Rolfe Winkler

TARP deadbeats, update

January 4, 2010

Last month Treasury released the latest data on banks that missed their payment obligations under TARP. The number increased to 56 in November from 33 in August. Here’s a chart summarizing the problem:

The Swiss banking whistleblower

January 4, 2010

This feels like a report that deserves a full hour. Who are some of the tax cheats that have been uncovered? Who are the UBS executives that knew about and condoned the illegal behavior? Interesting nonetheless.

BlogArt: Maxing out deposit insurance

January 2, 2010

Two weeks without any bank failures so I thought folks might be interested in some deposit insurance trivia.

Lunchtime Links 12-31

December 31, 2009

Bankers get $4 trillion gift from Barney Frank (Reilly, Bloomberg) David pours over HR 4173, all 1,279 pages of it. He finds some interesting nuggets. One of the bigger problems I see is the proposed insurance fund that would pay for resolving systemically dangerous banks. Talk about moral hazard!

2010: Walking away will gain cachet

December 31, 2009

Why bother? That’s the question more underwater Americans are asking themselves about their mortgage.

Move your money

December 30, 2009

Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson are organizing a big bank boycott. They want depositors to take their money out of Too-Big-To-Fail banks and put them in smaller, high quality banks.

More ammo for the bazooka

December 30, 2009

Treasury has reloaded its bazooka and stands ready to shock and awe the housing market.

Lunchtime Links 12-29

December 29, 2009

Was the global financial crisis a mathematical error? (Steve Keen, Business Spectator) Keen’s latest. Another great piece explaining the flaws of neoclassical economics. (ht Yves)

IMF: Bad lenders did more lobbying

December 29, 2009

An interesting piece of holiday research from the IMF … A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis

AT&T unsuspends online sales of iPhone in NYC

December 28, 2009

AT&T’s iPhone problems keep getting worse. The phones are behaving so badly in NYC that AT&T tried surreptiously to discourage sales. From Jeffrey Bartash, Dow Jones:

Lunchtime Links 12-28

December 28, 2009

Morgan Stanely sees 5.5% yield on 10-year (Biggadike/Kruger, Bloomberg) A continued flood of supply coupled with fewer buyers should drive rates higher. Mortgage rates vary closely with the 10-year. If the latter goes to 5.5%, MS notes that 30-year mortgages could get back to 7.5%-8.0%. House prices will suffer another steep decline if mortgage rates climb that much.

Sprott: Is it all a Ponzi?

December 28, 2009

In his latest missive to investors (pdf link here), Eric Sprott asks if our Ponzi economy is at risk of collapse. In fiscal 2009, foreigners scooped up $698 billion of Treasuries while the Fed upped its holdings by $286 billion. But the public debt increased $1.9 trillion. So who bought all the rest? According to Treasury, “other investors” bought $510 billion, up from just $90 billion in 2008. With the Fed’s printing press turned off, the question for next year is whether “other investors” can buy more Treasuries than they did this year…

Lunchtime Links 12-27

December 27, 2009

How overhauling derivatives died (Smith/Lynch, WSJ)

Debt ceiling raised $290 billion (Rogers, Politico) Another Xmas Eve vote. Dems had wanted to raise the ceiling at least $1.8 trillion to avoid having to raise it again before midterm elections, but they didn’t have the votes. Congress has bought itself about 4-6 weeks of breathing room. Senate Repubs made a showing of not voting for the measure, but had they been in the majority, you can bet they’d have done the same to avert default.

Fannie/Freddie support increased

December 25, 2009

No better time than Xmas Eve to announce the expansion of the administration’s housing slush fund. Previously, Fan and Fred each had a $200 billion credit line from Treasury. Though they’ve drawn only $111 billion so far, the administration thought it prudent to offer unlimited support … to give the markets “confidence.” Personally, I think the markets could do with a bit less confidence. Confidence leads to complacency, to chasing risk, to progressively easier credit terms that inflate bubbles.