In recent days, a “black swan” event, or even worse, a potential “black turkey” event has surfaced that is just beginning to impact financial markets and could have far reaching effects going forward.
I’m talking about “Foreclosuregate” or the “robo signing” scandal that has been rocking financial markets over the past several days and that this action could be just the beginning of a major unforeseen, black swan event.
Of course the details are still murky but the Attorneys General in all 50 states have launched an investigation to see if false documents and forged signatures were used in their foreclosure procedures.
All the big names could be involved, including Ally Financial, Bank of America and JP Morgan, among others, and the ramifications could be huge as this situation could throw the whole foreclosure process into question and uncertainty.
Today’s selloff appeared to be what could be the first salvo in a bloody war as PIMCO, Blackrock and the New York Federal Reserve went to Bank of America with a demand for $47 billion of mortgage repurchases. These entities are all huge players with similar interests and to have them square off against each other is certainly an unexpected event.
Bank of America will fight this, of course, but the “black turkey” here is that nobody knows how large the liability or how far reaching the claims might go if “robo signing” spreads.
JP Morgan estimates liabilities of as high as $120 Billion but if the $47 Billion at Bank of America is accurate, total industry liabilities could be much higher.
by ilene - October 9th, 2010 1:22 am
Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
‘This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets’
By Ezra Klein
Janet Tavakoli is the founder and president of Tavakoli Structured Finance Inc. She sounded some of the earliest warnings on the structured finance market, leading the University of Chicago to profile her as a "Structured Success," and Business Week to call her "The Cassandra of Credit Derivatives." We spoke this afternoon about the turmoil in the housing market, and an edited transcript of our conversation follows.
Ezra Klein: What’s happening here? Why are we suddenly faced with a crisis that wasn’t apparent two weeks ago?
Janet Tavakoli: This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets. And it’s not something that happened last week. It happened when these loans were originated, in some cases years ago. Loans have representations and warranties that have to be met. In the past, you had a certain period of time, 60 to 90 days, where you sort through these loans and, if they’re bad, you kick them back. If the documentation wasn’t correct, you’d kick it back. If you found the incomes of the buyers had been overstated, or the houses had been appraised at twice their worth, you’d kick it back. But that didn’t happen here. And it turned out there were loan files that were missing required documentation. Part of putting the deal together is that the securitization professional, and in this case that’s banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, has to watch for this stuff. It’s called perfecting the security interest, and it’s not optional.
EK: And how much danger are the banks themselves in?
JT: When we had the financial crisis, the first thing the banks did was run to Congress and ask for accounting relief. They asked to be able to avoid pricing this stuff at the price where people would buy them. So no one can tell you the size of the hole in these balance sheets. We’ve thrown a lot of money at it. TARP was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve given them guarantees on debts, low-cost funding from the Fed. But a lot of these mortgages just cannot be saved. Had we acknowledged this problem in 2005, we could’ve cleaned it up
by ilene - September 7th, 2010 1:12 pm
Amongst the items coming out of the FCIC hearings last week were new docs that revealed exactly how over-reliant LEH was on daily, short term funding to cover their longer terms costs. It was a recipe for disaster, a trailer park in search of a tornado.
Here is the WSJ:
“In looking last week at Lehman’s demise, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission produced testimony and documents that suggest the firm’s short-term funding was a serious problem well before its Sept. 15, 2008 crash. The new Lehman material is a brutal reminder of the flightiness of short-term debt. And it begs the question: Why didn’t Dodd-Frank do more to limit banks’ use of things like repo markets, in which banks take out short-term collateralized loans?
It was in the repo market that Lehman experienced stress from early 2008. J.P. Morgan Chase, which plays a central role in the “triparty” repo market, decided to introduce a reform in early 2008 aimed at making the market safer. The firm decided that borrowers would have to start providing collateral that slightly exceeded the intraday amounts it had advanced them. This extra collateral is called margin. When discussing the change, a Lehman executive called it “a problem,” in a February 2008 email contained in FCIC documents.”
by ilene - August 3rd, 2010 5:56 pm
“FASCISM SHOULD MORE APPROPRIATELY BE CALLED CORPORATISM, AS IT IS THE MERGER OF CORPORATE AND GOVERNMENT POWER. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WILL BE KNOWN IN HISTORY AS THE CENTURY OF FASCISM. DEMOCRACY IS BEAUTIFUL IN THEORY; IN PRACTICE IT IS A FALLACY. SOCIALISM IS A FRAUD, A COMEDY, A PHANTOM, A BLACKMAIL. FOR FASCISM THE STATE IS ABSOLUTE, INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS ARE RELATIVE. IT BELIEVES NEITHER IN THE POSSIBILITY NOR THE UTILITY OF PEACE. FASCISM IS A RELIGION." BENITO MUSSOLINI
Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
Note to Blythe Masters: Sorry to hear about your losses in the coal market because of a ‘rookie error’ in taking on overlarge positions, but an epic short squeeze is coming for your massive and untenable positions in silver and gold, and hell is coming with it.
And the vampire squid and its minions are going to wrap themselves around your neck, and inexorably suck the life from you, while the hedge funds lick your wounds. Your protectors in the government will not even return your calls, because they will be running for their own lives away from the disaster that you created, denying all knowledge of it, any of it.
And then, by all means, you may panic.
JPMorgan’s Masters Urges No `Panic’ as Commodities Unit Slips
By Dawn Kopecki
Aug 03 2010
Blythe Masters, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s head of commodities, sought to reassure her team on an internal conference call after “extremely difficult” dismissals, defections and a first half in which some results were as much as 20 percent below expectations.
“Don’t panic,” she said in summing up the 35-minute call, a recording of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. “No one’s going to get screwed. We’re not going to do crazy things on compensation at the end of the year.”
Masters, who was named to run the business in late 2006, said the bank began dismissals on July 21, a day before the call, to trim overlap after buying parts of RBS Sempra Commodities LLP. The bank cut less than 10 percent of the combined front office, even as the oil unit lost “key people” who needed to be replaced, she said. She was discussing results with top executives after “we made a bit of
by ilene - July 23rd, 2010 4:48 pm
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
So let me make sure I have this right because Lord knows I’ve been drinking more than usual lately. Feinberg spent months putting together this report only to discover 17 firms had paid out $1.8 billion in questionable bonuses but then comes out and says he’s not going to do anything about it.
What the f*ck are we paying this guy for then?
U.S. "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg on Friday declined to request 17 financial firms that doled out $1.6 billion in "ill advised" executive compensation to return the excessive payouts, saying to do so would be unfair to the companies and could trigger private lawsuits and additional Congressional investigation.
Mr. Feinberg released a report that found 17 firms—including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc.—made the bonus-like payouts to top executives in late 2008 and early 2009 even as the companies were receiving taxpayer assistance.
Mr. Feinberg, the Obama administration’s special master for compensation, said he deemed these payments as "ill advised" both for the sheer amount—some individual payouts exceed $10 million, he said—and the lack of reasonable rationale for their payment.
Other firms Mr. Feinberg criticized for poor judgment included: American Express Co., American International Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Boston Private Financial Holdings Inc., Capital One Financial Corp., CIT Group Inc., M&T Bank Corp., Regions Financial Corp., Sun Trust Banks Inc., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Morgan Stanley, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co.
"Lack of reasonable rationale" hahahahaha. Maybe we should charge Obama with that for giving this guy a fake job patrolling payouts in the first place.