Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

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Margin Calls Coming On US Too-Big-To-Fail Banks





This week's biggest news is not the Non-Farm Payrolls, or the European Central Bank or even Portugal's government falling. No - this week's big deal is the openness with which the Federal Reserve is preparing a major margin call on the too-big-to-fail banks in the US. This has been a long time coming since the introduction of the Dodd-Frank law back in 2010 but it is a game changer. Remember all macro paradigm shifts come from policy impulses, often mistakes. Is the Fed about to given the whole banking industry a major margin call?

 
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Bill Black: Our System Is So Flawed That Fraud Is Mathematically Guaranteed





In this extensive interview, Bill explains why financial fraud is the most damaging type of fraud and also the hardest to prosecute. He also details how, through crony capitalism, it has become much more prevalent in our markets and political system. A warning: there's much revealed in this interview to make your blood boil. “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." - Frederic Bastiat

 
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Toyota Pulls Bond Deal Due To Soaring Yields: The Japanese "VaR Shock" Feedback Loop Is Back





Despite the eagerness of Abenomics and the new BOJ head Kuroda to have their cake and eat it too, in this case manifesting in soaring stock prices, plunging Yen, rising GDP and exports, and most importantly, flat or declining bond yields, so far they have succeeded in carrying out three of the four, as it is physically impossible for any central planner to completely overrule the laws of math, economics and physics indefinitely. Volatility aside the recent surge in yields higher is finally starting to take its tool on domestic bond issuers. As Bloomberg reports, already two names have pulled deals from the jittery bond market due to "soaring" borrowing costs. The first is Toyota Industries which as NHK reported, canceled the sale of JPY20 billion debt. Toyota is among Japanese firms that put off selling debt as long-term yields on government debt have risen, increasing borrowing costs, public broadcaster NHK says without citing anyone. Last week JFE Holdings announced it would delay plans to sell bonds due to market volatility. So two names down... and the 10 Year is not even north of 1%... But perhaps, more importantly, what happens to JGB holdings as the benchmark Japanese government bond continues trading with the volatility of a 1999 pennystock, and as more and more VaR stops are hit, forcing even more holders to dump the paper out of purely technical considerations: a topic we touched upon most recently last week, and which courtesy of JPM, which looks back at exactly the same event just 10 years delayed, now has a name: VaR shocks.  For those who wish to skip the punchline here it is:  A 100bp interest rate shock in the JGB yield curve, would cause a loss of ¥10tr for Japan's banks.

 
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Frontrunning: April 10





  • Germany: Europe's... poorest? ECB Survey Puts Southerners on Top in Household Wealth, Germans Near Bottom (WSJ)
  • Obama Proposes $3.77 Trillion Budget to Revive Debt Talks (BBG)
  • China trade data raise accuracy worries (FT) ... but generates so much laughter
  • such as this... China Exports Miss Forecasts as ‘Absurd’ Data Probed (BBG)
  • S. Korea Braces for ‘Very High’ Chance of North Missile Test (BBG)
  • Slovenia, Spain Warned of ‘Excessive’ Economic Imbalances by EU (BBG)
  • G8 foreign ministers meet in London to address Syria, North Korea (Reuters)
  • N. Korea Threats Boost First South Korea Rate Cut Odds Since October (BBG)
  • China Bird Flu Outbreak May Stem From Numerous Sources (BBG)
  • Spain Bailout Less Likely on Lower Funding Costs: Moody’s (BBG)
  • BOE’s Haldane: Simplify Bank Rules to Strengthen Them (WSJ)
 
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The Banks' "Penalty" To Put Robosigning Behind Them: $300 Per Person





Back in late 2010, there was much hope that as a result of the unfolding robosigning "Linda Green" scandal, not only would banks would be forced to fix their ways by incurring crippling civil penalties (because not even the most optimistic hoped any bankers would ever face criminal charges for anything), but that the US housing market may even reprice to a fair price as for a brief moment there nobody had any idea who owned what mortgage. Ironically, what did end up happening was to provide banks with a legal impetus to slow down the foreclosure process to such a crawl that an artificial backlog of millions and millions of houses at the start of the foreclosure process  formed, bottlenecking the foreclosure exits even more and in the process providing an artificial, legal subsidy to housing prices manifesting itself best in what is erroneously titled a "housing recovery" for many months now. What this did was to allow banks to aggressively reprice the mortgage-linked "assets" on their balance sheets much higher, and in the process unleash much capital, primarily for bonus and shareholder dividend purposes. Yet this epic self-benefiting act did not come without a cost. Yes, it turns out the banks will have to fork over some out-of-pocket change to put not only the robosigning scandal behind them but the indirect housing subsidy from which they have benefited to the tune of hundreds of billions. That quite literally change, which is what the final cost of the release and bank indemnity amounts to, is roughly $300 for each of the affected borrowers!

 

 
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Frontrunning: March 20





  • Cyprus works on Plan B to stave off bankruptcy (AP)
  • Cyprus seeks Russian bailout aid, EU threatens cutoff (Reuters)
  • Freddie Mac Sues Multiple Banks Over Libor Manipulation (BBG)
  • Bernanke Seen Keeping Up Pace of QE Until Fourth Quarter (Bloomberg)
  • Italian president seeks way out of political stalemate (Reuters)
  • Chinese factories struggle to keep staff (FT)
  • South Korean banks, media report network crash (CBC)
  • BlackBerry Inventor Starts Fund to Make Star Trek Device Reality (Bloomberg)
  • Osborne Should Be Fired, Voters Say in Pre-Budget Poll (Bloomberg)
  • Obama Begins First Visit to Israel as President (WSJ)
  • Anadarko finds ‘potentially giant’ oilfield (FT)
  • Britain's Osborne boxed in by austerity on budget day (Reuters)
  • MF Global reaches agreement with JPMorgan (FT)
 
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Live Webcast Of Senate's JPM's London Whale Grilling





In the marked absence of JPM CEO Jamie Dimon who will sadly not be present to explain to Senate why he is richer than (most) of the people present while wearing his signature presidential cufflinks, Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin will be the main highlight in today's Senate hearing "JPMorgan Chase Whale Trades: A Case History of Derivatives Risks and Abuses" which as reported previously found that JPM "lied" and "deceived" regulators.  As the Seante's report concludes, "The bank’s initial claims that its risk managers and regulators were fully informed and engaged, and that the SCP was invested in long-term, risk-reducing hedges allowed by the Volcker Rule, were fictions irreconcilable with the bank’s obligation to provide material information to its investors in an accurate manner." Today, those fictions will attempt to be reconciled, primarily with the help of the "voluntarily retired" former CIO Ina Drew, as well as JPM's vice Chairman Doug Braunstein and IB Co-CEO Michael Cavanagh. Will anything change as a result of today's hearing? Will JPM be broken down? Will the DOJ begin an inquiry into JPM? Of course not. But it makes for a good 3 hours of theater.

 
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"Too Big To Regulate" JP Morgan "Lied" And "Deceived" Regulators, Investors And Public, Senate Finds





Moments ago, ahead of tomorrow's 9:30 am Senate hearing on JP Morgan's 2012 attempt to corner the IG9 market through its London-based CIO office using depositor cash which as everyone now knows went horribly wrong, titled "JPMorgan Chase Whale Trades: A Case History of Derivatives Risks and Abuses,” the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has released its comprehensive 300 pages review of the London Whale fiasco. The report, in a nutshell, finds that both Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan lied and misled investors, regulators and Congress, that it forced its traders to hide growing losses, that it hid trades banned by the Volcker rule (just as we first said in April 2012 in "Why JPM's "Chief Investment Office" Is The World's Largest Prop Trading Desk: Fact And Fiction") and that JP Morgan may, by extension, be "too big to manage" or "too big to regulate" as Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin summarized.

 
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Frontrunning: March 4





  • Must defend against Chinese colonial expansion and get the Nigerian oil: U. S. Boosts War Role in Africa (WSJ)
  • BOJ nominee Kuroda sets out aggressive policy ideas (Reuters)
  • China becomes world’s top oil importer (FT)
  • Baby Cured of HIV for the First Time, Researchers Say (WSJ)
  • Obama to nominate Walmart's Burwell as White House budget chief (Reuters)
  • Wal-Mart Anxious to Combat Amazon’s Lead in Web Vendors (BBG)
  • Nasdaq executing trades at a loss (FT)
  • Spending cut debate casts pall over Obama's second-term agenda (Reuters)
  • Russell Indexes to Reclassify Greece as Emerging Market (BBG)
  • Bond Bears Collide With Swaps Showing Low Rates (BBG)
  • Buffett Deputies Leaving Billionaire in the Dust Get More Funds (BBG)
  • Brazil's leftist president fights to win back business (Reuters)
  • U.S. Special Forces train Syrian Rebels in Jordan (Le Figaro)
  • Carlos Slim Risks Losing World’s Richest Person Title as Troubles Mount (BBG)
 
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In Case There Was Any Confusion Just Who The Fed Works For...





Today, to little fanfare, the Fed announced a major binding settlement with the banks over robosigning and fraudclosure, which benefited the large banks, impaired the small ones (which is great: room for even more consolidation, and even more TBest-erTF, which benefits America's handful of remaining megabanks), and was nothing but one minor slap on the banking sector's consolidated wrist involving a laughable $3 billion cash payment. As part of the settlement, the US public is expected to ignore how much money the banks actually made in the primary and secondary market over the years courtesy of countless Linda Greens and robosigning abuses. A guess: the "settlement" represents an IRR of some 10,000% to 100,000% for the settling banks. We are confident once the details are ironed out, this will be an accurate range.  Yet what is most disturbing, or not at all, depending on one's level of naivete, is the response of Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the house Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. As a reminder, Congress had demanded that the settlement not be announced before there was a hearing on it. This did not even dent the Fed's plans to proceed with today's 11 am public announcement which can now not be revoked. It is Cummings' response which shows, yet again, just who is the true master of the Federal Reserve.

 
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Banks Put Linda Green Behind Them With $10 Billion Robosigning Settlement





The chapter on robosigning, i.e., Fraudclosure, is now closed with a $10 billion wristslap on US banks, of which a whopping $3.3 billion in the form of direct cash and $5.2 billion in "other assistance." The banks who are now absolved from any and all Linda Green transgressions in the past include: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. And so, banks can resume to resell properties with mortgages on which the original lien may or may not have been lost in the sands of time.

 
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2012 Year In Review - Free Markets, Rule of Law, And Other Urban Legends





Presenting Dave Collum's now ubiquitous and all-encompassing annual review of markets and much, much more. From Baptists, Bankers, and Bootleggers to Capitalism, Corporate Debt, Government Corruption, and the Constitution, Dave provides a one-stop-shop summary of everything relevant this year (and how it will affect next year and beyond).

 
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