NEW YORK — The harsh light of the Libor rate-fixing scandal has crossed the Atlantic, with both Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase saying regulators and investigators have requested information from them in a so-far preliminary probe of the case.
Share prices for both — as well as Bank of America, which has not said if it was asked for information — have fallen sharply this week amid worries they could be in line for the type of heavy fines laid on Britain’s Barclays Bank, at the center of the scandal.
Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch wealth-management unit was fined $2.8 million by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for overbilling customers by $32.2 million over an eight-year period.
Merrill Lynch charged the fees to about 95,000 accounts between April 2003 and December 2011, FINRA said in a statement today. New York-based Merrill Lynch, which was acquired by Bank of America in 2009, lacked an adequate supervisory system to ensure that customers were billed in accordance with their contracts and disclosure documents, the regulator said.
MORGAN STANLEY L-T SR DEBT CUT TO Baa1 FROM A2 BY MOODY’S
MOODY’S CUTS MORGAN STANLEY 2 LEVELS, HAD SEEN UP TO 3
MORGAN STANLEY OUTLOOK NEGATIVE BY MOODY’S
MORGAN STANLEY S-T RATING CUT TO P-2 FROM P-1 BY MOODY’S
But the kicker:
ONLY MORGAN STANLEY, HSBC CUT LESS THAN MOODY’S ORGINAL MAXIMUM.
And there you have it – the reason for the delay were last minute negotiations, most certainly involving extensive monetary explanations, by Morgan Stanley’s Gorman (potentially with Moody’s investor Warren Buffett on the call) to get only a two notch downgrade. And Wall Street wins again.
“In connection with certain OTC trading agreements and certain other agreements associated with the Institutional Securities business segment, the Company may be required to provide additional collateral or immediately settle any outstanding liability balances with certain counterparties in the event of a credit rating downgrade. At March 31, 2012, the following are the amounts of additional collateral, termination payments or other contractual amounts (whether in a net asset or liability position) that could be called by counterparties under the terms of such agreements in the event of a downgrade of the Company’s long-term credit rating under various scenarios: $868 million (A3 Moody’s/A- S&P); $5,177 million (Baa1 Moody’s/ BBB+ S&P); and $7,206 million (Baa2 Moody’s/BBB S&P). Also, the Company is required to pledge additional collateral to certain exchanges and clearing organizations in the event of a credit rating downgrade. At March 31, 2012, the increased collateral requirement at certain exchanges and clearing organizations under various scenarios was $160 million (A3 Moody’s/A- S&P); $1,600 million (Baa1 Moody’s/ BBB+ S&P); and $2,400 million (Baa2 Moody’s/BBB S&P).”
So instead of $9.6 billion, MS will face only $6.8 billion in collateral calls.
Even as Moody is now about a week late on its Spanish bank downgrade where the banks are rated higher than the sovereign (which obviously is kept in check to prevent yields on bonds from soaring even more), here comes the next wholesale bank downgrade:
Moody’s expected to announce ratings downgrade for UK banks this evening – Sky Sources
Exclusive: Big news – I’m told Moody’s will announce downgrades of some of world’s biggest banks, incl in UK, after US mkts close tonight. – Sky’s Mark Kleinman
Looks like that fabricated 2 notch Margin Stanley downgrade (because 3 notches just won’t do – those 4 months of Gorman-led “negotiations” made that painfully clear) is about to strike. The real question is: What Would Egan Who Do?
Some of Britain’s biggest banks are poised to have their credit ratings downgraded by Moody’s as soon as tonight as part of a wider reassessment of the health of the global banking industry, I can reveal.
Moody’s is expected to outline its verdicts about the creditworthiness of banks including Barclays, HSBC, JP Morgan and Royal Bank of Scotland.
The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it. The process by which banks create money is so simple the mind is repelled. With something so important, a deeper mystery seems only decent.
– John Kenneth Galbraith
Today what we are doing is modernizing the financial services industry, tearing down those antiquated laws and granting banks significant new authority.
-Bill Clinton at the signing of Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 (which ended Glass-Steagall and gave banks full control of the United States of America)
Obama delivered heated rhetoric, but his actions signaled different priorities. Had Obama wanted to strike real fear in the hearts of bankers, he might have appointed former special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald or some other fire-breather as his attorney general. Instead, he chose Eric Holder, a former Clinton Justice official who, after a career in government, joined the Washington office of Covington & Burling, a top-tier law firm with an elite white-collar defense unit. The move to Covington, and back to Justice, is an example of Washington’s revolving-door ritual, which, for Holder, has been lucrative–he pulled in $2.1 million as a Covington partner in 2008, and $2.5 million (including deferred compensation) when he left the firm in 2009.
Putting a Covington partner–he spent nearly a decade at the firm–in charge of Justice may have sent a signal to the financial community, whose marquee names are Covington clients. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Deutsche Bank are among the institutions that pay for Covington’s legal advice, some of it relating to matters before the Department of Justice. But Holder’s was not the only face at Justice familiar to Covington clients. Lanny Breuer, who had co-chaired the white-collar defense unit at Covington with Holder, was chosen to head the criminal division at Obama’s Justice. Two other Covington lawyers followed Holder into top positions, and Holder’s principal deputy, James Cole, was recruited from Bryan Cave LLP, another white-shoe firm with A-list finance clients.
I have to hand it to the Central Planners. They are good. Really, really good. Of course, they are battling a crippled opponent considering so much of America consists of lobotomized sheeple, but nevertheless to be able to steal so much from many people with such blatant and simplistic methods and not be widely discovered is an act of devious brilliance. The reason I say this now is because ever since last fall TPTB have changed tactics and totally taken over the markets and with it shoved many people into what is best described as a trance. The people know something is very wrong. They know they are getting poorer; that life is getting harder, yet the television and the markets have cloaked a blanket of sedation upon their minds.
Every quarter the Office of the Currency Comptroller releases its report on Bank Derivative Activities, and every quarter we find that the Too Big To Fail get Too Bigger To Fail. To wit: in Q4 2011, of the total $230.8 trillion in US outstanding derivatives, the Top 5 banks (JPM, BofA, Morgan Stanley, Goldman and HSBC) accounted for 95.7% of all Derivatives. In some respects this is good news: in Q2, the Top 5 banks held 95.9% of the $250 trillion in derivatives. Unfortunately it is also bad news, because $220 trillion is more than enough for the world to collapse in a daisy chained failure of bilateral netting (which not even all the central banks in the world can offset). What is the worst news, is that the just released report indicates that in addition to everything else, we have now hit peak delusion, as banks now report to the OCC that a record high 92.2% of gross credit exposure is “bilaterally netted.” While we won’t spend much time on this issue now, it is safe to say that bilateral netting is the biggest lie in modern finance (read How US Banks Are Lying About Their European Exposure; Or How Bilateral Netting Ends With A Bang, Not A Whimper for an explanation of this fraud which was exposed completely in the AIG collapse). And just to put this in global perspective, according to the BIS in the first half of 2011, global derivative gross exposure increased by $107 trillion to a record $707 trillion. It will be quite interesting to get the full year report to see if this acceleration in gross exposure has increased. Because if it has, we will now know that in 2011 European banks were forced up to load up on several hundred trillion in mostly interest rate swap exposure. Which can only mean one thing: when and if central banks lose control of government bond curves, an rates start moving wider again, the global margin call will be unprecedented. Until then we can just delude ourselves that central planners have everything under control, have everything under control, have everything under control.
Moody’s warned on Thursday it may cut the credit ratings of 17 global and 114 European financial institutions in another sign the impact of the euro zone government debt crisis is spreading throughout the global financial system.
It was reviewing the long-term ratings and standalone credit assessments of a range of banks, Moody’s added. Markets were unaffected by the Moody’s announcement.
“Capital markets firms are confronting evolving challenges, such as more fragile funding conditions, wider credit spreads, increased regulatory burdens and more difficult operating conditions,” the ratings agency said in a statement.
It said among 17 banks and securities firms with global capital markets operations, it might cut the long-term credit rating of UBS, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley by as much as three notches following the review. It said the guidance was indicative.
Among the banks that might be downgradedbytwo notches are Barclays, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, HSBC Holdings, and Goldman Sachs.
Bank of America and Nomura were included in those that might be downgraded by one notch.
Barrett Brown, who has taken on the (seemingly lucrative) role of the public face of hacker group Anonymous, best known recently for breaking into Stratfor’s servers, speaks about the logic behind the hacking of 2.7 million email accounts which will likely very soon be made public, in addition to the tens of thousands of credit card numbers and full client details (including home addresses) of Stratfor clients that Anonymous has already released.
Yesterday we charted the combined ECB balance sheet which showed that it had hit an all time record of €2.5 trillion, exclusing today’s operation (to the stunned surprise of all those who scream that the ECB should be printing more, more, more). Today, we focus exclusively on the various forms of unsecured liquidity measures, such as today’s 3 Year LTRO, because as the following chart from Bank of America shows, European emergency liquidity provisioning post today’s liquidity bailout brings the total to €873 billion and is just shy of its all time record of €896 billion, a number which we expect will be taken out as soon as the next liquidity provisioning operation. In other words, European liquidity in euro terms, has virtually never been worse. And as today’s additional drawdown of Fed swap lines indicates, the USD liquidity crunch is getting worse not better (confirmed by the rapid deterioration in basis swap levels). Perhaps the fact that not only is nothing fixed, but things are about as bad as they have ever been explains why Europe closed blood red across the board, and also why Bank of America continues to push for an outright crash in all risk (and some were doubting our earlier analysis that BAC is outright yearning for a market crash): To wit from Bank of America’s Ralf Preusser: “The tender results do not however change either our longer term cautious outlook on growth, or the periphery. We remain long 5y CDS protection on France, at 210bp (target 300bp, stop loss 175bp).” So let’s see: BAC is shorting the EURUSD, which implies they are pushing for a market drop, and now they want French CDS to soar? Who was it that said the megabanks do not want a crash?
And here is what near record liquidity needs look like:
NEW YORK (AP) — Fitch Ratings on Thursday downgraded its viability ratings on eight of the world’s biggest banks, citing increased challenges facing the banking sector due to weak economic growth and heightened regulation.
The firm lowered its viability ratings for Bank of America Corp., Barclays PLC, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse AG, Deutsche Bank AG, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale.
What you are about to read should absolutely astound you. During the last financial crisis, the Federal Reserve secretly conducted the biggest bailout in the history of the world, and the Fed fought in court for several years to keep it a secret. Do you remember the TARP bailout? The American people were absolutely outraged that the federal government spent 700 billion dollars bailing out the “too big to fail” banks. Well, that bailout was pocket change compared to what the Federal Reserve did. As you will see documented below, the Federal Reserve actually handed more than 16 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free money to the “too big to fail” banks between 2007 and 2010. So have you heard about this on the nightly news? Probably not. Lately Bloomberg has been reporting on some of this, but even they are not giving people the whole picture. The American people need to be told about this 16 trillion dollar bailout, because it is a perfect example of why the Federal Reserve needs to be shut down. The Federal Reserve has been actively picking “winners” and “losers” in the financial system, and it turns out that the “friends” of the Fed always get bailed out and always end up among the “winners”. This is not how a free market system is supposed to work.
According to the limited GAO audit of the Federal Reserve that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the grand total of all the secret bailouts conducted by the Federal Reserve during the last financial crisis comes to a whopping $16.1 trillion.
… how many of the top 50 holders presented below, will be forced to sell once we get a 4 handle? We are certain of one thing, however: Paulson’s LP are simply delighted that he added to his loser position in BAC. Delighted.
Well, he may not be liquidating, and he may be telling others he has experienced barely any redemptions, but Paulson’s gold share class, represented entirely by the fund’s GLD holdings would beg to differ: as of September 30, Paulson’s total holdings of GLD were down by a third from 31.5 million shares or $4.6 billion at the end of Q2, to 20.2 million or $3.2 billion. And as is well known, GLD is not an actual investment for Paulson, but merely a representative asset class for those who opt to have their fund holdings represented in gold (the smart ones) instead of in dollars. Indicatively the only Paulson & co investors who made any money, or at least did not lose much, were those who opted for a gold share class. Either way, it is now safe to assume that at least a third of the fund has been permanently redeemed, further confirmed by the drop in the AUM from $29 billion to $20.7 billion as per the actual filing. But wait, there’s more: while Paulson was busy selling across the board, in the process liquidating all of his JPM holdings as well as his positions in Comcast (no CNBC for you), Savvis, NYSE Euronext and State Street, and following in Tepper’s footsteps in selling across the board, the former Bear trader did what all other allegedly doomed institutions do and added to, you guessed it, the biggest loser Bank of America, increasing his position by almost 4 million shares… even as the total value of his 64 million BAC stake, which closed Q3 at the same price it is today, dropped by $269 million! And that’s why he is a billionaire and you are not. At least we know who Tepper was selling to. But that’s not all: Paulson also added 1.1 million share to his CapitalOne position, bringing the total to 22.2 million shares, even as the total value of his revised position dropped by $210 million to $880 million. And so forth. Some other names in which he took brand new stakes in (picture that: he did not spend all of Q3 selling) in Motorola Mobility, Nalco, Cephalon, AMC and a bunch of irrelevant others. So to all those who are now in the same place they were in 2008: tough, but at least your fees made JP into a multi-billionaire. Congratulations.
Most people have no idea that Wall Street has become a gigantic financial casino. The big Wall Street banks are making tens of billions of dollars a year in the derivatives market, and nobody in the financial community wants the party to end. The word “derivatives” sounds complicated and technical, but understanding them is really not that hard. A derivative is essentially a fancy way of saying that a bet has been made. Originally, these bets were designed to hedge risk, but today the derivatives market has mushroomed into a mountain of speculation unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Estimates of the notional value of the worldwide derivatives market go from $600 trillion all the way up to $1.5 quadrillion. Keep in mind that the GDP of the entire world is only somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 trillion. The danger to the global financial system posed by derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”. For now, the financial powers that be are trying to keep the casino rolling, but it is inevitable that at some point this entire mess is going to come crashing down. When it does, we are going to be facing a derivatives crisis that really could destroy the entire global financial system.
Most people don’t talk much about derivatives because they simply do not understand them.
AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters’ worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.
The study’s assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.
The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations (TNCs).
“Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it’s conspiracy theories or free-market,” says James Glattfelder. “Our analysis is reality-based.”
This story from Bloomberg just hit the wires this morning. Bank of America is shifting derivatives in its Merrill investment banking unit to its depository arm, which has access to the Fed discount window and is protected by the FDIC.
This means that the investment bank’s European derivatives exposure is now backstopped by U.S. taxpayers. Bank of America didn’t get regulatory approval to do this, they just did it at the request of frightened counterparties. Now the Fed and the FDIC are fighting as to whether this was sound. The Fed wants to “give relief” to the bank holding company, which is under heavy pressure.
This is a direct transfer of risk to the taxpayer done by the bank without approval by regulators and without public input. You will also read below that JP Morgan is apparently doing the same thing with $79 trillion of notional derivatives guaranteed by the FDIC and Federal Reserve.
What this means for you is that when Europe finally implodes and banks fail, U.S. taxpayers will hold the bag for trillions in CDS insurance contracts sold by Bank of America and JP Morgan. Even worse, the total exposure is unknown because Wall Street successfully lobbied during Dodd-Frank passage so that no central exchange would exist keeping track of net derivative exposure.
This is a recipe for Armageddon. Bernanke is absolutely insane. No wonder Geithner has been hopping all over Europe begging and cajoling leaders to put together a massive bailout of troubled banks. His worst nightmare is Eurozone bank defaults leading to the collapse of the large U.S. banks who have been happily selling default insurance on European banks since the crisis began.
Bank of America Corp. (BAC), hit by a credit downgrade last month, has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Megabanks around the world are reeling from their customers removing their capital and closing their accounts. People are standing up worldwide in a non-participational form of civil disobedience in order to do anything possible to bring down these corrupt megabanks.
There was an Italian bank run scare in at the beginning of August that really started the gears in motion for the possibilities of future bank runs.
Financial blogspredicted a run on the French banks during the economic turmoil in the EU and Eurozone countries.] Many corporations in France have moved their money out of French banks and into safer short term holdings for the time being.
Similar bank runs in August occurred in the United States, and the megabank Bank Of America had to employ the assistance of the St. Louis SWAT Team to prevent customers from closing their accounts and moving their money to smaller banks.
The bank run issue even hit mainstream media in the United States, covered here by NPR.
Since the Occupy protests have started, big banks have been the prime target of disgruntled humans for their corrupt practices of taking peoples homes, robbing the elderly, and funding many illicit activities that normal Americans would face prison time over.
On September 30th, families and individual customers of Bank of America had a sit in protest to show civil disobedience against the megabank. 20+ of the protesters were arrested.
It would seem as if America is done with the megabanks, and for good reason. I came across this blog recently and information that there is a bank run being planned in the United States on December 7th.
The video above shows a well-dressed customer of Citibank outside talking with another customer about having been inside and having tried to close her account. A plain-clothers officer then starts yelling from behind her and drags her and her friend inside the bank to be arrested with the other Citibank customers. This is simply egregious activity by the officers in New York and the megacorporation Citigroup.
The end of the international banking cartel, their fiat currency that is imploding society by design, and the revival of sound money is at hand. But we must first be sure to force these too big to fail banks into oblivion. Let us keep the pressure up on them, and force their monopolies to come down. If the government and our ‘elected representatives’ won’t stand up for the rule of law, then we must come together to enforce it ourselves through direct democracy and non-participation.
The Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York City more than three weeks ago have now spread across the country. The choice of Wall Street as the focal point for the protests — as even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said — makes sense due to the big bank malfeasance that led to the Great Recession.
While the Dodd-Frank financial reform law did a lot to ensure that a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis won’t occur — through regulation of derivatives, a new consumer protection agency, and new powers for the government to dismantle failing banks — the biggest banks still have a firm grip on the financial system, even more so than before the 2008 financial crisis. Here are eleven facts that you need to know about the nation’s biggest banks:
– Bank profits are highest since before the recession…: According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., bank profits in the first quarter of this year were “the best for the industry since the $36.8 billion earned in the second quarter of 2007.” JP Morgan Chase is currently pulling in record profits.
– Banks make nearly one-third of total corporate profits: The financial sector accounts for about 30 percent of total corporate profits, which is actually down from before the financial crisis, when they made closer to 40 percent.
– Since 2008, the biggest banks have gotten bigger: Due to the failure of small competitors and mergers facilitated during the 2008 crisis, the nation’s biggest banks — including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo — are now biggerthan they were pre-recession. Pre-crisis, the four biggest banks held 32 percent of total deposits; now they hold nearly 40 percent.
– The four biggest banks issue 50 percent of mortgages and 66 percent of credit cards: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup issue one out of every two mortgages and nearly two out of every three credit cards in America.
– The 10 biggest banks hold 60 percent of bank assets: In the 1980s, the 10 biggest banks controlled 22 percent of total bank assets. Today, they control 60 percent.
– The six biggest banks hold assets equal to 63 percent of the country’s GDP: In 1995, the six biggest banks in the country held assets equal to about 17 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Now their assets equal 63 percent of GDP.
– The five biggest banks hold 95 percent of derivatives: Nearly the entire market in derivatives — the credit instruments that helped blow up some of the nation’s biggest banks as well as mega-insurer AIG — is dominated by just five firms: JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo.
– Banks cost households nearly $20 trillion in wealth: Almost $20 trillion in wealth was destroyed by the Great Recession, and total family wealth is still down “$12.8 trillion (in 2011 dollars) from June 2007 — its last peak.”