bail out

Don't Go There AIG!

moneyhatThe most incredible headline flashed across the screen, AIG is thinking of suing the Federal Government for bailing them out. This is the company at the heart of financial contagion. AIG had created derivative dominoes where if one financial institution failed, that one institutional failure would trigger credit default swaps derivatives which in turn would collapse the entire global system.

Ron Paul's Last Stand - Audit the Fed

audit fedCongressman Ron Paul has been after the Federal Reserve for decades. His last great act before retirement, to audit the Fed, just passed the House of Representatives. All but one Republican voted for the bill with Democrats split down the middle. Our more corporate Democrats voted against the bill. Now the Senate has vowed to not take up the bill.

A senior Democratic Senate leadership aide said there are no plans to bring the bill up in the Senate, but didn’t rule out an attempt by Republicans to seek a vote on the measure as part of another piece of legislation. The Senate would be almost certain to defeat it given the Democratic majority in the chamber.

Dems are busy claiming an audit would politicize monetary policy:

"This bill would instead jeopardize the Fed's independence by subjecting its decisions on interest rates and monetary policy to GAO audit," said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). "I agree with [Fed] Chairman [Ben] Bernanke that congressional review of the Fed's monetary policy decisions would be a 'nightmare scenario,' especially judging by the track record of this Congress when it comes to governing effectively.

The Copious Copula Blame Game

Seems the infamous mathematical probability distribution function, the Gaussian Copula, is at the forefront of controversy once again. It seems those financial engineers, the Quants, the ones who use advanced probability and statistics to model financial markets, upon whose work many derivatives are based, knew the use of Gaussian Copulas was fundamentally flawed.

Ay, Caramba! Spain Asks for a Whoppin' Bail Out

eurozoneWell, it's happened as we earlier said it would. Spain is getting a bail out, worth €100 billion. Guess where that money is going - directly to Spanish banks! The loan is purely to recapitalize the banking system and to be given to Spain's FROB, a financial restructuring fund. From the Eurozone press release:

The Eurogroup has been informed that the Spanish authorities will present a formal request shortly and is willing to respond favourably to such a request.

The financial assistance would be provided by the EFSF/ESM for recapitalisation of financial institutions. The loan will be scaled to provide an effective backstop covering for all possible capital requirements estimated by the diagnostic exercise which the Spanish authorities have commissioned to the external evaluators and the international auditors. The loan amount must cover estimated capital requirements with an additional safety margin, estimated as summing up to EUR 100 billion in total.

The Eurogroup considers that the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (F.R.O.B.), acting as agent of the Spanish government, could receive the funds and channel them to the financial institutions concerned. The Spanish government will retain the full responsibility of the financial assistance and will sign the MoU.

The Never Ending European Financial Crisis

greekdominoesLast Friday we saw horror headlines from Societe Generale.

Euro zone stocks could plummet up to 50 percent if Greece makes a disorderly exit from the euro zone.

Additionally it was proclaimed bank runs have started in Europe.

A bank run is now happening within the eurozone. So far it has been relatively slow and prolonged, but it is a run nonetheless. And last week, it showed signs of accelerating sharply, in a way which demands an urgent response from policy-makers.

Right now the ECB is pressuring the Euro Zone to come up with deposit guarantee scheme to stop depositors from existing the Euro and various European banks:

Now investors are worried about the contagion effect a Greek exit from the euro zone could have on savers in other countries.

"Preventing bank runs in Italy, Spain and Portugal should be the top priority," said Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding. "Policymakers need to make sure that the potential Greek precedent of a forced conversion of domestic euro deposits into a weak new currency would not spark a run on banks ... elsewhere."

The ECB is pressing the euro zone to set up a fund that would prevent this dangerous ripple effect, a message reinforced by ECB policymaker Joerg Asmussen last week.

National Mortgage Settlement is a Big Fat Pig in a Poke

pigpokeThere are new revelations on the 50 state mortgage fraud settlement. From The Financial Times:

A clause in the provisional agreement – which has not been made public – allows the banks to count future loan modifications made under a 2009 foreclosure-prevention initiative towards their restructuring obligations for the new settlement, according to people familiar with the matter.

The existing $30bn initiative, the Home Affordable Modification Programme (Hamp), provides taxpayer funds as an incentive to banks, third party investors and troubled borrowers to arrange loan modifications.

The settlement is estimated to be $40 billion. The fines are only $5 billion of this, which implies U.S. taxpayers are on the hook, not the banks, for $30 billion. So instead of getting any justice that using people's homes, their shelter and main life investment as a gambling chip and paper chase game is wrong, once again we get to pay for financial folly while banks pocket the cash.

Naked Capitalism has put up a top 12 list of things wrong with the foreclosure fraud settlement. Here's reason #1:

No Bank Prosecutions From Attorney General Who Used To Represent The Banks!

dojlogoWe all know there is no justice when it comes to criminal and even civil prosecutions for the financial crisis. We all know there is no justice when it comes to foreclosures. Are you aware the Obama administration is about to let the banks once again off the hook?

Maybe this has something to do with it. Reuters gives us just a little insight as to why their have been no criminal prosecutions of banks and civil penalties have been slaps on the wrist.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who's Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud.

Great, so the highest prosecutor in the land had the Banksters as clients for years.

Holder and Breuer were partners at Covington, the firm's clients included the four largest U.S. banks - Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo & Co - as well as at least one other bank that is among the 10 largest mortgage servicers.

Reuters is really piecing together the implications with this paragraph. Wow!

Harry's Law Takes On Bank Bail Outs, Channels OWS

This evening's episode of Harry's Law literally takes on the banks and uses the show, as a Populist soapbox. The plot contrasts how a homeless, foreclosed on, single mother, turned bank robber, gets 20 years, yet if one is incorporated and has lobbyists, then one gets $7.7 trillion in Federal Reserve loans. The episode is below.


Bank of America's Socialize the Risk and Reap the Reward Business Model

boycott BoABank of America just made $6.2 billion dollars in record profit.

Buoyed by one-time gains from accounting changes and the sale of assets, Bank of America reported a $6.23 billion profit for the third-quarter

What were those accounting changes and sale of assets? It appears Bank of America moved Merrill Lynch derivatives to a FDIC insured subsidiary. Bloomberg:

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.

The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. disagree over the transfers, which are being requested by counterparties, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The Fed has signaled that it favors moving the derivatives to give relief to the bank holding company, while the FDIC, which would have to pay off depositors in the event of a bank failure, is objecting, said the people. The bank doesn’t believe regulatory approval is needed, said people with knowledge of its position.