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Friday, April 19, 2024

US Gives Banks Urgent Warning

Federal Reserve officials called an emergency meeting of major Wall Street firms to discuss rescuing Lehman Brothers.  Lehman was not invited to the party and it appears unlikely that it will survive the next few days. – Ilene 

U.S. Gives Banks Urgent Warning to Solve Crisis

Excerpt:  "As Lehman Brothers teetered Friday evening, Federal Reserve officials summoned the heads of major Wall Street firms to a meeting in Lower Manhattan and insisted they rescue the stricken investment bank and develop plans to stabilize the financial markets.

Timothy F. Geithner, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, called a 6 p.m. meeting so that bank officials could review their financial exposures to Lehman Brothers and work out contingency plans over the possibility that the government would need to orchestrate an orderly liquidation of the firm on Monday, according to people briefed on the meeting.

Richard FuldFlanked by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, he gathered the executives in person to impress on them the need to work together to resolve the current crisis.

Mr. Geithner told the participants that an industry solution was needed, no matter what, and that it was not about any individual bank, according to two people briefed on the meeting but who did not attend. They said he told them that if the industry failed to solve the problem their individual banks might be next.

A spokesman for the New York Federal Reserve Bank in New York confirmed the meeting but declined to provide details on the discussions. The Wall Street executives included the following chief executives: Lloyd Blankfein of the Goldman Sachs Group, James Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup and John Thain of Merrill Lynch. Representatives from the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Bank of New York Mellon were also present. Lehman Brothers was noticeably absent from the talks.

The meeting was reminiscent of the circumstances that preceded the near-collapse 10 years go of Long Term Capital Management. At that time, William J. McDonough, then the president of the New York Fed, summoned the heads of big Wall Street banks to the Fed to stop the failure of L.T.C.M., a hedge fund firm that had made big bets on esoteric securities using borrowed money and which had already lost $4.5 billion.

The bankers ended up committing $3.65 billion to save L.T.C.M., though Bear Stearns, the hedge fund’s clearing broker, refused to contribute to the investment. Traders from the banks wound down the fund over time, averting what might have been big losses across the financial system. But the fallout from a failure of Lehman Brothers could be even more severe, given the firm’s much larger size and its entanglements with trading partners around the globe.

Policy makers fear its losses could ripple through the financial industry at a time when banks and securities firms are trying to overcome $500 billion in write-downs."…

Click here for the full article.  Updates here:  Treasury Said to Call on Wall Street to Back Lehman (Update2) and
Govt, Wall Street races to try to save Lehman.


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