"If government becomes 'independent of politics' it can only mean that that sphere of government becomes an absolute self-perpetuating oligarchy." -- Murray Rothbard, The Case Against The Fed
"Wall street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master." -- Mary "Yellin' Lease, 1895
"A private central bank issuing the public currency is a greater menace to the liberties of the people than a standing army...We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt." -- Thomas Jefferson
The original source is a post by Silver Bear Cafe – please read it all here.
What was revealed in the audit was startling:
$16,000,000,000,000 [$16 Trillion] had been secretly given out to US banks and corporations and foreign banks everywhere from France to Scotland. From the period between December 2007 and June 2010, the Federal Reserve had secretly bailed out many of the world’s banks, corporations, and governments. The Federal Reserve likes to refer to these secret bailouts as an all-inclusive loan program, but virtually none of the money has been returned and it was loaned out at 0% interest. Why the Federal Reserve had never been public about this or even informed the United States Congress about the $16 trillion dollar bailout is obvious – the American public would have been outraged to find out that the Federal Reserve bailed out foreign banks while Americans were struggling to find jobs.
November 27, 2011
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.
The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.
Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.
A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.
‘Change Their Votes’
“When you see the dollars the banks got, it’s hard to make the case these were successful institutions,” says Sherrod Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio who in 2010 introduced an unsuccessful bill to limit bank size. “This is an issue that can unite the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. There are lawmakers in both parties who would change their votes now.”
The Fed, headed by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, argued that revealing borrower details would create a stigma -- investors and counterparties would shun firms that used the central bank as lender of last resort -- and that needy institutions would be reluctant to borrow in the next crisis. Clearing House Association fought Bloomberg’s lawsuit up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the banks’ appeal in March 2011.
The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.
“TARP at least had some strings attached,” says Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, referring to the program’s executive-pay ceiling. “With the Fed programs, there was nothing.”Bankers didn’t disclose the extent of their borrowing. On Nov. 26, 2008, then-Bank of America (BAC) Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis wrote to shareholders that he headed “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” He didn’t say that his Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm owed the central bank $86 billion that day.
‘Motivate Others’JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders in a March 26, 2010, letter that his bank used the Fed’s Term Auction Facility “at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” He didn’t say that the New York-based bank’s total TAF borrowings were almost twice its cash holdings or that its peak borrowing of $48 billion on Feb. 26, 2009, came more than a year after the program’s creation.
Howard Opinsky, a spokesman for JPMorgan (JPM), declined to comment about Dimon’s statement or the company’s Fed borrowings. Jerry Dubrowski, a spokesman for Bank of America, also declined to comment.
The Fed has been lending money to banks through its so-called discount window since just after its founding in 1913. Starting in August 2007, when confidence in banks began to wane, it created a variety of ways to bolster the financial system with cash or easily traded securities. By the end of 2008, the central bank had established or expanded 11 lending facilities catering to banks, securities firms and corporations that couldn’t get short-term loans from their usual sources.
“Supporting financial-market stability in times of extreme market stress is a core function of central banks,” says William B. English, director of the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs. “Our lending programs served to prevent a collapse of the financial system and to keep credit flowing to American families and businesses.”The Fed has said that all loans were backed by appropriate collateral.
That the central bank didn’t lose money should “lead to praise of the Fed, that they took this extraordinary step and they got it right,” says Phillip Swagel, a former assistant Treasury secretary under Henry M. Paulson and now a professor of international economic policy at the University of Maryland.The Fed initially released lending data in aggregate form only. Information on which banks borrowed, when, how much and at what interest rate was kept from public view.
The secrecy extended even to members of President George W. Bush’s administration who managed TARP. Top aides to Paulson weren’t privy to Fed lending details during the creation of the program that provided crisis funding to more than 700 banks, say two former senior Treasury officials who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak.
Big SixThe Treasury Department relied on the recommendations of the Fed to decide which banks were healthy enough to get TARP money and how much, the former officials say. The six biggest U.S. banks, which received $160 billion of TARP funds, borrowed as much as $460 billion from the Fed, measured by peak daily debt calculated by Bloomberg using data obtained from the central bank. Paulson didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The six -- JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Morgan Stanley -- accounted for 63 percent of the average daily debt to the Fed by all publicly traded U.S. banks, money managers and investment- services firms, the data show. By comparison, they had about half of the industry’s assets before the bailout, which lasted from August 2007 through April 2010. The daily debt figure excludes cash that banks passed along to money-market funds.
Bank SupervisionWhile the emergency response prevented financial collapse, the Fed shouldn’t have allowed conditions to get to that point, says Joshua Rosner, a banking analyst with Graham Fisher & Co. in New York who predicted problems from lax mortgage underwriting as far back as 2001.
The Fed, the primary supervisor for large financial companies, should have been more vigilant as the housing bubble formed, and the scale of its lending shows the “supervision of the banks prior to the crisis was far worse than we had imagined,” Rosner says.Bernanke in an April 2009 speech said that the Fed provided emergency loans only to “sound institutions,” even though its internal assessments described at least one of the biggest borrowers, Citigroup, as “marginal.”
On Jan. 14, 2009, six days before the company’s central bank loans peaked, the New York Fed gave CEO Vikram Pandit a report declaring Citigroup’s financial strength to be “superficial,” bolstered largely by its $45 billion of Treasury funds. The document was released in early 2011 by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a panel empowered by Congress to probe the causes of the crisis.
‘Need Transparency’Andrea Priest, a spokeswoman for the New York Fed, declined to comment, as did Jon Diat, a spokesman for Citigroup.
“I believe that the Fed should have independence in conducting highly technical monetary policy, but when they are putting taxpayer resources at risk, we need transparency and accountability,” says Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.
“We didn’t know the specifics,” says Gregg, who’s now an adviser to Goldman Sachs.
“We were aware emergency efforts were going on,” Frank says. “We didn’t know the specifics.”
Disclose LendingFrank co-sponsored the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, billed as a fix for financial-industry excesses. Congress debated that legislation in 2010 without a full understanding of how deeply the banks had depended on the Fed for survival.
It would have been “totally appropriate” to disclose the lending data by mid-2009, says David Jones, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who has written four books about the central bank.
“The Fed is the second-most-important appointed body in the U.S., next to the Supreme Court, and we’re dealing with a democracy,” Jones says. “Our representatives in Congress deserve to have this kind of information so they can oversee the Fed.”The Dodd-Frank law required the Fed to release details of some emergency-lending programs in December 2010. It also mandated disclosure of discount-window borrowers after a two- year lag.
TARP and the Fed lending programs went “hand in hand,” says Sherrill Shaffer, a banking professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and a former chief economist at the New York Fed.While the TARP money helped insulate the central bank from losses, the Fed’s willingness to supply seemingly unlimited financing to the banks assured they wouldn’t collapse, protecting the Treasury’s TARP investments, he says.
“Even though the Treasury was in the headlines, the Fed was really behind the scenes engineering it,” Shaffer says.Congress, at the urging of Bernanke and Paulson, created TARP in October 2008 after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. made it difficult for financial institutions to get loans. Bank of America and New York-based Citigroup each received $45 billion from TARP. At the time, both were tapping the Fed. Citigroup hit its peak borrowing of $99.5 billion in January 2009, while Bank of America topped out in February 2009 at $91.4 billion.
No ClueLawmakers knew none of this.
They had no clue that one bank, New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), took $107 billion in Fed loans in September 2008, enough to pay off one-tenth of the country’s delinquent mortgages. The firm’s peak borrowing occurred the same day Congress rejected the proposed TARP bill, triggering the biggest point drop ever in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The bill later passed, and Morgan Stanley got $10 billion of TARP funds, though Paulson said only “healthy institutions” were eligible.
Mark Lake, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
Had lawmakers known, it “could have changed the whole approach to reform legislation,” says Ted Kaufman, a former Democratic Senator from Delaware who, with Brown, introduced the bill to limit bank size.
Moral HazardKaufman says some banks are so big that their failure could trigger a chain reaction in the financial system. The cost of borrowing for so-called too-big-to-fail banks is lower than that of smaller firms because lenders believe the government won’t let them go under. The perceived safety net creates what economists call moral hazard -- the belief that bankers will take greater risks because they’ll enjoy any profits while shifting losses to taxpayers.
If Congress had been aware of the extent of the Fed rescue, Kaufman says, he would have been able to line up more support for breaking up the biggest banks.
Byron L. Dorgan, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, says the knowledge might have helped pass legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which for most of the last century separated customer deposits from the riskier practices of investment banking.
“Had people known about the hundreds of billions in loans to the biggest financial institutions, they would have demanded Congress take much more courageous actions to stop the practices that caused this near financial collapse,” says Dorgan, who retired in January.
Total assets held by the six biggest U.S. banks increased 39 percent to $9.5 trillion on Sept. 30, 2011, from $6.8 trillion on the same day in 2006, according to Fed data.
For so few banks to hold so many assets is “un-American,” says Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “All of these gargantuan institutions are too big to regulate. I’m in favor of breaking them up and slimming them down.”Employees at the six biggest banks made twice the average for all U.S. workers in 2010, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics hourly compensation cost data. The banks spent $146.3 billion on compensation in 2010, or an average of $126,342 per worker, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s up almost 20 percent from five years earlier compared with less than 15 percent for the average worker. Average pay at the banks in 2010 was about the same as in 2007, before the bailouts.
‘Wanted to Pretend’
“The pay levels came back so fast at some of these firms that it appeared they really wanted to pretend they hadn’t been bailed out,” says Anil Kashyap, a former Fed economist who’s now a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “They shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of people find some of the stuff that happened totally outrageous.”Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch & Co. at the urging of then-Treasury Secretary Paulson after buying the biggest U.S. home lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. When the Merrill Lynch purchase was announced on Sept. 15, 2008, Bank of America had $14.4 billion in emergency Fed loans and Merrill Lynch had $8.1 billion. By the end of the month, Bank of America’s loans had reached $25 billion and Merrill Lynch’s had exceeded $60 billion, helping both firms keep the deal on track.
Prevent CollapseWells Fargo bought Wachovia Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. bank by deposits before the 2008 acquisition. Because depositors were pulling their money from Wachovia, the Fed channeled $50 billion in secret loans to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank through two emergency-financing programs to prevent collapse before Wells Fargo could complete the purchase.
“These programs proved to be very successful at providing financial markets the additional liquidity and confidence they needed at a time of unprecedented uncertainty,” says Ancel Martinez, a spokesman for Wells Fargo.JPMorgan absorbed the country’s largest savings and loan, Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., and investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. The New York Fed, then headed by Timothy F. Geithner, who’s now Treasury secretary, helped JPMorgan complete the Bear Stearns deal by providing $29 billion of financing, which was disclosed at the time. The Fed also supplied Bear Stearns with $30 billion of secret loans to keep the company from failing before the acquisition closed, central bank data show. The loans were made through a program set up to provide emergency funding to brokerage firms.
“Some might claim that the Fed was picking winners and losers, but what the Fed was doing was exercising its professional regulatory discretion,” says John Dearie, a former speechwriter at the New York Fed who’s now executive vice president for policy at the Financial Services Forum, a Washington-based group consisting of the CEOs of 20 of the world’s biggest financial firms. “The Fed clearly felt it had what it needed within the requirements of the law to continue to lend to Bear and Wachovia.”
“When a few banks have advantages, the little guys get squeezed,” Brown says. “That, to me, is not what capitalism should be.”
“The amount of pain that people, through no fault of their own, had to endure -- and the prospect of putting them through it again -- is appalling,” Kaufman says. “The public has no more appetite for bailouts. What would happen tomorrow if one of these big banks got in trouble? Can we survive that?”Lobbying expenditures by the six banks that would have been affected by the legislation rose to $29.4 million in 2010 compared with $22.1 million in 2006, the last full year before credit markets seized up -- a gain of 33 percent, according to OpenSecrets.org, a research group that tracks money in U.S. politics. Lobbying by the American Bankers Association, a trade organization, increased at about the same rate, OpenSecrets.org reported.
Lobbyists argued the virtues of bigger banks.
They’re more stable, better able to serve large companies and more competitive internationally, and breaking them up would cost jobs and cause “long-term damage to the U.S. economy,” according to a Nov. 13, 2009, letter to members of Congress from the FSF.The group’s website cites Nobel Prize-winning economist Oliver E. Williamson, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, for demonstrating the greater efficiency of large companies.
‘Serious Burden’In an interview, Williamson says that the organization took his research out of context and that efficiency is only one factor in deciding whether to preserve too-big-to-fail banks.
“The banks that were too big got even bigger, and the problems that we had to begin with are magnified in the process,” Williamson says. “The big banks have incentives to take risks they wouldn’t take if they didn’t have government support. It’s a serious burden on the rest of the economy.”
Top officials in President Barack Obama’s administration sided with the FSF in arguing against legislative curbs on the size of banks.
Geithner, KaufmanOn May 4, 2010, Geithner visited Kaufman in his Capitol Hill office. As president of the New York Fed in 2007 and 2008, Geithner helped design and run the central bank’s lending programs. The New York Fed supervised four of the six biggest U.S. banks and, during the credit crunch, put together a daily confidential report on Wall Street’s financial condition. Geithner was copied on these reports, based on a sampling of e- mails released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
At the meeting with Kaufman, Geithner argued that the issue of limiting bank size was too complex for Congress and that people who know the markets should handle these decisions, Kaufman says. According to Kaufman, Geithner said he preferred that bank supervisors from around the world, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, make rules increasing the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve. Passing laws in the U.S. would undercut his efforts in Basel, Geithner said, according to Kaufman.
Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Geithner, declined to comment.
‘Punishing Success’Lobbyists for the big banks made the winning case that forcing them to break up was “punishing success,” Brown says. Now that they can see how much the banks were borrowing from the Fed, senators might think differently, he says.
The Fed supported curbing too-big-to-fail banks, including giving regulators the power to close large financial firms and implementing tougher supervision for big banks, says Fed General Counsel Scott G. Alvarez. The Fed didn’t take a position on whether large banks should be dismantled before they get into trouble.
Dodd-Frank does provide a mechanism for regulators to break up the biggest banks. It established the Financial Stability Oversight Council that could order teetering banks to shut down in an orderly way. The council is headed by Geithner.
“Dodd-Frank does not solve the problem of too big to fail,” says Shelby, the Alabama Republican. “Moral hazard and taxpayer exposure still very much exist.”
Below MarketDean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, says banks “were either in bad shape or taking advantage of the Fed giving them a good deal. The former contradicts their public statements. The latter -- getting loans at below-market rates during a financial crisis -- is quite a gift.”
The Fed says it typically makes emergency loans more expensive than those available in the marketplace to discourage banks from abusing the privilege. During the crisis, Fed loans were among the cheapest around, with funding available for as low as 0.01 percent in December 2008, according to data from the central bank and money-market rates tracked by Bloomberg.
The Fed funds also benefited firms by allowing them to avoid selling assets to pay investors and depositors who pulled their money. So the assets stayed on the banks’ books, earning interest.
Banks report the difference between what they earn on loans and investments and their borrowing expenses. The figure, known as net interest margin, provides a clue to how much profit the firms turned on their Fed loans, the costs of which were included in those expenses. To calculate how much banks stood to make, Bloomberg multiplied their tax-adjusted net interest margins by their average Fed debt during reporting periods in which they took emergency loans.
Added IncomeThe 190 firms for which data were available would have produced income of $13 billion, assuming all of the bailout funds were invested at the margins reported, the data show.
The six biggest U.S. banks’ share of the estimated subsidy was $4.8 billion, or 23 percent of their combined net income during the time they were borrowing from the Fed. Citigroup would have taken in the most, with $1.8 billion.
“The net interest margin is an effective way of getting at the benefits that these large banks received from the Fed,” says Gerald A. Hanweck, a former Fed economist who’s now a finance professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Opinsky, the JPMorgan spokesman, says he doesn’t think the calculation is fair because “in all likelihood, such funds were likely invested in very short-term investments,” which typically bring lower returns.
Standing AccessEven without tapping the Fed, the banks get a subsidy by having standing access to the central bank’s money, says Viral Acharya, a New York University economics professor who has worked as an academic adviser to the New York Fed.
“Banks don’t give lines of credit to corporations for free,” he says. “Why should all these government guarantees and liquidity facilities be for free?”In the September 2008 meeting at which Paulson and Bernanke briefed lawmakers on the need for TARP, Bernanke said that if nothing was done, “unemployment would rise -- to 8 or 9 percent from the prevailing 6.1 percent,” Paulson wrote in “On the Brink” (Business Plus, 2010).
Occupy Wall StreetThe U.S. jobless rate hasn’t dipped below 8.8 percent since March 2009, 3.6 million homes have been foreclosed since August 2007, according to data provider RealtyTrac Inc., and police have clashed with Occupy Wall Street protesters, who say government policies favor the wealthiest citizens, in New York, Boston, Seattle and Oakland, California.
The Tea Party, which supports a more limited role for government, has its roots in anger over the Wall Street bailouts, says Neil M. Barofsky, former TARP special inspector general and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor.
“The lack of transparency is not just frustrating; it really blocked accountability,” Barofsky says. “When people don’t know the details, they fill in the blanks. They believe in conspiracies.”In the end, Geithner had his way. The Brown-Kaufman proposal to limit the size of banks was defeated, 60 to 31. Bank supervisors meeting in Switzerland did mandate minimum reserves that institutions will have to hold, with higher levels for the world’s largest banks, including the six biggest in the U.S. Those rules can be changed by individual countries.
They take full effect in 2019.
Meanwhile, Kaufman says, “we’re absolutely, totally, 100 percent not prepared for another financial crisis.”
August 21, 2011
Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.
By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages.
The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.
“These are all whopping numbers,” said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. “You’re talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money.”Foreign Borrowers
It wasn’t just American finance. Almost half of the Fed’s top 30 borrowers, measured by peak balances, were European firms. They included Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which took $84.5 billion, the most of any non-U.S. lender, and Zurich-based UBS AG (UBSN), which got $77.2 billion. Germany’s Hypo Real Estate Holding AG borrowed $28.7 billion, an average of $21 million for each of its 1,366 employees.
The largest borrowers also included Dexia SA (DEXB), Belgium’s biggest bank by assets, and Societe Generale SA, based in Paris, whose bond-insurance prices have surged in the past month as investors speculated that the spreading sovereign debt crisis in Europe might increase their chances of default.
The $1.2 trillion peak on Dec. 5, 2008 — the combined outstanding balance under the seven programs tallied by Bloomberg — was almost three times the size of the U.S. federal budget deficit that year and more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the U.S. for the decade through 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The balance was more than 25 times the Fed’s pre-crisis lending peak of $46 billion on Sept. 12, 2001, the day after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. Denominated in $1 bills, the $1.2 trillion would fill 539 Olympic-size swimming pools.
The Fed has said it had “no credit losses” on any of the emergency programs, and a report by Federal Reserve Bank of New York staffers in February said the central bank netted $13 billion in interest and fee income from the programs from August 2007 through December 2009.
“We designed our broad-based emergency programs to both effectively stem the crisis and minimize the financial risks to the U.S. taxpayer,” said James Clouse, deputy director of the Fed’s division of monetary affairs in Washington. “Nearly all of our emergency-lending programs have been closed. We have incurred no losses and expect no losses.”While the 18-month U.S. recession that ended in June 2009 after a 5.1 percent contraction in gross domestic product was nowhere near the four-year, 27 percent decline between August 1929 and March 1933, banks and the economy remain stressed.
Odds of Recession
The odds of another recession have climbed during the past six months, according to five of nine economists on the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an academic panel that dates recessions.
Bank of America’s bond-insurance prices last week surged to a rate of $342,040 a year for coverage on $10 million of debt, above whereLehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ)’s bond insurance was priced at the start of the week before the firm collapsed. Citigroup’s shares are trading below the split-adjusted price of $28 that they hit on the day the bank’s Fed loans peaked in January 2009. The U.S. unemployment rate was at 9.1 percent in July, compared with 4.7 percent in November 2007, before the recession began.
Homeowners are more than 30 days past due on their mortgage payments on 4.38 million properties in the U.S., and 2.16 million more properties are in foreclosure, representing a combined $1.27 trillion of unpaid principal, estimates Jacksonville, Florida-based Lender Processing Services Inc.
November 25, 2011
Even as we get closer to complete economic chaos and bankruptcy induced by a corrupt system of debt-money, we still hear those in Congress repeating the catechism of Fed "independence." In effect, they have pledged to maintain the independence of the privately owned "Fed" -- exactly what the great banking historian, Murray Rothbard, called "an absolute self-perpetuating oligarchy."
Independence from whom? For What? For how long? To what end?
In any case, the independent bank scam enables turning what would be our debt-free national investments into interest-bearing debt slavery. As a result of nearly a hundred years of this monetary servitude, the money mafia game is now on the verge of imploding, both domestically and globally, and taking with it our prosperity, economy and democracy -- as well as that of many nations sinking under the same tyranny.
Independence of the "Fed"? Well, its independence from the people, of course -- from democracy, from accountability and morality. It is unaccountable independence from everything right, good, and constitutional while paving the way for taking care of their big bank owners at our expense. It is surely not independent of banking criminals handing themselves trillions. In fact it has become their own exclusive money monopoly and private weapon for their greed and gain and our financial destruction -- a truly perverse prerogative now being used to collapse all public power and privatize all public assets.
Too many of the very Congresspersons, entrusted with the money and credit powers by the founders in our Constitution, continue to turn their backs on this democratic money power -- that being the very way out of debt money slavery and everlasting interest upon interest imprisoning all future generations. In effect, these spineless Congresspersons are calling the founders idiots for giving the power of the purse to the most representative body? They might as well be saying exactly that if they continue to support this debt money slavery of a private cartel masquerading as a "government" institution.
Apparently, these same Congresspersons are ignorant of the hundred years of history of the Rothschild "Bank of England" predation and our Revolution to escape precisely this crushing foreign banking debt-money monopoly. I guess they still think the Boston Tea Party was all about taxes on tea!
Notice that the corporate bankster-owned media is complicit as well, as nary a mention of the public central bank, debt-money, topic occurs in any political debate. In effect, we have allowed a takeover of our media information system by those who would rape us with their unconstitutional money powers. When you have the private power to create money out of thin air, you can then come to own everything, and the people nothing.
Too many politicians, economists, and media sycophants alike still repeat this "independent" mantra, a mindless pledge of allegiance to the oligarchy, to the filthy rich and powerful banking families that own our country, our world, and our lives. It is both high comedy and high tragedy to watch these lemming politicians and economists fall all over themselves to say they support Fed independence.
Yet the Fed is clearly not independent of historic banking oligarchies, it is not independent of the self-interest of the Fed's private owners. It is only independent of the very people the Constitution required it not to be independent from!
In short, Fed "independence" is the scam of the ages, and the people who espouse it are either uninformed, bought off, scared for their positions, ruthless fascists, or any sick combination thereof.
So you think the founders were crazy and wrong not to give a private central bank independence? They were crazy to make our money powers dependent on a Congress re-electable by the people - as opposed to Fed appointments virtually dictated by its big bank owners? With this oligarchic stance you demean your own office. You demean the constitution. You are not worthy to serve as long as you serve to consign the people to everlasting debt-money slavery. For this you will be reviled by your constituents and your own families for your service to bankers and the ruin they visit upon us.
So, go ahead, run on that platform -- i.e., that the founders were crazy and we're much better off with an oligarchic, Goldman Sachs forever, Fed. Tell your constituents you don't believe in our Constitutional democratic money powers... and that the big bankers know best. Run on that platform and see if ninety-nine per cent of your constituents are still that stupid.
As recent events have clearly displayed, however, the truth is that the last thing we need is a continued Fed independence from the people. We need a public central bank owned by the people, responsible to our elected representatives, dedicated to the public interest, free of interest-bearing money creation, and forever free of dependence upon private banking entities for our very future and prosperity.
November 22, 2011
U.S. bank profits swelled during the summer to their highest level since mid-2007, but banks struggled to generate more revenue in a sluggish economy.
According to a report released Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the industry noted a collective net profit of $35 billion, up nearly 50% from a year earlier, in the quarter ending Sept. 30.
While the profit gain is welcome on its face, the growth primarily reflected banks putting aside less cash to cover bad loans rather than the traditional activity of making loans and collecting interest—as has been the case for two years, FDIC officials said.
"That can't go on indefinitely," acting FDIC chairman Martin Gruenberg said. "At some point, in order to generate income and revenues, lending is going to have to expand."Lending increased slightly in the third quarter, for a second consecutive quarter. Banks' total loan balances rose by a net $21.8 billion, just 0.3%, in the period. Loans to commercial and industrial customers rose by $44.8 billion. Residential mortgage balances also rose by $23.7 billion, the largest increase since 2007. Those gains, however, were offset by declines in other types of loans.
"After three years of shrinking loan portfolios, any loan growth is positive news for the industry and the economy," but activity remains far below "normal levels," Mr. Gruenberg said.Because of slow loan growth, revenue coming in the door remained relatively flat from the previous quarter, and would have marked its third decline in a row except for some accounting gains at a few large banks, the FDIC said.
Officials at Regions Financial Corp. of Birmingham, Ala., have seen some of their larger business clients "much more engaged and active in growing their business," as well as pockets of growth among small-business customers, including those in the agriculture and health-care industries, said Lynetta Steed, the bank's executive vice president of business and community banking.
But overall loan demand from small businesses is weaker due to continued economic uncertainty, she said. Unemployment remains high, driving consumers to spend less, and "small businesses see that and they're not going to put the money into expanding or hiring new people."
In another bright spot in the FDIC's quarterly report, the agency's list of troubled institutions shrunk in the third quarter for the first time since the same period of 2006. The report listed 844 institutions on the agency's "problem" list at the end of September, down from 865 at the end of June.
During the July-September period, 26 banks failed, four more than in the second quarter, but 15 less than in the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, the fund that the agency uses to cover the cost of failed institutions rose to $7.8 billion by the end of September, up from $3.9 billion at the end of June.
Mr. Gruenberg said the U.S. has "relatively limited" direct exposure to the European sovereign-debt crisis.
"The key risk for U.S. institutions, as well as for the global economy is really the potential of contagion effects if a serious financial crisis should develop in Europe," he said.Mr. Gruenberg said the agency has been "actively engaged" with foreign bank supervisors on the issue.
July 15, 2011
Unemployment hit 9.2% in June, the highest rate in 2011, a sign that the real American economy is stalling. But on Wall Street, it's a different story.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Citigroup's profits "jumped 24%," adding up to $3.34 billion in profits. Resorting to "investment mode," Citi was cushioned by an improved credit rating and a $2 billion reserve release. Despite the falling dollar and and falling profits from capital markets, Citi posted a 69% revenue increase.
Similarly, JPMorgan, which was forced to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in recent weeks to settle a series of federal fraud allegations, reported a $5.4 billion profit, reflecting "robust gains" that are assuaged the fears of many investors, and proving wrong the many analysts who were predicting overall losses across the industry. CEO Jamie Dimon has taken Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke to task over the last year for actions that he said would hurt the banking system. Overall, JPMorgan's second-quarter revenue climbed 7%.
Likewise, Google, whose revenues increased by 32%, beat expectations, and shares surged 11%.
“We had a great quarter, with revenue up 32% year on year for a record breaking over $9 billion of revenue,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I’m super excited about the amazing response to Google+ which lets you share just like in real life.”The Next Web
July 14, 2011
Google had its Q2 2011 earnings call today where it announced revenues of $9.03 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2011, representing an increase of 32% compared to last year at this time. This figure far surpasses Wall Street’s expected revenues of $6.55 billion.
Google-owned sites generated revenues of $6.23 billion, or 69% of total revenues, in the second quarter of 2011, representing a 39% increase over second quarter 2010 revenues of $4.50 billion. Google’s international revenue continues to rise, which are now at 54% and picking up about 1% per quarter.
Through its AdSense programs, Google’s partner sites generated revenues of $2.48 billion, or 28% of total revenues, in the second quarter of 2011, representing a 20% increase from second quarter 2010 network revenues of $2.06 billion. The Internet behemoth shared $2.11 billion with advertising partners this quarter, which is 24% of its income from advertising, and $1.75 billion of that number was paid out to Adsense partners.
As its revenues rise, Google’s costs continue to rise too. Costs of revenues are now 12%, up from 11% year ago- representing a market fear point: As Google grows, will its costs be containable to allow for continue high margin status?
Google’s operating expenses also rose – sharply – to 33% of revenues, a number that is sure to set some people on edge. Total operating expense were up roughly $1 billion from the same time last year. GAAP operating income dropped from 35% of revenues to 32%, reflecting the company’s higher costs.
Google now sits on a pile of cash and short term investments that is worth over $39 billion dollars.
Its stock is now up 12% after hours trading, showing that the market is more excited about the revenue and profit numbers then it is about the company’s rising costs.