Nearly four years on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and a number of other large financial institutions, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is announcing its plan for what will happen the next time a too-big-to-fail bank goes kaput.
Like the irresponsible son who goes to his daddy asking for money to cover gambling losses so loan sharks don’t bust his kneecaps, Fannie Mae is begging taxpayers for $7.8 billion because it lost so much money last quarter on derivatives. The $5.1 billion loss in the third quarter dwarfs last year’s awful third quarter shortfall of $1.3 billion.
Saturday was the fifth of November, and many remembered to take a stand and shut down their big retail bank accounts, transferring their cash to a new credit union account. Here’s a video out of Occupy Portland covering what happened on Bank Transfer Day. Interviewees talk about why they’re switching to a credit union, and how this is just the beginning.
Tomorrow is Bank Transfer Day. By this date, people all across America are shutting down their accounts at large, costly, name-brand banks and transferring their funds to new bank accounts at their local credit union or community bank. Here is an excellent video made in Portland that follows along with several different people as they close their bank accounts and give their reasons for doing so. One person wants to save money, another disagrees with the bank’s foreclosure practices, a third is mad about the bailouts, and the last is a union withdrawing its funds to show solidarity with holding Wall Street accountable.
Last night I caught an advance screening of a new documentary, “Revenge of the Electric Car.” It’s by the same director who did “Who Killed The Electric Car?” except this story ends in triumph instead of tragedy.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November, because that’s when “Bank Transfer Day” is happening. By that date, all participants will have closed their big retail bank accounts and put their money in a local non-profit credit union or local or regional community bank.
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi – the guy who famously referred to Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money” – has an interesting expose of how the wives of two Morgan Stanley hot shots, though they had no previous financial experience, set up their own investing initiative and got $220 million in bailout funds.
Most professions, like lawyers, doctors, scientists, and sociologists adopted a code of ethics long ago but that could change soon for one of the lone holdouts, the curmudgeonly economists. Their big conference kicks off today in Denver. On the agenda is whether they should adopt such a code. A little movie called Inside Job might have something to do with it.
Just how big exactly was the bailout? And which banks got which kinds of loans? And how many did they get? It’s been hard to figure out, but now the Fed has released deep data on the over 21,000 different loans it made during the financial crisis—loans that were supposed to help encourage the banks to resume lending again. ProPublica has put all the numbers together into a searchable and filterable database so you check and see what kind of treasure chest your bank got.
Why should politics get all the fun? WikiLeaks has promised to release a trove of information about a “major” bank in 2011. And based on a comment WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made to Computer World in 2009, folks are speculating that the next massive dump will be 5 gigs of data from a Bank of America executive’s hard drive. The main question is how to present it. Well, slideshows and infographics and popup ads, obviously.
For all the Cronenberg-style chest-flesh-yanking the bank bailout generated, gone almost unnoticed is that the damn thing actually made money.
Because of there being no data on where the money was going and a general attitude of pumping as much money into the banks as quickly as possible, billions of US bailout money wound up in the coffers of foreign financial firms, a watchdog panel chaired by Elizabeth Warren – Warren for CFPA head! – found. 43 of the 87 banks that benefited as a result of the of the AIG bailout were foreign.
According to Tom, there are three basic types of American business. If that’s too many to remember, you can also organize them under them under the umbrella concept known as “screwed up.”
The Three Classes of American Business [4-Block World]
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Bank of America for taking $25 billion in federal TARP bailout money but intentionally failing to live up to its part of the bargain. The deal was that banks were supposed to use use the money to allow struggling homeowners to reduce their payments to affordable levels. “Bank of America came up with every excuse to defer the Kahlo family from a home loan modification, from stating they ‘lost’ their paperwork to saying they never approved the new terms of the mortgage agreement,” said the plaintiff’s attorney. “And we know from our investigation this isn’t an isolated incident.” Bank of America declined to comment.
A mosquito-boat’s worth of Somali pirates stunned the courtroom today when they disclosed their entire piracy enterprise was in fact a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs.
Ben Bernanke doesn’t like systemic risk! Shocking, we know. In a speech he gave in Orlando, Florida, the Chairman expressed outrage at the bailouts of too big to fail companies and said shareholders should not be sheltered from losses.
A hacker has stolen the tax information for over 1,000 Latvian companies, and is now revealing, via Twitter, which banks did not take the paycuts they promised in return for government bailouts, and which are awarding secret bonuses.