Rolfe Winkler

BofA submits brief to Rakoff

August 24, 2009

Two weeks ago, Judge Jed Rakoff refused to approve the $33 million settlement between Bank of America and the SEC. He said he wanted more facts and ordered the parties to file briefs to that effect by today.

Another not-so-small purchase by the Fed

August 24, 2009

There are 9.5 weeks left before the end of October, when the Fed plans to end its $300 billion Treasury purchase program.  As I wrote last week, the Fed is running low on ammo if it plans to make its money stretch all the way into October.

Lunchtime Links 8-24

August 24, 2009

The man who sells America’s IOUs (NYT)  An interesting profile of Van Zeck, the commissioner of the public debt.

Gold demand declines in Q2, still high

August 24, 2009

Last week, the World Gold Council released demand statistics for gold for the second quarter.  From the press release (pdf):

AFP: “Viagra” effect undermines Brazil pension system

August 22, 2009

Boy meets girl, dies.  Girl retires.  From AFP:

The widespread tendency in Brazil for men to remarry women several decades younger — called the “Viagra effect” — is undermining the country’s pension system, researchers warned Tuesday.

Robert Kennedy on GDP

August 22, 2009

Something to ponder on the weekend (ht Ecopolis):

Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife. And the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

White House: 10-yr deficit now $9 trillion

August 21, 2009

Some breaking news from Reuters about an updated deficit projection:

The Obama administration will raise its 10-year budget deficit projection to approximately $9 trillion from $7.108 trillion in a report next week, a senior administration official told Reuters on Friday.

Bank Failure Friday + DIF details

August 21, 2009

Another big one bites the dust.  Guaranty is the 81st failure of the year.  Plus two more in Georgia.

Big banks still hold FDIC captive

August 21, 2009

Sheila Bair has moved with impressive alacrity to shutter failed small and medium-sized banks. But she is still held hostage by the too-big-to-fail four.

Buffett’s imaginary economy

August 20, 2009

Warren Buffett is back as the nation’s financial conscience, publishing an op-ed in yesterday’s NYT lamenting the dangers of too much monetary and fiscal stimulus. As regular readers of this blog are aware, that’s a message with which I wholeheartedly agree. My problem with Buffett’s piece is that he makes a good argument and then totally undercuts it in his conclusion:

Top states for mortgage delinquencies

August 20, 2009

As noted in today’s links, mortgage delinquencies in Q2 set a record.  Below a one-page summary from MBA that illustrates the hardest hit states.

Lunchtime Links 8-20

August 20, 2009

Ouch.  Colonial left a mark (CalculatedRisk)  CR pulls a very helpful chart from BB&T’s investor presentation regarding the Colonial deal. It shows that BB&T marked down Colonial’s loans 37%.  It also shows the marks taken on similar transactions over the past year.  While Colonial’s loans appear particularly toxic, this gives you a sense for losses that may be embedded in the loan books of other banks.

Commercial vs. Residential prices, June update

August 19, 2009

The Moody’s/REAL commercial real estate index for June was released today. Down just 1% compared to May, it suggests the pace of decline is moderating. The index was squarely in freefall the prior two months, declining 9% from March to April and 8% from April to May.

Afternoon Links 8-19

August 19, 2009

Why we need to regulate the banks sooner, not later (FT)  This op-ed is notable because of its author, Ken Rogoff, and because of a great lead.  Overall, he rambles a lot, commenting on the problems festering inside the financial system without really offering a prescription to fix them.  But there are some good lines.  For instance: “The fact is that banks, especially large systemically important ones, are currently able to obtain cash at a near zero interest rate and engage in risky arbitrage activities, knowing that the invisible wallet of the taxpayer stands behind them. In essence, while authorities are saying that they intend to raise capital requirements on banks later, in the short run they are looking the other way while banks gamble under the umbrella of taxpayer guarantees.”