Tag Archives: financial collapse

Fuck the Banks!

skank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gs

 “When their eloquence escapes me, their logic ties me up and rapes me!” – The Police

I don’t know about anybody else but all of this doublespeak coming out of Washington is blowing my high!  Note to self, don’t hit the bong and then watch a politician.  I feel like a fucking moron at an idiot’s convention.  All that I am hearing is that we’ve got to get the banks lending again.  From what I can gather, the banks are taking loans from the government at a 1% interest rate.  Subsequently, the banks are charging small businesses 9-14% for a loan.  Is it any wonder why Goldman Sachs announced a first quarter profit of over one billion dollars?

I also gather that the Government has put in place a series of stress tests that banks must meet requiring liquidity.  Having not taken economics since sometime in the last century I can only imagine that this means how much money the banks have on hand.  Requiring the banks to have a certain level of capital on hand would explain the high interest rates the banks are charging small businesses.  I also hear that the banks are fucking everybody with a credit card by raising their interest rates also.

Where I come from, we call that a racket!  Talk about eating your cake and having it too?  I am thinking about going to the Registrar’s Office and changing my double major of Philosophy and Religion to Wall Street Banking!  I know religion only fucks with people’s minds but being a Wall Street banker gets to fuck anything he/she wants.

I don’t want to hear anymore shit about hedge funds, leveraging, and mortgage backed securities.  I don’t want to hear any more shit about stress tests and liquidity.  I failed my stress test and my liquidity doesn’t start until after five.  You gave a great speech today Mr. Obama but for people like me, I need to see more than a glimmer of hope at the end of the rainbow when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars and peace will guide the planets and love will steal the stars.  Show me some of the damn money!

5 Comments

Filed under Business, Politics

South Park Breaks Down The Financial Crisis!

skank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Business, Politics

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!

gameday2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the above picture indicates, this is not a blog about gays in the military. “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” seems to be the new slogan at the Department of the Treasury.  Of the $350 billion welfare money handed out to Wall Street banks and insurance companies, no one seems to be able to account for the money.  The TARP money has been buried in the books of the companies that received the government handouts.  Where is the outrage?  Where is our inept Congress demanding accountability?  And has George W. Bush joined Dick Cheney in an undisclosed location?

Read this chilling account of where your taxpayer dollars went:

Elizabeth Warren, who chairs an oversight committee set up by Congress to oversee the bailout, is interviewed by the Associated Press in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008.
AP Photo

Click to view a larger picture

Where’d the bailout money go? Shhhh, it’s a secret

Associated Press Writer

Think you could borrow money from a bank without saying what you were going to do with it? Well, apparently when banks borrow from you they don’t feel the same need to say how the money is spent.

After receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation’s largest banks say they can’t track exactly how they’re spending it. Some won’t even talk about it.

“We’re choosing not to disclose that,” said Kevin Heine, spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, which received about $3 billion.

Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money, said that while some of the money was lent, some was not, and the bank has not given any accounting of exactly how the money is being used.

“We have not disclosed that to the public. We’re declining to,” Kelly said.

The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what’s the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers.

“We’re not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking,” said Barry Koling, a spokesman for Atlanta, Ga.-based SunTrust Banks Inc., which got $3.5 billion in taxpayer dollars.

Some banks said they simply didn’t know where the money was going.

“We manage our capital in its aggregate,” said Regions Financial Corp. spokesman Tim Deighton, who said the Birmingham, Ala.-based company is not tracking how it is spending the $3.5 billion it received as part of the financial bailout.

The answers highlight the secrecy surrounding the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which earmarked $700 billion – about the size of the Netherlands’ economy – to help rescue the financial industry. The Treasury Department has been using the money to buy stock in U.S. banks, hoping that the sudden inflow of cash will get banks to start lending money.

There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money. Lawmakers summoned bank executives to Capitol Hill last month and implored them to lend the money – not to hoard it or spend it on corporate bonuses, junkets or to buy other banks. But there is no process in place to make sure that’s happening and there are no consequences for banks that don’t comply.

“It is entirely appropriate for the American people to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent in private industry,” said Elizabeth Warren, the top congressional watchdog overseeing the financial bailout.

But, at least for now, there’s no way for taxpayers to find that out.

Pressured by the Bush administration to approve the money quickly, Congress attached nearly no strings to the $700 billion bailout in October. And the Treasury Department, which doles out the money, never asked banks how it would be spent.

“Those are legitimate questions that should have been asked on Day One,” said Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., a House Financial Services Committee member who opposed the bailout as it was rushed through Congress. “Where is the money going to go to? How is it going to be spent? When are we going to get a record on it?”

Nearly every bank AP questioned – including Citibank and Bank of America, two of the largest recipients of bailout money – responded with generic public relations statements explaining that the money was being used to strengthen balance sheets and continue making loans to ease the credit crisis.

A few banks described company-specific programs, such as JPMorgan Chase’s plan to lend $5 billion to nonprofit and health care companies next year. Richard Becker, senior vice president of Wisconsin-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp., said the $1.75 billion in bailout money allowed the bank to temporarily stop foreclosing on homes.

But no bank provided even the most basic accounting for the federal money.

Some said the money couldn’t be tracked. Bob Denham, a spokesman for North Carolina-based BB&T Corp., said the bailout money “doesn’t have its own bucket.” But he said taxpayer money wasn’t used in the bank’s recent purchase of a Florida insurance company. Asked how he could be sure, since the money wasn’t being tracked, Denham said the bank would have made that deal regardless.

Others, such as Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Carissa Ramirez, offered to discuss the matter with reporters on condition of anonymity. When AP refused, Ramirez sent an e-mail saying: “We are going to decline to comment on your story.”

Most banks wouldn’t say why they were keeping the details secret.

“We’re not sharing any other details. We’re just not at this time,” said Wendy Walker, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Comerica Inc., which received $2.25 billion from the government.

One didn’t even want to say they wouldn’t say.

Heine, the New York Mellon Corp. spokesman who said he wouldn’t share spending specifics, added: “I just would prefer if you wouldn’t say that we’re not going to discuss those details.”

The banks which came closest to answering the questions were those, such as U.S. Bancorp and Huntington Bancshares Inc., that only recently received the money and have yet to spend it. But neither provided anything more than a generic summary of how the money would be spent.

Lawmakers say they want to tighten restrictions on the remaining, yet-to-be-released $350 billion block of bailout money before more cash is handed out. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the department is trying to step up its monitoring of bank spending.

“What we’ve been doing here is moving, I think, with lightning speed to put necessary programs in place, to develop them, implement them, and then we need to monitor them while we’re doing this,” Paulson said at a recent forum in New York. “So we’re building this organization as we’re going.”

Warren, the congressional watchdog appointed by Democrats, said her oversight panel will try to force the banks to say where they’ve spent the money.

“It would take a lot of nerve not to give answers,” she said.

But Warren said she’s surprised she even has to ask.

“If the appropriate restrictions were put on the money to begin with, if the appropriate transparency was in place, then we wouldn’t be in a position where you’re trying to call every recipient and get the basic information that should already be in public documents,” she said.

Garrett, the New Jersey congressman, said the nation might never get a clear answer on where hundreds of billions of dollars went.

Associated Press writers Stevenson Jacobs in New York and Christopher S. Rugaber and Daniel Wagner in Washington contributed to this report

2 Comments

Filed under Business

Stop Blaming Poor Blacks for the Mortgage Crisis!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreclosure. Click image to expand.Sign of the times

Subprime Suspects

The right blames the credit crisis on poor minority homeowners. This is not merely offensive, but entirely wrong.

By Daniel Gross


We’ve now entered a new stage of the financial crisis: the ritual assigning of blame. It began in earnest with Monday’s congressional roasting of Lehman Bros. CEO Richard Fuld and continued on Tuesday with Capitol Hill solons delving into the failure of AIG. On the Republican side of Congress, in the right-wing financial media (which is to say the financial media), and in certain parts of the op-ed-o-sphere, there’s a consensus emerging that the whole mess should be laid at the feet of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failed mortgage giants, and the Community Reinvestment Act, a law passed during the Carter administration. The CRA, which was amended in the 1990s and this decade, requires banks—which had a long, distinguished history of not making loans to minorities—to make more efforts to do so.

The thesis is laid out almost daily on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, in the National Review, and on the campaign trail. John McCain said yesterday, “Bad mortgages were being backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it was only a matter of time before a contagion of unsustainable debt began to spread.” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer provides an excellent example, writing that “much of this crisis was brought upon us by the good intentions of good people.” He continues: “For decades, starting with Jimmy Carter‘s Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, there has been bipartisan agreement to use government power to expand homeownership to people who had been shut out for economic reasons or, sometimes, because of racial and ethnic discrimination. What could be a more worthy cause? But it led to tremendous pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—which in turn pressured banks and other lenders—to extend mortgages to people who were borrowing over their heads. That’s called subprime lending. It lies at the root of our current calamity.” The subtext: If only Congress didn’t force banks to lend money to poor minorities, the Dow would be well on its way to 36,000. Or, as Fox Business Channel’s Neil Cavuto put it, “I don’t remember a clarion call that said: Fannie and Freddie are a disaster. Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.”

Let me get this straight. Investment banks and insurance companies run by centimillionaires blow up, and it’s the fault of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and poor minorities?

These arguments are generally made by people who read the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal and ignore the rest of the paper—economic know-nothings whose opinions are informed mostly by ideology and, occasionally, by prejudice. Let’s be honest. Fannie and Freddie, which didn’t make subprime loans but did buy subprime loans made by others, were part of the problem. Poor Congressional oversight was part of the problem. Banks that sought to meet CRA requirements by indiscriminately doling out loans to minorities may have been part of the problem. But none of these issues is the cause of the problem. Not by a long shot. From the beginning, subprime has been a symptom, not a cause. And the notion that the Community Reinvestment Act is somehow responsible for poor lending decisions is absurd.

Here’s why.

The Community Reinvestment Act applies to depository banks. But many of the institutions that spurred the massive growth of the subprime market weren’t regulated banks. They were outfits such as Argent and American Home Mortgage, which were generally not regulated by the Federal Reserve or other entities that monitored compliance with CRA. These institutions worked hand in glove with Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, entities to which the CRA likewise didn’t apply. There’s much more. As Barry Ritholtz notes in this fine rant, the CRA didn’t force mortgage companies to offer loans for no money down, or to throw underwriting standards out the window, or to encourage mortgage brokers to aggressively seek out new markets. Nor did the CRA force the credit-rating agencies to slap high-grade ratings on packages of subprime debt.

Second, many of the biggest flameouts in real estate have had nothing to do with subprime lending. WCI Communities, builder of highly amenitized condos in Florida (no subprime purchasers welcome there), filed for bankruptcy in August. Very few of the tens of thousands of now-surplus condominiums in Miami were conceived to be marketed to subprime borrowers, or minorities—unless you count rich Venezuelans and Colombians as minorities. The multiyear plague that has been documented in brilliant detail at IrvineHousingBlog is playing out in one of the least-subprime housing markets in the nation.

Third, lending money to poor people and minorities isn’t inherently risky. There’s plenty of evidence that in fact it’s not that risky at all. That’s what we’ve learned from several decades of microlending programs, at home and abroad, with their very high repayment rates. And as the New York Times recently reported, Nehemiah Homes, a long-running initiative to build homes and sell them to the working poor in subprime areas of New York’s outer boroughs, has a repayment rate that lenders in Greenwich, Conn., would envy. In 27 years, there have been fewer than 10 defaults on the project’s 3,900 homes. That’s a rate of 0.25 percent.

On the other hand, lending money recklessly to obscenely rich white guys, such as Richard Fuld of Lehman Bros. or Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns, can be really risky. In fact, it’s even more risky, since they have a lot more borrowing capacity. And here, again, it’s difficult to imagine how Jimmy Carter could be responsible for the supremely poor decision-making seen in the financial system. I await the Krauthammer column in which he points out the specific provision of the Community Reinvestment Act that forced Bear Stearns to run with an absurd leverage ratio of 33 to 1, which instructed Bear Stearns hedge-fund managers to blow up hundreds of millions of their clients’ money, and that required its septuagenarian CEO to play bridge while his company ran into trouble. Perhaps Neil Cavuto knows which CRA clause required Lehman Bros. to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars in short-term debt in the capital markets and then buy tens of billions of dollars of commercial real estate at the top of the market. I can’t find it. Did AIG plunge into the credit-default-swaps business with abandon because Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now members picketed its offices? Please. How about the hundreds of billions of dollars of leveraged loans—loans banks committed to private-equity firms that wanted to conduct leveraged buyouts of retailers, restaurant companies, and industrial firms? Many of those are going bad now, too. Is that Bill Clinton’s fault?

Look: There was a culture of stupid, reckless lending, of which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the subprime lenders were an integral part. But the dumb-lending virus originated in Greenwich, Conn., midtown Manhattan, and Southern California, not Eastchester, Brownsville, and Washington, D.C. Investment banks created a demand for subprime loans because they saw it as a new asset class that they could dominate. They made subprime loans for the same reason they made other loans: They could get paid for making the loans, for turning them into securities, and for trading them—frequently using borrowed capital.

At Monday’s hearing, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., gamely tried to pin Lehman’s demise on Fannie and Freddie. After comparing Lehman’s small political contributions with Fannie and Freddie’s much larger ones, Mica asked Fuld what role Fannie and Freddie’s failure played in Lehman’s demise. Fuld’s response: “De minimis.”

Lending money to poor people doesn’t make you poor. Lending money poorly to rich people does.

Daniel Gross is the Moneybox columnist for Slate and the business columnist for Newsweek. You can e-mail him at moneybox@slate.com. He is the author of Pop! Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2201641/

<!–rs = PStax; DM_addToLoc(“thisNode”, rs); DM_tag();

Copyright 2008 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

10 Comments

Filed under Politics

Noun, Verb, “Keating Five!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keating Economics

John McCain And The Making Of A Financial Crisis.

The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain’s attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

John McCain was accused of improperly aiding his political patron, Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee launched investigations and formally reprimanded Senator McCain for his role in the scandal — the first such Senator to receive a major party nomination for president.

At the heart of the scandal was Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which took advantage of deregulation in the 1980s to make risky investments with its depositors’ money. McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry — actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers.

When the savings and loan industry collapsed, Keating’s failed company put taxpayers on the hook for $3.4 billion and more than 20,000 Americans lost their savings. John McCain was reprimanded by the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee, but the ultimate cost of the crisis to American taxpayers reached more than $120 billion.

The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today’s credit crisis, where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules. And in both cases, John McCain’s judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history.

http://keatingeconomics.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

More on Foreclosure!

Michigan among states leading in new home foreclosures

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A record 9 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage were either behind on their payments or in foreclosure at the end of June, as damage from the housing crisis continues to mount, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Friday.

But the source of trouble in the mortgage market has shifted from subprime loans made to borrowers with poor credit to homeowners who had solid credit but took out exotic loans with ballooning monthly payments.

The problem is also concentrated in a handful of states, the worst being California and Florida. The real estate markets in those two states were fueled by some of the riskiest lending practices and rampant speculation during the housing boom that has turned into a devastating bust.

“That’s clearly the problem,” said Jay Brinkmann, the association’s chief economist. “The national numbers are driven by the two largest states” with the most outstanding home loans.

The latest quarterly snapshot of the market broke records for late payments, homes entering the foreclosure process and for the inventory of loans in foreclosure. The trade group’s records go back to 1979.

The percentage of loans at least 30 days past due or in foreclosure was up from 8.1 percent in the January-March quarter, using figures that were not adjusted for seasonal factors.

New foreclosures were concentrated in eight states: Nevada, Florida, California, Arizona, Michigan, Rhode Island, Indiana and Ohio.

But for the first time since the mortgage crisis started, delinquencies on subprime adjustable-rate loans declined. While more than one out of every five homeowners with a subprime ARM is still in default, that portion dipped 1 percentage point from the first quarter to 21 percent.

What’s driving the delinquency rate up now is the number of homeowners with risky, adjustable-rate prime loans made with little or no proof of the borrowers’ income or assets.

Many of these loans allowed the borrower to pay only the interest on the loan for a fixed period of time. Others gave borrower the option to “pick-a-payment,” adding any unpaid interest to the principal balance.

More than one out of 10 borrowers with a prime adjustable-rate loan is now delinquent or in foreclosure. That portion, 11.3 percent, was up from 9.7 percent in the first quarter and is expected to continue to rise as more homeowners see their monthly payments spike.

3 Comments

Filed under Society

Foreclose This!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There has been a lot of complaining and innuendo in a fairly high percentage of blogs that distort the facts.  Most of it has to do with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).  This program designed thirty years ago was an attempt to end the despicable practice of “redlining.”  “Redlining” was the historical practice of banks not loaning money to purchase homes in minority neighborhoods.  What is not being discussed is that while the CRA ended this practice, the banks affected by this new law did not have any of its branches located in the said neighborhoods.

So the biggest lenders in minority neighborhoods are mortgage companies who only offer subprime loans and are not full service banks that would have to lend fairly under the CRA.  Furthermore, the mortgages companies flipped the switch and aggressively went after consumers who may not have been seeking a loan or new loan through the use of telemarketing and brokers. 

A majority of these loans were refinancing ones where consumers were told they could get quick and easy cash to pay off other debt.  They were in effect being swayed by brokers and lenders offering to look out for their best interest when in reality they were just looking out for themselves. 

Another example of unfair lending practices is that in a Detroit neighborhood that is 97% black with an annual median income of $49,000 compared to its suburb Plymouth which is 97% white with an annual median income of $51,000 had a startling difference on the interest rates.  In the Detroit neighborhood about 70% carried a high interest rate while the rate was about 17% in Plymouth.

I am not an economist, a banker, a Wall Street type, or a lobbyist.  The reality of the situation is that we should not sit here and try to point fingers as to who is to blame.  We should be voicing our concern on how the current situation can be fixed, but more importantly to implement measures that will never allow this to happen again.  And for the record, I live in University Park, a neighborhood on the south side of Tallahassee, just south of the FAMU campus and there is not one home that has been foreclosed on or a for sale sign in any yard.

Sources: Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Housing Admin., and the NYT.

6 Comments

Filed under Society