Bank of America

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.

Bank of America: Too Big to Obey the Law

If you’ve watched the collapse in Bank of America’s stock this past month, you’ve probably read that investors are concerned about the bank’s legal liabilities from the devastation of the housing market. Analysts usually cite the raft of lawsuits filed by just about anybody who had anything to do with the bank or Countrywide, which was bought by Bank of America when Countrywide was on the verge of bankruptcy. Analysts, however, don’t tell you the details behind these legal claims – what exactly did Bank of America do to earn its position as poster child for banking industry fraud? To the rescue comes a lawsuit filled with such details, from someone who has access to thousands of consumer complaints about Bank of America. The complaint was filed recently by the Attorney General of Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto. You should take the time to read this lawsuit. It tells you in a comprehensive way what went wrong with the mortgage business from origination of the mortgage to foreclosure. But fair warning: be prepared to be nauseated. If Bank of America perpetrated even a fraction of the frauds outlined in this report, it raises a most serious question: why does this company still have a banking license?

Countrywide Sets the Tone

BoA & ForeclosureGate: They don't care because they don't have to


At the moment, things look bad for Bank of America but this too shall pass.

Yves Smith wrote a nice summary of the latest on ForeclosureGate . This includes just released information concerning HUD assistant regional inspector general William Nixon. Supposedly, he is after BofA for significantly hindering an investigation into wrongfully filed claims on failed mortgages, about $6 billion worth.

Smith reminds us that she saw the BofA purchase of Countrywide as a real loser. Her reference to a prescient column by Gretchen Morgenson from August 27, 2007 contains this gem:

Hedge Funds, LBOs and Banksters, oh my!

The other day many of us were exposed to a BBC interview where a business reporter kept repeating the tired old mantra that hedge funds had no involvement with the global economic meltdown.

Oh really?

Then surely, given the opaque nature of these private investment concerns, there would be no surprises forthcoming if they were to be intensively audited by forensic accounting teams together with certified fraud examiners?

And while we're at it, might not the same auditing processes yield interesting results if also directed at those private equity leveraged buyout funds (LBOs) and the major credit derivatives dealers, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Bank of America (with Credit Suisse FB, UBS and Deutsche Bank in the mix as well)?

Awhile back, Dr. John L. Goldberg of the University of Sydney, was brought in by the Australian government as a consultant to research the financing behind a number of public-private partnerships concerning Australian toll roads and infrastructure projects.

Now public-private partnerships, where securitizations with the subsequent generation of credit derivatives occur, incorporate the same underlying fundamental financial model as hedge funds, private equity firm LBOs and credit derivatives dealing by major ("too big to fail") banks.

Dr. Goldberg's three principal points, taken from one of his executive summaries, were as follows:

"Paying equity dividends with virtually no cash flow available (CCT)"

Why Are They Allowed to Talk-up Their Stock?

The last couple of days we have been hearing from the CEOs of three of largest financial conglomerates (Citigroup, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase). All three are talking up the profitability of their companies. And of course as a result of public statements about profitability the price of their respective stocks goes up. How convenient is that? Is this stock price manipulation? What they fail to mention is the hundreds of billions of dollars in toxic stuff still on their balance sheets.

There was a time when a person could get in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for making publicly misleading statements. But these CEOs statements are probably border line legal. Besides, I am sure that the SEC has its hands full with other matters.

CountryWide: Rigged Game

Why would Bank of America buy out irresponsible Countrywide?

Well, to avoid paying any taxes by writing off the massive bad loans, that's why.

And the Countrywide CEO? He gets $88M for running a major company into the ground, requiring a buyout, causing millions to lose their homes, setting up greedy, predatory mortgages where no one could pay them off.