In one of the most complete documentaries undertaken on the financial crisis, PBS Frontline's "Money, Power, & Wall Street" series stretches from the origins of the credit derivative business with a bikini-clad pool-side Blythe Masters and her JPMorgan colleagues to the scary (but absolutely true) fact that the financial crisis never ended. The four-part series (of which we present the first two below) continues tonight at 730ET and the entire set of 20 in-depth interviews with the various players (from Sheila Bair to Rodgin Cohen with a smattering of Jared Bernstein and Dick Fisher in between) can be found here. A must-watch series from beginning to end to get a grasp of how we got here (despite what Chairman Greenspan told us all this morning), where exactly we are now (in spite of today's FTMFW ISM print), and what we can expect in the next few years.
This one is actually quite funny, although we feel that the MMTers, the Neo-Keynesians, the Econ 101 textbook fanatics, and the government apparatchiks out there will fail to appreciate the humor. However, we are a little concerned how many of those in charge read into this a little too much, and decide to make this official policy...
Why are we not surprised at the fact, as reported by the WSJ, that Deutsche Bank AG changed the legal structure of its huge U.S. subsidiary to shield it from new regulations that would have required the German bank to pump new capital into the U.S. arm. The bank on Feb. 1 reorganized its U.S. subsidiary, known as Taunus Corp., so that it is no longer classified as a 'bank-holding company' (BHC). The technical change has important consequences. Taunus—which at the end of last year had about $354 billion of assets and 8,652 employees, making it one of the largest U.S. banking companies—won't have to comply with a provision of the U.S. Dodd-Frank regulatory-overhaul law that essentially forces the local arms of non-U.S. banks to meet the same capital requirements that American banks fact. A provision of the Dodd-Frank Act was going to require Deutsche Bank to infuse Taunus, which for years operated with thin capital cushions, with what executives feared could be as much as $20 billion. Taunus is no longer a bank-holding company and won't have to comply with the tougher capital rules, even though Taunus still houses Deutsche Bank's U.S. investment bank, making it unclear what jurisdiction the Fed will have to intervene in the investment-banking arm if it has concerns about how the unit is being run or whether it has adequate capital buffers. So much for all that systemic risk control and lessons learned as hey-presto - everything is sidestepped as the farce continues.
A few days ago we posted "The Great Highway Robbery Continues: How the FDIC is Legally Transferring Billions in Taxpayer Money to Hedge Funds" which presented a clip by Think Big Work Small, highlighting what was seemingly a grand scheme to defraud taxpayers with the FDIC's complicity. Today, the FDIC strikes back, issuing a Press Release claiming the video contains "blatantly false claims", "perpetrates other falsehoods" and has "no credibility." The counterargument which is supposed to render all allegations of impropriety false: "OneWest must first take more than $2.5 billion in losses before it can make a loss-share claim on owned assets" and that "in order to be paid through loss share, OneWest must have adhered to HAMP." Unfortunately, reading between the lines of the response indicates that not only are the falsehoods actually truehoods, but the video is still, sorry Sheila, quite credible.
100: Partners Bank, Naples, FL 101: American United Bank, Lawrenceville, GA 102: Hillcrest Bank Florida, Naples, FL 103: Flagship National Bank, Bradenton, FL
104: Bank of Elmwood, Racine, WI 105: Riverview Community Bank, Otsego, MN
As you watch the bobbing metronome of Sheila C. Bair's head during this video ("...but as I said [left tick] we have the ability to immediately access [right tock] up to $500 billion from our Treasury line [left tick]...") wonder to yourself quietly:
How is the FDIC going to slurp down another $500 billion without some roof rasing action on the debt ceiling?
How can ANYONE promise that no insured depositor will ever (until the heat death of the universe) lose a dime?
Meanwhile, if anyone is spreading evil rumors about the FDIC, make sure to email email@example.com immediately.
Try not to get motion sick and vomit. Also, try not to vomit.
For readers curious to Sheila Bair's perspectives that caused Geithner's Tourette's outbursts last Friday, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is holding a hearing live now in which the FDIC chairman presents her views.