Apr 17

H/t reader squodgy:

“Getting Very Very close now. The Debts just aren’t sustainable, the Pacific Plate is grinding all round its rim, the economies are in depression, and the process of lies and fudging from government with dutiful compliance bullshit news from the mainstream media drones on and on spouting smokescreen subjects like elections and what a baddie Vlad is. Big event coming soon.”


The FDIC Issues Letter Warning of Economic Collapse-Martial Law Drills Are Everywhere

* * *

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Apr 15

jamie dimon cufflinks

The Fed Sends A Frightening Letter To JPMorgan, Corporate Media Yawns:

Yesterday the Federal Reserve released a 19-page letter that it and the FDIC had issued to Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on April 12 as a result of its failure to present a credible plan for winding itself down if the bank failed. The letter carried frightening passages and large blocks of redacted material in critical areas, instilling in any careful reader a sense of panic about the U.S. financial system. Continue reading »

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Sep 11

$1 Trillion In US Bank Deposits Held Abroad Will No Longer Be Insured (ZeroHedge, Sep 10 , 2013):

In the aftermath of the Cyprus bail in (and to a lesser extent the Polish pension fund debacle), it is understandable if depositors are a little sensitive about the insurance, and thus confiscability (sic), of their deposits. Starting today, following a 5-0 vote by the FDIC, depositors in foreign US bank branches will officially no longer have recourse to a $250,000 in deposit insurance. The notional amount of deposits at risk: $1 trillion. This is not a new development: the FDIC rule to curb insurance on this category of deposits was proposed earlier this year, and today was the formalization. However, questions do arise: if a major US depository institution does fail domestically, the financial state of their depositors abroad will hardly be the biggest issue.

WSJ adds:

The move rejects what officials called a “creative” legal proposal from the banking industry. “We don’t want to become the deposit insurer for the world,” FDIC officials said at a briefing.

Continue reading »

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Mar 22

Why Is The World Economy Doomed? The Global Financial Pyramid Scheme By The Numbers (Economic Collapse, March 20, 2013):

Why is the global economy in so much trouble?  How can so many people be so absolutely certain that the world financial system is going to crash?  Well, the truth is that when you take a look at the cold, hard numbers it is not difficult to see why the global financial pyramid scheme is destined to fail.  In the United States today, there is approximately 56 trillion dollars of total debt in our financial system, but there is only about 9 trillion dollars in our bank accounts.  So you could take every single penny out of the banks, multiply it by six, and you still would not have enough money to pay off all of our debts.  Overall, there is about 190 trillion dollars of total debt on the planet.  But global GDP is only about 70 trillion dollars.  And the total notional value of all derivatives around the globe is somewhere between 600 trillion and 1500 trillion dollars.  So we have a gigantic problem on our hands.  The global financial system is a very shaky house of cards that has been constructed on a foundation of debt, leverage and incredibly risky derivatives.  We are living in the greatest financial bubble in world history, and it isn’t going to take much to topple the entire thing.  And when it falls, it is going to be the largest financial disaster in the history of the planet.

The global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, and a crisis at one major bank or in one area of the world can spread at lightning speed.  As I wrote about yesterday, the entire European banking system is leveraged 26 to 1 at this point.  A decline in asset values of just 4 percent would totally wipe out the equity of many of those banks, and once a financial panic begins we could potentially see major financial institutions start to go down like dominoes.

Continue reading »

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Jan 10

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?

Wrong.

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.

Continue reading »

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Aug 15

‘JPM’s $150 Billion FDIC Reality Adjustment’ – Jamie Dimon Just Admitted To The World That JPM’s Assets Are Overvalued By $150 Billion

JPM’s $150 Billion FDIC Reality Adjustment

Reuters published an exclusive story this morning:

Buried in the final paragraph:

In a presentation in March, JPMorgan Chase said it had a recovery plan in place and said it was ordered by regulators. The presentation was organized by Harvard Law School and was closed to the media at the time, but is now available online.

Here’s the BEST part of the JPM document. Continue reading »

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Dec 01

He endorses Ron Paul at 22:45.

A COMPLETE MUST-LISTEN!

I recommend you don’t miss one minute!



YouTube Added: 30.11.2011

See also:

Gerald Celente – Trends Journal: URGENT-Special Report: Got Effed By MF Global. Who’s Going To Eff You?

If Nostradamus were alive today, he’d have a hard time keeping up with Gerald Celente.
– New York Post

When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente.
– CNN Headline News

There’s not a better trend forecaster than Gerald Celente. The man knows what he’s talking about.
– CNBC

Those who take their predictions seriously … consider the Trends Research Institute.
– The Wall Street Journal

A network of 25 experts whose range of specialties would rival many university faculties.
– The Economist

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Nov 29

If Nostradamus were alive today, he’d have a hard time keeping up with Gerald Celente.
– New York Post

When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente.
– CNN Headline News

There’s not a better trend forecaster than Gerald Celente. The man knows what he’s talking about.
– CNBC

Those who take their predictions seriously … consider the Trends Research Institute.
– The Wall Street Journal

A network of 25 experts whose range of specialties would rival many university faculties.
– The Economist

Prepare for collapse.

Before:

And Now: $1.2 Billion Or More Missing From MF Global Customer Accounts

RED ALERT: ‘The Entire System Has Been Utterly Destroyed By The MF Global Collapse’ – Barnhardt Capital Management, The First MF Global Casualty

$600 Million Missing From MF Global Accounts (Reuters, Nov. 16, 2011) – Gerald Celente Just Got Burned By MF Global Bankruptcy: Gold Future Positions And Account Closed, Money Gone (RT, Nov. 14, 2011 – Video)

The following was sent to me by a reader.


By Gerald Celente (www.TrendsJournal.com):

KINGSTON, NY, 28 November 2011 — The MF Global bankruptcy has more far reaching implications than are currently being acknowledged. Not simply an isolated instance of corporate mismanagement resulting in disastrous and irreparable effects on options and commodity futures markets, the MF bankruptcy – the eighth-largest in US history – is a harbinger of much worse to come.

Don’t be taken in by today’s stock market bounce that’s based on the belief that Europe is coming closer to resolving its debt crisis, and that strong US Black Friday retail sales are a sign recession has been averted.

The European debt crisis is a long term-trend with no quick fixes. And the retail surge is no more than a flash mob spending spree hyped by a corporate media. The more they hype it and the more consumers spend, the more advertising space the media sells to retailers.

The MF meltdown, however, is symptomatic of a global economic system on the verge of collapse. No financial sector will escape unscathed: banks, brokerages, hedge funds, insurance companies, stocks and stock markets are all at risk.

When the evidence is pieced together, it proves how corrupt, bankrupt and dishonest the financial/political cabal that runs America is, and reveals the complicity of the media in covering up their masters’ misdeeds.

How I got Effed by MF Global, And Why it is Important to You I’ve been trading and buying gold since 1978. I am not a “speculator.” I buy coins and bullion as well as futures contracts. My involvement with MF Global went like this:

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Oct 19

Insanity just hit RECORD HIGHS!


HOLY BAILOUT – Federal Reserve Now Backstopping $75 Trillion Of Bank Of America’s Derivatives Trades (The Daily Bail, Oct 18, 2011):

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.

BofA Said to Split Regulators Over Moving Merrill Derivatives to Bank Unit (Bloomberg, Oct 18, 2011):

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.

Continue reading »

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Sep 05

Recommended ‘extensive roundup’ here:

Full-Blown Civil War Erupts On Wall Street: As Reality Finally Hits The Financial Elite, They Start Turning On Each Other (AmpedStatus, Sep 3, 2011):

Finally, after trillions in fraudulent activity, trillions in bailouts, trillions in printed money, billions in political bribing and billions in bonuses, the criminal cartel members on Wall Street are beginning to get what they deserve. As the Eurozone is coming apart at the seams and as the US economy grinds to a halt, the financial elite are starting to turn on each other. The lawsuits are piling up fast. Here’s an extensive roundup:

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Mar 09


Ted Kaufman


On Friday, free and efficient market champion Ted Kaufman, previously known for his stern crusade to rid the world of the HFT scourge, and all other market irregularities which unfortunately will stay with us until the next major market crash (and until the disbanding of the SEC following the terminal realization of its corrupt and utter worthlessness), held a hearing on the impact of the TARP on financial stability, no longer in his former position as a senator, but as Chairman of the Congressional TARP oversight panel. Witness included Simon Johnson, Joseph Stiglitz, Allan Meltzer, William Nelson (Deputy Director of Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve), Damon Silvers (AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel), and others.

In typical Kaufman fashion, this no-nonsense hearing was one of the most informative and expository of all Wall Street evils to ever take place on the Hill. Which of course is why it received almost no coverage in the media. Below we present a full transcript of the entire hearing, together with select highlights.

The insights proffered by the panelists and the witnesses, while nothing new to those who have carefully followed the generational theft that has been occurring for two and a half years in plain view of everyone and shows no signs of stopping, are truly a MUST READ for virtually every citizen of America and the world: this transcript explains in great detail what absolute crime is, and why it will likely forever go unpunished.

Key highlights from the transcript:

Continue reading »

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Feb 26

(AP) –The number of banks at risk of failing made up nearly 12 percent of all federally insured banks in the final three months of 2010, the highest level in 18 years.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said Wednesday that the number of banks on its confidential “problem” list rose to 884 in the October-December quarter, up from 860 in the previous quarter. Those are banks rated by examiners as having very low capital cushions against risk.

Twenty-two banks have failed so far this year. And more banks are at risk, even as reported the industry’s highest earnings as a group since the financial crisis hit three years ago.

Continue reading »

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Feb 18

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them


Illustration by Victor Juhasz

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

“Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

I put down my notebook. “Just that?”

“That’s right,” he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.”

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

This article appears in the March 3, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive February 18.

The rest of them, all of them, got off. Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling. What’s more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even “one dollar” just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick “The Gorilla” Fuld conveniently failed to disclose. Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.

Instead, federal regulators and prosecutors have let the banks and finance companies that tried to burn the world economy to the ground get off with carefully orchestrated settlements — whitewash jobs that involve the firms paying pathetically small fines without even being required to admit wrongdoing. To add insult to injury, the people who actually committed the crimes almost never pay the fines themselves; banks caught defrauding their shareholders often use shareholder money to foot the tab of justice. “If the allegations in these settlements are true,” says Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, “it’s management buying its way off cheap, from the pockets of their victims.”

To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once.”

But that hasn’t happened. Because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fucked up.

Just ask the people who tried to do the right thing.

Continue reading »

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Feb 05

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators on Friday shut down three small banks in Georgia and Illinois, bringing to 14 the number of bank failures in 2011 following last year’s tally of 157 amid the sagging economy and mounting bad loans.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized American Trust Bank, based in Roswell, Ga., with $238.2 million in assets and $222.2 million in deposits; North Georgia Bank of Watkinsville, Ga., with $153.2 million in assets and $139.7 million in deposits; and Chicago-based Community First Bank, with $51.1 million in assets and $49.5 million in deposits.

Renasant Bank, based in Tupelo, Miss., agreed to assume $147.4 million of the assets and all the deposits of American Trust Bank. BankSouth, based in Greensboro, Ga., is assuming $123.9 million of the assets and all the deposits of North Georgia Bank. Northbrook Bank and Trust Co., based in Northbrook, Ill., is acquiring the assets and deposits of Community First Bank.

In addition, the FDIC and Renasant Bank agreed to share losses on $94.3 million of American Trust Bank’s loans and other assets. The FDIC and BankSouth are sharing losses on $120.1 million of North Georgia Bank’s assets. The agency and Northbrook Bank and Trust are sharing losses on $42.8 million of Community First Bank’s assets.

The failure of American Trust Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $71.5 million. The failure of North Georgia Bank is expected to cost $35.2 million; that of Northbrook Bank and Trust, $11.7 million.

Continue reading »

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Oct 24

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators on Friday shut down a total of seven banks in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas and Arizona, lifting to 139 the number of U.S. banks that have fallen this year as soured loans have mounted and the economy has sputtered.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the banks, the largest of which by far was Hillcrest Bank, based in Overland Park, Kan., with $1.6 billion in assets.

A newly chartered bank subsidiary of Boston-based NBH Holdings Corp. was set up to take over Hillcrest’s assets and deposits. The new subsidiary is called Hillcrest Bank N.A.

The FDIC and Hillcrest Bank N.A. agreed to share losses on $1.1 billion of the failed bank’s assets. Its failure is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $329.7 million.

Also shuttered were First Bank of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla., with $81 million in assets; Progress Bank of Florida, based in Tampa, with $110.7 million in assets; First National Bank of Barnesville in Barnesville, Ga., with $131.4 million in assets; Gordon Bank of Gordon, Ga., with $29.4 million in assets; First Suburban National Bank in Maywood, Ill., with $148.7 million in assets; and First Arizona Savings, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., with assets of $272.2 million.

Continue reading »

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Jul 24

Related article:

FDIC: ‘Problem’ Banks at 775, or 10 Percent of All US Banks

The FDIC is broke … and of course your money is safe and insured up to $250,000.

Sure! Trust the government!


* Seven small banks closed

* Faster pace of failures than 2009

bank-failure

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – U.S. bank failures reached 103 so far in 2010 on Friday as regulators seized seven small banks, a faster pace of closures than last year when the century mark was not reached until October.

Bank failures are expected to peak this quarter, with the industry slowly recovering from large portfolios of bad loans, many tied to commercial real estate.

The banks seized on Friday were Sterling Bank of Lantana, Florida; Crescent Bank and Trust Company of Jasper, Georgia; Williamsburg First National Bank of Kingstree, South Carolina; Thunder Bank of Sylvan Grove, Kansas; Community Security Bank of New Prague, Minnesota; SouthwestUSA Bank of Las Vegas, Nevada and Home Valley Bank of Cave Junction, Oregon, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The largest of the seven banks was Crescent Bank and Trust with 11 branches and about $1.01 billion in total assets and $965.7 million in total deposits. The smallest was Thunder Bank with just two branches and $32.6 million in total assets and $28.5 million in deposits.

The FDIC estimated the seven failures would add about $431 million to the tab for its deposit insurance fund. Continue reading »

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Jun 01

Congress looked serious about finance reform – until America’s biggest banks unleashed an army of 2,000 paid lobbyists

wall-streets-war
This article originally appeared in RS 1106 from June 10, 2010.

(Rolling Stone Magazine) — It’s early May in Washington, and something very weird is in the air. As Chris Dodd, Harry Reid and the rest of the compulsive dealmakers in the Senate barrel toward the finish line of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act – the massive, year-in-the-making effort to clean up the Wall Street crime swamp – word starts to spread on Capitol Hill that somebody forgot to kill the important reforms in the bill. As of the first week in May, the legislation still contains aggressive measures that could cost once-indomitable behemoths like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase tens of billions of dollars. Somehow, the bill has escaped the usual Senate-whorehouse orgy of mutual back-scratching, fine-print compromises and freeway-wide loopholes that screw any chance of meaningful change.

The real shocker is a thing known among Senate insiders as “716.” This section of an amendment would force America’s banking giants to either forgo their access to the public teat they receive through the Federal Reserve’s discount window, or give up the insanely risky, casino-style bets they’ve been making on derivatives. That means no more pawning off predatory interest-rate swaps on suckers in Greece, no more gathering balls of subprime shit into incomprehensible debt deals, no more getting idiot bookies like AIG to wrap the crappy mortgages in phony insurance. In short, 716 would take a chain saw to one of Wall Street’s most lucrative profit centers: Five of America’s biggest banks (Goldman, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup) raked in some $30 billion in over-the-counter derivatives last year. By some estimates, more than half of JP Morgan’s trading revenue between 2006 and 2008 came from such derivatives. If 716 goes through, it would be a veritable Hiroshima to the era of greed. Continue reading »

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May 22

money-banks

WASHINGTON (Wall Street Journal) — A total of 775 banks, or one-tenth of all U.S. banks, were on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s list of “problem” institutions in the first quarter, as bad loans in the commercial real-estate market weighed on bank balance sheets.

Poor loan performance in other sectors also continued to hurt banks, with the total number of loans at least three months past due climbing for the 16th consecutive quarter, FDIC officials said in a briefing on Thursday.

“The banking system still has many problems to work through, and we cannot ignore the possibility of more financial market volatility,” FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said.

There were 702 on the FDIC’s “problem” bank list at the end of 2009 and 252 at the end of 2008. Continue reading »

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Mar 20

Related articles:

FDIC Reports 27 Percent Jump In Problem US Banks

FDIC Report: ‘We Were Broke And Getting Broker’


Regulators shut 7 banks in Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio and Utah

bank-failure

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators on Friday shut down seven banks in five states, bringing to 37 the number of bank failures in the U.S. so far this year.

The closings follow the 140 that succumbed in 2009 to mounting loan defaults and the recession.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over First Lowndes Bank, in Fort Deposit, Ala.; Appalachian Community Bank in Ellijay, Ga.; Bank of Hiawassee, in Hiawassee, Ga.; and Century Security Bank in Duluth, Ga.

The agency also closed down State Bank of Aurora, in Aurora, Minn.; Advanta Bank Corp., based in Draper, Utah; and American National Bank of Parma, Ohio.

The FDIC was unable to find a buyer for Advanta Bank, which had $1.6 billion in assets and $1.5 billion in deposits. The regulatory agency approved the payout of the bank’s insured deposits and it said checks to depositors for their insured funds will be mailed on Monday.

The failure of Advanta Bank is expected to cost the federal deposit insurance fund $635.6 million.

For the other banks: Continue reading »

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Mar 16

See also:

Dylan Ratigan & Eliot Spitzer on The Lehman Brothers Report


Timmy-Gate Takes a Turn For The Worse: Did Geithner Help Lehman Hide Accounting Tricks?

geithner-cfr
Timothy Geithner at the Council on Foreign Relations

By L. Randall Wray

L. Randall Wray, Ph.D. is Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Research Director with the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability and Senior Research Scholar at The Levy Economics Institute. His research expertise is in: financial instability, macroeconomics, and full employment policy.

Just when you thought that nothing could stink more than Timothy Geithner’s handling of the AIG bailout, a new report details how Geithner’s New York Fed allowed Lehman Brothers to use an accounting gimmick to hide debt. The report, which runs to 2200 pages, was released by Anton Valukas, the court-appointed examiner. It actually makes the AIG bailout look tame by comparison. It is now crystal clear why Geithner’s Treasury as well as Bernanke’s Fed refuse to allow any light to shine on the massive cover-up underway.

Recall that the New York Fed arranged for AIG to pay one hundred cents on the dollar on bad debts to its counterparties-benefiting Goldman Sachs and a handful of other favored Wall Street firms. (see here) The purported reason is that Geithner so feared any negative repercussions resulting from debt write-downs that he wanted Uncle Sam to make sure that Wall Street banks could not lose on bad bets. Now we find that Geithner’s NYFed supported Lehman’s efforts to conceal the extent of its problems. (see here) Not only did the NYFed fail to blow the whistle on flagrant accounting tricks, it also helped to hide Lehman’s illiquid assets on the Fed’s balance sheet to make its position look better. Note that the NY Fed had increased its supervision to the point that it was going over Lehman’s books daily; further, it continued to take trash off the books of Lehman right up to the bitter end, helping to perpetuate the fraud that was designed to maintain the pretense that Lehman was not massively insolvent. (see here)

Geithner told Congress that he has never been a regulator. (see here) That is a quite honest assessment of his job performance, although it is completely inaccurate as a description of his duties as President of the NYFed. Apparently, Geithner has never met an accounting gimmick that he does not like, if it appears to improve the reported finances of a Wall Street firm. We will leave to the side his own checkered past as a taxpayer, although one might question the wisdom of appointing someone who is apparently insufficiently skilled to file accurate tax returns to a position as our nation’s chief tax collector. What is far more troubling is that he now heads the Treasury – which means that he is not only responsible for managing two regulatory units (the FDIC and OCC), but also that he has got hold of the government’s purse strings. How many more billions or trillions will he commit to a futile effort to help Wall Street avoid its losses? Continue reading »

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Mar 12

Sarbanes-Oxley was supposed to prevent crap like this:

lehman-105serendipity

From the paper:

Lehman employed off-balance sheet devices, known within Lehman as “Repo 105” and “Repo 108” transactions, to temporarily remove securities inventory from its balance sheet, usually for a period of seven to ten days, and to create a materially misleading picture of the firm’s financial condition in late 2007 and 2008.2847

Oh yeah, that’s legal?  It’s not supposed to be!

Lehman regularly increased its use of Repo 105 transactions in the days prior to reporting periods to reduce its publicly reported net leverage and balance sheet.2850  Lehman’s periodic reports did not disclose the cash borrowing from the Repo 105 transaction – i.e., although Lehman had in effect borrowed tens of billions of dollars in these transactions, Lehman did not disclose the known obligation to repay the debt.2851  Lehman used the cash from the Repo 105 transaction to pay down other liabilities, thereby reducing both the total liabilities and the total assets reported on its balance sheet and lowering its leverage ratios.

Isn’t that special?

It gets better, as you might expect.

The Examiner concludes that colorable claims of breach of fiduciary duty exist against Richard Fuld, Chris O’Meara, Erin Callan, and Ian Lowitt, and that a colorable claim of professional malpractice exists against Arthur Anderson Ernst & Young.2915  (strikethrough mine, not in the original)

It is stated that Government Regulators (FRBNY and The SEC) had “no knowledge” of these practices.  Perhaps true.  But this calls into question why we’re hearing of this just now, and whether other firms have or are at present doing the same sort of thing.

There also appears to be a colorable claim that Lehman Management was fully-aware of what was going on: Continue reading »

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Mar 10



House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank caused a bit of an uproar Friday when he suggested the U.S. government does not guarantee the debts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Rep. Frank later recanted and backed a Treasury Department statement reassuring investors that, yes, Fannie and Freddie Mae debt is guaranteed by the U.S. government. “Going forward,” he said in a statement, we “will make sure that there are no implicit guarantees, hints, suggestions, or winks and nods…we will be explicit about what is and is not an obligation of the federal government.”

But after years of winks and nods, there’s no doubt that Fannie and Freddie now enjoy an explicit guarantee, according to most observers. The U.S. government placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conservatorship in September 2008: “This means that the U.S. Taxpayer now stands behind $5 trillion of GSE debt,” according to the Congressional Research Service.

The problem is that $5 trillion of so-called agency paper is not treated as if it is a debt of Uncle Sam for accounting purposes, says Richard Suttmeier, chief market strategist at Niagara International Capital and ValueEngine.com.

“Get it on the balance sheet – that’s where it belongs,” Suttmeier says. “Add it to the $14.2 trillion in [federal] debt and let’s move on.”

Another Time Bomb Ticking

But $5 trillion is a lot of money – even by government standards — and moving on may be the problem because of ongoing problems in the housing market, Suttmeier says. “There’s a general concern on Main Street U.S.A. that ‘my neighbors are throwing in their keys, there’s more for sale signs in my community…do I want to buy a new home, risking there’s still downside risk to housing?’ ” Continue reading »

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Mar 09

Now it’s the American nightmare!

US: Wealth Disparities Approaching 1920s Levels

George Carlin …

George Carlin: The American Dream (Must-see!)

“They want your f****** retirement money. They want it back, so that they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.”

was right:

Failed Banks May Get Pension-Fund Backing as FDIC Seeks Cash (Bloomberg):

March 8 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is trying to encourage public retirement funds that control more than $2 trillion to buy all or part of failed lenders, taking a more direct role in propping up the banking system, said people briefed on the matter.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The percentage of American workers with virtually no retirement savings grew for the third straight year, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The percentage of workers who said they have less than $10,000 in savings grew to 43% in 2010, from 39% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual Retirement Confidence Survey. That excludes the value of primary homes and defined-benefit pension plans.

Workers who said they had less than $1,000 jumped to 27%, from 20% in 2009.

Confidence in ability to save enough for a comfortable retirement hovered at 16% of respondents, the second lowest point in the 20-year history of the survey. Continue reading »

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Mar 08

In the course of getting to know the online forex landscape, we came across the following.

citigroup

That’s right. When you do a search for “Casino Bonanza Online” you get two ads for online casino-based sites, but the very first is an add for CitiFXPro.com, which is, yes, a retail Forex trading site run by Citi.

Now, it’s not really shocking that a multi-headed behemoth as big as Citigroup (C) has a retail Forex site, but here they’re specifically advertising against gambling-related terms, and showing up right next to Best USA Online CASINOS.

Major Wall Street firms are frequently likened to casinos, but they’re usually not this blatant about it, and usually their services are geared towards sophisticated, institutional investors. But CitiFXPro.com is pure retail, requiring only $10,000 to open an account. That’s not non-trivial, but it’s way less than the threshold for anything that would be regarded as institutional.

And if all this alone weren’t enough to make Paul Volcker lose his lunch, check out what Citi lists as its advantages. Check out the fourth one, specifically: Continue reading »

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Mar 06

Related articles:

FDIC Reports 27 Percent Jump In Problem US Banks

FDIC Report: ‘We Were Broke And Getting Broker’


bank-failure

March 6 (Bloomberg) — Regulators shut banks in Maryland, Illinois, Florida and Utah, pushing the number of U.S. failures to 26 this year and placing more pressure on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to dispose of a growing pile of toxic assets.

The FDIC was unable to find buyers for two banks — Centennial Bank in Ogden, Utah, and Waterfield Bank of Germantown, Maryland — according to statements posted on the agency’s Web site. In the largest of yesterday’s failures by assets, Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun American Bank was purchased by First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co.

“South Florida is a great market for our company, especially with our focus on individuals, small- to mid-sized businesses and the medical community,” Frank B. Holding Jr., chief executive officer of First-Citizens, said in a statement.

Lenders are collapsing at the fastest pace in 17 years amid losses on residential and commercial real estate loans made at the height of the market. U.S. “problem” banks climbed to the highest level since 1992 in the fourth quarter and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair warned Feb. 23 that the pace of failures will “pick up” and exceed last year’s total of 140. Continue reading »

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Feb 23

See also: FDIC Reports 27 Percent Jump In Problem US Banks


Amazing…

700 troubled banks is bad, and far worse than 552 last quarter.

But the $20.9 billion loss in the deposit fund, after losing $8.2 billion last quarter, is beyond bad and well into the psychotropic medication range.

Remember that the Deposit Insurance Fund went negative last quarter. Now it has lost another $20.9 billion.

What does the FDIC say?

The agency hopes to make up that loss through advance payments by banks of $45 billion in fees

There’s that “hope” word again.

Oh, once you’ve prepaid your fees, what happens if the losses continue?  Can’t collect the same fee more than once, right?

That’s what I thought.

“Each account insured to at least $250,000 through 12/31/2013 – so long as we can continue to borrow money from Treasury to pay you.

They leave that last part of the sentence out, of course. Continue reading »

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Feb 23

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of “problem” U.S. banks jumped 27 percent during the fourth quarter of 2009 to 702, the highest level since 1993 and a sign the industry’s recovery is still shaky, regulators reported on Tuesday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said the industry overall eked out a profit of $914 million for the quarter, benefiting from a healing economy, but said the improvement was concentrated in the largest banks.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said the profit was a huge improvement over the $37.8 billion loss the industry reported in the fourth quarter of 2008. “It’s not that this was a strong quarter. It’s simply that everything was so bad a year ago,” Bair said in a statement. Continue reading »

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Feb 21

The banks are bracing themselves for the coming commercial real estate meltdown:

US Banks Facing $1.4 Trillion Crisis Over Commercial Real Estate Loans

Expect more than 1000 banks to fail, when the real tsunami hits:

Bank CEO: 1000 Banks to Fail In Next Two Years

The problem is that the FDIC is broke:

FDIC insurance fund is now broke, closes quarter $8.2 billion in debt

FDIC Insuring 8200 Banks with $9 Trillion in Deposits and ZERO in the Deposit Insurance Fund

If the FDIC runs out of money, then Timmy Geithner will surely help!???:

Obama Signs Law Raising Public Debt Limit from $12.4 Trillion to $14.3 Trillion

Obama’s $3.8 Trillion Budget: Tax Rise of $1.9 Trillion for Richer Americans, Businesses

The US is totally broke.

What could possibly go wrong?

Rep. Ron Paul At CPAC 2010: ‘We Are On The Brink Of A Financial Cataclysmic Event.’


bank-failure

WASHINGTON — Regulators shuttered four banks Friday, from Florida to California, as local banks continue to buckle across the country.

Twenty banks have toppled so far in 2010 and 185 have failed since January 2008, with regulators expecting to close dozens more by the end of this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. estimated the four failures Friday cost its deposit insurance fund more than $1 billion.

The largest bank to fail Friday was the 10-branch La Jolla Bank in California. Its $3.6 billion of assets made it the biggest bank to fail in 2010. The FDIC sold all of La Jolla’s deposits and virtually all of its assets to OneWest FSB, a thrift created last year after investors bought up pieces of the failed IndyMac Bank. The FDIC and OneWest agreed to share future losses on $3.3 billion of the La Jolla Bank’s deposits. Continue reading »

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Feb 19

Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren’t just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy – they’re re-creating the conditions for another crash

matt-taibbi-wall-street-bailout-hustle

On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America’s pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman’s role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses – meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a “bailout tax” on banks. Maybe this wasn’t the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. “In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines,” he said, “I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative.”

Translation: We made a shitload of money last year because we’re so amazing at our jobs, so fuck all those people who want us to reduce our bonuses.

Goldman wasn’t alone. The nation’s six largest banks – all committed to this balls-out, I drink your milkshake! strategy of flagrantly gorging themselves as America goes hungry – set aside a whopping $140 billion for executive compensation last year, a sum only slightly less than the $164 billion they paid themselves in the pre-crash year of 2007. In a gesture of self-sacrifice, Blankfein himself took a humiliatingly low bonus of $9 million, less than the 2009 pay of elephantine New York Knicks washout Eddy Curry. But in reality, not much had changed. “What is the state of our moral being when Lloyd Blankfein taking a $9 million bonus is viewed as this great act of contrition, when every penny of it was a direct transfer from the taxpayer?” asks Eliot Spitzer, who tried to hold Wall Street accountable during his own ill-fated stint as governor of New York.

Beyond a few such bleats of outrage, however, the huge payout was met, by and large, with a collective sigh of resignation. Because beneath America’s populist veneer, on a more subtle strata of the national psyche, there remains a strong temptation to not really give a shit. The rich, after all, have always made way too much money; what’s the difference if some fat cat in New York pockets $20 million instead of $10 million?

The only reason such apathy exists, however, is because there’s still a widespread misunderstanding of how exactly Wall Street “earns” its money, with emphasis on the quotation marks around “earns.” The question everyone should be asking, as one bailout recipient after another posts massive profits – Goldman reported $13.4 billion in profits last year, after paying out that $16.2 billion in bonuses and compensation – is this: In an economy as horrible as ours, with every factory town between New York and Los Angeles looking like those hollowed-out ghost ships we see on History Channel documentaries like Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, where in the hell did Wall Street’s eye-popping profits come from, exactly? Did Goldman go from bailout city to $13.4 billion in the black because, as Blankfein suggests, its “performance” was just that awesome? A year and a half after they were minutes away from bankruptcy, how are these assholes not only back on their feet again, but hauling in bonuses at the same rate they were during the bubble?

The answer to that question is basically twofold: They raped the taxpayer, and they raped their clients. Continue reading »

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Feb 15

Compared to Wall Street the US government and the Fed nuked the economy, the dollar and any bright future that the people in the US might have had. The people will experience the fallout very soon.

The ‘Greatest Depression’.

Cynthia McKinney is spot-on :

Cynthia McKinney at Munich Germany NATO Peace Rally: ‘My Country Has Been Hijacked By A Criminal Cabal’


janet_tavakoli

(This guest post comes from Tavakoli Structured Finance)

If a high-on-crack driver crashed his speeding rental car into your house and killed your spouse, you would be outraged if law enforcers took bribes and gave the driver a pass on a blood test. If the judge then merely fined the killer and ordered you to pay it, you would appeal, wondering what happened to justice. If the government then handed the crack-driver keys to a bigger rental car and presented you with the rental bill, you would certainly protest.

How is it, then, that you have remained largely silent in the face of the same sort of behavior by Wall Street and Washington? Bonus-seeking bankers careened off the right path and ran Ponzi schemes that nearly ruined our economy. Bureaucrats and elected officials bailed them out without demanding consequences. Bankers are revving their engines again.

Bankers Get Bonuses, the USA Gets the Great Recession

Taxpayers are asked to believe that over-borrowing by U.S. consumers created a global financial crisis. This myth aids and abets Wall Street. The economy was nearly destroyed because banks borrowed massively, and they borrowed many multiples more than they could afford. Wall Street pumped the Fed’s cheap money through financial meth labs, and deceptive financial vehicles ran over securities laws at top speed.

More than 20% of mortgage loans–including originally sound loans–are underwater, meaning the borrower owes more than the home is worth. Official unemployment numbers hover at around 10%. If you include underemployment, it is around 18%. In depressed areas where the nation’s poorest–chiefly minorities–have been hurt the most, unemployment has soared past 30%. For this destitute group, unemployment combined with underemployment exceeds 50%.

As U.S. soldiers fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wall Street flattened Main Street. Our foreign wars drag on, while the U.S. battles a crippling recession at home.

Global Ponzi Scheme

Fraud by borrowers, fraud on borrowers, and speculation by people who thought home prices would rise forever have all tarnished mortgage lending. Yet this pales compared to the epidemic of predatory lending.

Predatory snipers committed financial murder as deliberately as British soldiers sold smallpox contaminated blankets to Native Americans. Honest homeowners were systematically targeted and actively misled into bad mortgage products. Loans were presented as gifts, but these Trojan horse loans hid destructive risk. “Disclosures” were acts of malice.

When Wall Street packaged these loans and sold deceptive “investments,” documents did not specifically disclose that credit ratings were misleading. If you know or should know a car’s gas tank will blow up, you cannot use a misleading third-party consumer report as an excuse. Yet bonus-seeking bankers used this sort of excuse to get through a few more highly-paid bonus cycles, before it all fell apart. Only the elite crowd of insiders prospered.*

This was the most massive Ponzi scheme in the history of the global capital markets. U.S. taxpayers became unwilling unsophisticated investors when we bailed out the financial system. We must hold Wall Street accountable for its fraud. Continue reading »

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