Is Bank of America At Risk of a Death Spiral?

Bloomberg’s Jonathan Weil took a look at Bank of America’s stock price, which is trading at less than half of the Charlotte bank’s book value, and discussed whether the bank is at risk of a serious crisis. If a levered financial firm’s stock trades at a severe discount from book value, it is not attractive to raise equity via selling shares (the dilutive impact on existing shareholders is punitive). Yet the steep discount is a sign that the market doubts the strength of the concern’s equity base. If those worries persist, and the company is not able to shore up its balance sheet via earnings (ie, either its profits are impaired or they are offset by writeoffs), first long term and eventually short-term lenders will start to demand higher interest rates. Once that happens, it is easy for confidence to vanish and a death spiral to start.

Weil enumerates the reasons for doubt. First, the bank has been overly optimistic. It refused to write down $4.4 billion of goodwill from Countrywide until late last year, and maintained it would only suffer $4.4 billion [yes, the same number] in mortgage-related losses, then wrote off $19.2 billion more last quarter. Second, the bank appears to be in denial:

The crucial question today is whether Bank of America needs fresh capital to strengthen its balance sheet. Moynihan emphatically says it doesn’t, pointing to regulatory-capital measures that would have us believe it’s doing fine. The market is screaming otherwise, judging by the mammoth discount to book value. Then again, for all we know, the equity markets might not be receptive to a massive offering of new shares anyway, even if the bank’s executives were inclined to try for one.

Weil correctly depicts BofA as a systemic risk. And this confirms a point made by critics of so-called financial reforms, including yours truly, that the banks were not dealt harshly enough in the crisis. Both Citi and BofA were at risk of failure in early 2009. Citi at least was forced to divest many of its operations (note that isn’t an adequate remedy, since the bank is still too big to fail, but at least it is easier for managers and regulators to oversee). Bank of America, by contrast, was allowed to soldier on. The authorities have grossly underestimated the severity of the housing crisis and are still refusing to confront some of its key elements, such as the broken servicing model and chain of title problems.

And let us tell you a dirty secret: while Bank of America, thanks to Countrywide, is patient zero of the housing mess, Wells is next in line. Residential real estate is proportionately even bigger relative to the bank’s earnings and balance sheet, its accounting has been somewhere between aggressive and misleading, and despite its pious claims otherwise, it is no better than any of the other big banks. Stay tuned.

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  1. Blissex

    «the banks were not dealt harshly enough in the crisis»

    But that’s ostensibly because they are the USA champions in the global marketplace, and what is good for Bank of America is good for America.

    It is a complete myth that the USA government no longer have an industrial policy and no longer pick winners; it is just a less obvious one and one aimed at different sectors (weapons, entertainment, software, finance) than in the past. These are mostly or entirely non-union sectors.

    But if one looks at where USA government money and trade representative support goes, it is pretty obvious: Boeing, Disney, Microsoft, Citigroup and their peers are the new industrial champions of the USA and they can do no wrong, and if they do they get a lot of bailout money, especially those in finance and weapons.

    The new (30 years old) USA industrial policy is a bit more oriented at whole sectors than specific companies, some of which are occasionally allowed to fail, but it is still about state preference that matters a lot.

    1. Susanna K.

      I’m only surprised it’s taken this long. I don’t know anyone who’s a BoA customer by choice. Usually, they get roped in because a smaller bank was acquired or they got a BoA loan thru a 3rd party. And just about every BoA customer I’ve met or read about is looking to switch to a different bank.

      When your customers are actively running away, it’s not good news for a company. Has Wall St. Been paying attention ?

      1. Anaxagoras

        No,Susanna, ordinary people and businesses are NOT closing their deposit accounts at BAC, JPM, WFG, C or any other TBTFs. If they were, or if they did, these banks would begin to starve due to an outflow of deposits, which, in turn, would create an old-fashioned “run” on these banks as it became obvious they were hemorrhaging money.

        Individuals and businesses have had the power all along to eliminate TBTFs merely by discontinuing to do business with them. In fact, these TBTFs are getting bigger precisely because of the perception now, based on precedence, that they always will be propped up by the government, and that no one will ever lose a dime on their deposits, regardless of the amount of deposits over FDIC limits they may hold.

        1. Nathanael

          Wrong. Check the numbers. BoA’s “organic” deposit base is continously shrinking — people really are leaving, in a constant trickle. The difference is made up for by the massive government bailout BoA is continuously getting.

          1. Anaxagoras

            Sorry, Nathanael, you are wrong. A check of B of A’s FDIC call reports show that Total Deposits on 12/31/2008 were $954.7 billion, 12/31/2009 were $1,002.7 billion and at 12/31/2010 were $1,038.2 billion.

            It illustrates my assertion that individuals and businesses, who have the power to dismantle TBTFs by discontinuing or minimizing their relationships, actually are increasing their deposits with these institutions following 4Q2008 precisely on the basis that the government will NEVER allow them to fail. And many depositors hold amounts significantly above FDIC limits on this assumption, which, as I indicate, precedence now has reinforced.

            FYI, B of A’s 12/31/2007 pre-crisis Total Deposits were $793.6 billion, nearly $250 billion less than at the end of last year.

        2. bill

          Individuals who have enough wealth to exceed the limits on fdic insurance per account are likely smart enough to open accounts at different fdic insured banks once the limit has been reached for one account. Nothing would please me more than to see BOA, Wells, Chase, especially Chase, cease to exist.

          1. Cugel

            I deal with BoAm routinely representing their defaulting borrowers and I can’t really figure them out.

            Sometimes they can be MUCH more reasonable than other lenders in making a deal with their borrowers to avoid bankruptcy and get some cash rather than taking a total loss — which is what more lenders should do, but routinely don’t.

            On the other hand their short-sale department seems designed to fail and they’ve actually had to farm their servicing out to third parties because it was so totally beyond incompetent they would routinely lose documents and “fail to receive” faxes.

            Some of the people at the bank seem genuinely knowledgeable and yet whole departments are without a clue and operate with Byzantine procedures seemingly guaranteed to generate more hardship for borrowers and more losses for the bank.

        3. Blissex

          «Individuals and businesses have had the power all along to eliminate TBTFs merely by discontinuing to do business with them.»

          Something that most people choose to forget is that the congresspersons who voted for TARP etc. were thumpingly re-elected on their record. Trillions to TBTF has been fully endorsed by USA voters, fully democratically (the same applies to the PATRIOT act renewals, the Iraq war, the torture of nobodies, and so on).

          What most voters want is low or tax free capital gains income without effort via asset price bubbles, and never mind how they get inflated. They may one day change their minds, but that’s pretty difficult to imagine in the short term.

    2. rps

      And I’d like to top the list of US Government’s fixed “super enhanced performance” race horses, the Insurance industry. Remember AIG? As well as the auto industry has been hooked up to the government tit since the Carter years. Then there’s the airline industry…….Hell, anyone receiving taxpayer largess subsidization via bailouts, tax incentives, tax breaks, government contracts, etc…. are the premier welfare queens. There are pigs and hogs. Hogs are more equal than others.

    3. KnotRP

      > Second, the bank appears to be in extend bonuses and pretend the roof isn’t leaking:

      Fixed that for ya.

    4. olde reb

      The way I see it, the demand for higher national debt is a demand by the Fed for new funds from newly issued T-securities. The Fed has exhausted their funds by QE1 and QE2 and international bank problems are still rampant. The Fed is demanding new funds for more bank bailouts.

  2. tulsatime

    Yes, but will they be allowed to fail THIS time? There are not enough zombies left to eat the corpse, but they can’t let that first piece fall. God help us if those socialists (bo&co) have to dismember the corpse. The war on finance would be in place, brave bankers and brokers arrayed against the evil govt minions.
    Any chance we can time this out to match the euro fail, the attack on Iran, and the collapse of the sovereign market?

    Must. Have. More. Chaos……..

    1. Skippy

      Rats like to gain entry, in dwellings, pilfering small bits at first. Eventually they start chewing on all manner of things, including the wiring, till it creates a short, becoming a furry flare igniter.

      Skippy…hutia estampida!

      1. rps

        The rats gained entry in the 1980″s via mergers and acquisitions as targeted industries were sliced and diced, pilfered, and hollowed out to an empty shell and collapse. Same strategy in progress of all sovereign nations. The societal infrastructures and safety nets are being hollowed out with eventual collapse. The profiteers don’t care, believing their ill-gotten profits will save them from the chaos of societal decline.

  3. 4D

    I have little faith in equity markets getting much right these days, but perhaps they are finally getting it?

    I would argue that the share price is not “half” book value, its more likely 100 per cent of real “mark to market book” value!

  4. Blissex

    «The authorities have grossly underestimated the severity of the housing crisis»

    I doubt that very much — unless you are talking of the PR they speak. The authorities are in often well briefed and realistic, they just learn to talk very softly.

    But they carry a big stick and are not afraid to use it, and in the past few years 90% of the mortgage market has been nationalized, many trillions have been spent to cover up MBS related balance sheet problems, etc., all signs that the clever boys and girls in Washington are pretty worried..

    But “business as usual”, “nothing to see here, move on”, sort of statements are just PR.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Where do you think the regulators get their information from? The banks. The only other way to get information is to do fieldwork. Earth to base, they haven’t done any.

      Do you think the banks would be truthful on this topic? If your answer is “yes”, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you

      1. Richard


        A couple of quick points.

        It appears that the administration’s/regulators’ first line of defense in saving the systemic BofA is pushing through the deal granting immunity for foreclosures/title abuses. BofA cannot be saved if this liability from Countrywide is not contained. Something that stock investors are gradually figuring out (your posts on this issue no doubt contributing greatly to the investors’ ability to add 2+2 together).

        Next, the administration/regulators will never take on Saint Warren. They turned to Mr. Buffett for guidance on how to handle the banking crisis early on. They know that he would never offer advice that would be good for his investments and not for the US (not).

        1. rps

          Saint Warren another prominent welfare queen. Another self-aggrandized fool anointed by the government. I wonder if the Murdoch criminal extravaganza keeps Buffett awake at night?

          “No man is an island, entire of itself
          every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
          if a clod be washed away by the sea,
          Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
          as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
          any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
          and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
          it tolls for thee.”
          — John Donne

        2. Nathanael

          Warren Buffett is quite forthright about his investing style: he invests in monopolies.

          He’s also quite forthright about his business practice style: he operates legal, because he thinks reputation is worth more than pretty much anything else.

          I think he simply has had the wool pulled over his eyes by his “buddies” at Wells Fargo, just like the guys at General Re fooled him, and just like the guys at GEICO fooled him, both of which had to be cleaned up immediately after he bought them because they were rotten. Fool him three times… well, there’s no fool like an old fool.

      2. Francois T

        “Earth to base, they haven’t done any.”

        Heu…Houston? We believe you meant to say that they purposely avoided to do any (fieldwork).

        Standing by for confirmation :-D

      3. Blissex

        Regulators, I mean the individuals, may get completely useless official information from the banks, but they usually, like everybody in a trade, have contacts, intelligence, read books and newspapers, some go through the revolving door into and out of private industry or legal practice.

        Regulators are not fools, they shut up because the message is DONT ROCK THE BOAT while the usual fantasists and confidence operators grab the bezzle.

        As a glaring example, the debate about the derivatives market deregulation is reproduce here in summary form:

        where the FTC regulators knew very well in advance what to expect from derivatives deregulation, and (rarely) made it clear.

        Again, most regulators are not fools and are well informed and would know where to look, the problem is that troublemakers are not at all popular.

        Admittedly there are some regulators who err in good faith, because of lack of experience or blinded by ideology, and never see, hear or talk evil because of that, usually it is self-preservation.

  5. Troy Ounce

    America’s capitalistic religion has always been “survival of the fittest”. What happened?
    1. Wrong (Keynesian) capitalistic religion
    2. Market manipulations on massive scale
    3. Entitlements
    4. Stupid arrogance aided by the msm

    1. Goldfinger

      The mega-rich bleed the treasury, wage victorious class war, buy people and legislation off – which entitlements did you have in mind?

      1. Lyle

        But so what else is new. The constitution was written after Shay’s rebellion where debtors closed the courts in western MA, it scared the merchant class and Washington, so they got together with their merchant friends and wrote a document that favored merchants (including at the time merchants of money). Many of the arguements seen here sound a lot like the anti-federalists of 1788. Note that Rhode Island did not ratify until 1792 when Washington strong armed them into ratifying by threatening to put tariffs on their exports. Hamilton also set up the first bank of the US. Then the Republicans (Jeffersonian) came in and the Bank was abolished in 1811. The war of 1812 happened and the bank was re-created as the second bank in 1816. Legislatures have been for sale since the day the country was founded, today they perhaps have to be a bit more creative about it. Note that Hamilton was a banker (Today that is Bank of New York Mellon), as was Jeffersons first vice president Burr (JP Morgan Chase). Jackson hated banks in general, but successors did not, the Whigs were all in favor of banks, and not that Lincoln was a Whig until that party died. The rich have always run every society, the only option is a (french/russian) style revolution, but all that accomplishes is changing the membership of the elite, a new one always arises.
        For every day people the message is Paranoia assume that all financial services folks are used car salespersons in disguise having ethics that are perhaps even worse than used car salespersons. If you don’t understand just say no,
        and assume that no one gives a damn if you win or loose.

        1. Skippy

          C’est Magnifique!

          Skippy…compared to BOA they have a pulse and toil productively, serve a purpose…eh. But, we still have the problem of what to do with all these dead bloody parrots[!?], mulch[?] or does their toxicity preclude any usefulness. I’d hate to go the rod cooling pool route, we saw where that gets us…eh.

    1. Susan the other

      If the issue is that BofA really is TBTF because it is so haplessly bankrupt and besieged by lawsuits over C&RMBSs, and not because it is so internationally tangled, then keeping it on life support is sadistic. Life support would only make sense if the bank had a chance to survive, right? If this accomplishes nothing, will they pass a law against selling the stock? Or has the gov already bought up all the stock? Because BofA will go to zero soon enough. Is that a sufficient international resolution? I mean, how can the AGs stop individuals, private investors, and other banks from suing BofA? The AGs appear to be offering the banks a useless bargain.

      1. Just Tired

        The problem is that if the banks lose to the AG’s in a case that demonstrates systemic fraud, the issue of class action status will tip in favor of those investors and others tying to sue. IMHO that is what is creating urgency. Just one finding of systemic fraud will put even Big Tony Ski and his crew in tough straights in denying class certification ala Walmart. And the banks must be able to stop the classes from being certified because if they do not, they are truly bankrupt. Do the math — it’s life or death for the banks on the issue of class action status for those seeking to get the banks to pay in civil court.

        1. Cugel

          It would be “life and death” IF the banks were forced to eat their losses instead of fobbing them off to the tax-payers.

          Want to bet a shekel on the odds Congress WOULDN’T bail them out again, assuming that the entire debt weren’t handled by a private FED action?

  6. Old Man Moses

    All I can say is that were I allowed to trade I would short the heck out of that bank.

    As someone who has done work at both FDIC and OCC and knowing some of the people who still work there, I would be highly surprised to find out that FDIC at least is not watching very closely. OCC under Walsh is another matter. That man is just marking time until he can leave and move on to the private sector where he can cash in the debts the banks owe him.

    I could almost feel bad for Moynihan but Ken Lewis should be shot.

    1. Transor Z

      Chris, you can’t leave us hanging like that. Spill… inquiring minds want to know.

    2. Tim


      I noticed that the plantiff’s attorney’s in the recent Countrywide RMBS settlement proceding published a legal opinion indicating that a Countrywide Chapter 11 filing is still very much on the table thus justifying their fairly low settlement amount. They also indicated that Countrywide itself only has 4.5 Billion in assets and even outside of bankruptcy court it would be hard prove sucessor liability to BAC in NY State Court. Given at one point you discussed a Countrywide Chapter 11 filing several years ago I wonder what your current thoughts on this are.

      1. Just Tired

        The debt cannot be eliminated in a Chapter 11 filing. The Corporation must be liquidated and all assets distributed to creditors for debt to be even partially eliminated. Chapter 11 is a voluntary procedure for reorganization (corporate debts cannot be legally discharged like personal debts) For your scenario to play out, Countrywide would have to be liquidated and then the issue of successor liability would be brought into play. I doubt seriously that plaintiffs lawyers would go through the massive efforts to certify a class only to find that the defendants have a get out of jail free card in bankruptcy. That is a rookie mistake for sure!

  7. jwbeene

    tulsatime says: God help us if those socialists (bo&co) have to dismember the corpse. The war on finance would be in place, brave bankers and brokers arrayed against the evil govt minions.

    Tulsatme it’s only a few hundred years late for ending predatory banking system which gives nothing but inflation and debt to any nation it operates.

    Time to Put the Horse before the Cart Again: Time to put the Economy before the Banking System

    Reclaiming our democratic Values Through Monetary Reform

  8. pagar

    ” Wells is next in line.”

    Wells Fargo was hit with an $85 million civil penalty from the Federal Reserve for fraud in their mortgage operations yesterday. My guess that the next hit will be BAC and the hit will have to be much, much harder.

  9. Capo Regime

    Is BAC on a deathspiral? I certainly hope so. Having rode out the argentine and two massive mexican devaluations–let is happen already guys its for the best….

    As an aside, I am always agog at the drivel than MSN puts out (what is it for high school sophmores social studies?).

    Look–lets also limit bank risk. Please look tat this drivel guys:

    Yes, tie up all of your soon to depreciate dollars in an even faster depreciating asset. Yes, sage advise. Regrettably, some will listen and with with propaganda and plain buckets of cash keep feeding the beast…

  10. Jim A

    Remember back in 2008, when the idea was that BoA was going to be a big enough carpet to cover up all the poo at Countrywide and Merril? As it turns out there was alot more poo than was anticipated by the power that be. Even with the Fed aggressivly pumping money onto the balance sheet, that poo is still stinking up the living room something awful.

    1. Nathanael

      BoA was already a zombie before purchasing those two nests of crooks; its last big acquisition was MBNA, another nest of crooks. It has a record.

  11. F. Beard

    The ONLY good thing about our banking model is that it punishes the banks too. It’s nice to see some justice in the world.

    Maybe BOA will start lobbying for a bailout of the population? That would even fix the banks in nominal terms.

  12. thelonegunman

    do you mean to say the billions we (the american taxpayer) gave BoA in bailout money AND to buy competitors during the financial ‘crisis’ will be for naught and they’ll fail anyway? I’m shocked – shocked!

    my question (raised during that entire ‘bail-out’ hysteria) was: this is ‘capitalism’ – don’t privatize the profits but socialize the losses… as such, let them fail…

  13. Brett

    I’ve learned to trust that too big to fail means that the authorities will do whatever necessary to help these big financial institutions trudge along. Remember back in early 2009 when BAC stock was at $3 a share and everyone who was following the situation was saying BAC needed to be partly or fully nationalized, temporarily, to clean up the bad mortgage mess and stop the bleeding (e.g. to keep it from becoming a zombie bank that just hoards capital rather than makes loans).

    Well it wasn’t nationalized, and somehow it made it through the mess even though back then it looked like it didn’t have enough capital. I expect right now is just a temporary problem (at least regarding stock price — not the fundamentals of BAC). Investors are being overly pessimistic about BAC. The fact is the Fed won’t let it fail, they’ll open up their discount window (probably without telling anyone) to give them as much money as they need (free of stipulations) to get through any problems.

    Such is the problem with too big to fail, and why these banks need to be broken up. They are systemic risks that must be saved, and so far the policy has been to protect the shareholders when they save them. I don’t see anything that makes me thing that policy has changed (i.e. Obama is still in office). And I surely don’t see a push to break them up coming up around the corner. The time to do that was the height of the crisis when these banks were all obviously bankrupt and taking bail out money — now they are rearmed with lobbyist money to flood Obama’s campaign accounts and the GOP is on the political offensive.

    1. Nathanael

      The Fed is already unloading arbitrarily large amounts of money at the discount window to BoA.

      The trouble for BoA is that, as loans, those only deal with the flight of depositors. Write-downs of loans create a balance sheet with a deficit on it, i.e. insolvency. The scheme where the Fed pays face value for trash pumps capital back into the bank.

      But if the accounting fraud at BoA is exposed, everyone will *notice* that it’s insolvent, and then it won’t come back. The charade depends on hiding BoA’s insolvency long enough to pour enough money into BoA to make it solvent.

      Japan tried this in the 90s with its banks. They’re still limping and staggering onward. This can apparently be done for decades before it collapses. The limit in the US will be social unrest.

  14. Jeff Larson

    Why fix things when the taxpayers can be left holding the bag? There will be no resolution of these crises until we taxpayers put more fear in our legislators than the big banks have.

  15. David

    It’s an accounting fraud that there even was goodwill from the Countrywide acquisition and some of the other acquisitions. How did BAC even have goodwill on its acquisition of a failing mortgage lender? When BAC found more losses at Countrywide upon acquisition, instead of taking the losses when they were incurred, they decided that they paid an additional amount for Countrywide that was equal to those losses. In the bizarre world of purchase accounting, this created goodwill even though Countrywide had staggering losses.

    So everyone ignores BAC purchase accounting goodwill.

  16. sherparick

    However, I believe most lenders still believe that BoA, and Citibank, are pretty much backed by the Treasury, at least as long as ol’Tim is there. Of course, how much will that means once the House reduces the U.S. completely bananna republic status (Pardon the racist metaphor when you look at the history of the banks and Central America and the Caribbian for the last 100years)

  17. scraping_by

    Every discussion of stock price needs to account for the Fed firehose, HFT, and insider frontrunning.

    Retail trade is wandering away from stocks, not stampeding. This is the money pot insiders used to use for the massive swings that they got out ahead of. This good sucker cash could be used to raise a price, but not much anymore.

    HFT puts weird spin on stock prices, both up and down. It creates price levels unconnected to prices like book value or prospects like future liabilities. The chatter of machines pushes stock prices around with no regard to anything the stock represents.

    But most importantly, if the price for BAC is going down, it’s because the Fed’s proxies are no longer buying it. True enough, their source of free money has dried up, but I’ve never heard they had to repay it. The price will no longer be bid up by a printing press, so it’s not so good a position.

    The lurid, conspiratorial, amoral, underhanded, inbred, hair-splitting, loop-hole diving, simply nasty mechanics of the stock market are keeping the price down as much as marcoeconomic reasoning.

  18. kravitz

    Immunity by states. Litigation expenses. I just want to know what secrets BAC holds on others that politicians are so willing to prop up the joint like weak pylons under a dock.

  19. The Ben Bernanke

    “As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,” said Sanders (I-Vt.). “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

  20. Jmd

    Don’t feel sorry for Moynihan – he elbowed out some very decent people on his way to the ‘top’ whatever befalls him is fully deserved.

  21. steelhead23

    Yves, You frequently point out that objective reality and the version of (un)reality foisted by political leadership and corporate leadership on a gullible public aren’t very similar. You and other bloggers also lament that given this tendency, catastrophe has become more, not less, likely. This tendency to avoid painful truths is so ubiquitous as to be biological. It is the rare leader indeed, who rises above pain avoidance to pave a path to a better future. I have not seen a leader since Jimmy Carter’s sweater-wearing energy talks, willing to tell painful truths. Barack Obama is no Jimmy Carter. And remember where those talks got Mr. Carter – out the door. I conclude that not just BoA, or Greece, or Portugal, or Italy, or Ireland, or Spain are heading for catastrophe – we all are. The interesting question is – then what?

  22. rps

    From RawStory: Audit: Fed gave $16 trillion in emergency loans
    “The U.S. Federal Reserve gave out $16.1 trillion in emergency loans to U.S. and foreign financial institutions between Dec. 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010, according to figures produced by the government’s first-ever audit of the central bank.

    Last year, the gross domestic product of the entire U.S. economy was $14.5 trillion.

    Of the $16.1 trillion loaned out, $3.08 trillion went to financial institutions in the U.K., Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium, the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) analysis shows.

    Additionally, asset swap arrangements were opened with banks in the U.K., Canada, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Mexico, Singapore and Switzerland. Twelve of those arrangements are still ongoing, having been extended through August 2012.

    Out of all borrowers, Citigroup received the most financial assistance from the Fed, at $2.5 trillion. Morgan Stanley came in second with $2.04 trillion, followed by Merill Lynch at $1.9 trillion and Bank of America at $1.3 trillion.

    The audit also found that the Fed mostly outsourced its lending operations to the very financial institutions which sparked the crisis to begin with, and that they delegated contracts largely on a no-bid basis….”

    We’ve been held hostage and ransomed by the Bankers Gone Wild Gang. Perhaps it’s time to come full circle. Meet you at the Liberty Tree of Justice… bring rope

    1. Patricia

      Forget the rope and tree. How about a last one-way trip on the Atlantis to the Space Station? Give them each a bag of seeds, a couple chickens, a few gallons of water, and an extra sweater or two.

      Since they’re our best and brightest, I’m sure they’ll do fine.

      And don’t forget to pack all their paper monies along with them–every last bit they’ve squeezed out of us will be needed to keep their fires going.

  23. Jack Smell

    If only JP Morgan were in this death spiral thingie. Man, when do we get our happy ending.

  24. ray

    screw them let them go broke, banks bankers and loan originators working on commission caused the mess we are in now.

  25. citalopram

    Last year when I was working, I would cash my checks at Bank of America, since that was where they originated. The employees there were really turning on the customer service, asking me every time I went in there whether or not I’d like to open an account. I told them I don’t do business with big banks period.

    Seems to me they’re desperate for depositors — at least that’s what I came away with.

    They had a reputation as being to worst of the big banks who loved to screw their customers over. They’ve consistently gotten top honors for being a baddie over at Consumerist year after year. Ces’t la vie, BofA.

  26. chris

    B of A is on a mission to get in a hole deep enough to get another bailout. They could have modified thousands of loans already and increased their revenue but they are set on making sure the real estate market keeps going down. There are trying now to be so strict on loans and on modifications rather than work a deal to get people paying again. What is the point now of being so strict when the other option for them is foreclosing? They have turned people away who would have paid 75% of their payment amount just to keep their home. They are not only lying and feeding propaganda to the country they are making horrible business decesions when it comes to modifications and keeping revenue coming in from mortgages.

    Why would anyone want to hold their stock at all? It is going down, has little chance to recover and the housing market is going continue to add up the losses for the bank. They aren’t not paying dividend. Is there so great a chance for upside here ? Or am I missing something…..?? BofA is definitely an example of buy and hold isn’t always the best…sell short and hold might be the better plan.

  27. Chris

    I just read an article that I thought some of you may be interested in regarding the chain of title issues…..
    The nevada supreme ct stated that ownership or possesion of the note is not sufficient enough to show property evidence of chain of title and mere possesion of the note was enough.

    read more here

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