Rolfe Winkler


June 29, 2010

Some news to share with Option ARMageddon readers: After a great year writing columns and blogging for Reuters, I’m moving on.

Lunchtime Links 6-28

June 28, 2010

Corruption suspected in airlift of billions in cash from Kabul (Rosenberg, WSJ) $3 billion has left the country in three years. And that’s just the officially declared amount. Your tax dollars at work folks.

Bank failure Friday

June 26, 2010


—Failed bank: Peninsula Bank, Englewood FL
—Acquiring bank: Premier American Bank, Miami FL
—Vitals: assets of $644.3 million, deposits of $580.1 million
—Estimated DIF damage: $194.8 million

Hasbro may not be most profitable LBO plaything

June 25, 2010

Hasbro may make some of the world’s most iconic toys, but it wouldn’t necessarily make a great plaything for private equity barons. True, the maker of G.I. Joe action figures and Play-Doh — which said it rejected a buyout approach — has great brands for the under-10 set. But the seasonal toy business would be expensive to finance with real — rather than Monopoly — money. Even with big cuts, the potential returns from a deal look meager.

Lunchtime Links 6-23

June 23, 2010

91% of Harvard grads get honors (Kofol, Harvard Crimson…ht Nick Gogerty) Seriously? Apparently the faculty has put its foot down, so only half will get honors.

Lunchtime Links 6-22

June 22, 2010

In law school, grades go up, just like that (Rampell, NYT) Grade inflation to help grads get jobs…and pay off debt….

Lunchtime Links 6-21

June 21, 2010

Must ReadDysregulation nation (Warner, NYT)

Yuan soars to post-revaluation high (Reuters) On Saturday China said it would let its currency appreciate. Though U.S. consumers may face higher prices, this is absolutely necessary to help rebalance the world economy.

Bank failure Friday

June 19, 2010

Slow Friday….


–Failed bank: Nevada Security Bank, Reno NV
–Acquiring bank: Umpqua Bank, Roseburg OR
–Vitals: assets of $480.3 million deposits of $479.8 million
–Estimated DIF damage: $80.9 million

Lunchtime Links 6-18

June 18, 2010

Germany says will publish bank stress test results, but only if banks give the ok! (McGroarty/Kissler, DowJones) The healthy banks should encourage their own results to be published.

TARP starts grooving like bad ’80s remix

June 17, 2010

TARP was in a groove but it’s now turning into a bad ’80s remix.

After a string of profitable paybacks from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and 59 others, the list of deadbeats is growing. In May, 91 banks missed their dividend payments to taxpayers, up from 55 in November. With hundreds of banks still trapped in the $700 billion bailout program, it’s growing reminiscent of the savings and loan crisis.

Lunchtime Links 6-16

June 16, 2010

$250k deposit insurance limit to be made permanent, retroactive (Paletta/Luccetti, WSJ) Savers in IndyMac, which failed before deposit insurance limits were raised, can now put in a claim for lost deposits over $100k. I argued a year ago that this bailout never deserved the “temporary” moniker in the first place, that it would never go away. The problem is that deposit insurance, which is supposed to stabilize the banking system, can actually DEstabilize it by compounding moral hazard. That’s what this does.

Lunchtime Links 6-15

June 15, 2010

Life insurers win capital reprieve (Scism, WSJ) This is a shame. On one hand, life insurers don’t appear as systemically risky as Wall Street banks, since their liabilities aren’t as unstable. You won’t see a run on life insurance policies the way you might on bank deposits, commercial paper or repos. But life insurers nevertheless dramatically overlevered themselves during the boom, and they invested in all sorts of dodgy paper rated AAA. To protect policy-holders, regulators should err on the side of demanding too much capital…

Bankers should be thankful for even meager M&A

June 12, 2010

Cross-posted from today’s NYT.

Rosy predictions of a big bounce-back in mergers and acquisitions may not be coming true, but bankers are fortunate that U.S. deal volumes are recovering as if the recession just endured was run-of-the-mill. After two down years, the value of American corporate match-making is flat in 2010. That’s no boom — but if history is any guide, it’s also nothing to complain about.

Bank failure Friday

June 12, 2010

Just one tonight it appears…


–Failed bank: Washington First International Bank, Seattle WA
–Acquiring bank: East West Bank, Pasadena CA
–Vitals: assets of $520.9 million, deposits of $441.4 million
–Estimated DIF damage: $158.4 million