The Great Debate UK

from Reuters Investigates:

Jamie Dimon: Good banker? Bad banker?

The U.S. mortgage business is a “mess” in need of overhaul, JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon reckons.

(See our special report on Dimon today: "Jamie Dimon wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T")

Of course, his own bank is the third-largest U.S. mortgage lender. And JPMorgan is sitting on billions in not just prime mortgages, but risky home-equity loans too.

But Dimon has made a career out of being the one Wall Street banker who likes to stand up, stick up for his views and tell it as he sees it. He can talk in a way that resonates with the mood of the country. He can cross the divide between Wall Street and Washington D.C. And while his peers might talk about doing God’s work, Dimon will admit making mistakes.

The thing is, when you scratch the surface at JPMorgan, the bank doesn’t seem so different from its peers, with large consumer loan exposure and sometimes questionable business decisions. So what do you think? Does Dimon deserve your R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

from The Great Debate:

It’s tough to modify your way out of a hole

jamessaft1(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

If you thought the U.S. housing crash could be blunted if only lenders would cut delinquent borrowers a break, it is perhaps time to move on to another vain hope.

That's right, the loan modification movement - pushed by the U.S. administration and others as a means of keeping non-paying borrowers in their houses, keeping those same houses from flooding the market as foreclosures, and even helping beleaguered lenders - is running into a reality-shaped wall.

from The Great Debate:

Here comes another set of dodgy U.S. loans

jimsaftcolumn1-- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Banks in the U.S. face a new source of write-downs and failures in the coming year as loans made to developers to finance residential and commercial property development rapidly go bad.

And as these loans are old-fashioned and concentrated in smaller banks, their fate is particularly interesting as it indicates that issues with the banking system go far deeper than the so-called "toxic assets" belonging to the largest lenders that have thus far gotten most of the attention and government aid.