Commentaries

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 1-19

January 19, 2010

MUST READ -- Souring mortgages, weak market put FHA on tightrope (Timiraos, WSJ) Good article, though Timiraos doesn't address the absurd circularity perpetuated by FHA Chief David Stevens when Stevens says, on the one hand, that more gov't lending protects the housing market from further declines, while simultaneously arguing that such lending isn't sustainable. That said, Timiraos has worked lots of interesting stuff into this piece, especially towards the end. For instance, in late '07 investors were refinancing at-risk borrowers into FHA loans in order to shift risk to taxpayers. Barney Frank defends permanently raising FHA maximum loans for certain geographies to $729k. Also lots of data about how badly FHA loans are performing.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Architect of Citi says bring back Glass-Steagall

November 6, 2009

Objective observers mostly agree that it doesn't make sense for banks to be in the securities business, not if they're explicitly insured by the government. Wall Streeters invent rationalizations to support the current structure because a large chunk of their profits come from trading.

Calling Geithner

October 8, 2009

Good work by the AP in getting a copy of Treasury Secretary’s Tim Geithner’s phone log, which shows that he was quite busy during the first-half of the year speaking to Wall Street bankers. These stories are fun reads and I recently did one based on FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair’s datebook.

Dow 10,000 is a gas

September 29, 2009

Jack Healy’s story in The New York Times about the Dow getting closer and closer to the magical 10,000 mark is OK, but it contains few surprises. But I really was blown away by the chart that shows the perfomance of Dow component stocks since March 29, 1999–when the index crossed 10,000 for the first time.

Citi still loves Beantown

September 24, 2009

It appears Citi may not be pulling out of cities like Boston and Houston after all.

Giving props to Wall Street’s risks

September 17, 2009

Wall Street would like you to believe that when investment banks take on risk they are largely doing it for the benefit of investors — maybe even you and me.

PE and the Citi

September 16, 2009

One would think that leaders of large financial insitutions whose very existence is dependent on the kindness of taxpayers would be more circumspect in their words and actions. It’s not a blunder on the same scale as the recent tough-guy talk from AIG’s new chief executive, Robert Benmosche, yet today’s news that Richard Parsons will join a private equity firm is a little worrisome.

Kraft moving ahead with financing

September 9, 2009

Why let a little rejection stand in your way? Kraft is proceeding with the financing it would need to buy Cadbury, even though the U.K. confectioner spurned the initial offer. It looks like it’s financing plans areĀ  above what had been initially expected, which could mean slightly more new cash couldĀ  be added to a revised bid.

Songbird deal backs Canary Wharf

September 1, 2009

Nomura’s decision to move its Lehman staff from Canary Wharf to the City earlier this summer seemed a victory for London’s historic financial centre over its upstart rival.

Time to get tough with AIG

August 28, 2009

It’s time for someone in the Obama administration to read the riot act to Robert Benmosche, American International Group’s new $7 million chief executive.