What Was The Ultimate Cause Of JP Morgan's Big Derivative Bust? The Shocker - Ben Bernanke!!!

Reggie Middleton's picture

 

S&P and Fitch finally downgrade JP Morgan, 3 years after my initial multimedia warnings (see Listen Carefully...  for the details). Unfortunately, despite threats and ruminations, these rating agencies again act in retrospect, failing to do anything but remind stakeholders of the losses they have already taken rather than assisting them in avoiding losses.

So, what are the rating agencies missing?  They're missing the fact that nearly all of the big money center banks are doing exactly what JPM was doing and they have no one to rely upon but themselves when things go awry from a counterparty perspective. Bennie Bernanke has instituted perpetual ZIRP, and as such has basically broken the banking business in his attempt to save it. Through ZIRP, banks simply cannot make money doing things that traditional banks do, ex. profit from lending. As such, they reach for yield, and that's just the conservative ones. The big boys take baseball bats swinging for home runs, either consciously or subconsciously sanguine in the protection of the Bernanke flavored taxpayer put under their respective businesses. With such protection, already historically proven, bank managers are getting progressively more aggressive and increasingly less aware of the term "RISK adjusted reward" as they simply seek rewards. Alas, I'm getting ahead of myself, let me explain...

The JPM prop desk that held the losses which generated headlines earlier this week was marketed as a hedging operation when we all know it was anything but. What it was was a concerted grasp for yield and profit in a ZIRP environment where JPM (one of the world's largest congregations of interest bearing assets) was bearing effectively no interest.

Banks need to make money too, hence when there's no money to be made in traditional FI yields, the banks start reaching, and they tend to start reaching farther as desperation to make the next quarter mounts in the face of BoomBustBlog reading investors who may be able to see past earnings stuffing stemming from less than prudent reserve releases consistent underprovisioning.

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 The BoomBustBlog subscriber document JPM Q1 2011 Review & Analysis illustrates the point of JPM's waning ability to make money by making loans and holding debt with perfect clarity, and did so a year in advance....

 

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So, what do you do if you're a bank but you can't make money lending? You gamble, that's what you do! It's not like JPM hasn't gambled before, and it's not like they haven't lost money gambling...

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I put out what I consider to be some of the best predictive research available. I also put an inordinate amount of info out for absolutely free, particularly in the case of those big names as in the employer of Voldemort. For those who have not read my seminal piece on Dimon's house of Morgan, file iconJPM Public Excerpt of Forensic Analysis Subscription published nearly three years ago, allow me to take the liberty to excerpt it for you...

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Hmmm... Tell me if you get stuff like this from the rating agencies.... This is a good time to bring up that Interesting Documentary on the Power of Rating Agencies, with Reggie Middleton Excerpts

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Continuing my rant on the effectiveness (not) of the ratings agencies, I bring to you an interesting documentary on the rating agencies' effect on the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, produced by VPRO Tegenlicht out of Amsterdam. You can see the full video here, but only about half of it is in English. I appear in the following spots: 4:00, 22:30, 40:00...  Reggie Middleton Discussing the Rating Agencies effect on Sovereign Europe

The next post on this topic will outline and illustrate several banks whom the agencies need to downgrade NOW, as in RIGHT NOW. These banks are, of course, JPM counterparties. In the meantime and in between time, follow me:

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Here's a subscription dump of our archives for JPM to placate the insatiable thirst of the BoomBustBlog paid subscriber: