Even folks inside the belly of the beast think they should be broken up ...
It's got a reassuring name and a nice, sugary taste ... but there's no real medicine in it.
There is a great buzz in the marketplace about new private equity funds being raised to invest in failed banks. The story goes something like this: We are organizing a fund led by the former heads of federal regulatory agencies with big time connections in Washington. These DC players are going to get a front-row seat to play in the sales process for failed banks being run by the FDIC. These funds claim that FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair is giving assets away for nothing and we are all going to make a lot of money in that old fashioned Washington way, namely slopping at the public trough. Unfortunately none of the above is true and many of these "offerings" are misleading or fraudulent.
FDIC Hits Record "Default" Level As Deposit Insurance Fund Plunges By $12.7 Billion To NEGATIVE 20.9 BillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/23/2010 10:13 -0500
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday that its deposit-insurance fund fell to $20.9 billion at the end of 2009, a $12.6 billion drop in the final three months of the year, as bank failures continued at a pace not seen since the savings and loan crisis. The fund's reserve ratio was -0.39% at the end of the quarter, the lowest on record for the combined bank and thrift fund...Net charge-offs of troubled loans occurred across all major loan categories, led by a $3.3 billion increase in residential mortgage loans. The FDIC said U.S. banks' coverage ratio--reserves divided by the amount of noncurrent loans--fell to 58.1% in the fourth quarter from 60.1% in the third quarter.
Just in case Americans weren't schizophrenic enough, listening to Obama and CNBC telling them to spend, spend, spend, even if that means maxing out all credit cards (relax, Uncle Sam will take care of that 1,800 day delinquent account by covering 99.999% of principal losses once hyperinflation hits a few quadrillion % per day), here comes the FDIC, with the other side of the coin, imploring" consumers across the nation to consider establishing a basic savings account or boosting existing savings." And with that the insanity that is now the United States of America is laid ba(ir)re for all to see. The question of just how underfunded US banks are if the FDIC has to resort to such fund raising gimmicks is obviously irrelevant. Well, not quite - luckily, the FDIC will come out this week with its quarterly banking update so we can all see how many tens of billions the DIF burned through in the past 3 months.
FDIC Responds To IndyMac/OneWest Video Alleging Sheila Bair Transferred Billions In Taxpayer Funds To Paulson & Co., And OthersSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/12/2010 18:44 -0500
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.
The Great Highway Robbery Continues: How The FDIC Is Legally Transferring Billions In Taxpayer Money To Hedge FundsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/10/2010 13:57 -0500
It is not a secret to anyone who has been closely following the FDIC's quasi criminal bank takeover practices over the past year, that acquirors of failed banks end up receiving a massive and risk-free gift in the form of taxpayer benefits via the FDIC when it comes to funding losses on a given bank acquisition. Should there be a short sale resulting in a loss to the full principal (not the cost basis mind you)? Not to worry, Sheila Bair is there to hand out taxpayer money to the hedge funds/banks owning the newly transferred assets. A recent example of this was the glaring insider trading which preceded the acquisition of failed AmTrust Bank by New York Community Bancorp, in which both NYB and those who bought calls in advance of information being made public, made massive illegal profits. And as the SEC continues to pretend like this episode never happened, we remind the intellectually subprime Mary Schapiro to finally pursue those involved, and will continue doing so for as long as it takes. But back to the FDIC: the folks at Think Big Work Small have compiled a terrific video detailing exactly how several hedge funds, currently owners of recently created shell holding company OneWest Bank, are picking apart the carcass of failed IndyMac, all the while encouraging short sales (instead of loan mods) as only that way do they get to benefit fully from the taxpayer funded FDIC loss-share arrangements which makes the IndyMac transaction an immediate slam dunk for everyone involved...except America's taxpayers, and the FDIC's ever depleting DIF reserve.
With the prop ban hitting Bank Holding Companies (despite what various politicians who have long outlived their welcome, their tenure, their dentures and even their corrupt status, say on CNBC) soon, the generic response has been: "Bah, not an issue - Goldman will just cease being a BHC. Done and done." Not so simple. Why? One acronym - TLGP. Of course, it is a joke that Goldman was ever allowed to be a bank holding company in the first place (we still can't wait to deposit our meager savings with Lloyd Blankfein's organization. When, oh when, will Goldman open a deposit branch on Paper Street?). Yet it is. The problem however, is that the TLGP is only eligible for bank holding companies and other FDIC-insured depository institutions. Should Goldman shed its BHC aura, say bye-bye to the TLGP guarantee.
Don't forget, the FCIC panel continues today with Sheila Bair, Lanny Breuer, Eric Holder and, somehow, Mary Schapiro talking. How the last person on this list is considered an expert in any topic is the only issue that should be debated. At least being away from her 80286-based "enforcement-special" mainframe, justifies the lack of an SEC response on the ESH0 incident. Granted, nobody expects the SEC to opine on blatant market manipulation when the profits made are more than a few thousand dollars.
Something is going to happen with our pal Tim Geithner. My guess is that it happens sooner versus later. The White house chatter on this is just smoke. The question is, who is coming in and what might they do?
You don't put out a fire with gasoline. You don't cure a hangover with vodka. You don't end a headache by banging your head against the wall. Apparently, at least in Washington, you do address a sick banking system by keeping more sick banks open. It's as if I'm in the Twilight Zone...
On September 30, 2008, the Treasury issued an edict innocuously titled "Notice 2008-83," published in the equally innocuously titled "Internal Revenue Bulletin 2008-42." Perhaps it is just our paranoid side, but we suspect you could return the country to the gold standard in "Internal Revenue Bulletin 2009-63" and no one would catch on for 6 months. Add to this the fact that Congress, and the rest of the planet, was already quite literally possessed by the upcoming vote on Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the underpinnings of what would later become the Troubled Assets Relief Program or "TARP") and it isn't hard to see why the "notice" went, ironically, somewhat unnoticed.
It shouldn't have.
True, we did hear catatonic murmurings through the bathroom door before the announcement last Friday as Sheila Bair bobbed her head left and right rhythmically on the floor of her shower, knees pulled into her chest, rocking back and forth, hypnotically repeating "...absolutely safe... ...fully protected... ...ever lost a penny of insured deposits... ...none ever will... ...none ever will..." over and over again as the soothing hot water concealed the tears that would otherwise be streaming down her face.
With the FDIC-backed TLGP program set to expire on October 31 (with a 6 month safety net optionality, whatever that means), GMAC did all it could to jump on the last train leaving the cheap taxpayer funded capital station. The government subsidized provider of car loans for cars nobody wants priced $2.9 billion of 3 year notes. Luckily for the UAW and for the autobailout fans, the issue came in to price at a measly T-31.6 bps: a yield of 1.753% which would be unheard of had GMAC actually tried to tap the private markets. Oh yeah, and it is AAA rated. Thank you Sheila Bair for putting another $2.9 billion of taxpayer money in harms way and with a virtually 0% probability of recovery.