When is the banking system going reboot? Start listening below at 10:40 to about 12:45 (or the whole thing if you want to hear how the Justice Department should take the bad banks down), then read on...
From American Banker:
'Yet Another Bank': One week after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a civil case against JPMorgan Chase alleging fraud in how Bear Stearns packaged and sold mortgage-backed securities, Wells Fargo finds itself being sued by the government for nearly a decade's worth of "reckless" mortgage lending. U.S. prosecutors (not affiliated with Schneiderman's mortgage task force, though he has promised more suits are on the way) are seeking "hundreds of millions of dollars" in civil damages from the bank on behalf of the Federal Housing Administration, alleging Wells "made false certifications" about the condition of their mortgage loans so that the government agency would insure them. FHA then had to foot the bill when the bank's alleged "mortgage factory" — Dealbook's interpretation of the complaint — output went belly up. "Yet another major bank has engaged in a longstanding and reckless trifecta of deficient training, deficient underwriting and deficient disclosure, all while relying on the convenient backstop of government insurance," United States attorney in Manhattan Preet Bharara said in a (perhaps obvious)statement.
The Times notes the lawsuits are being filed amidst public criticism of the Justice Department's lack of actual criminal action against banks and their executives regarding the housing boom.
Get the f2*k out of here! Really!!!???
Meanwhile, the Post notes the case is particularly problematic for Wells, which "has been hit with a series of civil actions" related to its mortgage business in recent years (and we would add, unlike JPMorgan, can't blame Bear Stearns for its latest problem). The bank is denying the most recent allegations, saying it acted in "good faith and in compliance" with federal rules.
This stress is real, and is already causing losses in the condo construction and sales markets, retail malls and now office buildings. Please see my primer and series on the Commercial Real Estate Crash and ongoing series of financial shenanigans and excessive debt issues of General Growth Properties for additional information.
Sizeable Real Estate loans exposure in troubled markets: Wells Fargo had $148 bn loan in 1-4 Family Mortgages (WFC has a high correlation to industry-wide losses) which represented nearly 38% of the banks’ total loan. Out of these loans nearly 51% comprised junior lien mortgage loans (much higher probability of total loss and no recovery). After C&D loans, real estate loans have highest NPAs as proportion of total loans. In 4Q2007, real estate 1-4 family first mortgage NPAs to total loans stood at nearly 1.91% of total loans with total NPAs of $1.4 bn. In terms of geographic exposure, real estate loans from California and Florida comprised 33% and 4% of total real estate loans (i.e 13% and 2% of WFC’s total loan portfolio).
This research and more is available to all paying subscribers here, with a full set of charts, tables and graphics: WFC 1Q10_Review. Pro subscribers can also reference the full forensic report here: WFC Investment Note 22 May 09 - Pro. Retail subscribers should access it through the subscription content link in the main menu, under commercial and investment banks.