Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said that the $800 billion stimulus plan being discussed by the new administration might “provide a significant boost to economic activity,” but that it wouldn’t work without more bank bailouts.
Here’s a sad bit of news, investors are so shaken that they’re willing to put their money into Treasury bills — even if it means losing money.
The Associated Press says that a review of regulatory documents shows that years before the subprime mortgage crises developed into a full blown economic meltdown— the government ignored warnings and listened instead to lobbyists who represented some of the same banks that have now failed.
Today the Federal Reserve announced the creation of a new special purpose entity that will buy consumer and business debt. Under the new plan, the Treasury will provide $20 billion dollars in of credit protection (from the Troubled Asset Relief Program) — and will absorb most of the losses, should they occur.
Only two short years ago, Citibank was worth $244 billion. Now, after its stock lost half of its value in just the past week, the bank is estimated to be worth $20.5 billion. What happened? The New York Times attempted to answer that question Saturday, and it pointed the finger at the usual suspects — conflicts of interest between those who were supposed to manage risk — and those who stood to benefit from making risky bets.
The Consumer Price Index, which measures how much Americans spend on consumer goods like groceries, clothing, entertainment and other goods and services, fell by 1 percent in October compared with prices in the previous month, says the NYT. “It was the steepest single-month drop in the 61-year history of the pricing survey.”
If the recent economic meltdown has a bright spot, it is the possibility that smart regulation may return. There will always be those who will cheat if they can, putting both consumers and the market at risk. It cannot function properly without regulation to prevent cheating and ensure consumers are getting a fair deal. But without a private right of action and attorney fees, consumer protection regulations are nearly worthless. A “private right of action” means…
The Washington Post says that the Treasury Department and the FDIC are considering a plan to guarantee millions of mortgages. According to the WaPo, the plan under consideration would encourage lenders to reduce borrowers monthly payments based on the homeowner’s ability to pay. To attract lenders into the program, the government would guarantee to repay the lender for a portion of its loss if the borrower defaulted on the reconfigured loan.
The New York Times has an article detailing what promises to be the next fun financial crisis — credit card debt! Apparently, credit card companies have only just now realized that you people are broke! Whoops.
Countrywide either doesn’t know, or doesn’t care that reader Graham has a fixed rate mortgage, because they keep sending him “notices” that his mortgage is about to “adjust.”
The Case-Shiller home prices index, which tracks US home prices, fell a record-breaking 16.6% from last year in 20 metropolitan areas. [Forbes]
What does an ex-Lehman Brothers i-banker do now that he has no reason to live? This brilliant, amusing, well-put-together, and NSFW video explores the answer. “I’ve been waking up 5:40 every morning, not waking up for Lehman Brothers necessarily, but when I wake up, I put on a suit.” I know there’s a lot of so-called “funny videos” on the internet, but seriously, this is a good one. Watch it inside.
Floyd Norris at the New York Times is live blogging the global financial panic today, and has compiled a list of how the world’s markets have performed in October. Compared to some countries, our situation doesn’t seem that bad. Which is scary.
Is the new financial capital of our country located in Charlotte, NC? 60 Minutes traveled down south to talk to CEO Ken Lewis about his bank, its recent purchase of Merrill Lynch, whether or not the bank bailout is “socialism” and the economic crisis in general.
Stock markets finally rose with investors heartened by coordinated global intervention into the financial crisis and amid signs that the credit freeze was beginning to thaw a bit. [WSJ]
WallStreetFighter has listed 5 more Wall Street dudes that deserve the old “Dick Fuld” right in the face. Guess which Wall Street loser is most punchable?