Continue to prepare for collapse. (And maybe support this website if you can.)
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as of March 31, 2016, there were 6,122 FDIC insured financial institutions in the United States. Of those 6,122 commercial banks and savings associations, 4,701 did not hold any derivatives. To put that another way, 77 percent of all U.S. banks found zero reason to engage in high-risk derivative trading.
Citigroup, however, the bank that spectacularly blew itself up with toxic derivatives and subprime debt in 2008, became a 99-cent stock during the crisis, and received the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. financial history despite being insolvent at the time, today holds more derivatives than 4,701 other banks combined which are backstopped by the taxpayer. Continue reading »
JPMorgan, Goldman Said to Discuss Buying Deutsche Bank Swaps
~Lender looking to complete sale of $1.1 trillion swaps book
~Deutsche Bank has sold about two-thirds of book since 2015
Deutsche Bank AG, the lender exiting some trading operations, is in talks with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. to sell the last batches of about 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in complex financial instruments, people with knowledge of the matter said. Continue reading »
Did you know that there are 5 “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have exposure to derivatives contracts that is in excess of 30 trillion dollars? Overall, the biggest U.S. banks collectively have more than 247 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives contracts. That is an amount of money that is more than 13 times the size of the U.S. national debt, and it is a ticking time bomb that could set off financial Armageddon at any moment. Globally, the notional value of all outstanding derivatives contracts is a staggering 552.9 trillion dollars according to the Bank for International Settlements. The bankers assure us that these financial instruments are far less risky than they sound, and that they have spread the risk around enough so that there is no way they could bring the entire system down. But that is the thing about risk – you can try to spread it around as many ways as you can, but you can never eliminate it. And when this derivatives bubble finally implodes, there won’t be enough money on the entire planet to fix it. Continue reading »
Having watched the credit markets grow more and more weary of the major US financials, it should not be total surprise that ratings agency S&P just put all the majors on watch for a rating downgrade:
*JPMORGAN, CITIGROUP, GOLDMAN SACHS, STATE STREET CORP, MORGAN STANLEY MAY BE CUT BY S&P
Despite all the talking heads proclamations on higher rates and net interest margins and ‘strongest balance sheets’ ever, S&P obviously sees something more worrisome looming. This comes just hours after Moody’s put Bank of Nova Scotia on review also (blaming the move on concerns over increased risk appetite).
– Peak Crony Capitalism: First Citi Writes US Financial Laws, Now Boeing Tells Ex-Im Bank What To Do (ZeroHedge, March 13, 2015):
Today’s most under the radar news, just as Citigroup was to Congress, and the swaps push out language, so Boeing, that primary recipients of the generosity of America’s Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, has been caught red-handed drafting the rules of none other than the Ex-Im bank itself! According to the WSJ: “when the Export-Import Bank sought to respond to critics with tighter rules for aircraft sales, it reached out to a company with a vested interest in the outcome: Boeing Co., the biggest beneficiary of the bank’s assistance.” Or nothing more than a criminal conflict of interest, which, once again, is at the expense of America’s infinite bailout piggybank: it’s taxpayers.
– Citi Warns Of “Dancing”, “Music” And “Complicated Things” For The Second Time (ZeroHedge, Feb 21, 2015):
“When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.”
– Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince July 9, 2007
“Depressingly, our instinct is that those new forecasts are more likely too conservative than too aggressive. Longer-term, sweet dreams really aren’t made of this.”
– Citigroup Strategist Hans Lorenzen February 20, 2015 Continue reading »
– Is Citi The Next AIG: 70 Trillion Reasons Why Citigroup And Congress Scrambled To Pass The Swaps “Push-Out” Rule (ZeroHedge, Jan 5, 2015):
Something stunning and unexpected took place in the third quarter: Citigroup, or rather its FDIC-insured Citibank National Association entity, just surpassed JPM and is now the biggest single holder of total derivatives in the US. Furthermore, as the charts below show, while every other bank was derisking its balance sheet, Citi not only increased its total derivative holdings by $1 trillion in Q2, but by a whopping, and perhaps even record, $9 trillion in the just concluded third quarter to $70.2 trillion!
– GAO Audit Of The Federal Reserve Reveals $16 TRILLION In Secret Bailouts (Sott.net, Sep 1, 2012)::
The list of institutions that received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131 of the GAO Audit and are as follows..
Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion ($868,000,000,000)
Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)
JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)
UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)
Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)
Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,000,000)
BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)
and many many more including banks in Belgium of all places
View the 266-page GAO audit of the Federal Reserve (July 21st, 2011):
Comment: It’s not “socialism for the rich”; that’s an oxymoron.
It’s corporatism, i.e. fascism, as defined by Benito Mussolini.
– Western Banks Cut Off Liquidity To Russian Entities (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
As Zero Hedge first reported today, shortly before noon one (and subsequently more) FX brokers advised clients that any existing Ruble positions would be forcibly closed out because “western banks have stopped pricing USDRUB“, over concerns of Russian capital controls. Ironically, it was this forced liquidation of mostly short RUB positions that pushed the RUB higher, which in turn had a briefly favorably impact on energy commodities and risk assets, as the market had by then perceived the Ruble selloff as excessive. Of course, since nothing had actually changed aside from a temporary market technical, the selloff promptly resumed into the close of trading once the market finally understood what we had explained hours previously.
And unfortunately for the bulls, various falling knife-catchers, and those who hope the Russian situation will stabilize imminently with or without capital controls, it appears things in Russia are about to get a whole lot worse because as the WSJ reports, the next driver of the Russian crisis is likely to come from within the banking system itself because “global banks are curtailing the flow of cash to Russian entities, a response to the ruble’s sharpest selloff since the 1998 financial crisis.”
Presenting Russia’s banks: now cut off from the outside world as the second cold war goes nuclear, at least when it comes to the financial system:
Continue reading »
– Citi Pays $3.5 Billion To Keep Its Employees Out Of Jail For Yet Another Quarter (ZeroHedge, Dec 9, 2014):
Alongside the just announced revenue warning, Citi’s CEO Corbat also announced yet another $2.7 billion in legal, related charges in 4Q, as well as another $800 million in repositioning expenses. This simply means that for yet another quarter Citi will be charged with billions in recurring, non-one time “one-time, non-recurring” charges which will be dutifully added back to non-GAAP EPS by analysts at all the other banks (whose criminal employers are now engaged in the same racket with the US government). But what it really means is that it cost Citi some $3.5 billion to keep its employees out of jail for yet another 3 months.
Despite the near-record scream higher in Chinese stocks over the last few months, under the surface China is rattled and nowhere is that more evident than in the collapse of its commodity-backed ponzi-financing deals. Since we first uncovered the fraud at the port of Qingdao, another has appeared that is just as fraud-ridden – Penglai; and Citi and Mercuria Energy are arguing over who pays. According to Mercuria’s lawyer Graham Dunning, Citi was “in a state of panic,” when they uncovered the fraud. As Bloomberg reports, Dunning exclaimed “it appears that substantial quantities may be missing from the warehouses or may be the subject of multiple pledges,” and the bank says it is owed at least $270 million. Other ‘banks’ have been less forthcoming about their potential losses, but the government probe has so far uncovered almost $10 billion in fraudulent trade, including irregularities at Qingdao, according to the country’s currency regulator.
– Dear Willem Buiter: If Gold Is A 6000-Year Bubble, Then What Is This? (ZeroHedge, Dec 4, 2014):
Citi claims gold is a 6000-year-old bubble, perhaps Mr. Buiter has not seen this chart?
…and funny how Mr. Buiter never wrote any extensive essays about the bubbleness of Citi at any point between 1995 and 2007?
* * *
“A friend asked me to choose one investment that I would want to leave to my great-great-grandchildren. I immediately answered that it would be gold coins. The reason I explained is as follows – corporations can disappear, stocks can collapse, governments can change and they can fall, booms and recessions come and go – but gold is intrinsic money, and no man or nation has ever doubted its value. And they never will.”
From the article:
“Yet, our political-financial system has gone from the dysfunctional to the failed to the surreal. Speculation, once left to individuals and investors, is now federally sponsored, subsidized and institutionalized. When this sham finally buckles and the next shoe falls and rates do eventually rise, the stock market will tank, liquidity will die, and the broader economy will plunge into a worse Depression than before. We are not there yet because of these coordinated moves and the political force behind them. But we are on a precarious path to that inevitability. “
– QE isn’t dying, it’s morphing (Nomi Prins, Nov 10, 2014):
A funny thing happened on the way to the ‘end’ of the multi-trillion dollar bond buying program known as QE – the Fed chronicles. Aside from the shift to a globalization of QE via the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan (BOJ) as I wrote about earlier, what lingers in the air of “post-taper” time is an absence of absence. For QE is not over. Instead, in the United States, the process has simply morphed from being predominantly executed by the Federal Reserve (Fed) to being executed by its major private bank members. Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, has failed to point this out in any of her speeches about the labor force, inflation, or inequality. Continue reading »
– The Size Of The Derivatives Bubble Hanging Over The Global Economy Hits A Record High (Economic Collapse, May 26, 2014):
The global derivatives bubble is now 20 percent bigger than it was just before the last great financial crisis struck in 2008. It is a financial bubble far larger than anything the world has ever seen, and when it finally bursts it is going to be a complete and utter nightmare for the financial system of the planet. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the total notional value of derivatives contracts around the world has ballooned to an astounding 710 trillion dollars ($710,000,000,000,000). Other estimates put the grand total well over a quadrillion dollars. If that sounds like a lot of money, that is because it is. For example, U.S. GDP is projected to be in the neighborhood of around 17 trillion dollars for 2014. So 710 trillion dollars is an amount of money that is almost incomprehensible. Instead of actually doing something about the insanely reckless behavior of the big banks, our leaders have allowed the derivatives bubble and these banks to get larger than ever. In fact, as I have written about previously, the big Wall Street banks are collectively 37 percent larger than they were just prior to the last recession. “Too big to fail” is a far more massive problem than it was the last time around, and at some point this derivatives bubble is going to burst and start taking those banks down. When that day arrives, we are going to be facing a crisis that is going to make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
If you do not know what a derivative is, Mayra Rodríguez Valladares, a managing principal at MRV Associates, provided a pretty good definition in her recent article for the New York Times: Continue reading »
– George Soros sells all shares of Citigroup, Bank of America and JP Morgan (Intellihub, May 20, 2014):
Is this a sign of trouble ahead for the banking industry?
WASHINGTON — Just over 2 decades ago banker George Soros made his most famous investment by shorting the British pound and pocketing a billion dollars in the process. Since then he has become famous for betting on stock market crashes and in some cases even rigging markets to fail for his own gain.
Just months ago, Soros made headlines by making a billion dollar stock bet against the S&P 500. At the time this was said to be a sign of trouble ahead for the US economy, as Soros has seemed to have had advance knowledge of market crashes in the past. As a result of this reputation, investors have begun to keep a close eye on his holdings. Continue reading »
– From Rothschild To Koch Industries: Meet The People Who “Fix” The Price Of Gold (ZeroHedge, May 14, 2014):
Earlier today many were stunned when the historic, 117-year old, London Silver Fix announced that in three months it would no longer exist. However, silver is only one half of the world’s two best known precious metals. Which is why we decided to take a long, hard look at that other fix: gold.
The reason for this particular inquiry is because in the aftermath of the rapid and dramatic departure of the world’s largest bank by outstanding notional derivatives, and Europe’s biggest bank by any metric, Deutsche Bank, from the precious metal fix, something felt out of place: almost as if the participants of the “fixing” process which for so many years took place in the office of none other than Rothschild on St. Swithin’s Lane in London, were suddenly scrambling to disappear without a trace.
In conducting our research we hope to not only memorialize just who are these particular individuals who “fix” gold using nothing but publicly available information of course – because after all it is not as if they have anything to hide or fear – but to connect some of the very peculiar dots behind the scenes of what to some, is the original, and most manipulated market in history – that of gold. Continue reading »
– On The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Reserve Here Are 100 Reasons To Shut It Down Forever (Economic Collapse, Dec 22, 2013):
December 23rd, 1913 is a date which will live in infamy. That was the day when the Federal Reserve Act was pushed through Congress. Many members of Congress were absent that day, and the general public was distracted with holiday preparations. Now we have reached the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, and most Americans still don’t know what it actually is or how it functions. But understanding the Federal Reserve is absolutely critical, because the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.
Since the Federal Reserve was created, there have been 18 recessions or depressions, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by 98 percent, and the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger. This insidious debt-based financial system has literally made debt slaves out of all of us, and it is systematically destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.
If nothing is done, we are inevitably heading for a massive amount of economic pain as a nation. So please share this article with as many people as you can.
The following are 100 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be shut down forever: Continue reading »
Tags: Alan Greenspan, Bank of America, Bank of England, Banking, Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, Bonds, Citigroup, Collapse, Debt, Dollar, Economy, Fed, Federal Reserve, Global News, Goldman Sachs, Government, JPMorgan, Mexico, Morgan Stanley, Obama administration, Politics, Quantitative Easing, U.S., Unemployment
– The Markets Should Celebrate Stanley Fischer As Number Two At Fed, A Perfect Ten Strike (Forbes, Dec 11, 2013):
I know and admire the wisdom of Stanley Fischer, apparently to be appointed Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. Fischer will add a serious complement of experience to maintain stability of the nation’s monetary policy as he understands only too well the absolute requirement of avoiding another meltdown. This appointment will strengthen the positive attitude of financial markets as Fischer is a strong asset for Yellen, and influential with other local Fed presidents as well as Finance Ministers and Central Bankers around the globe. Just recently, Larry Summers and a passel of other influential economists saluted Fischer with keenly read papers at the IMF to honor his influence in economic circles. And I know that Fischer has a very high regard for the former Treasury Secretary.
I believe his record as MIT Professor supervising Ben Bernanke’s thesis on the depression in 1979, his time at the IMF as chief economist, a few years at Citigroup and then a spectacular success steering the Israeli economy to superior economic growth at the Bank of Israel will be seen as a valuable counterpart to Janet Yellen’s huge challenge of easing us out of quantitative easing.
– For No. 2 at Fed, White House Favors Central Banker in the Bernanke Mold (New York Times, Dec 11, 2013):
WASHINGTON — Stanley Fischer, the former governor of the Bank of Israel and a mentor to the Federal Reserve’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, is the leading candidate to become vice chairman of the Fed, according to former and current administration officials.
– Former Bank of Israel Gov. Fischer near Fed vice chair nomination: Reports (CNBC. Dec 11, 2013):
The White House is close to nominating Stanley Fischer, the former governor of the Bank of Israel, as vice chair of the Federal Reserve, various media outlets reported on Wednesday.
Fischer, 70, headed the Israeli central bank until earlier this year. He is a former head of the economics department at MIT, former number two official at the IMF and former chief economist at the World Bank.
Among his students during his 20-plus years teaching at MIT were outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and former presidential advisor Greg Mankiw.
– Citi Warns “Fed Is Kicking The Can Over The Edge Of A Cliff” (ZeroHedge, Nov 14, 2013):
It is becoming increasingly obvious that we are seeing the disconnect between financial markets and the real economy grow. It is also increasingly obvious (to Citi’s FX Technicals team) that not only is QE not helping this dynamic, it is making things worse. It encourages misallocation of capital out of the real economy, it encourages poor risk management, it increases the danger of financial asset inflation/bubbles, and it emboldens fiscal irresponsibility etc.etc. If the Fed was prepared to draw a line under this experiment now rather than continuing to “kick the can down the road” it would not be painless but it would likely be less painful than what we might see later. Failure to do so will likely see us at the “end of the road” at some time in the future and the ‘can’ being “kicked over the edge of a cliff.” Enough is enough. It is time to recognize reality. It is time to take monetary and fiscal responsibility – “America is exhausted…..it is time.”
#10 According to an official government report, the Federal Reserve made 16.1 trillion dollars in secret loans to the big banks during the last financial crisis. The following is a list of loan recipients that was taken directly from page 131 of the report…
Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch – $1.949 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC – $868 billion
Bear Sterns – $853 billion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
Deutsche Bank – $354 billion
UBS – $287 billion
Credit Suisse – $262 billion
Lehman Brothers – $183 billion
Bank of Scotland – $181 billion
BNP Paribas – $175 billion
Wells Fargo – $159 billion
Dexia – $159 billion
Wachovia – $142 billion
Dresdner Bank – $135 billion
Societe Generale – $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” – $2.639 trillion
Comment: It’s not “socialism for the rich”; that’s an oxymoron.
It’s corporatism, i.e. fascism, as defined by Benito Mussolini.
– Citigroup Written Legislation Moves Through the House of Representatives (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Oct 29, 2013):
Five years after the Wall Street coup of 2008, it appears the U.S. House of Representatives is as bought and paid for as ever. We heard about the Citigroup crafted legislation currently being pushed through Congress back in May when Mother Jones reported on it. Fortunately, they included the following image in their article:
Source (Mother Jones)
Unsurprisingly, the main backer of the bill is notorious Wall Street lackey Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a former Goldman Sachs employee who has discovered lobbyist payoffs can be just as lucrative as a career in financial services. The last time Mr. Himes made an appearance on these pages was in March 2013 in my piece: Congress Moves to DEREGULATE Wall Street.
More from the New York Times:
The House is scheduled to vote on two bills this week that would undercut new financial regulations and hand Wall Street a victory. The legislation has garnered broad bipartisan support in the House, even after lawmakers learned that Citigroup lobbyists helped write one of the bills, which would exempt a wide array of derivatives trading from new regulation. Continue reading »
– Detroit Pensioners Face Miserable 16 Cent On The Dollar Recovery (ZeroHedge, Oct 27, 2013):
If there is ever a case study about people who built up their reputation and then squandered it for first being right for all the wrong reasons, and then being wrong for the right ones, then Meredith Whitney certainly heads the list of eligible candidates. After “predicting” the great financial crisis back in 2007 by looking at some deteriorating credit trends at Citigroup, a process that many had engaged beforehand and had come to a far more dire -and just as correct – conclusion, Whitney rose to stardom for merely regurgitating a well-known meme, however since her trumpeted call was the one closest to the Lehman-Day event when it all came crashing down, it afforded her a 5 year very lucrative stint as an advisor. Said stint has now been shuttered.
The main reason for the shuttering, of course, is that in 2010 she also called an imminent “muni” cataclysm, staking her reputation once again not only on what is fundamentally obvious, but locking in a time frame: 2011. Alas, this time her “timing” luck ran out and her call was dead wrong, leading people to question her abilities, and ultimately to give up on her “advisory” services altogether. Which in some ways is a shame because Whitney was and is quite correct about the municipal default tidal wave, as Detroit and ever more municipalities have shown, and the only question is the timing.
– Too Big To Fail Is Now Bigger Than Ever Before (Economic Collapse, Sep 20, 2013):
The too big to fail banks are now much, much larger than they were the last time they caused so much trouble. The six largest banks in the United States have gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years. Meanwhile, 1,400 smaller banks have disappeared from the banking industry during that time. What this means is that the health of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley is more critical to the U.S. economy than ever before. If they were “too big to fail” back in 2008, then now they must be “too colossal to collapse”. Without these banks, we do not have an economy. The six largest banks control 67 percent of all U.S. banking assets, and Bank of America accounted for about a third of all business loans by itself last year. Our entire economy is based on credit, and these giant banks are at the very core of our system of credit. If these banks were to collapse, a brutal economic depression would be guaranteed. Unfortunately, as you will see later in this article, these banks did not learn anything from 2008 and are being exceedingly reckless. They are counting on the rest of us bailing them out if something goes wrong, but that might not happen next time around.
– Big Oil’s Central Asian Mafia (Veterans Today, Aug 6, 2013)
(Excerpted from Big Oil & Their Bankers: Chapter 17: Caspian Sea Oil Grab)
According to Kurt Wulff of the oil investment firm McDep Associates, the Four Horsemen, romping in their new Far East pastures, saw asset increases from 1988-1994 as follows: Exxon Mobil- 54%, Chevron Texaco- 74%, Royal Dutch/Shell- 52% and BP Amoco- 54%. Big Oil had more than doubled its collective assets in six short years.
This quantum leap in global power had everything to do withthe takeover of the old Soviet oil patch and the subsequent impoverishment of its birthright owners.
While the Four Horsemen gorged on Russian and Central Asian oil, Wall Street investment bankers were facilitating the oil grab and ripping off the Russian Treasury.
Salomon Smith Barney’s Phibro Energy oil trading subsidiary set up shop in Moscow. Goldman Sachs was hired by Yeltsin to lure foreign capital to Russia. Heading the Russian Goldman Sachs team was Robert Rubin, later Clinton Secretary of Treasury & Citigroup CEO. CS First Boston took a 20% stake in Lukoil, in partnership with BP Amoco. Continue reading »
Tags: 9/11, Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaida, Banking, Bilderberg, Bill Clinton, BP, Bush administration, CFR, Chechnya, Chevron, China, CIA, Citigroup, cocaine, Columbia, Corruption, Dagestan, Dick Cheney, Drugs, Economy, Exxon, FBI, FSB, George Bush, Georgia, Global News, Goldman Sachs, Government, Halliburton, Harvard, Heroin, India, Kashmir, Kellogg Brown & Root, Kosovo, Lukoil, Manuel Salgado, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Mikhail Saakashvili, Mossad, NATO, Opium, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan, Politics, Prostitution, Robert Rubin, Russia, SEC, Shell, Tajikistan, Taliban, Terrorism, U.S., Uzbekistan, Wall Street, World Bank, Yugoslavia, Yukos Oil, Zbigniew Brzezinski
– Wall Street Banks Extract Enormous Fees From The Paychecks Of Millions Of American Workers (Economic Collapse, July 2, 2013):
Would you be angry if you had to pay a big Wall Street bank a fee before you could get the money that you worked so hard to earn? Unfortunately, that is exactly the situation that millions of American workers find themselves in today. An increasing number of U.S. companies are paying their workers using payroll cards that are issued by large financial institutions. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Walgreens and Taco Bell are just some of the well known employers that are doing this. Today, there are 4.6 million active payroll cards in the United States, and some of the largest banks in the country are issuing them. The list includes JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. The big problem with these cards is that there is often a fee for just about everything that you do with them. Do you want to use an ATM machine? You must pay a fee. Do you want to check your balance? You must pay a fee. Do you want a paper statement? You must pay a fee. Did you lose your card? You must pay a big fee. Has your card been inactive for a while? You must pay a huge fee. The big Wall Street banks are systematically extracting enormous fees from the working poor, and someone needs to do something to stop this.
– Another Oligarch Wrist Slap: Citigroup Settles in Secret on Housing Fraud Charges (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 31, 2013):
Guess what just happened? In case you forgot, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) had previously accused Citigroup of violating securities laws and making misrepresentations of billions of mortgage bonds. Unsurprisingly, Citigroup settled, which is just a euphemism for an “oligarch wrist slap.” What’s really disturbing is that the settlement amount will remain a secret, which takes cronyism to yet another despicable level. After all, take a look at the man who runs the Treasury Department.
The conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was eager for publicity in September 2011 when it sued 17 financial institutions, accusing them of ripping off the two government-backed housing financiers. It isn’t so enthusiastic anymore.
This week the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency told a federal judge it had settled its case against Citigroup Inc. The agency won’t say how much money Citigroup is paying. Neither will Citigroup, which survived the financial crisis only because it got multiple taxpayer bailouts. The parties agreed to keep the terms confidential. The government has decided this is none of the public’s business.
The agency had accused Citigroup of violating securities laws and making misrepresentations about $3.5 billion of mortgage bonds that it sold to Fannie and Freddie during the housing bubble, before they were seized by the government. This is the second such lawsuit to be resolved so far. In January, the agency dropped its suit against General Electric Co. after reaching a deal over mortgage bonds sold to Freddie Mac. In that case, too, the terms weren’t disclosed.
This should make every American’s blood boil. The government is devoting taxpayer resources to pursue these claims in court. The public is entitled to know the results. It’s that simple.
What can you say?
– Homes See Biggest Price Gain in Years, Propelling Stocks (New York Times, May 28, 2013):
Americans are in a buying mood, thanks largely to the housing recovery.
The latest sign emerged Tuesday as the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index posted the biggest gains in seven years. Housing prices rose in every one of the 20 cities tracked, continuing a trend that began three months ago. Similar strength has appeared in new and existing home sales and in building permits, as rising home prices are encouraging construction firms to accelerate building and hiring.
The broad-based housing improvements appear to be buoying consumer confidence and spending, countering fears earlier this year that many consumers would pull back in response to government austerity measures.
– Keeping The ‘Recovery’ Dream Alive; 3 Big Banks Halt Foreclosures In May (ZeroHedge, May 28, 2013):
What is the only thing better than Foreclosure Stuffing to provide an artificial supply-side subsidy to the housing market? How about completely clogging the foreclosure pipeline, by halting all foreclosure sales, which is just what the three TBTF megabanks: Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and Citi have done in recent weeks. Under the guise of ‘ensuring late-stage foreclosure procedures were in accordance with guidelines’, the LA Times reports that these three banks paused sales on May 6th and all but halted foreclosures. Perfectly organic housing recovery – as we noted earlier… and guess what states the greatest number of ‘halts’ are in from these banks – California, Nevada, Arizona – exactly where the surges in price have occurred.
Sales of homes in foreclosure by Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. ground nearly to a halt after regulators revised their orders on treatment of troubled borrowers during the 60 days before they lose their homes. Continue reading »
– America’s TBTF Bank Subsidy From Taxpayers: $83 Billion Per Year (ZeroHedge, Feb 20, 2013):
Day after day, whenever anyone challenges the TBTF banks’ scale, they are slammed down with a mutually assured destruction message that limitations would impair profitability and weaken the country’s position in global finance. So what if you were to discover, based on Bloomberg’s calculations, that the largest banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers? The stunning truth is that the top-five banks account for $64 billion of an implicit subsidy based on the ludicrous (but entirely real) logic that: The banks that are potentially the most dangerous can borrow at lower rates, because creditors perceive them as too big to fail. Perhaps this realization will increase shareholder demands – or even political furore? The market discipline might not please executives, but it would certainly be an improvement over paying banks to put us in danger. Continue reading »
– Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year? (Bloomberg, Feb 20, 2013):
On television, in interviews and in meetings with investors, executives of the biggest U.S. banks — notably JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon — make the case that size is a competitive advantage. It helps them lower costs and vie for customers on an international scale. Limiting it, they warn, would impair profitability and weaken the country’s position in global finance.
So what if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers?
– Secrets and Lies of the Bailout (Rolling Stone, Jan 4, 2013):
It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you’d think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we’ve been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right?
It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.
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