The Next Borrow-Short Lend-Long Guaranteed to Blow Up Bank Lending Scheme; Citigroup, Chase, Bank of America CD Ripoff
by ilene - February 16th, 2011 4:23 pm
Courtesy of Mish
Borrow-short lend-long strategies have caused more pain and grief than nearly any play in the book. They are virtually guaranteed to blow up given enough time if the duration mismatch and leverage is too great.
For those who do not know what I am describing, a couple examples below will help explain. The first example is a look at "cost of funds" and guaranteed profits that banks can make. It is not a borrow-short lend-long strategy but will morph into such a scheme as I vary the parameters.
Inquiring minds investigating Citigroup’s cost of funds note that Citigroup 5 year CDs yield a mere 1.5%. For this example, Citigroup’s cost of funds is 1.5%, the rate it pays depositors. Here are a few snips from Citi’s website.
Who said there are no guarantees in life?
Some things in life are a sure thing. Like a Citibank CD, which offers a guaranteed—and highly competitive—interest rate. You also get a wide range of terms, from 3 months to 5 years.
Citigroup has the gall to brag about "guarantees in life" when the "guarantee" in question is a complete ripoff. It’s a ripoff because 5-year US treasuries currently yield 2.35%.
Anyone buying CDs at less than the treasury yield rate is a fool.
Rates at Bank of America, Northern Trust, JPMorgan Chase
I will tie this together shortly, but first make note that the Northern Trust, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase offer even lower 5-Year CD rates.
Here are some rates courtesy of Bankrate.Com as of 2011-02-15.
According to Bankrate, national average for 5 year CDs is 1.61% and the rock bottom low is .95%. The site average is 1.98% and the top yielding 5-year CD yields 2.75%. Thus Citigroup’s claim of competitive rates is absurd.
Although Bank of America makes no such claims, its CD rate is priced so preposterously low, that Bank of America must not even want to deal with them. Alternatively, B of A has an incredibly large pool of moronic depositors begging to be ripped off.
Guaranteed Free Money
Anyone buying 5-year CDs from Citigroup, Bank of America, Northern Trust, or JPMorgan Chase is giving those banks a shot at guaranteed free money.
by ilene - November 21st, 2010 11:14 pm
Mish writes about how Irish Citizens Sold Down the River in "Firepower of Stupidity" - Ilene
Courtesy of Mish
Today the Irish Government sold its citizens into debt slavery by agreeing to guarantee stupid loans made by German, British, and US banks. Those loans fueled one of the biggest property bubbles in the world. Ireland has since crashed.
Ireland Agree To Bailout
Please consider Ireland Seeks Bailout as ‘Outsized’ Problem Overwhelms Nation
Ireland applied for a bailout to help fund itself and save its banks, becoming the second euro member to seek a rescue from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said he expects talks on the package to be completed in the “next few weeks.” Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said the loan will be less than 100 billion euros ($137 billion), though he refused to give any further details at a press conference in Dublin today.
“A small sovereign like Ireland faced with an outsized problem that we have in our banking sector, cannot on its own address all those problems,” Lenihan said. Ireland may not draw down on the entire loan, he said.
While Ireland may not fully use any cash it gets from the EU and IMF, Lenihan said the size of the package “is important to demonstrate” the “firepower that stands behind the banking system.”
The Irish turmoil has also reopened tensions about the governance of the euro region after German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month called for bondholders to foot more of the bill of European bailouts. Her stance, criticized European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, sparked a bond market selloff.
Bondholders Should Foot Entire Bill
Trichet is pissed about common sense statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel about who should foot the bill. Actually, Merkel did not go far enough. When you make stupid loans you pay the price. Or at least you should.
But no! Trichet as well as the Irish Prime Minister seem to think that Irish taxpayers should bail out the Irish banks (which is in reality a bailout of German, and UK banks that made piss poor loans to Ireland).
Why the average Irish citizen should have to bail out foreign bondholders is beyond me, but I do note that the same happened in the US with taxpayers footing an enormous bill for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and…
PIMCO, Blackrock, NY Fed Seek to Force BofA to Repurchase $47 Billion in Soured Mortgages; Viral Nonsense on “Show Me the Note” and “ForeclosureGate”
by ilene - October 20th, 2010 2:45 am
Excellent article by Mish who separates fact and fiction in the Foreclosuregate drama. - Ilene
PIMCO, Blackrock, NY Fed Seek to Force BofA to Repurchase $47 Billion in Soured Mortgages; Viral Nonsense on "Show Me the Note" and "ForeclosureGate"
Courtesy of Mish
At long last, the real issue regarding soured mortgages has stepped up to the plate. The misguided focus on "ForclosureGate" is but a sideshow compared to Pimco, NY Fed Said to Seek BofA Mortgage Repurchases
Pacific Investment Management Co., BlackRock Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are seeking to force Bank of America Corp. to repurchase soured mortgages packaged into $47 billion of bonds by its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit, people familiar with the matter said.
A group of bondholders wrote a letter to Bank of America and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the debt’s trustee, citing alleged failures by Countrywide to service loans properly, their lawyer said yesterday in a statement that didn’t name the firms. The New York Fed acquired mortgage debt through its 2008 rescues of Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc.
Investors are stepping up efforts to recoup losses on mortgage bonds, which plummeted in value amid the worst slump in home prices since the 1930s. Last month, BNY Mellon declined to investigate mortgage files in response to a demand from the bondholder group, which has since expanded. Countrywide’s servicing failures, including insufficient record keeping, may open the door for investors to seek repurchases by bypassing the trustee, said Kathy Patrick, their lawyer at Gibbs & Bruns LLP.
Patrick represents investors who own at least 25 percent of so-called voting rights in the deals and stand to recover “many billions of dollars,” Patrick said.
Countrywide hasn’t met its contractual obligations as a servicer also because it hasn’t asked for loan repurchases and is taking too long with foreclosures, Patrick said. The delays stem from missing documents, process mistakes and insufficient staffing to evaluate borrowers for loan modifications, she said.
If Countrywide doesn’t correct the servicing problems within a few months, her clients could have the right to pursue legal action against Bank of America, Bank of New York or both, she said. “None of the bondholders are opposed to modifications for deserving borrowers, but you’ve got to get it done” in a timely fashion, she added.
Mortgage-bond contracts are explicit in requiring repurchases of loans when their
by ilene - October 18th, 2010 4:03 pm
Randall’s portrayal of Ben Bernanke’s thinking reminds me of a professor I knew who was trying to prove his own version of the Krebs Cycle. He designed experiments that would theoretically prove he was correct, but – strangely – the students in his lab kept failing to achieve the proper results. Rather than changing his theory, he realized that something must have gone wrong in the experiment, and he would have the students do it over, and over, until the right results were obtained. A lot of rats were killed in the process, but no matter--no one really cared about the rats. – Ilene
The Fed is between a rock and a hard economic outlook.
Fed Chairman Bernanke is signaling that a second round of quantitative easing will soon begin. In the first round, the Fed’s balance sheet nearly tripled to nearly $2.3 trillion as it bought $1.7 trillion in Treasury securities and mortgage-related securities. Since the Fed appears to want to unwind its position in mortgages, QE2 will probably target federal government debt.
During Japan’s long stagnation, Bernanke was famous for arguing that the Bank of Japan could have done far more to fight deflation. Since the BOJ’s overnight interest rate target was effectively at zero, the conventional policy of lowering its interest rate target was not an option. Hence, Bernanke advocated quantitative, rather than price, activity — the BOJ would purchase assets from banks, driving up their excess reserves, until they would finally make loans to stimulate spending that would reverse the trend of prices.
So when he had the opportunity, he put theory into practice in the US, driving short-term interest rates effectively to zero and filling bank balance sheets with excess reserves by purchasing their assets. So far, the impact has not been significantly different than Japan’s experience. Indeed, Bernanke has been publicly warning of the dangers of a Japanese-style deflation, as US inflation has dropped nearly to zero, well below the Fed’s informal target of two percent.
And so we are now set for round two of QE — more of the same old, same old.
by ilene - October 16th, 2010 12:54 am
Here’s another great article on the frauds at the heart of the mortgage and banking sectors. – Ilene
Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds
The system for financing mortgages and regulating that financing has failed, completely and utterly. The mortgage and real estate markets are now in collapse.
Yesterday I wrote about how positive feedback loops lead to collapse. Welcome to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. As I have documented here numerous times, the entire U.S. mortgage market has already been socialized: 99% of all mortgages are backed by the three FFFs--Fannie, Freddie and FHA--and the Federal Reserve has purchased a staggering $1.2 trillion in mortgage-backed assets in the past year or so to maintain the illusion that there is a market for mortgage-backed securities.
There is, but only because the mortgages are backed by the Federal Government and propped up by the Federal Reserve.
The mortgage market is completely dependent on government guarantees and quasi-Government purchases of securitized mortgages. If the mortgage market were truly socialized, then the Central State would own the banks which originate, service and own the mortgages.
But then the private owners and managers of the "too big to fail" banks would not be reaping hundreds of billions in profits and bonuses. And since the banking industry has effectively captured the processes of governance (that is, Congress and the various regulatory agencies), then what we have is a system of private ownership of the revenue and profits generated by the mortgage industry and public absorption of the risks and losses.
Could anything be sweeter for the big banks? No.
The incestuous nature of the system is breathtaking. The Fed creates the credit which enables the mortgages, the Treasury guarantees the mortgages via Fannie, Freddie and FHA, the Fed buys the mortgages ($1.3 trillion in mortgages are on their balance sheet) and the private banks collect the fees and profits.
One of the core tenets of the Survival+ critique is the State/Financial Plutocracy partnership. There are many examples of this partnership (crony capitalism in which the State is the "enforcer" which collects the national income and distributes it to its private-sector cronies), but perhaps none so blatant and pure as the mortgage/banking sector.
by ilene - October 12th, 2010 2:58 pm
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
Now that the Fed is officially targeting a path for the level of nominal gross domestic product, which is essentially the politburo’s chief central planning task, and is just one step away removed what China does constantly by starting with a GDP assumption and trickling it down through the economy, it is only fitting that America, now on the verge of being a fully-blown communist country, is also abrogating property rights, courtesy of the much discussed foreclosure scandal. Dylan Ratigan provides a concise explanation of just how our bankers have managed to bring us to this last descent into central planning hell.
From Dylan Ratigan
Property Rights Gone Wrong
1. The borrowers must be verified by the banks and their agents as qualified.
2. Lenders must fill out paperwork accurately and make sure that when the home’s title changes hands, so does the documentation.
But in the past two decades, a whole lot of the time, that never happened.
For banks and servicers, the motive was money. Banks profited by packaging and selling those toxic home loans. Then they profited again by betting against those same securities. A bet, in essence, that a fraudulent loan wouldn’t be paid back.
But why would politicians allow this?
The simple answer is to stay in office.
Giving people huge government incentives to buy houses made them happier and thus made their politicians more likely to keep their jobs. And at the same time, the financial services sector — the banks making all the money — were donating to their political campaigns.
In 2008, the financial sector was the top donor to both the Democratic and Republican candidates.
So where are all these toxic loans now? We own them! At the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
And the banks and politicians will do whatever it takes to prevent a legitimate foreclosure proceeding…one which would easily reveal the lack of qualifications and bad documentation in the loans sold to the government.
by ilene - September 18th, 2010 10:19 pm
Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse
Are you ready for a currency war? Well, buckle up, because things are about to get interesting. This week Japan fired what is perhaps the opening salvo in a new round of currency wars by publicly intervening in the foreign exchange market for the first time since 2004. Japan’s bold 12 billion dollar move to push down the value of the yen made headlines all over the world. Japan’s economy is highly dependent on exports and the Japanese government was becoming increasingly alarmed by the recent surge in the value of the yen. A stronger yen makes Japanese exports more expensive for other nations and thus would harm Japanese industry. But Japan is not the only nation that is ready to go to battle over currency rates. The governments of the U.S. and China continue to exchange increasingly heated rhetoric regarding currency policy. In Europe, there is growing sentiment that the euro needs to be devalued in order to help European exports become more competitive. In addition, exporters all over the world are already loudly complaining about the possibility that the Federal Reserve is about to unleash another round of quantitative easing.
Virtually all major exporting nations want the value of the U.S. dollar to remain high so that they can keep flooding us with lots of cheap goods. The sad reality is that our current system of globalized trade rewards exporting nations that have weak currencies, and many nations have now shown that they are willing to take the gloves off to make certain that their national currencies do not appreciate in value by too much.
Some nations have been involved in open currency manipulation for some time now. For example, Singapore is well known for intervening in the foreign exchange market in order to benefit exporters. Also, the Swiss National Bank experienced losses equivalent to about 15 billion dollars trying to stop the rapid rise of the Swiss franc earlier this year.…
by ilene - August 20th, 2010 5:00 pm
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
If our readers have been wondering where, in addition to the decision to never make mortgage payments again, do Americans get the money to buy a 2nd iPad (for that real 3D-effect of iTunes porn), preorder the iPhone 12.499, and bid up Amazon stock at 999x P/E, here is your answer: according to a new study by Fidelity, a record number of workers tapped their retirement funds and made hardship withdrawals from their accounts in the second quarter. In other words, just like the country they live in, Americans no longer give a rat’s ass about the retirement years in a narrow sense, and the future in a broader one, and since real unemployment is about 20%, wage deflation is everywhere, even as Solitaire time is down to 0 (except for SEC employees), and nobody has any money left, the only logical recourse is to borrow from the self-funded pension fund.
According to the Fidelity study, "Among the 11 million workers whose 401(k) plans are run by Fidelity, 11 percent took out a loan from their plan during the 12 months ended June 30, the company said, up from 9 percent at the same point a year earlier. By the end of the second quarter, plan participants with loans outstanding against their 401(k) accounts had reached 22 percent versus 20 percent a year earlier." And if anyone is so deluded to think that these not so gracious retirees have any intention of ever paying these "loans" back, we have some AJ-rated CMBS to sell you at par prime. Which also means that suddenly Fidelity may find itself with worthless liens instead of cash, and should the market plunge again and the fund giant find itself in a need to satisfy billions in collateral calls, it is game over. But why worry: after all, it is not like investors have been steadily pulling cash out of stocks over the past 15 weeks.
More from Reuters:
During the quarter, 2.2 pct of Fidelity’s active 401(k) participants took a hardship withdrawal, up from 2 percent a year earlier, and another peak, Fidelity said.
Often those withdrawals were used to prevent foreclosure on a home or pay college tuition.
"People have been looking to their 401(k) plans as a
by ilene - August 17th, 2010 8:20 pm
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
Initial would imply they didn’t embarrass themselves by getting kicked off the exchange the first time around.
General Motors Co has completed the paperwork for an initial public offering, and timing of its filing with the U.S. securities regulators rests with the board of the top U.S. automaker, sources familiar with the process said on Monday.
The initial prospectus, expected to be for $100 million, is likely to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, two people said, asking not to be named because the preparations for the IPO are private.
Meanwhile, GM will tell you they have paid back the government in full but that’s not exactly true. They’ve paid back the $6.7 billion they were actually loaned but the total $49.5 billion extended to GM to help it through bankruptcy is still outstanding. A large chunk of that (the part they DON’T mention in the "we paid you back!" commercials) consists of the government’s equity in GM, so GM can turn around and say they paid back the bailout loan and technically be correct. Tricky ain’t it?
It gets worse when you realize they used government money to pay back the government.
As it turns out, the Obama administration put $13.4 billion of the aid money as "working capital" in an escrow account when the company was in bankruptcy. The company is using this escrow money—government money—to pay back the government loan.
GM claims that the fact that it is even using the escrow money to pay back the loan instead of using it all to shore itself up shows that it is on the road to recovery. That actually would be a positive development—although hardly one worth hyping in ads and columns—if it were not for a further plot twist.
Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, points out that the company has applied to the Department of Energy for $10 billion in low (5 percent) interest loan to retool its plants to meet the government’s tougher new CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. However, giving GM more taxpayer money on top of the existing bailout would have been a political disaster for the Obama administration and a PR debacle for the company. Paying back the
by ilene - August 2nd, 2010 11:22 pm
Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler
This economy has a destination for sure, but it’s not in the direction where all eyes are trained in moist hopefulness: that glimmering horizon of longed-for growth. You will not get that kind of growth — the kind that increases the overall wealth of the organism in question. A few people will make more money than they did before, but overall we are in an epic contraction. More people and organizations will go broke than will thrive. It will seem very unfair.
The true destination of the US economy is to get smaller and for two reasons mainly: 1.) Capital ("money") is vanishing out of our system steadily and rapidly due to a massive collective failure to repay money owed on loans, mortgages, debts, and assorted obligations. 2.) Access to the primary resource we depend on for powering the economy (oil) is increasingly beyond our control — even worse, under the control of people who would like us to eat sh*t and die.
We really have a choice between two ways of dealing with this. We can downsize and re-scale consciously and coherently, or we can continue to chase after the phantom of growth and allow the nation to fall into a shambles of desperation. So far into this long emergency of an economic fiasco, we seem to have chosen the pursuit of a phantom. That’s what President Obama was doing last week in Detroit, shilling for a new electric automobile which, he said, will make us "energy independent." If Mr. Obama believes this, then it isn’t a very good advertisement for an Ivy League education.
I’d like to know how many Americans believe that electric cars run on virtually free energy (but I don’t have pollsters on my payroll). I’d bet a lot of them do, including President Obama. Sorry to rain on this uplifting parade. At best, such a car fleet would run on coal — that is coal-fired electric power plants — but even that is a ridiculous fantasy when you actually pencil-out the details. Not to mention that a nation full of people with dwindling or vanishing incomes won’t be in a position to fork over forty-grand for one of those new pseudo "green" vehicles. Also not to mention — wait for it — that due to rapidly…