Bank of America
With Bank of America getting taken to the woodshed, we can only hope that Paulson managed to sell all of his stock in the name, or otherwise just like Bruce Berkowitz is organizing a call to defend Bank of America on Wednesday, Bank of America would have to organize a call today to protect JP from his LPs. Alas, Bank of America is just the start of Paulson's problems. For a just as big problem we shift our attention to the next worst bank in America, Citigroup, which as the excerpt below demonstrates, was a bragging point in the firm's January 2011 letter. Alas, there is little to brag about these days. Which is why we wish to caution investors to be vary careful with liquidation-like selloffs in gold. Should D-Day strike at Paulson, the firm's multi-billion GLD "gold share class" will likely have to be sold very fast to preserve liquidity. When that happens we may see a 20-30% correction in gold in one day. This is just a theoretical warning, and we hope to have some sense of when, if at all, it would take place. But just something to keep in the backs of your heads...
Here Comes TARP 2: Bank Of America Implodes, At $6.87, BAC CDS Up 20% To 260 bps As Bankruptcy ContemplatedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/08/2011 11:30 -0400
With Bank of America investors finally realizing it is game over for the company as a going concern, at this point there are just two options for Brian Moynihan: the spin off of CFC as a bad bank, backstopped by the Fed, or, well, Chapter 11, which for a bank is essentially liquidation (and with CDS trading up 50 bps to 260 a bankruptcy seems increasingly inevitable). It also means that another TARP is on the way. And once America realizes that another several trillion have to be put into its insolvent banking sector, it will get quite violent. The biggest irony: it is AIG which takes down the financial system for the second time after its lawsuit against BAC filed last night kills Bank of America.
Everyone who may have just heard the unprecedented rant by Jim Cramer bashing Bank of America, now that it is at its multi-year lows, may be a little confused. After all it was just on January 6, 2011, when Bank of America was at its multi year highs, that he released the following "report" titled "10 Reasons to Buy Bank of America." We all enjoy the laugh, but we ask Comcast? Is this is the comedian that CNBC wishes to destroy any remaining viewership it has and commit ratings suicide?
Last week, when discussing the ongoing collapse in the house of cards that Ken Lewis built and which Brian Moynihan is helping bring down, we asked readers if they "Got Bank Of America CDS?" both in general, and in the aftermath of the disclosure that "New York AG Says BAC's $8.5 Billion Settlement Is "Unfair and Misleading"." We hope the answer was yes for most, as BAC CDS just jumped to the highest since June 2009, hitting 235 bps after exploding by almost 10% overnight. And with the stock now trading with a $7 handle, we are very much concerned TARP 2 is coming soon, only this time BAC will be formally split up, for no other reason than to spin Countrywide off and most likely see it end up with Fed funding. Wherein lies the rub: what will end up happening when BAC loses its TBTF status is that CDS referencing CFC will grind tighter to a spread pari with the US, while those referencing BAC (and/or MER) will initially tighten only to surge on the realization that BAC will have lost its government backstopped status (courtesy of the "conservatorship" of its most atrocious division).
Got Bank Of America CDS? New York AG Says BAC's $8.5 Billion Settlement Is "Unfair and Misleading"; BAC Equity Offering ImminentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/04/2011 23:56 -0400
When we last looked at the Bank of America joke of a "non-settlement" settlement for a paltry $8.5 billion when $424 billion in total misrepresented (530 in total) Countrywide mortgage trusts were at stake, we said, "we are confident that the legal process will prevail and that the presiding judge on this case, and if not him then certainly the New York District Attorney, will step up and demand a thorough reevaluation of the settlement process." We were, oddly enough, correct. According to a just released filing from the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Bank of America (and Bank of New York Mellon, one of the tri-party repo banks mind you), violated New York state law and "misled investors." In a knock out punch to Bank of America (and Brian Lin who was profiled here previously), the bank allegedly violated the New York’s Martin Act and misled investors about its conduct tied to mortgage securitization as Bloomberg summarizes. Schneiderman said he has "potential claims" against Bank of America Corp. and its Countrywide Financial unit. As Zero Hedge alleged all along, "The proposed cash payment is far less than the massive losses investors have faced and will continue to face." What does that mean? Well, as the countersuit by the FHLB indicated (which we are certain will be the basis for the NY AG claims), the likely final settlement is probably going to be about $22 to $27.5 billion. Which also means that the bank's Tier 1 capital is about to be discounted by about 25% lower. Which, lastly, means that the stock is about to plunge due to a massive litigation reserve shortfall which will have to be plugged with, surprise, a new equity capital raise. Which brings us to our original question: got CDS (which closed around 200 bps today, roughly 25 bps wider - it is going much wider tomorrow, especially if the expected Sarkozy-Merkel-Zapatero meeting achieves absolutely nothing)? Cause this baby is going down...and it is probably about to be broken up into good BAC and bad bank, consisting almost entirely of all legacy Countrywide operations. Said otherwise, it could well be time for a CFC-BAC CDS pair trade.
For the sake of John Paulson, we sure hope he sold his BAC holdings which are now well below his cost basis. For the sake of everyone else, we also hope they sold their BAC stakes, if any. That said, we can't wait for the Fairholme Capital's conference call with Bank of America's Brian Moynihan on August 10 from 1 to 2:30 pm in which they explain to the market why it is oh so wrong on the most insolvent bank in America.
As had been rumored over the past few weeks, the WSJ reports that Bank of America is actively pursuing a deal in which it would get "broad release" from legal claims against the lender (which if provisioned properly and in their full amount will destroy the bank) in exchange for cutting the amounts owed by borrowers. The bank is "discussing the proposal with state and federal officials who are prodding the country's biggest banks toward a multibillion-dollar deal to atone for foreclosure errors…As the discussions dragged on past the mid-June target set by U.S. officials, Bank of America began pressing officials for a speedy resolution, and it put forward its principal reduction proposal in one-on-one talks with state and federal officials. Meanwhile, negotiations continue with the banks as a group…Bank of America has told officials it wants protection against future litigation relating to mortgage servicing, said people familiar with the situation. In exchange it is willing to agree to a program in which troubled borrowers would have to prove financial distress to qualify for a writedown of the principal owed on their mortgage…The principal amount would have to be $1 million or less in certain geographic areas, one of these people said, and a reduction would apply to the bank's own mortgages and those its services for private investors…The more modifications the bank agrees to, the less it will pay in cash as part of an eventual settlement, one of these people said." So in summary, in order to protect itself from being destroyed in the courts, Bank of America is happy to spread the Bernanke Put love on all of its deadbeat clients, in the process further exacerbating the class warfare that is emerging to be the most successful legacy of the Obama administration.
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 14:44 -0400
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 08:14 -0400
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 11:32 -0400
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 14:51 -0400
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.