A bank which has €54.7 trillion, or a little over $62 trillion at today's exchange rate, in derivatives - a number that is 20 times greater than the GDP of Germany - just failed a central bank stress test due to lacking governance and risk management controls and, just maybe, has insufficient capital? What can possibly go wrong.
A current Bank of America employee has made a number of whistleblower submissions to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the role played by the U.S. banking subsidiary in financing dividend-arbitrage trades: trades which used taxpayer-backed funds to allow hedge funds to avoid paying taxes. The employee’s submissions allege that Bank of America’s London-based Merrill Lynch International unit has extended “extreme levels of BANA leverage” to fund “increasingly aggressive and reckless” tax-avoidance trades. The submissions said the practices risked causing the bank “serious financial and reputational damage.”
Like her or hate her, Elizabeth Warren this week unequivocally told Fortune's Sheila Bair "No," she would not run for President, reflecting that for a Democratic nominee to win, "they need to speak to America’s families about the economic crisis in this country. It starts with the recognition that Washington works for the rich and powerful and not for America’s families." We bring this up, since, as OpenSecrets reports, despite her reputation as an anti-Wall Street populist, Warren would have been the wealthiest of the potential 2016 presidential candidates currently serving in Congress.
Because when the rape and pillaging of the US middle-class begins at the very top, it won't end until the sharp metal objects finally start falling.
Timothy Geithner is likely to go down in American history as one of the most dangerous, destructive cronies to have ever wielded government power. The man is so completely and totally full of shit it’s almost impossible not to notice. The last thing we’d ever want to do in our free time is read a lengthy book filled with Geithner lies and propaganda, so we owe a large debt of gratitude to former Congressional staffer Matt Stoller for doing it for us. Stoller simply tears Geither apart limb from limb, detailing obvious lies about the financial crisis, and even more interestingly, Geithner’s bizarre bio, replete with mysterious and inexplicable promotions into positions of power..."Geithner is at heart a grifter, a petty con artist with the right manners and breeding to lie at the top echelons of American finance..."
More Reasons QE Is a Dud
“Too Big To Fail” … Fails
To really appreciate “too big to fail,” you must first and foremost understand that it is a political concept that springs from a sense of liberal privilege and entitlement.
Is the Treasury's rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unfair to private shareholders? Yup. And they deserve it.
- Emerging markets pray for Wall Street tumble (Reuters)
- Yellen Faces Test Bernanke Failed: Ease Bubbles (BBG)
- Samsung sets new smartphone sales record in fourth quarter, widens lead over Apple (Reuters)
- China’s Foreign-Reserves Investment Chief Said to Depart Agency (BBG)
- China’s Rescue of Troubled Trust May Stoke Risk-Taking (BBG)
- Ukraine PM Azarov offers to resign 'to help end conflict' (Reuters) ... And Russia says may reconsider aid if this happens
- But... but... it was all gold's fault: India Unexpectedly Raises Rate as Rupee Risks Inflation Goal (BBG)
- Former Belgian king 'boycotting' public events after complaining £760,000 is not enough to live on (Telegraph)
- Greek disposable income tumbles 8% in Q3 (Kathimerini)
Why Obama's Home Affordable Modification Program Failed (Spoiler Alert: Thank Bank Of America et al)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/16/2013 19:41 -0500
Back when the Executive and Congress at least pretended not to abdicate all power to the Fed, one of the centerpiece programs designed to boost the housing market for the benefit of the poor (as opposed to letting Ben Bernanke make marginal US housing a rental industry owned by a handful of private equity firms and hedge funds), was Barack Obama's Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP, which attempted to prevent foreclosures by lowering distressed borrowers’ mortgage payments. Under the program, homeowners would be given trial modifications to prove they can make reduced payments before the changes become permanent. The program was a disaster as of the 3 million foreclosures that were targeted for modification in 2009, only 905,663 mods have been successful nearly five years later - a tiny 13% of the 6.9 million who applied (still, numbers which Obamacare would be delighted to achieve). Part of the reason: the program's reliance on the same industry that sold shoddy mortgages during the housing bubble and improperly sped foreclosures afterward. But there was much more. For the definitive explanation of everything else that went wrong, we go to Bloomberg's Hugh Son whose masterpiece released today explains how and why once again the banks - and especially one of them - won, and everyone else lost.
Following the debacle of free-and-easy mortgage money to anyone who could fog a mirror in the run-up to the last housing bubble (remember that was just 6 years ago), regulators proposed 'skin-in-the-game' rules which forced banks to hold certain amounts of the loans they made (as opposed to securitizing and selling off that yieldy risk to the next greater fool). Makes sense. However, in a major U-turn, with interest rates rising, mortgage rates spiking, and home prices now collapsing once again, it would appear the very same congress has folded. As the WSJ reports, more stringent lending standards on top of the market environment leave the watchdogs, which include the Fed and the FDIC, wanting to loosen a proposed requirement that banks retain a portion of the mortgage securities they sell to investors (representing a victory for an unusual alliance of banks and consumer advocates that opposed the new rules). Undermining the initial goal of imposing market discipline, former FDIC Chair Sheil Bair noted, "My sense is that Washington has lost its political will for serious reform of the securitization market." Indeed it has, Sheila.
We need to think about lessening the economic “skin-in-the-game” for RMBS and focusing anew on enforcing US securities laws...
We get to what is perhaps the most important topic related to the end game for the Fed. Oh, and MMT and a Sheila Bair interview too.
It is a “fraudulent transfer” to transfer assets with intent to leave the transferor with inadequate capital... Thus every bank “sale” done for the purpose of reducing regulatory capital is, by definition, fraud – a form of bank theft.