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 - December 2nd, 2010 1:31 pm
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
The Dirty Fed has been forced to open its books and, not surprisingly, data reveal that money managers capitalized nicely on the Fed’s intentions, as I suppose they well should have seeing as how our friends at 20th and Constitution are so f**king transparent about doing whatever it takes.
Grab the barf bag, you might need it.
HuffPo tells us that some familiar names made a quite awesome profit frontrunning the Fed, something not at all illegal but completely questionable in these troubled times. Is this the transparency you wanted?
The Fed effectively telegraphed its intentions to the Street before buying the bonds. Legendary money manager Bill Gross, who oversees more than $1.2 trillion at Pacific Investment Management Co. said last month during a television interview that part of his success over the last 18 months was due to buying securities in front of the Fed, and selling them to the Fed at a premium, allowing him to profit handsomely. Gross runs PIMCO’s $252.2 billion Total Return Fund.
Morgan Stanley sold the Fed more than $205 billion in mortgage securities from January 2009 to July 2010, while it’s [sic] much bigger rival, Goldman Sachs, sold $159 billion. Citigroup, the nation’s third-largest bank by assets, sold the Fed nearly $185 billion in mortgage bonds. Merrill Lynch/Bank of America sold about $174 billion.
It’s not clear how much these firms profited by engaging in the kind of activity that allowed Gross to profit so well, known as "front running." However, it’s abundantly clear that they did turn a profit.
JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s second-largest bank by assets, sold the Fed about $153 billion worth of mortgage securities.
Other foreign banks with extensive Wall Street operations also profited from the program.
Barclays, the British firm that took over failed investment bank Lehman Brothers, sold about $123 billion in mortgage bonds. UBS, a Swiss lender, sold about $94 billion. BNP Paribas, a French bank, sold about $67 billion.
That’s not all. The data also reveal that the Fed shoved fake money at everyone including McDonald’s, Verizon and Harley-Davidson. McDonald’s still laid off 700 in an attempt to "restructure", leaving any reasonable person to wonder how many they’d have cut if they hadn’t gotten a nice fat Zimbabwe Ben handout. Since when is the Fed in the business of loan sharking to anyone but the…
SIGTARP Calls Out Tim Geithner On Various Violations Including Data Manipulation, Lack Of Transparency, “Cruel” Cynicism, And Gross Incompetence
by ilene - October 26th, 2010 1:53 am
SIGTARP Calls Out Tim Geithner On Various Violations Including Data Manipulation, Lack Of Transparency, "Cruel" Cynicism, And Gross Incompetence
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
SigTarp Neil Barofsky has just released the most scathing critique of all the idiots in the administration, with a particular soft spot for Tim Geithner.
On the failure of TARP to increase lending:
As these quarterly reports to congress have well chronicled and as Treasury itself recently conceded in its acknowledgement that "banks continue to report falling loan balances," TARP has failed to "increase lending" with small businesses in particular unable to secured badly needed credit. Indeed, even now, overall lending continues to contract, despite the hundreds of billions of TARP dollars provided to banks with the express purpose to increase lending.
On TARP’s sole success of boosting Wall Street bonuses:
While large bonuses are returning to Wall Street, the nation’s poverty rate increased from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% in 2009, and for far too many, the recession has ended in name only.
On TARP’s failure in general:
Finally, the most specific of TARP’s Main Street goals, "preserving homeownership" has so far fallen woefully short, with TARP’s portion of the Administration’s mortgage modification program yielding only approximately 207,000 ongoing permanent modifications since TARP’s inception, a number that stands in stark contrast to the 5.5 million homes receiving foreclosure filings and more than 1.7 million homes that have been lost to foreclosure since January 2009.
On the Treasury’s scam in minimizing publicized AIG losses, and on Geithner as a Wall Street puppet whose actions are increasingly destroying public faith in the government:
While SIGTARP offers no opinion on the appropriateness or accuracy of the valuation contained in the Retrospective, we believe that the Retrospective fails to meet basic transparency standards by failing to disclose: (1) that the new lower estimate followed a change in the methodology that Treasury previously used to calculate expected losses on its AIG investment; and (2) that Treasury would be required by its auditors to use the older, and presumably less favorable, methodology in the official audited financials statements. To avoid potential confusion, Treasury should have disclosed that it had changed its valuation methodology and should have published a side-by-side comparison of its new numbers with what the projected losses would be under the auditor-approved methodology that Treasury had used previously and will
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 26th, 2010 3:33 pm
Courtesy of Mish
In response to $30 Billion Offer No One Wants – Small Businesses Hit by Deflation I received this email from a director of a small bank.
I sit on the board of a small community bank and I can attest to the fact that our loan portfolio is in excellent shape even when taking into consideration today’s dismal economy. That is not to say a loan is good when made can go bad but if that happens, our bank has sufficient collateral pledged against the loan to cover such short falls. We also review our loan loss reserve and increase as needed based on criteria established under current banking regulations.
Sure there are numerous troubled banks identified by the FDIC but I feel many of these banks will survive.
All banks should be making reasonable earnings with today’s low interest rate environment. For community banks, loans are vital and banks are interested in making loans to individuals or businesses that meet our underwriting standards but loan demand is down. A big majority of our loans are just loans leaving another financial institution. Why would someone leave one bank for another?
Of course loan interest rates play a part in the decision but I think a big part is the relationship a customer develops with the loan officer. Dealing directly with a local loan officer who understands your business and is genuinely interested in your business is vital.
Today many larger banks only use local loan officers to bring in the loan request but the decision to make the loan and the terms rest in some committee located in a town far away. Most small business persons will leave such a bank for a local bank with more personalized service.
It’s ridiculous that Congress passed and our president signed a bill to provide funds to smaller banks for more loans. As a bank director, there is no way this plan can work. If a bank needs more deposits for loans, assuming the bank has sufficient capital, a banker can easily get more deposits from the public at a much lower cost than the bill passed by congress.
Our government is totally out of touch with the real world and passed this legislation strictly as a political move to make the public think they are
by ilene - August 12th, 2010 1:02 pm
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
The Congressional Oversight Panel has found (!) some disturbing new information surrounding 2008′s most not excellent bailout programs, among them, details on where exactly AIG’s cash infusions went. Here’s a hint: it wasn’t back into the system.
Members of the Congressional Oversight Panel, in a report due out Thursday, note that America’s broad financial rescues had more impact internationally than the narrower bailout programs of other countries had on U.S. firms.
They cite as a case study the bailout of insurance giant American International Group. While the Treasury committed up to $70 billion to AIG through its Troubled Assets Relief Program, the report states, much of that money ended up in the coffers of foreign trading partners in France, Germany and other countries. The cash that the United States poured into AIG alone equaled twice what France spent on its total capital injection program, and half what Germany spent.
"The point we make forcefully in this report is that there were no data about where this money was going, no information about where this money was going," said panel chair Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor. "Without that information, no one could make a deliberate policy choice" about whether to ask foreign governments to contribute to the financial rescues.
Isn’t that why Warren has a job? To figure that out?
And yet for all her pristine carrying on over who got what, it appears as though someone forgot to turn off the spigot. But now instead of the banks and the auto companies, the bailouts are being pumped out to homedebtors, college students, whoever the hell is stupid enough to have a stake in Fannie and Freddie and of course broke ass state and local governments who can’t pay their bills.
The outrage over the bailouts of late 2008 and most of 2009 is obvious but where is the oversight committee to say enough is e-f*&king-nough already and cut it off?!
by ilene - August 3rd, 2010 12:09 pm
You know how, like, your grandparents have no choice but to buy the convertible bonds of casino companies and trade Chinese penny stocks because the rate on their money market fund is basically 2 basis points?
So, the reason for the seemingly endless drought in responsible yield options for savers is that banks needed to "reflate" themselves and "rebuild their balance sheets" for the good of the system. Yeah "The System", that’s the ticket. So rates were brought down to effectively zero in an effort to stabilize housing and ensure liquidity for businesses who wanted to borrow or hire.
And since the part about stabilizing housing and helping business owners to hire people was a scam and was demonstrably unsuccessful, we can really only point to the reflating banks part and say that something has been accomplished.
Except the banks are doing a lot more than shoring up balance sheets with the zero-cost dollars they have been gorging on over the last 18 months – in addition to reporting record profitability and almost record compensation levels, they’ve also been attempting to buy both sides of the aisle, lobbying like there’s no tomorrow in our nation’s capital.
Get a load of this (from CNN Money):
The financial industry has spent $251 million on lobbying so far this year as lawmakers hammered out new rules of the road for Wall Street, according to the latest lobbying reports compiled by a watchdog group.
The financial sector spent more than any other special interest group from April through the end of June — a whopping $126 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ latest estimates. Wall Street banks, as well as insurance and real estate firms, hiked the amount they spent on lobbying by 12% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year.
And really, what are you going to do about it? Probably nothing, because this has been going on for almost 2 years and you are busy DVRing True Blood and downloading apps that map out the closest Chipotle locations.
Lobbying is what industries do when pending legislation threatens their future profitability. This is perfectly normal, except in the case of the banks they are using your money to lobby against protections that may save you from the next Frenzy-Depression combo that is surely around the corner.
by ilene - August 2nd, 2010 7:36 pm
Courtesy of Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform
We have arrived at critical juncture in the ongoing financial crisis. Have the government actions of the last year successfully spurred the animal spirits of Americans, resulting in a self-sustaining recovery?
The Obama administration and most of the mainstream media would answer yes. GDP has been positive for the last four quarters. Consumer spending has increased in five consecutive months. Corporate profits have been relatively strong. The country has stopped losing jobs. The missing piece has been a housing recovery.
No need to worry. Famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) $15 billion man John Paulson has assured the world that house prices will rise 8% to 10% in 2011. His basis for this forecast is that California prices have rebounded 8% to 10% in the last year, and this recovery will spread to the rest of the nation.
Maybe Paulson has teamed up with his buddies at Goldman Sachs to develop a product that guarantees a housing recovery. I tend to not believe anything that comes out of the mouth of anyone associated with Wall Street, but let’s assess the facts and see if they point to an impressive housing recovery in 2011.
The man who has been right on housing for the last ten years has been Yale Professor Robert Shiller. His analysis of U.S. housing prices from 1890 until present, which he first published in 2005, unequivocally proved that we were in the midst of the greatest housing bubble in history. At the same time, David Lereah, the chief economist (shill) for the National Association of Realtors, was pronouncing it was the best time to buy. He published his masterpiece of market tops, Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom? at the 2005 housing peak. He called a bottom in January 2007, and the NAR has continued to tell Americans it is the best time to buy for the last five years as prices have dropped 36% nationally.
Dr. Shiller continues to be the voice of reason when it comes to the housing market. He is doubtful that the recent “recovery” will continue:
- “Recent polls show that economic forecasters are largely bullish about the housing market for the next year or two. But one wonders about the basis for such a positive forecast. Momentum may be on the forecasts’
by ilene - July 29th, 2010 10:12 am
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
Yesterday’s "paper" (more in the napkin sense than as a synonym for "intellectual effort") by Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder, which was nothing more than a glorified cover letter for selected perma-Keynesian posts in the administration’s Treserve complex, was so outright bad we did not feel compelled to even remotely comment on its (lack of any) substance. A man far smarter than us, Stanford’s John Taylor (the guy who says the Fed Fund rates should be -10%, not the guy who says the EURUSD should be -10), has taken the time to disassemble what passes for analysis by the tag team of a Princeton tenurist (odd how those always end up destroying the US economy when put in positions of power), and a Moody’s economist, who is undoubtedly casting a nervous eye every few minutes on the administration’s plans for EUCs and other jobless claims criteria. Below is his slaughter of dydactic duo’s demented drivel.
From John Taylor’s Economics One:
Yesterday the New York Times published an article about simulations of the effects of fiscal stimulus packages and financial interventions using an old Keynesian model. The simulations were reported in an unpublished working paper by Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi. I offered a short quote for the article saying simply that the reported results were completely different from my own empirical work on the policy responses to the crisis.
I have now had a chance to read the paper and have more to say. First, I do not think the paper tells us anything about the impact of these policies. It simply runs the policies through a model (Zandi’s model) and reports what the model says would happen. It does not look at what actually happened, and it does not look at other models, only Zandi’s own model. I have explained the defects with this type of exercise many times, most recently in testimony at a July 1, 2010 House Budget Committee hearing where Zandi also appeared. I showed that the results are entirely dependent on the model: old Keynesian models (such as Zandi’s model) show large effects and new Keynesian models show small effects. So there is nothing new in the fiscal stimulus part of this paper.
Second, I looked