Transparency In The European Banking? Madness, I say! Sheer, Utter Madness!!!
Last month I posted updates of my search and studies of distressed European assets stemming from the banking crisis to be had at prime risk adjusted returns, see Preparing Resources To Shop For Distressed Assets As Banks Refuse To Come Clean On Near Fraudulent Reporting and Which Banks Are We Looking At To Shop For Assets?. Well, a month later, the Economist economist jumps into the fray with the article "Till default do us part, A half-hearted banking union raises more risks than it solves". To wit:
Almost a year ago, as the euro crisis raged, Europe’s leaders boldly pledged a union to break the dangerous link between indebted governments and ailing banking systems, where the troubles of one threatened to pull down the other. Yet the agreement that seems likely to emerge from a summit later this month will be one that does little to weaken this vicious link. If anything it may increase risks to stability instead of reducing them.
Almost everyone involved agrees that in theory a banking union ought to have three legs. The first is a single supervisor to write common rules and to enforce them uniformly. Next are the powers to “resolve” failed banks, which is a polite term for deciding who takes a hit; these powers also require a pot of money (or at least a promise to pay) to clean up the mess left by bust lenders and to inject capital into those that can get back on their feet. The third leg is a credible euro-wide guarantee on deposits to reassure savers that a euro in an Italian or Spanish bank is just as safe as one in a German or Dutch bank. National insurance schemes offer scant reassurance to savers when sovereigns are wobbly and insured deposits make up a big chunk of annual GDP (see chart).
The logic behind this chart has been the engine behind out contagion model, the core thesis behind the short on continental Europe in general (see Overbanked, Underfunded, and Overly Optimistic: The New Face of Sovereign Europe) and our hypothesis against the French banks - reference "On Your Mark, Get Set, Bank Run".
There's much more to this bank run, capital flight thingy in Europe. I explained it in detail over two years ago:
- The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs!
- "The Fuel Behind Institutional “Runs on the Bank" Burns Through Europe, Lehman-Style"
- The Next Leg Of That Counterparty Led European Bank Run Has Put On It's Running Shoe
First, the European banks are just too big in relation to Europe, herself!
Sovereign Risk Alpha: The Banks Are Bigger Than Many of the Sovereigns
Second, as stated in the Economist, we have a liquidity time bomb!
As excerpted from our professional series Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion:
This is how that document started off. Even if we were to disregard BNP's most serious liquidity and ALM mismatch issues, we still need to address the topic above. Now, if you were to employ the free BNP bank run models that I made available in the post "The BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Model Available for Download"" (click the link to download your own copy of the bank run model, whether your a simple BoomBustBlog follower or a paid subscriber) you would know that the odds are that BNP's bond portfolio would probably take a much bigger hit than that conservatively quoted above. Here I demonstrated what more realistic numbers would look like in said model... image008image008image008
To note page 9 of that very same document addresses how this train of thought can not only be accelerated, but taken much further...
So, how bad could this faux accounting thing be? You know, there were two American banks that abused this FAS 157 cum Topic 820 loophole as well. There names were Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. I warned my readers well ahead of time with them as well - well before anybody else apparently had a clue (Is this the Breaking of the Bear? and Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?). Well, at least in the case of BNP, it's a potential tangible equity wipe out, or is it? On to page 10 of said subscription document...
Yo, watch those level 2s! Of course there is more to BNP besides overpriced, over leveraged sovereign debt, liquidity issues and ALM mismatch, and lying about stretching Topic 820 rules, but I think that's enough for right now. Is all of this already priced into the free falling stock? Are these the ingredients for a European bank run? I'll let you decide, but BoomBustBloggers Saw this coming midsummer when this stock was at $50. Those who wish to subscribe to my research and services should click here. Those who don't subscribe can still benefit from the chronology that led up to the BIG BNP short (at least those who have come across my research for the first time)...
Thursday, 28 July 2011 The Mechanics Behind Setting Up A Potential European Bank Run Trade and European Bank Run Trading Supplement
Lastly... When everybody's lying, no one is trusted with telling the truth! There's the sovereigns themselves lying through their collective teeth, reference Smoking Swap Guns Are Beginning to Litter EuroLand, Sovereign Debt Buyer Beware! There's the so-called "Troika", reference Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!. Then there's these banks and those damn stressless stress tests... Again, as excerpted from French Banks Can Set Off Contagion That Will Make Central Bankers Long For The Good 'Ole Lehman Collapse Days!:
On that note, ZeroHedge has come out with a blockbuster explanatory article: Credit Suisse Buries European Banks, Sees Deutsche Bank And 65 Other Bank Failing Latest Stress Test, €400 Billion Capital Shortfall
A day after Credit Suisse killed the Chinese bank sector saying that the equity of virtually the entire space may be worthless if NPLs double, as they expect they will to about 10%, the Swiss bank proceeds to kill European banks next. Based on the latest farce out of Europe in the form of the third stress test, which is supposed to restore some confidence, it appears that what it will do is simply accelerate the flight out of everything bank related, but certainly out of anything RBS, Deutsche Bank, BNP, SocGen and Barclays related.
I'd like to add that I've ridiculed all of these stress tests, US and European, although the European stress tests were by far the biggest joke. Dexia passed with a grade of A (or so), and will be nationalized momentarily. 'Nuff said!
To wit: "In our estimation of what could be the “new EBA stress test” there would be 66 failures, with RBS, Deutsche Bank, and BNP needing the most capital – at €19bn, €14bn and €14bn respectively. Among the banks with the highest capital shortfalls,SocGen and Barclays would need roughly €13bn with Unicredit and Commerzbank respectively at €12bn and €11bn. In the figure below we present the stated results. We note RBS appears to be the most vulnerable although the company has said that the methodology, especially the calculation of trading income, is especially harsh for them, negatively impacting the results by c.80bps." Oops. Perhaps it is not too late for the EBA to back out of this latest process and say they were only kidding. And it gets even worse: "We present in this section an overview of the analysis which we published in our report ‘The lost decade’ – 15-Sep 2011. One of our conclusions was that the overall European banking sector is facing a €400bn capital shortfall which compares to a current market cap of €541bn." Said otherwise, we can now see why the FT reported yesterday that banks will be forced to go ahead and proceed with asset firesales: the mere thought of European banks raising new cash amounting to 75% of the entire industry's market cap, is beyond ridiculous. So good luck with those sales: just remember - he who sells first, sells best.
And the scary charts:
1. Capital Shortfalls under Stress Test part Trois (9% min. CET1 ratio)
Judged against these three requirements, Europe’s new plan is a miserly one. Its outlines emerged in a joint paper released on May 30th by France and Germany. The minimalism of the paper suggests the summit will offer little more than the establishment of single supervisor and a promise to set up a vaguely defined “resolution mechanism”.
Those who follow me know that I'm medium term bearish on both any sovereign nations and their out-sized, profligate, insolvent banking systems which they support. Ireland makes a good example -
If I Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, Does It Set Up A Much Needed System Reboot? Let's Go For It... and The Beginning Of The Great Irish Unwind?!?!?!.
Back to that Economist article:
If a pot of money is pledged it will probably be a small fund raised through a tax on banks and without the backing of governments. If Europe’s bail-out fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), is referred to it is likely to be only as a last resort to recapitalise lenders after ailing countries have already bankrupted themselves standing behind their banks. A euro-wide deposit insurance fund is so controversial it isn’t polite to mention it.
...The legal challenges are also enormous. Each country in the euro has its own bankruptcy code. A change in the treaties governing the European Union would probably be needed to give a new resolution authority the power to seize bank assets and impose losses on creditors.
Events outside the negotiating room have also reshaped the scope of a banking union. The “bail-in” of Cypriot banks earlier this year dipped into the savings of uninsured depositors in order to recapitalise lenders. Repeating that tactic would risk deposit flight from peripheral banks and a sharp increase in banks’ funding costs. But rather than committing public funds to shore up banks elsewhere, some politicians would doubtless prefer to hit uninsured depositors again.
But,,,, but,,,, without a definitive source of "rescue" capital, a bail-in is all but guaranteed, right Ireland???!!! I hate to pick on them, but the Irish make a good example -
If I Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, Does It Set Up A Much Needed System Reboot? Let's Go For It... and The Beginning Of The Great Irish Unwind?!?!?!
A strategy of incrementally moving towards a full banking union might have worked in normal times. Doing so in the middle of a crisis is risky. Over the coming year the ECB will have the unenviable task of assessing the health of the banks it is about to supervise. Its root-and-branch examination may well reveal gaping holes at a number of big banks. Yet without ready access to a pot of money to fill these holes, the ECB could be reluctant to force banks to come clean. “It is madness to expose capital shortfalls if you don’t know where new capital is going to come from,” says one bank supervisor.
Oh, I see. This must explain the blatantly fraudulent-esque goings on I uncovered in the Irish banking system. In case you haven't heard, I issued a Direct Challenge To Federal Reserve & Irish Central Bank Bubble Blowers. When I did Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, the ECB did absolutely nothing! No phone calls! No meetings! No emails! Makes you wonder why, eh?
"Over the coming year the ECB will have the unenviable task of assessing the health of the banks it is about to supervise. Its root-and-branch examination may well reveal gaping holes at a number of big banks. Yet without ready access to a pot of money to fill these holes, the ECB could be reluctant to force banks to come clean."
Madness, I tell you! Madness!!!