On Challenges To The Mainstream Financial Channels, BofA's (In)Solvency, CDS and Long-Only Pundits Dominating the MSM

Lauren Lyster, the enticing Russian TV/Capital Accounts host gave me the rare opportunity yesterday to sit down and run my mouth for 15 minutes straight. This is a format which is most conducive to true conveyance of knowledge and information, at least in my not very humble opinion. I'm just not the 8 second soundbite type.

In viewing the interviews below, compare and contrast to the other two similar but large channels at large, Fox Business News and CNBC, I am quite curious to get your opinions and feedback.

I query, why is the bond market so much more fundamentally astute than the equity markets? Is it becuase it is truly too deep and wide to manipulate? In today's headlines (and right after this world saving 5th European bailout):

Let's get to the interview before we go any farther...

Interview w/Reggie Middleton: Is Bank of America going Bust? (Part 1)

Interview w/Reggie Middleton: Is Bank of America going Bust? (Part 2)

I addressed the CDS issue in detail in yesterday's blog post, which should be read by any who have not already: The Banks Have Volunteered (at Gunpoint) To Get 50% of Their Money Taken - No Credit Event???. Why is this credit event issue pertinent? Well, if the Europeans succeed in shamming the CDS market, rates skyrocket (duhh, didn't think of that???) and all banks that state they are hedged via CDS truly aren't? I delved into this in detail in 2009, with the blog post And the next AIG is... (Public Edition)... Think about it! If there is a credit event then the fireworks start. If there is no credit event, then what does that say about Goldman, who swears to high hell they are adequately hedged? Hedged with CDS that won't get triggered upon a 50% loss? Let's take a closer look with excerpts from recent BoomBustBlog posts and subscriber research...

Of course, you know I'm going to say "I told you so!" Reference So, When Does 3+5=4? When You Aggregate A Bunch Of Risky Banks & Then Pretend That You Didn't? and then Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored? You see, in said piece, ZeroHedge dutifully reported that Five Banks Account For 96% Of The $250 Trillion In Outstanding US Derivative Exposure- a very interesting refresh of what I called out two years ago through "The Next Step in the Bank Implosion Cycle???":

The amount of bubbliciousness, overvaluation and risk in the market is outrageous, particularly considering the fact that we haven't even come close to deflating the bubble from earlier this year and last year! Even more alarming is some of the largest banks in the world, and some of the most respected (and disrespected) banks are heavily leveraged into this trade one way or the other. The alleged swap hedges that these guys allegedly have will be put to the test, and put to the test relatively soon. As I have alleged in previous posts (As the markets climb on top of one big, incestuous pool of concentrated risk... ), you cannot truly hedge multi-billion risks in a closed circle of only 4 counterparties, all of whom are in the same businesses taking the same risks.

Click to expand!


This concept was further illustrated in An Independent Look into JP Morgan...

Click graph to enlarge (there is a typo in the graphic - billion should trillion)


Cute graphic above, eh? There is plenty of this in the public preview. When considering the staggering level of derivatives employed by JPM, it is frightening to even consider the fact that the quality of JPM's derivative exposure is even worse than Bear Stearns and Lehman‘s derivative portfolio just prior to their fall. Total net derivative exposure rated below BBB and below for JP Morgan currently stands at 35.4% while the same stood at 17.0% for Bear Stearns (February 2008) and 9.2% for Lehman (May 2008). We all know what happened to Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, don't we??? I warned all about Bear Stearns (Is this the Breaking of the Bear?: On Sunday, 27 January 2008) and Lehman ("Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?": On February 20th, 2008) months before their collapse by taking a close, unbiased look at their balance sheet. Both of these companies were rated investment grade at the time, just like "you know who". Now, I am not saying JPM is about to collapse, since it is one of the anointed ones chosen by the government and guaranteed not to fail - unlike Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and it is (after all) investment grade rated. Who would you put your faith in, the big ratings agencies or your favorite blogger? Then again, if it acts like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, is it a chicken??? I'll leave the rest up for my readers to decide.

I then posted the following series, which eventually led to me finally breaking down and performing a full forensic analysis of JP Morgan, instead of piece-mealing it with anecdotal analysis.

  1. The Fed Believes Secrecy is in Our Best Interests. Here are Some of the Secrets
  2. Why Doesn't the Media Take a Truly Independent, Unbiased Look at the Big Banks in the US?
  3. As the markets climb on top of one big, incestuous pool of concentrated risk...
  4. Any objective review shows that the big banks are simply too big for the safety of this country
  5. Why hasn't anybody questioned those rosy stress test results now that the facts have played out?

You can download the public preview here. If you find it to be of interest or insightful, feel free to distribute it (intact) as you wish.

JPM Public Excerpt of Forensic Analysis Subscription JPM Public Excerpt of Forensic Analysis Subscription 2009-09-18 00:56:22 488.64 Kb

 Reggie Middleton on CNBC's Squawk on the Street - 10/19/2010, discusses JP Morgan and concentrated derivative bank risk.

If you think that's scary (and you really should) check out Is Goldmans Sachs Derivative Exposure the Squid in the Coal Mine?

The notional amount of derivatives held by insured U.S. commercial banks have increased at a CAGR of 22% since 2005, which naturally begs the question “Has the value or the economic quantity of the underlying increased at a similar pace, and if not does this indicate that everyone on the street has doubled and tripled up their ‘bets’ on the SAME HORSE?”

Think about what happens if (or more aptly put, "when") that horse loses! Would there be anybody around to pay up?

Sequentially, the derivatives have increased every quarter since Q1-05 except for Q4-07, Q3-08 (Lehman crisis) and Q4-10 while on a YoY basis the growth has been positive throughout recorded history.  In Q2-2011, the notional value of derivative contracts increased 2% sequentially to $249 trillion. The notional value of derivatives was 12% higher than a year ago. The notional amount of a derivative contract is a reference amount from which contractual payments will be derived, but it is generally not an amount at risk. However, the changes in notional volumes can provide insight into potential revenue, and operational issues and potentially the contagion risk that banks and financial institutions poses to the wider economy – particularly in the form of counterparty risk delta. The top four banks with the most derivatives activity hold 94% of all derivatives, while the largest 25 banks account for nearly 100% of all contracts.  Overall, the US banks derivative exposure is $249 trillion and is more than four folds of World’s GDP at $58 trillion.

In absolute terms, JPM leads this list with total notional value of derivative contracts at $78 trillion, or 1.3x times the Wolds GDP. However, in relative terms, Goldman Sachs leads the list with total value of notional derivatives at 537 times is total assets compared with 44x for JPM, 46x for Citi and 23x for US Banks (average).

So, what does this mean? Well, it should be assumed that Goldman is well hedged for its exposure, at least on academic basis. The problem is its academic. AIG has taught as that bilateral netting is tantamount to bullshit at this level without government bailout intervention. If there is any entity at risk of counterparty default or who is at the behest of a government bailout if the proverbial feces hits the fan blades… Ladies and gentlemen, that entity would be known as Goldman Sachs.

As excerpted from Goldmans Sachs Derivative Exposure: The Squid in the Coal Mine?, pages 2 and 3...


Goldman is much more highly leveraged into the derivatives trade than ANY and ALL of its peers as to actually be difficult to chart. That stalk representing Goldman's risk relative to EVERY OTHER banks is damn near phallic in stature!


 As opined earlier through the links "The Next Step in the Bank Implosion Cycle???"and As the markets climb on top of one big, incestuous pool of concentrated risk... , this is not a new phenomenon. Quite to the contrary, it has been a constant trend through the bubble, and amazingly enough even through the crash as banks have actually ratcheted up risk and assets in a blind race to become TBTF (to big to fail), under the auspices of the regulatory capture (see Lehman Dies While Getting Away With Murder: Introducing Regulatory Capture). So, what is the logical conclusion? More phallic looking charts of blatant, unbridled, and from a realistic perspective, unhedged RISK starring none other than Goldman Sachs...

And to think, many thought that JPM exposure vs World GDP chart was provocative. I query thee, exactly how will GS put a real workable hedge, a counterparty risk mitigating prophylactic if you will, over that big green stalk that is representative of Total Credit Exposure to Risk Based Capital? Short answer, Goldman may very well be to big for a counterparty condom. If that's truly the case, all of you pretty, brand name Goldman counterparties out there (and yes, there are a lot of y'all - GS really gets around), expect to get burned at the culmination of that French banking party I've been talking about for the last few quarters. Oh yeah, that perpetually printing clinic also known as the Federal Reserve just might be running a little low on that cheap liquidity antibiotic... Just giving y'all a heads up ahead of time...


And back to Bank of America Lynch(ing this) CountryWide....

The Street's Most Intellectually Aggressive Analysis: We've Found What Bank of America Hid In Your Bank Account!: Yes, BAC is insolvent, and yes CountryWide is (and was) now a real estate company first and foremost - reference "Would you buy Countrywide if all of its bad mortgages were magically wiped off the books?"

I know I wouldn't. I believe there are better investments out there from a risk/reward perspective. Countrywide is in a bit of a jam, and it is not just from bad loans on the books. Looking at the Countrywide Foreclosures Blog (yes, there actually is one), I found this article:14,196 Homes Offered For Sale on Countrywide Financial's Website. I browsed through some of the site, and the small sample of numbers that I looked at seemed accurately reported. It also seems to mesh with Housingtracker.net. Browsing through the comments, someone noticed that the bank and trust offerings were not included. I looked, and at first glance, it seemed like he had a point. Now,it is a lot of work to verify all of this, but if it does pay out (and it looks like it does), Countrywide has nearly 100% of it market capitalization outstanding as REOs - in a market where houses just aren't selling and property values are falling fast. This is totally discounting each and every under performing and underwater mortgage asset they have on their books.

Held by Countrywide Mortgage Co.$ 2,910,876,468
Held by Countrywide Trust and Bank$ 2,969,067,322
Total$ 5,879,943,790
CFC Market Capitalization$ 6,180,000,000
% market cap held as REO95%

Subscribers, if the Europeans mess this up (and a gambling man would probably be best served casting his bets in that direction) expect the subject bank of this article, and the most recent forensic download (File Icon Haircuts, Derivative Risks and Valuation) to go "BOOM!" See the blog post This Bank Is Much Worse Than the Rest and the (Guaranteed?) Bust Will Probably Be Funded Right Out Of Your Bank Account!

Lauren asked a very good question regarding why I'm the only pundit making such dire observations...

As for the touchy question as to why I am stating things that no one else does, I tried to be politically correct in espousing my thoughts on the "long only wold of the MSM". I believe I was fair, and I wear my own track record on my sleeve, see Did Reggie Middleton, a Blogger at BoomBustBlog, Best Wall Streets Best of the Best?

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I will be releasing the date (probably this week), location and time of the NYC meet and greet within the next 24 hours or so, so we can chat, drink, debate, argue and fraternize with pretty woman together in a trendy spot in the Meat Packing District or the Bowery (I apologize in advance to all of my female readers/subscribers). Those who are interested in attending should email customer support.There has been strong interest in the London meeting, enough to warrant the venue - I simply need to get the travel and venue organized due to a change of plans. For those that are new to the blog, these are pics of previous meet and greets...
BoomBustBlog on the MotherLand in the Hudson, NYC

BoomBustBlog on the MotherLand in the Hudson, NYC


BoomBustBlog in the 79th Street Boat Basin, NYC


BoomBustBlog in the 79th Street Boat Basin, NYC


 BoomBustBlog at BuddhaKahn, Meatpacking District, NYC