Bank of America
Just out from the office of David Grais of Grais & Ellsworth: "We also conferred, per the Court’s request, with the office of Attorney General of the State of New York. The Attorney General’s office has asked us to inform the Court that it is completing its analysis."
John Paulson Capitulates, Admits Was "Too Aggressive", Dumps Bank Of America, Lowers Net Exposure From 81% To Below 60%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/21/2011 13:44 -0500
After two years of ridicule for his ludicrous bet that Bank of America (about which we will have much more to say shortly) would triple, John Paulson has finally capitulated on his rose-colored glasses call that there is nothing but smooth sailing ahead for US financials. Reuters reports that "he pseudo-mutual fund manager "told investors on Thursday he was "too aggressive" with some of the stock bets in his flagship funds and he is trimming back some of his riskiest holdings. The hedge fund manager told investors in a conference call that he is limiting his funds' riskier stocks by moving away from bank holdings with heavy mortgage exposure." Translation: goodbye Bank of America. For those wondering what caused the drop in BAC from $14 to $9.5 in the past several months, now you know: VWAPed selling of 100MM+ shares of BAC stock will do that to you.
There is no joy in the top floor of 1251 Avenue of the Americas, where the P&L associated with a once mega profitable BAC position has dwindled to nothing. Following our earlier assessment that Bank of America reported yet another miserable quarter, the market has also caught on with the pure ugliness oozing form this report, and has punished the stock by sending it to multi year lows, at last check tumbling to $9.45 on heavy volume. There are still about 30 cents left until Paulson is completely underwater based on his cost basis. Which of course is completely irrelevant in the hedge fund world where only day to day P&L is relevant.
85% Of Bank Of America's "Net Income" Comes From Reserve Release And MSR Adjustment, Capitalization Ratios PlungeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/19/2011 07:14 -0500
Another horrendous quarter for Bank of America. While the company reported an adjusted EPS of $0.33 which shockingly came at the "at the high end of the prior guidance on June 29, 2011 when the company said net income excluding mortgage items and other selected items would be between $0.28 and $0.33 per share" the truth is that of the $5.6 billion in adjusted pretax net income, $3.3 billion was the result of credit loss releases. In other words 59% of the firm's "adjusted EPS" came from an accounting treatment and the CFO's interpretation of improving credit trends. As for the balance: another $1.5 billion came from a write-down in Mortgage Servicing Rights or another accounting gimmick. So take away the reserve release and MSRs, and one gets an EPS number that is 86% lower than the disclosed or about $0.05. The problem is that on an andjusted basis, the EPS was ($0.90) or a loss of $12.6 billion pre tax, driven by the previously disclosed settlements and a surge in provisions for Rep and Warranty settlements to $14 billion. Keep in mind this number will be far, far higher when all the Countrywide litigation is said and done. After all, the firm itself said that the "Estimated range of possible loss related to non-GSE representations and warranties exposure could be up to $5B over existing accruals at June 30, 2011. This estimate does not include reasonably possible litigation losses." So what about litigation losses? Well at $1.9 billion this was a huge surge from the $0.8 billion in Q1 and $0.6 billion Q4 2010. This number will also only go up as everyone and the kitchen sink sues Bank of America. And while one can play accounting games to paint the EPS tape, the cash that leaves the company is all too real: the firm's Common Equity Ratio plunged from 9.42% in Q1 to 9.09% in Q2, the lowest since Q2 2010, and the result was a plunge in the firm's (very much meaningless courtesy of Mark to Market being illegal - thank you FASB) Book Value per Share to $20.29: the lowest in well... ever since the firm's bailout by the US taxpayer.
Traditionally we reserve the funny pages for Friday but for Dick Bove we will always make an exception. While his Buy call on Lehman days ahead of the firm's bankruptcy can never be toppled in the pantheon of financial humor, his recent Price Target track record vis-a-vis Bank of America stock is rapidly approaching Hall of Fame status. The chart below says it all. And for those confused, the "B" stands for Buy.
Bank of America Tumbles To Paulson's Cost Basis Following Report Bank Will Need $50 Billion More In Capital CushionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/18/2011 10:32 -0500
A few days ago when we demonstrated the most recent bond issuance by Bank of America in which the firm issued $2.5 billion in new bonds, we said "BAC is largely underreserved for a settlement of this size which means its Tier 1 capital ratio will likely be impacted due to a major outflow of cash." Obviously the implication was that a capital raise is imminent. And while we were not exactly expecting the bank to access the equity capital markets (immediately), we knew cash would have to come from somewhere. Sure enough, Bank of America just issued $2.5 billion in 5 year bonds. So just when does the equity raise come? Two questions: is this funding simply to replenish the cash to have a decent Tier 1 ratio, or is the bank merely preparing for a waterfall of litigation now that the seal has been broken?" Well, the reason why the bank's stock just tumbled to fresh multi-year lows, and just on top of John Paulson's cost basis is a report from Bloomberg's Hugh Son which confirms our worst fears about the bank: "Bank of America Corp. (BAC) may have to build its capital cushion by $50 billion and renege again on Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan’s pledge to raise the firm’s dividend as mortgage losses drain funds." Next up, after investors balk to buy bonds from the firm at preferential rates, is Bank of America coming to market with another equity raise in full confirmation that the emperor is indeed naked... and Moynihan is about to be sacked.
It was fun while it lasted. Next up: 1 to 10 reverse split? At least that way the bank will now only hit but triple John Paulson's $30 price target by the end of 2011. In the meantime, only $50 cents or so to go until BAC hits Paulson's cost basis.
Presenting Bank Of America's Latest Product Offering To Hedge Funds: The Definitive Shorts TerminatorSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/14/2011 13:51 -0500
Now that traditional alpha generation is long dead courtesy of central planning, and even levered beta no longer works as a strategy at least until such time as Benny and the Inkjets return with a whole printer cartridge full of goodies for the uberwealthy, and that old "sophisticated investor" go-to staple - insider trading - is no longer an option courtesy of the clamp down on "expert insider information leaking networks", what is a hedge fund to do to justify ridiculous terms such as 2 and 20 (or 3 and 45 in some soon to be Wall Street criminal folklore cases)? Simple: run, don't walk to Bank of America Merrill Lynch Countrywide and demand an immediate, if not sooner, hook up to the "Securities Lending GM Portal Locate System (SLGPLS)." Why the SLGPLS? Because it is the last remaining way to make money: isolate companies with large short interest and create a major covering spree. From the horse's mouth: "We are offering a brand-new technology for prime broker clients giving them the ability to do locates via the web. It is a user-friendly system that features instantaneous easy to borrow (ETB) locates and hard to borrows (HTBs) that are delivered to our securities lending desk personnel desktop. Additionally, clients have the ability to get color and email alerts on a select list of securities." Translated: BAC, seeing plunging PB revenues now that everyone is departing this bloated scam of a bail out with hundreds of billions in toxic RMBS, is offering the holiest of holies straight to the end user (for a price): all the names, that with just a little buying prod, would likely surge as shorts get spooked an cover en masse.
Yesterday, when sharing our latest thoughts and observations on the $8.5 billion Bank of America settlement we said, "One thing is certain: the final BAC settlement, if one even comes to fruition, will not be $8.5 billion." Once again: we may have been correct...
- NEW YORK INVESTIGATING $8.5 BLN BANK OF NEW YORK MORTGAGE DEAL
- NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL SEEKS DATA ON BANK OF AMERICA ACCORD
- NEW YORK PROBE IS PART OF MORTGAGE SECURITIZATION INVESTIGATION
- NEW YORK SENDS LETTER TO GOLDMAN SACHS, BLACKROCK, ING, INVESCO
BAC stock not liking this latest development at all.
We haven't commented extensively on the recently announced Bank of America $8.5 billion RMBS "non-settlement" settlement because frankly, it is a total travesty, ripe with so many conflicts of interest, it has no chance in hell of being final, and will likely see numerous revisions before it is complete, in the process costing BAC many more billions in legal fees and charge offs. We also expected that it was only a matter of time before politicians swarmed like a flock of crows on this rotting carcass of a deal, which will only make the life of BAC worse (we did share our amazement that BofA's stock rose on the news). Sure enough, here comes the first Congressman to contest that the proposed settlement is not an "arm's length transaction." And while our opinion of politicians is well-known, Miller's conclusion is spot on: "it is important that the American people know that their government is acting on their behalf, not on behalf of powerful financial institutions. It is important that the public and Congress be able to assess whether the enterprises settled claims that would limit taxpayer losses on a tough, arm's length basis, rather than providing another indirect subsidy to the banking industry." Alas, nobody even remotely believes that the government represents anything but the interests of the banks. But a bold effort. One thing is certain: the final BAC settlement, if one even comes to fruition, will not be $8.5 billion.
When we first discussed Bank of America's "non-settlement" settlement, which has achieved nothing to remove the legal liability overhang from the firm, and merely makes it far more vulnerable to future litigation, we said: "BAC is largely underreserved for a settlement of this size which means its Tier 1 capital ratio will likely be impacted due to a major outflow of cash." Obviously the implication was that a capital raise is imminent. And while we were not exactly expecting the bank to access the equity capital markets (immediately), we knew cash would have to come from somewhere. Sure enough, Bank of America just issued $2.5 billion in 5 year bonds. So just when does the equity raise come? Two questions: is this funding simply to replenish the cash to have a decent Tier 1 ratio, or is the bank merely preparing for a waterfall of litigation now that the seal has been broken?
Bank of America just can't catch a break. First it gets caught in a trap of a "non-settlement" settlement which will only expose it to billions more in legal fees and other reserve fund increases, and now this. From the WSJ: "New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued subpoenas seeking new depositions from the Charlotte, N.C., bank's chief executive and other current and former executives, according to people familiar with the situation. The subpoenas are a sign that Mr. Schneiderman, who became New York's top law-enforcement official this year, doesn't intend to drop the civil-fraud investigation of Bank of America begun more than a year ago under predecessor Andrew Cuomo." Perhaps it is about time Ken Lewis finally get some primetime TV exposure where he belongs: on the defendant's chair. "Mr. Lewis, who retired partly because of rancor over the Merrill deal, declined comment through his lawyer. Mr. Price's lawyer couldn't be reached to comment." Considering the complete disaster New York prosecutors have now completed with the DSK arrest, they will need a very high profile arrest and conviction to make up for it. Kenny boy sounds like just the type to fit the bill.
According to CNBC's Kate Kelly, Paulson has given up on his $30 price target on Bank of America by the end of 2011, and instead has dumped a "substantial stake" in its holdings of the bank's stock. And so, the claims that the hedge fund which has now become the butt of all due diligence jokes, is about to eat more crow, especially as other objective skeptics have long been warning that the bank is massively underreserved for what is about to become a legal fee freeforall following the just announced non-settlement with the BlackRock, Pimco, New York Fed group, and thus a ticking timebomb. But no, Paulson is in it, so it must be a Buy, Buy, Buy. Idiots. Incidentally the market is only slowly getting to realize that the "settlement" announced a few days ago is actually horrendous news for the bank (but confirms that monkey throwing feces move the marginal money) as we said first upon hearing the news.
Some curious language in the BAC settlement: “…In addition, because the settlement is with the Trustee on behalf of the Covered Trusts and releases rights under the governing agreements for the Covered Trusts, the settlement does not release investors’ securities law or fraud claims based upon disclosures made in connection with their decision to purchase, sell, or hold securities issued by the trusts. To date, various investors, including certain members of the Investor Group, are pursuing securities law or fraud claims related to one or more of the Covered Trusts. The Corporation is not able to determine whether any additional securities law or fraud claims will be made by investors in the Covered Trusts and, if made, to reasonably estimate the amount of losses, if any, with respect to such asserted or potential claims…” Uh, just how is that a settlement.
Bank Of America To Pay $8.5 Billion To Settle Mortgage (Mis)Representation Suit With BlackRock, Pimco, New York Fed Et Al.Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/28/2011 17:08 -0500
Bank of America may be about to part with more money than it has earned since 2008 in what will soon be the biggest financial settlement in the industry to date According to the WSJ, the Charlotte, NC-based bank is preparing to pay $8.5 billion to settle mortgage (mis)representation claims (aka the Mortgage putback issue) brought on by such high profile figures as BlackRock, Pimco, MetLife and, of course, the Federal Reserve, previously discussed on Zero Hedge. "A deal would end a nine-month fight with a group of 22 investors that hold more than $56 billion in mortgage-backed securities at the center of the dispute, including giant money manager BlackRock Inc., insurer MetLife Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York." Keep in mind that this is actually not good news for the bank, contrary to what the company's stock is doing after hours, as this still keeps the company exposed to a multitude of other rep and warranty litigation (which will now be largely underreserved), not to mention fraudclosure issues, which are totally unrelated, and which will plague the bank for years and years. Lastly, BAC is largley underreserved (see below) for a settlement of this size which means its Tier 1 capital ratio will likely be impacted due to a major outflow of cash.