Category Archives: Moral hazard

NYT’s William Cohan Blasts “Holder Doctrine” of Headfake Bank “Settlements” With No Prosecutions

Even though there is tacit acceptance, or perhaps more accurately, sullen resignation, about regulators’ failure to make serious investigations into financial firm misconduct (probes on specific issues don’t cut it), occasionally a pundit steps up to remind the public of the farce that passes for bank enforcement.

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Benjamin Lawsky Shows Other Bank Regulators How to Do Their Jobs

It’s really easy to default to cynicism these days, since you are almost always certain to be right. And that goes double as far as bank regulators are concerned.

So that makes it even more important to call attention to exceptions to that sorry rule. One big one is the New York Superintendent of Financial Services, Benjamin Lawsky. As we’ll discuss later in this post, he’s again the subject of a top story in the Financial Times for doing what the banks treat as horrifically unwarranted behavior: punishing them for failing to live up to agreements to reform their conduct. Didn’t he get the memo that that was all theater for the rubes, and no one takes those commitments seriously?

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New York Fed Worried About Gambling in Casablanca, Um, Ethics Problem at Big Banks

This story would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that the New York Fed woke up out of its usual slumber and realized that the crisis has changed nothing and that banks still are in the business of looting have unaddressed ethics issues.

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Bill Black on Real News: BNP Paribas Fine Shows Financial Crime Still Pays

This Real News Network interview with Bill Black provides a good high-level overview of what is right and (mainly) wrong with the $8.9 billion settlement with BNP Paribas over money-laundering charges. Black stresses that financial crime remains a very attractive activity for both the enterprise and its employees. As usual, no executives were charged or even fined, although thanks to the intervention of New York financial services superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, eleven employees of the French bank lost their jobs.

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Bill Black: Obama’s Latest Betrayal in Favor of the Big Banks: TISA

Yves here. I’ve taken the liberty of editing down Bill Black’s post slightly to bring readers more quickly to his correctly outraged discussion of the latest Wikileaks expose on a trade deal that has managed to go completely under the radar: the Trade in Services Agreement, otherwise known as TISA. We wrote about this troubling news when the story broke. Astonishingly, the mainstream media has taken no notice of this release. Black’s discussion is accessible to lay readers, and I hope you’ll circulate it in the interest of raising awareness of how the Administration intends to sell out the US to banks, Big Pharma, and other multinationals.

Black explains how TISA is designed to replicate, indeed, optimize the criminogenic environment that made fraudulent financial CEOs wealthy by “looting” “their” banks.

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Ilargi: The Illusionary Economy Revives Helocs, the Home ATM

Yves here. Ilargi is duly skeptical of the enthusiastic financial press response to an increase in home equity liquidation, um, borrowing using home equity lines of credit, or Helocs. While the party line is that this development reflects an rise in home equity and increased consumer confidence, Ilargi stresses that prices appreciation that the Fed has created, the Fed can also take away. I have to wonder how many of these Heloc borrowers are doing so out of necessity or near-desperation.

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The Private Equity Limited Partnership Agreement Release: The Industry’s Snowden Moment

We’ve published 12 private equity limited partnership agreements, including the KKR limited partnership agreement that was key to an important Wall Street Journal story. The source documents have been removed from the Pennsylvania Treasury’s website, so our document trove has now become the best source for these records.

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Credence Goods: The Unique Economics of Health Care

Why health care will never work as a market good – there are extreme information asymmetries between the providers and the patients. That means, among other things, we need to recognize the inability of patients to know if they are getting good care or not (beyond a basic level of attentiveness) and the ease of getting them to believe that a lot of treatment, as in overtreatment, is tantamount to “good care”.

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SEC Official Describes Widespread Lawbreaking and Material Weakness in Controls in Private Equity Industry

At a private equity conference this week, Drew Bowden, a senior SEC official, told private equity fund managers and their investors in considerable detail about how the agency had found widespread stealing and other serious infractions in its audits of private equity firms.

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Bill Black: Jamie Dimon’s $10 Million Raise is a “Common Sense” Fraud Reward

Yves here. This has been such a busy week that I’ve been remiss about commenting on how Dimon’s board rewarded him despite the London Whale fiasco and the revelation of pervasive regulatory abuses. Clearly, they thought he bought the bank’s way out of trouble on the cheap, disproving the wailing in the financial firm toadying media that the Morgan bank had been ill-treated by the Administration.

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