Financial News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Financial News Articles in Media
Analysts who reviewed complex mortgage bonds that ultimately collapsed and ruined the U.S. housing market were threatened with firing if they lost lucrative business, prompting faulty ratings on trillions of dollars worth of junk mortgage bonds, a Senate report said [on April 13]. The 639-page report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations confirms much of what McClatchy Newspapers first reported about mismanagement by credit ratings agencies in 2009. Credit rating agencies are supposed to provide independent assessments on the quality of debt being issued by companies or governments. Traditionally, investments rated AAA had a probability of failure of less than 1 percent. But in collusion with Wall Street investment banks, the Senate report concludes, the top two ratings agencies - Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's - effectively cashed in on the housing boom by ignoring mounting evidence of problems in the housing market. Profits at both companies soared, with revenues at market leader Moody's more than tripling in five years. Then the bottom fell out of the housing market, and Moody's stock lost 70 percent of its value; it has yet to fully recover. More than 90 percent of AAA ratings given in 2006 and 2007 to pools of mortgage-backed securities were downgraded to junk status.
Note: For many key reports from major media sources illuminating how major financial corporations knowingly brought about the global financial crisis and profited from it, click here.
Christy Mack, the wife of Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack, and Susan Karches, the widow of the company's former investment-banking division president, Peter Karches, are among the chief investors in a company that received $220 million in low-interest loans. The funds came from a federal bailout program that "virtually guaranteed them millions in risk-free income," according to the article ... "The Real Housewives of Wall Street," which appears in [Rolling Stone]. In 2009, Christy Mack and Susan Karches launched Waterfall TALF Opportunity, a company with a Cayman Islands address, although the two women did not seem "to have any experience whatsoever in finance." TALF stands for "Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility." The federal aid they received "falls under a broader category of bailout initiatives designed" by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. With an initial upfront investment of $15 million, Waterfall TALF received $220 million in cash from the Fed, most of which it used to purchase "student loans and commercial mortgages." The loans were set up so that the investors "would keep 100% of any gains on the deal while the Fed and the Treasury (read: the taxpayer) would eat 90% of the losses."
Note: We don't usually quote the New York Daily News, but as they were the only major media to report this important story, we've included it here. Why are the major media silent on this powerful information uncovered by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders? For the full story on this, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on corruption in the government bailouts of the biggest banks, click here.
Do you know who really owns your mortgage? That question has become a nightmare for many homeowners since the invention of mortgage-backed securities. Yes, those were the exotic investments that sparked the financial collapse in this country. And they're still causing problems. As it turns out, Wall Street cut corners when it bundled homeowners' mortgages into securities that were traded from investor to investor. Now that banks are foreclosing on people, they're finding that the legal documents behind many mortgages are missing. So, what do the banks do? Some companies appear to be resorting to forgery and phony paperwork in what looks like a nationwide epidemic. Even if you're not at risk of foreclosure, there could be legal ramifications for a homeowner if the chain of title has been lost.
Note: Don't miss at the link above the most excellent, six-minute CBS video explaining more on this blatant deception and manipulation by many banks. You have to put up with a one-minute commercial shortly after the video starts. For lots more from reliable sources on the criminal practices of mortgage lenders, click here.
General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies. Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress. While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well.
In the past six months, the value of [silver] has increased nearly 80 percent, to more than $34 an ounce. [This] is reminiscent of ... the Hunt Brothers. When the Hunts started buying silver in 1973, the price of the metal was $1.95 an ounce. By early 1980, the brothers had driven the price up to $54 an ounce before the Federal Reserve intervened, changed the rules on speculative silver investments and the price plunged. When JPMorgan Chase bought Bear Stearns in March 2008, it inherited Bear Stearns’ large bet that the price of silver would fall. The international bank HSBC got into the market heavily on the bear side as well. These actions “artificially depressed the price of silver dramatically downward,” according to a class-action lawsuit ... filed against both banks in November. “The conspiracy and scheme was enormously successful, netting the defendants substantial illegal profits” in the billions of dollars between June 2008 and March 2010, according to the suit. In November 2009, [Andrew Maguire] ... a former employee of Goldman Sachs and a 40-year industry veteran, [related] tales of how the silver traders at JPMorgan were bragging about all the money they were making “as a result of the manipulation,” which entailed “flooding the market” with “short positions” every time the price of silver started to creep upward. In March 2010, Maguire released his e-mails publicly. Then came the cloak and dagger element: [On March 26th] Maguire was involved in a bizarre car accident in London. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s investigation is still unresolved, and at least one commissioner — Bart Chilton — after interviewing more than 32 people and reviewing more than 40,000 documents, [says] there has been enough investigating and not enough prosecuting. Chilton said ... that “one participant” in the silver market still controlled 35 percent of the silver market.
Note: Gold and silver have been intensely manipulated for many years. The price of gold has risen 500% in the last 10 years, while silver prices have rocketed 700% in the last eight years. Yet the media consistently underreports this amazing news. Few media gave more than a passing mention to gold passing the $1,000 mark in 2008, which was a historic event. Read the full article to understand this important topic. For lots more quality information on this from a former US assistant secretary for HUD, click here.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. ignored or dismissed warning signs about the Madoff fraud even as it earned hundreds of millions of dollars from its relationship with his firm, according to a lawsuit unsealed [on February 3]. The $6.4 billion lawsuit ... claims that bankers at J.P. Morgan discussed the possibility that Bernard Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme, worried that a firm of such size was audited by a storefront accountant and called his returns "too good to be true." "While numerous financial institutions enabled Madoff's fraud, JPMC was at the very center of that fraud, and thoroughly complicit in it," according to the 115-page lawsuit, filed under seal in December by Irving Picard, the trustee seeking to recover money for Mr. Madoff's victims. The complaint seeks the return of nearly $1 billion in J.P. Morgan's profits and fees, and $5.4 billion in damages. It goes into great detail about the bank's alleged efforts, starting in about 2006, to make money by offering products tied to Mr. Madoff through investment funds that fed money to him. The lawsuit offers a detailed account of the more than two decade relationship between J.P. Morgan and Mr. Madoff. The lawsuit claims that the bank didn't pay attention to billions of dollars passing through the Madoff firm's main J.P. Morgan account, much of it by hand-written check, or to discrepancies in the account balance and unreported obligations.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the criminal practices of the biggest financial institutions, click here.
"We certainly applaud the efforts of the commission," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, referring to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Report. "Frankly, I'm not sure much has changed," said one of commissioners, Byron Georgiou. "The concentration of assets in the nation's 10 biggest banks is bigger now than it was five years ago, from 58 percent in 2006 to 63 percent now." Referring to executives who remain at the head of those banks that almost ran aground, Georgiou said ... "Either they knew and didn't want to tell us, or they really didn't know. Either way, they put their institutions at risk." And have yet to be held accountable. Commissioner Brooksley Born can enjoy a certain sense of vindication. Not only had "over-the-counter derivatives contributed significantly to this crisis," ... but the enactment of legislation in 2000 to ban their regulation "was a key turning point in the march toward the financial crisis." As head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the 1990s, Born was aware of the damage the largely unregulated instruments had already caused. Born suggested some more regulation. [She] was squashed like a bug by Clinton administration heavyweights, including Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin, [and] Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. One of the results: The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 eliminated government oversight of the OTC market. As the report documents, the use of such derivatives ... helped bring the entire financial system to its knees. Born hasn't seen much change in terms of accountability. One thing the report makes clear ... is just how preposterous were the "Who knew?" and "Who could have predicted?" statements offered up by chief executives and top government officials.
Note: So the 10 biggest banks now control 63% of total U.S. bank assets. The total for these banking assets as of the second quarter of 2010 were calculated at $13.22 trillion. Yet four of these megabanks also control an astounding 95% of the $574 trillion derivatives market, a sum over 40 times the amount of bank assets! Do you think there might be a problem with a derivatives bubble?
New disclosures show the Federal Reserve rushed trillions of dollars in emergency aid not just to Wall Street but also to ... foreign-owned banks in 2008 and 2009. The central bank's aid programs also supported U.S. subsidiaries of banks based in East Asia, Europe and Canada. The biggest users of the Fed lending programs were some of the world's largest banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Swiss-based UBS and Britain's Barclays, according to more than 21,000 loan records released [December 1] under new financial regulatory legislation. The data reveal banks turning to the Fed for help almost daily in the fall of 2008 as the central bank lowered lending standards and extended relief to all kinds of institutions it had never assisted before. The extent of the lending to major banks - and the generous terms of some of those deals - heighten the political peril for a central bank that is already under the gun for a wide range of actions, including a recent decision to try to stimulate the economy by buying $600 billion in U.S. bonds. "The American people are finally learning the incredible and jaw-dropping details of the Fed's multitrillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and corporate America," said Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), a longtime Fed critic whose provision in the Wall Street regulatory overhaul required the new disclosures. "Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations." The Fed launched emergency programs totaling $3.3 trillion in aid, a figure reached by adding up the peak amount of lending in each program.
Note: The figure of $3.3 trillion cited in this article was simply the peak amount lent at one moment in time; the total amount lent by the Fed over the years covered by the data exceeded $20 trillion. For analysis of this data release, click here.
Somebody owes us $20 trillion. "Inside Job," a riveting, eye-opening, infuriating documentary about the financial collapse of 2008, coolly presents a prosecutor's brief against the culprits who engineered the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. They occupy both sides of the legislative aisle, corporate boardrooms, Ivy League faculty lounges and bank headquarters. They made money â€” sometimes obscene amounts of it â€” while rigging a monetary meltdown that left middle-class taxpayers holding the bag, and thousands of less-fortunate former homeowners holding cardboard signs beside freeway on-ramps. This is no dry economics lesson; it is a vital wakeup call. The presentation is articulate and rigorously factual, presented in six chapters, from "How We Got There" to "Accountability." The financial earthquake was not only entirely avoidable, but was utterly predictable given the steady erosion of scrutiny of financial markets here and abroad. Reducing state monitoring under the Reagan administration set the stage for the savings-and-loan crisis and the collapse of the junk-bond market. But that was a luau compared with what lay ahead. Successive administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, heeded advisers pushing for further deregulation, leading to WorldCom, Enron, the dot-com bubble and the 2008 panic. Many of those laissez-faire advocates were prominent academics receiving sizable consulting fees to testify in antitrust cases and in Congress on Wall Street's behalf.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the long history of criminal and corrupt practices of major financial powers and regulatory bodies, click here.
As George H. Painter was preparing to retire recently as one of two administrative law judges presiding over investor complaints at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, he issued an extraordinary request: Please don't assign my pending cases to the other judge. [The CFTC oversees trading of the nation's most important commodities, including oil, gold and cotton.] Painter said Judge Bruce Levine ... had a secret agreement with a former Republican chairwoman of the agency to stand in the way of investors filing complaints with the agency. "On Judge Levine's first week on the job, nearly twenty years ago, he came into my office and stated that he had promised Wendy Gramm, then Chairwoman of the Commission, that we would never rule in a complainant's favor," Painter wrote. "A review of his rulings will confirm that he fulfilled his vow. Judge Levine ... forces pro se complainants to run a hostile procedural gauntlet until they lose hope, and either withdraw their complaint or settle for a pittance, regardless of the merits of the case." Levine was the subject of a story 10 years ago in the Wall Street Journal, which said that except in a handful of cases in which defunct firms failed to defend themselves, Levine had never ruled in favor of an investor. Gramm [wife of former senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.)], was head of the CFTC just before president Bill Clinton took office. She has been criticized by Democrats for helping firms such as Goldman Sachs and Enron gain influence over the commodity markets. After leaving the CFTC, she joined Enron's board.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
This is the story of how some of the richest people in the world – Goldman, Deutsche Bank, the traders at Merrill Lynch, and more – have caused the starvation of some of the poorest people in the world. At the end of 2006, food prices across the world started to rise, suddenly and stratospherically. Within a year, the price of wheat had shot up by 80 per cent, maize by 90 per cent, rice by 320 per cent. In a global jolt of hunger, 200 million people – mostly children – couldn't afford to get food any more, and sank into malnutrition or starvation. There were riots in more than 30 countries, and at least one government was violently overthrown. Then, in spring 2008, prices just as mysteriously fell back to their previous level. Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, calls it "a silent mass murder", entirely due to "man-made actions." Through the 1990s, Goldman Sachs and others lobbied hard and the regulations [controlling agricultural futures contracts] were abolished. Suddenly, these contracts were turned into "derivatives" that could be bought and sold among traders who had nothing to do with agriculture. A market in "food speculation" was born. The speculators drove the price through the roof.
Note: Some researchers speculate that the global elite are aware that alternative energies will eventually replace oil, which has been a prime means of control and underlying cause of many wars in recent decades. So as a replacement for oil, the elite and their secret societies are increasingly targeting control of the world's food supply through terminator crops which produce no seed, and through the patenting of seeds.
Even the world’s most savvy stock-market giants (e.g., Warren E. Buffett) have warned over the past decade that derivatives are the fiscal equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction. And the consequences of such an explosion would make the recent global financial and economic crisis seem like penny ante. But generously lubricated lobbyists for the unrestricted, unsupervised derivatives markets tell congressional committees and government regulators to butt out. While banks all over the world were imploding and some $50 trillion vanished in global stock markets, the derivatives market grew by an estimated 65 percent, according the Bank for International Settlements. BIS convenes the world’s 57 most powerful central bankers in Basel, Switzerland, for periodic secret meetings. Occasionally, they issue a cry of alarm. This time, derivatives had soared from $414.8 trillion at the end of 2006 to $683.7 trillion in mid-2008 - 18 months’ time. The derivatives market is now estimated at $700 trillion. What’s so difficult to understand about derivatives? Essentially, they are bets for or against the house - red or black at the roulette wheel. Or betting for or against the weather in situations in which the weather is critical (e.g., vineyards). Forwards, futures, options and swaps form the panoply of derivatives. Credit derivatives are based on loans, bonds or other forms of credit. Over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives are contracts that are traded and privately negotiated directly between two parties, outside of a regular exchange. All of this is unregulated.
Note: Though not from one of the top U.S. newspapers, this incisive article lays bare severe market manipulations that greatly endanger our world. The entire article is highly recommended. $700 trillion is equivalent to $100,000 for every man, woman, and child in the world! Do you think the financial industry is out of control? For lots more powerful, reliable information on major banking manipulations, click here. For a powerful analysis describing just how crazy things have gotten and giving some rays of hope by researcher David Wilcock, click here.
On top of everything Lehman Brothers did before it collapsed in 2008, nearly toppling the financial system, it now seems that it was aggressively massaging its books. A new report on the Lehman collapse, released last week ... would leave anyone dumbstruck by the firm’s audacity — and reminded of the crying need for adult supervision of Wall Street. The 2,200-page report [finds that] Lehman engaged in transactions that let it temporarily shift troubled assets off its books and in so doing, hide its reliance on borrowed money. The maneuvers ... made the firm appear healthier than it was. [The author, Anton R. Valukas, a former federal prosecutor,] wrote that Richard S. Fuld Jr., Lehman’s former chief executive, was “at least grossly negligent,” and that Lehman executives engaged in “actionable balance sheet manipulation.” According to the report, rating agencies, government regulators and Lehman’s board of directors had no clue about the gimmicks. The result is that we were all blindsided. And we could be blindsided again. Congress is not even close to passing meaningful regulatory reform. The surviving banks have only gotten bigger and more politically powerful. If the Valukas report is not a wake-up call, what would be?
Note: The Lehman report is described in detail here. For revealing information showing how the US Treasury Department continues to fight against a much-needed audit of the Federal Reserve, click here. For a great collection of revealing reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities behind the financial crisis and government bailouts of the biggest financial corporations, click here.
Embroiled in its debt crisis and looking for any avenue to bolster tax receipts [Greece] has done the unthinkable – it has made [cash, in euros] illegal for transactions over 1,500 euros. Of course, larger credit- or debit-based electronic transactions over 1,500 will still be denominated in euros. However, electronic transactions clearly require infrastructure and limit personal freedom. From Reuters: “From 1. Jan. 2011, every transaction above 1,500 euros between natural persons and businesses, or between businesses, will not be considered legal if it is done in cash. Transactions will have to be done through debit or credit cards.” It seems wrong for the Greek state to dictate how cash euros can be used. In fact, it’s surprising that the EU-endorsed plan would allow Greece to control euro usage at that level. Despite the fact that the reform bill is a piece of an approved EU plan to help improve Greek tax revenue and reduce deficit, it seems to go too far in curtailing personal liberty. How much is a government willing to punish its own citizens for using “too much” of their own legal tender in an otherwise legal transaction?
Note: What gives any government the right to limit cash transactions? And why is the EU approving this unusual measure? Could this be part of a hidden agenda to push the public towards a cashless society?
PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour economics correspondent: As the Federal Reserve moved rapidly and radically last year to prevent what it feared was an economic meltdown, it bailed out some institutions, but not others, forced mergers, [and] created hundreds of billions of dollars. The net result: increased suspicion of the Fed itself. That's nothing new. The 1913 act of Congress that established America's central bank was ... a compromise between government ... and private banking interests, which owned the 12 regional Fed branches. [All along,] some Americans have been suspicious of the Fed for operating above politics, too close to bankers, and behind closed doors. Simply Google "Federal Reserve." You encounter everything from skepticism to fear of conspiracy. NARRATOR: With the power to regulate the money supply is also the power to bring entire economies and societies to its knees. DONALD KOHN, Federal Reserve vice chairman: We bring information to bear from the private sector, from foreign governments and foreign central banks that they tell us in confidence about what's going on in their businesses. WILLIAM GREIDER, author, "Secrets of the Temple": You could say, "We have to have our meetings in secret because things will be said that are national security secrets, but we'll vet the transcript and release it four weeks later." Why not do that? SOLMAN: A House bill ... would give the Government Accountability Office the right to audit the Fed's interest rate decisions. Chairman Bernanke opposes it as compromising the Fed's independence.
Note: If you look at the top of any U.S. currency, you will see the words "Federal Reserve Note." U.S. dollars are issued and controlled by the Federal Reserve, which is privately owned, though subject to minimal federal oversight. To see just how much control the Federal Reserve has over the issuance of U.S. currency, see their webpage at this link. For lots more on hidden manipulations of the Federal Reserve, click here.
President Barack Obama's proposal for a regulatory overhaul of the financial industry vastly expands the reach of the Federal Reserve, yet fails to make policy-makers more accountable for their actions. Critics argue that the new legislation fundamentally misses the problems that led to the financial crisis. It was a lack of enforcement by supervisors, they say, not insufficient rules, that fostered a cowboy culture of rampant risk-taking on Wall Street. "Obama is letting the Fed and everyone else off the hook by saying that the problem was with the regulations and not the regulators," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington. "If regulators know that even if they totally fail on the job, they will face no career consequences, then at some future point, when there is a choice between confronting the financial industry or just going along, the regulators will just go along," said Baker. Some feel uncomfortable with a broader role for the Fed primarily because of the Fed's closeness to the banking sector. The Fed is not technically a public entity. Each of the Fed's 12 branches are overseen by a nine-member board of directors, two-thirds of whom are elected by the bankers in the district. "The Federal Reserve has massive conflicts of interest that make it ill-suited for its present regulatory functions and certainly for an expanded regulatory reach," said Robert Auerbach, a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. "The officials leading the Fed today preside over an organization that is run in substantial part by the bankers they regulate."
Note: For empowering insight into the historic roots of the Federal Reserve's unaccountability, click here.
The Federal Reserve's balance sheet is so out of whack that the central bank would be shut down if subjected to a conventional audit, Jim Grant, editor of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, told CNBC. With $45 billion in capital and $2.1 trillion in assets, the central bank would not withstand the scrutiny normally afforded other institutions, Grant said. "If the Fed examiners were set upon the Fed's own documents ... to pass judgment on the Fed's capacity to survive the difficulties it faces in credit, it would shut this institution down," he said. "The Fed is undercapitalized in a way that Citicorp is undercapitalized." Grant said he would support legislation currently making its way through Congress calling for an audit of the Fed. Moreover, he criticized the way the Fed has managed the financial crisis, saying the central bank's target rate should not be around zero. "I think zero is the wrong rate for almost any economy," Grant said, adding the Fed has "embarked on a vast experiment in moral hazard. Interest rates are the traffic signals in a market economy, and everything's green. ... You have to wonder whether these interest rates are the right clearing rate or rather they are the imposition of a central bank." Amid a disparity between analysts predicting there will be no rate hikes soon and the fed funds futures indicating tightening by the end of the year, Grant said he thinks the Fed indeed will begin raising rates as inflation creeps into the picture. Fed funds futures have fully priced in as much as a half-point rise in the target rate from its current range of zero to 0.25 percent. "If the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when there's too much unanimity of opinion, then one begins to worry about this," he said. "The Fed proverbially has been late."
Note: For an astonishing five-minute video clip of a Congressional hearing where the Inspector General of the Fed acknowledges she knows almost nothing about trillions of dollars missing from the Fed, click here. For many more important reports shedding light on the hidden realities of the economic crisis, click here.
Gillian Tett [is the author of] Fool's Gold: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe. Tett is a respected business journalist at the Financial Times. Tett successfully pieces together the colorful backstory of the bank's work to win acceptance in the market for its brainchild, turning credit derivatives "from a cottage industry into a mass-production business." With the benefit of hindsight, we know that while these inventions were intended to control risk, they amplified it instead. This novel idea turned noxious when applied broadly to residential mortgages, a game that the rest of Wall Street later entered into with gusto. We learn in deep detail about not only how collateralized debt obligations are assembled but also their many iterations. Perhaps it's noteworthy that Tett's book begins when JPMorgan had the face-value equivalent of $1.7 trillion in derivatives on its books. Today that number has jumped to a mind-boggling $87 trillion. Part of that portfolio includes almost $8.4 trillion in credit derivatives, more than Bank of America's (BAC), Citi's, and Goldman Sachs' (GS) holdings combined.
Note: So JP Morgan has $87 trillion in derivatives, a mass market it helped to create. That is greater than the GDP for the entire world! To verify this, click here. For a New York Times review of this revealing book, click here.
U.S. taxpayers need to know the risks behind the Federal Reserve’s $2 trillion in lending to financial institutions because the public is now an “involuntary investor” in the nation’s banks, according to a court filing by Bloomberg LP. The Fed refuses to name the borrowers, the amounts of loans or assets banks put up as collateral under 11 programs, arguing that doing so might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders. The largest U.S. banks have tapped more than $125 billion in government aid under the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the past seven months. Assets, including loans and securities, on the Fed balance sheet totaled $2.09 trillion as of April 9. Banks oppose any release of information because that might signal weakness and spur short-selling or a run by depositors, the Fed argued in its March 4 response. The release of the information “can fuel market speculation and rumors,” including a drop in stock price and a run on the bank, the Fed said. Bloomberg replied yesterday that “these speculative injuries relate only to the reactions of customers, shareholders and other members of the public, not to competitors’ use of the borrowers’ proprietary information to their advantage,” the exception to disclosure under the FOIA law. Government loans, spending or guarantees to rescue the U.S. financial system total more than $12.8 trillion since the international credit crisis began in August 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of March 31. The total includes about $2 trillion on the Fed’s balance sheet.
Note: For an extensive archive of key reports on the hidden realities of the Wall Street bailout, click here.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was set up 76 years ago with the important but simple job of insuring bank deposits. Now, because of what could politely be called mission creep, it’s elbowing its way into the middle of the financial mess as an enabler of enormous leverage. In the fine print of Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner’s plan to lend as much as $1 trillion to private investors to help them buy toxic assets from our nation’s banks, you’ll find some details of how the F.D.I.C is trying to stabilize the system by adding more risk, not less, to the system. It’s going to be insuring 85 percent of the debt, provided by the Treasury, that private investors will use to subsidize their acquisitions of toxic assets. These loans, while controversial, were given a warm welcome by the market when they were first announced. And why not? The terms are hard to beat. They are, for example, “nonrecourse,” which means that if an investor loses money, he owes taxpayers nothing. It’s the closest thing to risk-free investing — with leverage! — around. But, as we’ve learned the hard way these last couple of years, risk-free investing is an oxymoron. So where did the risk go this time? To the F.D.I.C., and ultimately, to us taxpayers. A close reading of the F.D.I.C.’s statute suggests the agency is using a unique — some might call it plain wrong — reading of its own rule book to accomplish this high-wire act. Somehow, in the name of solving the financial crisis, the F.D.I.C. has seemingly been given a blank check, with virtually no oversight by Congress.
Note: For a powerfully revealing archive of reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities of the financial bailout, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.