Bank layoffs are now coming at a rapid pace in what is a clear sign of desperation by the firms to cut costs enough to keep shareholders happy as NIRP continues to hammer bank profits.
On the heels of Bank of America announcing that 8,000 employees would be fired last week, we now learn that RBS will be cutting 900 jobs as well, in areas such as IT and other back office positions that support the commercial, retail and private bank will be cut in Britain. The latest round of cuts takes the total number of layoffs in the last four months to roughly 5% of the bank’s british workforce, as at least 2,700 staff across the country have been let go since the beginning of March according to Reuters.
Just hours after apparently settling its suit with the USA (not at all retaliation for downgrading them), S&P has taken the big red marker out on a slew of European banks:
Downgrades: Credit Suisse, Barclays, Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, RBS, HSBC, and Ulster Bank
On Watch Negative: Raiffeisen Zentralbank, MBank, Unicredit, Commerzbank, and Deutsche Bank
The driver of the shift in perspective is the apparent removal of the ‘bailout put’, as the prospect of “extraordinary government support” appeared less likely under recently passed bail-in legislation.
The Nikkei 225 has fallen over 300 points from the v-shaped recovery close at the end of the US day session and is now trading below the lows of the day at 2-week lows. USDJPY has plunged over 100 pips having briefly neared 120.00, now back below 119.00. JGB Futures are trading near record highs prices as yields collapse to near-record lows (30Y -23bps since QQE, 20Y -15bps) only seen during last year’s yield-crash. No surprise then with the bond market “dead” according to market participants and yields negligible, that RBS has decided to exit the Japanese fixed-income business, slashing 200 jobs, and surrendering its primary bond dealership.
What an epic farce the largest bond market in the world has become…
Having confirmed that RBS, UBS, JPMorgan,,and Credit Suisse operated a cartell to manipulate bid-ask spreads of Swiss Franc libor, the European Commission has unleashed unmerciless vengeance on these law-breaking institutions:
Dick’s cuts 400 jobs as golf now less popular (MW)
Kerry arrives in Israel, pushes for peace (Reuters) (Sure!)
Pay Penalty Haunts Recession Grads as U.S. Economy Mends (BBG)
Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Health-Law Subsidies (WSJ)
Rebel Stronghold Donetsk Holds Breath as Shellfire Mounts (BBG)
Business executive wins Georgia Republican runoff in U.S. Senate race (Reuters)
Five held in China food scandal probe, including head of Shanghai Husi Food (Reuters)
Jobs Hold Sway Over Yellen-Carney as Central Banks Splinter (BBG)
Overnight Media Digest
* Two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on subsidies for health coverage purchased on federal insurance exchanges, clouding a major part of Obama’s health law. (http://on.wsj.com/1pb81yo)
* The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that Deutsche Bank AG’s U.S. operations suffer from a litany of serious financial reporting problems that the lender has known about for years but not fixed. (http://on.wsj.com/1jUoOXe)
British taxpayers risk losing their entire £45 billion stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), the parent company of Ulster Bank, which is in grave danger of failing within 10 years, according to an explosive new book.
According to The Independent on Sunday, a new study of the bank, which brought the UK to the brink of financial ruin, reveals RBS still has a £100 billion “black hole” in its finances due to “five broad areas of alleged criminality and wrongdoing”.
Financial journalist Ian Fraser, who wrote Shredded: Inside RBS, The Bank That Broke Britain, said: “The result has been that, at the time of writing, RBS is probably a worse bank than it was under Fred Goodwin.”
They include the mis-selling of financial products such as payment protection insurance, the alleged duping of investors who were persuaded to plough more than £12 billion into RBS shares just before the banking crash in 2008, further fallout from the Libor scandal, and current criminal investigations into the manipulation of the £3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange markets.
Royal Bank of Scotland is preparing a dramatic retrenchment that would see it become a much smaller UK retail and commercial bank in a move that is expected to slash staff numbers by at least 30,000 in the coming years.
The bank, which is 81 per cent owned by the government, is next week expected to announce its withdrawal from many of its riskier investment banking activities alongside a plan to offload much of its international business.
Goldman Sachs and Barclays among banks investigated after reports some traders shared information about currency positions
New York state’s top financial regulator has demanded documents from more than a dozen banks including Barclays, Deutsche, Goldman Sachs and RBS as a probe widened into trading practices in the $5.3tn-a-day global foreign exchange markets.
Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s financial services superintendent, made the move following the banks’ decision to fire or suspend at least 20 traders following reports that employees at some firms had shared information about their currency positions with counterparts at other companies.
U.S. Congressional Record February 9, 1917, page 2947
Congressman Calloway announced that the J.P. Morgan interests bought 25 of America’s leading newspapers, and inserted their own editors, in order to control the media.
Mr. CALLAWAY: Mr. Chairman, under unanimous consent, I insert into the Record at this point a statement showing the newspaper combination, which explains their activity in the war matter, just discussed by the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. MOORE]:
“In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, ship building and powder interests and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press in the United States.
“These 12 men worked the problems out by selecting 179 newspapers, and then began, by an elimination process, to retain only those necessary for the purpose of controlling the general policy of the daily press throughout the country. They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. The 25 papers were agreed upon; emissaries were sent to purchase the policy, national and international, of these papers; an agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.
“This contract is in existence at the present time, and it accounts for the news columns of the daily press of the country being filled with all sorts of preparedness arguments and misrepresentations as to the present condition of the United States Army and Navy, and the possibility and probability of the United States being attacked by foreign foes.
“This policy also included the suppression of everything in opposition to the wishes of the interests served. The effectiveness of this scheme has been conclusively demonstrated by the character of the stuff carried in the daily press throughout the country since March, 1915. They have resorted to anything necessary to commercialize public sentiment and sandbag the National Congress into making extravagant and wasteful appropriations for the Army and Navy under false pretense that it was necessary. Their stock argument is that it is ‘patriotism.’ They are playing on every prejudice and passion of the American people.”
So FORGET about the Illuminati (the real elitists) and just blame their bankster elite puppets, their government elite puppets (like Obama, Bush, Clinton etc.) and their corporate media presstitutes for everything instead!!!
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.
You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it “dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets.”
That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world’s largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.
Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It’s about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.
Some have attributed the resurrection of the financial markets (or more appropriately the banks) from the March 2009 lows to the IASB/FASB changes to factual to fantasy accounting. The Telegraph reports today that from PIRC’s and the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee that while banker bonuses continue to rise (for now), ‘hidden’ losses among UK banks could total GBP60 Billion (USD 90 Billion). HSBC topped the list with GBP10.4 Billion in bad debts that have yet to be written off and while the ‘accounting’ bodies are suggesting they will address criticism of this farce, as one analyst notes, they “can still make unprofitable lending appear profitable.” Regulators expect to hear plans from lenders on how they intend to fill these holes before the end of the month to coincide either with the FPC’s meeting on March 19 or a statement scheduled for March 27. While outright recaps are unlikely, banks are expected to
restructure and set out plans to raise their capital levels over the next
couple of years. More fantasy…
PIRC has calculated the amount of bad debts the banks may have to write off in coming years but have yet to subtract from profits, together with other items such as deferred bonuses not booked.
HSBC, which is the biggest bank by assets, was shown to have £10.4bn of hidden losses, the Royal Bank of Scotland has £9.4bn, and Barclays has £7.3bn. Lloyds Banking Group has £2.5bn and Standard Chartered £2.2bn. Together the undeclared losses total £31.8bn.
Bankers in London, Europe’s trading hub, are bracing themselves for significantly lower bonuses (and salary cuts) especially so relative to their New York counterparts. As Bloomberg Businessweek notes in the brief clip below, investment bankers and traders should expect a 15% pay cut compared to unchanged in the US and while hope is that these are temporary, many believe this shift is structural and reflects “US regulators [not having] the same obsession with pay structures that European regulators have.” As is evident from the chart below, there are winners and losers (and we bet you can guess who the winner is).Looks like Goldman wins, UBS loses, and even with a huge drop in revenues Morgan Stanley is being generous…
The first ever GAO (Government Accountability Office) audit of the Federal Reserve was carried out in the past few months due to the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which passed last year. Jim DeMint, a Republican Senator, and Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator, led the charge for a Federal Reserve audit in the Senate, but watered down the original language of the house bill(HR1207), so that a complete audit would not be carried out.
Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and various other bankers vehemently opposed the audit and lied to Congress about the effects an audit would have on markets. Nevertheless, the results of the first audit in the Federal Reserve’s nearly 100 year history were posted on Senator Sander’s webpage earlier this morning.
State-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland confirmed on Friday it has dismissed a number of employees for misconduct as a result of its investigations into the Libor interest rate rigging scandal and, along with other banks, is still under investigation by regulators.
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.