The Turkish government has exercised its censorship chops in banning Twitter in an attempt to quell distribution of anti-government recordings, and in the process has materially popularized the service, to wit: Forbes - Streisand Effect Takes Hold As Turkey Bans Twitter

In an attempt to halt widespread allegations of corruption, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shuttered Twitter – but so ineffectively that the number of tweets sent in the country has remained unaffected.

Last night, Erdogan announced that, following a court order, Twitter was now disabled in the country. “We’ll eradicate Twitter,” he said. “I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.”

The Washington Post reports,Turkey bans Twitter — and Twitter explodes.
Of course, the Islamic leaning Aljazeera.com‎ says "Twitter users ridicule Turkey ban".
Leaked recordings shared on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of cash [AP]

Turkish and global social media users have mocked moves by Turkey's government to restrict access to Twitter.

The hashtags #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #Turkey blockedTwitter became the top trending topics globally on Friday, just hours after the Turkish government imposed the ban.

The number of tweets from Turkey reportedly rose by 138 percent as savvy Internet users, including the country's president Abdullah Gul, found it easy to circumvent the shutdown.

"The whole world is laughing at you #ErdoganBlockedTwitter," users tweeted, as dozens of images mocking the ban - including one showing Twitter birds covering Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's head in droppings - were shared on the platform.

Another popular tweet shared a poster of the prime minister on a Barack Obama campaign poster with the message, "Yes, we ban".

Erdogan on Thursday night promised to "root out" and wipe out" the social media platform after users published claims of corruption against him.

Leaked recordings shared and linked on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of large amounts of cash from a residence amid a police corruption probe.

One method of ridicule was to go around the the blocking if the Twitter domain name by using Google's DNS (Domain Name Server) services which allowed anxious and potential Twitter users to find the Twitter website through Google's machinations. So, what does the Turkish government do? They blocked Twitter at the IP level and then went so far as to bank Google's DNS. This means that Turkey is attempting to block out a portion of the Internet, to wit: Turkey Blocks Google DNS as Erdogan Defends Twitter Action 
 
Now here comes a quick education for the old fogey-type folk that declare Bitcoin is a bubble, ponzi scheme currency with no intrinsic value. If you recall my many videos that declare the value of Bitcoin is in the protocol, and not the unit of account that everyone is calling a currency, then you may realize that the Bitcoin technology can literally take the Turkish government down. 
(go to time market 1:10 in the video for the explanation)
Those that know the Bitcoin protocol well know that it is an ideal method of overcoming centralized control in regards to value transfer. Well, it's easily assumable that website data access is value transfer as well. If anybody in Turkey is reading this, then email me and I'll show you how to step around even Erdogan's Google DNS ban using the Bitcoin derivative known as Namecoin - A peer-to-peer, censorship resistant, alternative DNS root and data storage technology. Using that "tulip" technology with "no intrinsic value", Namecoin facilitates cryptographically secure decentralized name and data storage.
 
According toWikipedia: Namecoin (sign: ℕ; code: NMC) is a cryptocurrency which also acts as an alternative, decentralizedDNS, which would avoid domain namecensorship by making a new top level domain outside of ICANN control, and in turn, make internet censorship much more difficult, as well as reduce outages.[3][4][1][2][5][6][7][8]
Now, we all know that Krugman and Roubini and all of the not so technologically inclined macro economists may not believe that Bitcoin, et. al. has any intrinsic value, but if somebody like me led a "Coin" revolt in Turkey, do you think Erdogan would believe the economists or me in regards to the intrinsic value of this technology.
If you think Namecoin can be disruptive to the status quo, you aint't seen nothin' yet. Wait until the launch of UltraCoin, when those little Haitain kids in shacks out trade the Goldman prop desk on that BTC/AU pair trade.
That's right, I'm teaching 3rd world children how to trade using cryptocurrency derivatives and plain old fashioned derivatives. I'm comfortable pitting them against the names that the developed world worships, as long as its using this new tech. Let's see how they fair...
I just love the smell of creative disruption in the air. These pics were taken after some training sessions in Port au Prince, Haiti this weekend.
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Four months ago I posted the self explanatory piece aptly titlted "Bernanke's Bluffing Because A True QE Pullback Will Cause Fundamentals To Reassert In Banking Sector". In it I stated the obvious... 

Ever hear of NEGATIVE interest rates where YOU have to PAY someone to LEND THEM MONEY!!!

So, BoomBustBloggers, where do YOU think rates are going to go from here? Up of Down???

Today, ZH reports:

Just out from Fed "hawk" Dick Fisher:

    • FISHER: FISCAL SHENANIGANS HAVE `SWAMPED' QE TAPER PROSPECTS
    • FISHER: HARD TO NOW ARGUE TO CHANGE COURSE OF MONETARY POLICY
    • FISHER HAS FAVORED TAPERING FED MONTHLY BOND PURCHASES
    • U.S. FED'S FISHER REPEATS BEST TO 'STAY THE COURSE' ON BOND BUYING AT OCTOBER FOMC MEETING

For anyone who is surprised by this, don't worry... I have this levered deal to by this Bridge in Brooklyn, real cheap too, near zero percent interest! 

 

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Let's face it, in order for the few to thrive, a majority have to suffer in apathy, ignorance and the resultant bliss before the storm! Is that the way it is? Is that the way it has to be? Well, apparently that's the way it's going down in Europe. I have issued very, very explicit warnings on the ex-sovereign entity known as Portugal. Despite such. and despite my track record on such matters (see Who is Reggie Middleton?), the financial media, sell side and practically the rest of the world hailed an "all's clear" as absolutely nothing has gotten better yet several things have gotten worse. 

What has come of it? Well....

From ZeroHedge: Portugal's Presidential Warning Spikes Yields To 8 Months Highs

UPDATE: 5Y now +126bps (biggest jump in 19 months - snce the record highs) and rest of Europe is catching their systemic risk flu

Bond Spreads...


Of course reasons are given for this spike that come from very smart people who do very impressive things. The fact du jour is that this spike was guaranteed to happen, and it was guaranteed to happen this year. That's right! Guaranteed, and all paying BoomBustBlog subscribers knew this to be a fact TWO and a half (that's 2.5 for the number nerds amongst us) years ago! Did I (or my subscribers) know that the Portuguese government would come close to blowing up this year? NO.

So, exactly how did we know? Well, let's start by acknowledging today's date. July 12, 2013. Next we dig into the BoomBustBlog archives, going back to...

Monday, 06 December 2010 The Truth Behind Portugal's Inevitable Default - Arithmetic Evidence Available Only Through BoomBustBlog

The inevitable truth of the matter is that several European states WILL default, and default they will. If Germany, or any other economy that still has its druthers to it decides to stand in front of said occurrence, it will likely be dragged down as well. The Germans apparently realize this. See this excerpt from our discussion on the topic regarding Ireland's prospects for default:

... from the post  wherein BoomBustBlogger Nick asked:

Reggie-

Do you have any reason as to why they are choosing 2013 as a deadline ? Seems like an arbitrary date.

Well, Nick, just follow the money  or the lack thereof…

So, what debt raising and servicing soveriegn nation that was unsustainable in 2010 was lent even more debt to become even more unsustainable. The chickens come home to roost in 2013, post IMF/EU/Bilateral state le veraged into Ireland loan/Pension fund raiding bailout! What Angela in Germany was alluding to was what all in the know, well… know, and that is that Ireland is already in default and those defaults have been purposely pushed out until 2013. Angela simply (and wisely from a local political perspective, although unwisely from a global geopolitical standpoint) admitted/suggested was that the defaults will be pre-packaged and managed ahead of time. The EU politbureau insists that politics rule the day, and no prepackaged structure be in place for the Irish defaults to be. This means the potential foe even more carnage through the pipelines of uncertainty!

 

Tuesday, 07 December 2010 The Anatomy of a Portugal Default: A Graphical Step by Step Guide to the Beginning of the Largest String of Sovereign Defaults in Recent History

... Let's jump straight into Portugal's situation, and remember that many of these countries have deliberately mislead and misrepresented their fiscal situations for years (see Once You Catch a Few EU Countries “Stretching the Truth”, Why Should You Trust the Rest? and Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!).

This is the carnage that would occur if the same restructuring were to be applied to Portugal today.

Yes, it will be nasty. That 35% decline in cash flows will be levered at least 10x, for that is how much of the investors in these bonds purchased them. A 35% drop is nasty enough, 35% x 10 starts to hurt the piggy bank! As a matter of fact, no matter which way you look at it, Portugal is destined to default/restructure. Its just a matter of time, and that time will probably not extend past 2013. Here are a plethora of scenarios to choose from...

This is Portugal's path as of today.

Even if we add in EU/IMF emergency funding, the inevitability of restructuring is not altered. As a matter of fact, the scenario gets worse because the debt is piled on.

Monday, 12 March 2012 Portuguese Liquidity Trap: When You Add Too Much Liquidity To F.I.R.E. It Burns!

 

In this followup to Greece Is Trying To Convince Portugal To Make F.I.R.E. Hot I think we should get straight to the point - Anyone who doesn't believe that Portugal is clearly set up to for a bond route, and that it is seriously considering a default is either lying to themselves, believe human nature has changed, and/or really hasn't bothered to review the math. Here's proof of a Portuguese default presented with logic, numbers and pretty colorful graphs. The full spreadsheet behind all of the calculations, scenarios, bond holdings and calculations can be viewed online here (click this link) by professional level subscribers. Click here to subscribe or upgrade.

 

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Who Do Your Believe Reggie Middleton or Central Bank of Ireland

I have spent two week warning Ireland and the world about the Irish banking system, with a summation available in the aptly titled post, If I Provide Proof That The Entire Irish Banking System Is A Sham, Does It Set Up A Much Needed System Reboot? Let's Go For It...Yesterday, the Irish media STARTS to come clean, although they are still not as explicit as the Irish Sun article which put my researched facts front and center...

 Click to enlarge...

 

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From the Irish Times

Yesterday, at the press briefing to discuss the Central Bank’s 2012 annual report, Honohan matter-of-factly told us that the Irish banks would need more funding before 2019 due to changes in capital reporting requirements imposed by the new Basel III accord.

The transition period for these changes to be implemented by banks in the EU is January 2019.

There were more than a few eyebrows raised at this frank admission.

Honohan’s statement is in stark contrast to those of the various Irish-owned banks –AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB. In public at least, the banks have maintained that they are adequately capitalised and that they do not envisage having to raise additional capital to bolster their ratios.

From the Independent:

Mr Honohan said the Central Bank was still working towards carrying out stress tests on the banks at the latter part of the year. By 2019, the banks will need more capital under international regulations.

"In an ideal situation, that capital will come from private investors, as is happening all over Europe, all over the world, where bank capital is being pushed up through the market system," he said.

From private investors? Yeah, right! As said private investors are hoodwinked, just like those poor muppets in the US - reference What Should The US Do If One Of The Biggest Irish Banks Blatantly Defrauded US Investors:

The Bank of Ireland

In the 2008 Annual Accounts (Irish version of Annual Report) of Bank of Ireland (see attached, page 178) it states the bank gave a first floating charge in favor of the Central Bank of Ireland (an arm of the European Central Bank) and the Financial Services Authority of Ireland over the Banks ‘right, title, interest, benefit, present and future, in and to certain segregated securities listed in an Eligible Securities schedule.’

Fact: The BoI 2008 Irish accounts (~annual report) refer to the charges in their Disclosure Section (see attached page from 2008 accounts) where they describe the charge as being over ‘certain segregated securities.’

Of paramount importance for US investors and regulators, there is an absolute omission of this information in the Bank of Ireland SEC 20F returns for 2008.

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From the Irish Examiner:

However, banks would need capital over the medium term to comply with Basel III capital requirements by 2019. It is hoped the banks will be able to raise this from private investors, he added. He hoped Ireland would not need the help of the ECB’s outright monetary transaction programme when it exits the bailout programme. However, if it met certain criteria, then it would be able to use the facility. 

But private investors have done so well in the Irish banks, particularly considering their pristine disclosure policies, right??? Again, reference What Should The US Do If One Of The Biggest Irish Banks Blatantly Defrauded US Investors:

The Bank of Ireland 2008 Irish Annual Accounts refer to the charges in their Disclosure Section (see attached page from 2008 accounts) where they describe the charge as being over ‘certain segregated securities,’ but no mention of ‘right, title, interest, benefit, present and future, in and to certain segregated securities listed in an EligibleSecurities schedule.’

There is also no mention of any information related to this floating charge in the Bank of Ireland SEC 20F returns for 2008.

It appears that this floating charge was not disclosed at the time of the stress testing of the bank conducted by the European Banking Authority.

It is possible that I may have overlooked such, and because of that possibility I have made the SEC 20F available for all who want to check over my work. Here is the UBI 2008 accounts and here is the SEC 20f-2008 for the Bank of Ireland.

Now of course, to constitute fraud there has to be a loss on the part of the one being defrauded or a gain on the part of the one being defrauded - at least according to Wikipedia. Otherwise, it would be a hoax. That's the Irish banking system, and not this bank in particular. So...

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If you believe that the information above actually identifies a gross misrepresentation of fact, omission or outright fraud, simply contact the SEC and let them know that Reggie Middleton suggested they look into it. You can actually use this form to convey my message

Remember, extreme wealth concentrates, so you don't have to... Coming from a "Cyprus'd" bank near you!

Subscribers, can download ALL documents supporting shenanigans by these banks (click here to subscribe):

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Here come's the next bank surprise. This bank, which is still trading in the US/Ireland and is still accepting deposits and making loans, appears to have some pretty fishy underpinnings. For paid subcribers, I've posted another potentially "Cyprus'd" EU bank with shortable US/LSE traded shares/options for subscribers, reference EU Bank Capital Confusion, Part 2 - Malarkey (you may subscribe here). As was the case in my last post, if you have believe that the information below actually identifies a gross misrepresentation of fact, omission or outright fraud, simply contact the SEC and let them know that Reggie Middleton suggested they look into it. You can actually use this form to convery my message. Let's start by excerpting the history of the country in question from yesterday's post, "Global Banking Crisis - How & Why YOU Will Get "Cyprus'd" As This Bank Scrambled For Capital!!!".

Introduction and Background

In 2007 Ireland had significant cross border exposure to UK and US banks through derivatives and property products. As I warned in 2007, the real estate bubble in the the US/UK popped in 2008, sending pathogenic contagion straight through the Irish banking system. The entire banking system started collapsing. On February 15, 2008, Ireland took extraordinary measures (which we will explore in depth a little later on) to mitigate said collapse, measures that many a layperson would deem misleading, if not fraudulent. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the largest financial institutions in the countries of Ireland and the UK) was effectively nationalized by the UK and a bad bank was formed to purchase bad debt/products from the Zombie Irish banks in exchange for government bonds, backed by a country that just simply couldn't afford it.

Following my warning in February of 2008, Lehman filed bankruptcy in September sending an additional set of contagion shock through Ireland and its banking system, causing Ireland to issues bonds and further indebt itself to save its Zombie banks – again! This time through blanket bank guarantees backed by the full faith of the government.

In September of 2010, a large swath of said government guarantees for the banks were about to expire. Reference this excerpt from the book “Zombie Banks: How Broken Banks and Debtor Nations Are Crippling the Global Economy”:

In September 2010, some of Ireland's government guarantees for bank debts were about to expire, which put U.S. Treasury officials on edge. If the guarantee wasn't renewed, the banks would likely default on their bonds, triggering the next event in line: a slew of credit default swap (CDS) contracts on Irish banks' debt. U.S. Treasury officials had reason to worry - the names backing those contracts were the largest U .S. banks, and they could end up paying billions in case of default. Any more weight on U.S. banks could be a tipping point to collapse. Treasury officials made inquiries to their counterparts at the Irish finance ministry asking about the course of action the country was planning to take and indicated their concern about possible default and its CDS repercussions. A year after having issued blanket guarantees on the banks' liabilities the Irish government once again didn't dare let the bank fail. Instead it ended up asking for financial assistance from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IIMF): the country had been pushed to the brink of collapse.

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And now, on to the entity at hand...

Allied Irish Banks (AIB)

As you can see, AIB (Allied Irish Banks) is currently operational, taking deposits and making loans. It trades ADRs on the NSYE, having been delisted from the LSE and the Irish Stock Exchange after the Irish government nationaized it.

As per Wkikepedia: 

 AIB offers a full range of personal and corporate banking services. AIB Capital Markets is the division of the company that offers international banking and treasury operations. The bank also offers a range of general insurance products such as home, travel, and health insurance. It offers life assurance and pensions through its wholly owned subsidiary, Ark Life Assurance.

 In December 2010 the Irish government took a majority stake in the bank. AIB shares are listed as an American Depositary Receipt (ADR) on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol AIB. AIB's shares were formerly traded on the Irish Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, but its shares were delisted from these exchanges following its effective nationalisation. The remaining publicly traded shares of AIB are now listed on the Enterprise Securities Market of the Irish Stock Exchange.

 Internationally, AIB operates mainly in the United Kingdom (as Allied Irish Bank (GB) and First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland), and Poland (as Bank Zachodni WBK SA(BZ-WBK)). In November 2010, it sold its 22.5% stake in M&T Bank in the United States. At the beginning of 2008 AIB entered the Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian markets by acquiring AmCredit mortgage finance business from the Baltic – American Enterprise Fund. 

It's obvious this was an error in judgement, as a matter of fact it was extremely ill timed - reference The Depression is Already Here for Some Members of Europe, and It Just Might Be Contagious!

... In 2009, Allied Irish Banks [] accepted a 3.5 billion euro bailout from the government of the Republic of Ireland as a part of the Bank Recapitalisation scheme. By March 2011 the total sum of required bailout was expected to climb up to 13.3 billion euro.

Nationalisation

On 30 September 2010, the Irish Government announced plans to use its National Pensions Reserve to inject €3.7 billion of capital into Allied Irish Banks, becoming the majority shareholder and effectivelynationalizing the bank.[50]

AIB needed to raise additional capital due to increasing losses on bad loans incurred from the real estate bubble, and Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan stated that the bank was unable to attract sufficient interest from private investors.[50][51] As part of the deal, Chairman Dan O'Connor agreed to quit the bank while managing director, Colm Doherty, announced he would leave before the end of the year after 13 months in the job.[52]

In December 2010, the European Commission approved the plans, and the Government passed emergency legislation to allow the deal to take place without requiring the approval of existing shareholders.[53] The High Court subsequently approved the deal on Dec 24 2010, allowing the Irish government to take a 49.9% stake in the bank, rising to 92.8% following disposal of the Polish subsidiary to Banco Santander.[53][54]

AIB became the fourth of Ireland's "Big Six" financial institutions to be nationalized, following Anglo Irish BankIrish Nationwide, and EBS Building Society. AIB was delisted from the main market of the Irish Stock Exchange on 25 January 2011[3] and the NYSE on 26 August 2011

Credit Event occurred

The ISDA Determinations Committee, consisting of 15 USA and European banks, decided that a restructuring credit event occurred with respect to Allied Irish Banks on June 9, 2011

 Hmmm.. A credit event occurred... 

 AIB has inccurred significant debt from which the underlying collateral has significantly diminished. This caused the need for even more capital and more borrowing. It also apparently caused it to change the wording in its annual statements regarding repos, potentially allowing it to conceal financial aid in the form of even more debt .from another party. After all, when you borrow something it's a loan right, as in additional debt??? Below, you see a loophole for near unimited borrowing, and not a peep will show up in the financial reporting!

Of course, theres more...AIB Charge Discrepency

Definitions: Charge - The document evidencing mortgage security required by Crown Law (law derived from English law). A Frixed Charge refers to a defined set of assets and is usually registered. A Floating Charge refers to other assets which change from time to time (ie. cashinventory, etc.), which become a Fixed Charge after a default.

The charge document below, which was registered with Ireland’s Company Registration Office (CRO), states that the charge is in respect of the Company’s participation in Target 2-Ireland. It is also in respect of ‘all present and future liabilities whatsoever’ of Allied Irish Bank Plc. (to the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland or to the European Central Bank). The charge is over ‘Eligible Securities’.

Target2 is a European Union payment system. I believe it is misleading to indicate in the annual accounts that Target 2 has a bearing on the security that has been given.

In the short particulars section of the charge; the property charged to the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority is over ‘all rights, title, interest and benefit, present and future, of AIB Plc. in and to each of the Eligible Securities from time to time, where ‘ Eligible Securities’ means, at any time securities of such a class or description as may from time to time  be designated  by the ECB as ‘Eligible for  Sale and /or Purchase, as the case may be.’ (Refer to actual CRO charge document below)

AIB Charge Discrepency1 copy

In the Irish version of the Bank’s annual Accounts (2008) and the SEC 20F (page 223 - 2) it states that the charge was placed in favour of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland over all of AIB’S ‘right, title, interest and benefit present and future in and to certain segregated securities.’

Using the description ‘certain segregated securities’ is completely different to the description all ‘eligible securities.

It appears that AIB is stating that they have given ‘certain segregated securities’ as security to the ECB whereas the ECB actually decides which securities will be designated as ‘eligible’. The charge is in favor of the Central Bank and is over ‘all present and future liabilities whatsoever’ of AIB. This charge is a floating charge over repo agreements, aka Eligible Securities - securities that the graphic above demonstrates can go on ad nauseum and way beyond the entities prudent ability to repay, yet not appear on the balance sheet or in its regulatory reporting!!!. These securities have been purchased by the ECB through the repo agreements.

Thus, it appears as if this floating charge granted to the ECB is over assets that the ECB already owned. The floating charge was given to the ECB by AIB for emergency funding (emergency liquidity). Do you see a circular argument here? A potential Ponzi even???!!!! I warned my paying subscribers three years ago, Beware of the Potential Irish Ponzi Scheme!

Very important note: BoomBustBlogger JPM noted below in the comment sections the following...

Reggie,
First up, big fan of your work. One of the few people genuinely worth listening to these days. You have consistently had the quality dope on these dopes over these past few years. 
However, as an Irishman, I would draw your attention to one slight anomaly in the above post. It relates to the image containing the extracted explanation of AIB's Gross Settlement Systems from its annual report alongisde a page from a CRO charge filing. As far as I can see, the extracted page from the CRO charge filing actually relates to a charge filed by that other "AIB", Anglo Irish Bank, not Allied Irish. If you look at the name of the lawyer on the filing, it comes from the (former) lawyers for Anglo, Eugene F Collins, not Allied Irish Bank's lawyers. 
Correct me if I am wrong though. 
Notwithstanding that minor aberation, I wholehearetedly agree with your general thesis; Irish banks are a complete shambles, and the increasing German intransigence toward sharing some of the burden (for whcih many German banks were also responsibile) bodes ill for creditors of all colours, classes and stripes. 
Of course I hope it doesn't come to that for many friends of mine, but I fear you may (yet again) be on to something.
To follow on from my post above; it has occurred to me that perhaps the same lawyers were filing the same duplictious charges (as compared with the charges disclosed in the annual reports) on behalf of a number of their insolvent clients (relying on the nuanced cut and paste skills one learns in law school!!). 
If that is so, my above post stands corrected. 
While it's somewhat moot (given that the real issue is how likely it is that AIB will require further capital - very, given enough time and further, ahem, "credit crunches" (solvency blow-ups??)) , but perhaps, if you have a moment, you could clarify whehther that CRO filinig extract is in fact from a charge filed on behalf of allied Irish, not Anglo Irish? 
Thanks, and keep up the great work!
Yours,
An Irishman Watching On In Horror From Australia.

He happens to be absolutely right. I mistakenly put the charge from Ango Irish in with the annual accounts of Allied Irish. We already covered Anglo Irish Bank in Global Banking Crisis - How & Why YOU Will Get "Cyprus'd" As This Bank Scrambled For Capital!!!

It is sharp readers and subscribers such as this that makes BoomBustBlog what it is today. He actually caught the error by recognizing the lawyer's name as representing the other bank. Unfortunately, he is also correct in that this means very little difference in the grand scheme of things for even if this charge didn't exist, AIB is still over encumbered and swimming in underwater borrowings - in my all so humble opinion. There's also the fact that AIB actually did enter into and all encompassing charge to save its ass, just like Anglo Irish did. Yep, I made a boo-boo, but it means nothing for AIB, let's correct here and make sure we get the laywers right this time around....

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Now, back to our regularly scheduled programmings...

These charge documents apparently have not been included in the recent ‘stress testing’ conducted by the European Banking Authority. By AIB's own admittance, they are not recognizing the borrowing of securities unless the are intended for resale to a third party. This was not the case in the previous year!!! If this is true, these assets can very well appear on the balance sheets of both the ECB and AIB.

The assets should not appear on AIB’s balance sheet as a negative pledge clause, which the ECB was granted, prohibits the bank from doing this, see details in charge document.

Now, let's suppose you buy all of that malarky above regarding charges, disclosure, borrowing not showing up on the balance sheet, etc. Knowing what Ireland had to go through to bail out its banks the first two times, and then needing to go to the ECB/IMF the third time, and knowing what Germany did to Cyprus and it's bank depositors/bondholders last week... I just want to ask you bank customers one question. Do 'ya feel lucky??? If I'm on to something with the research above (and to be honest, it looks awfully convincing) and Ireland's already bailed its banks twice, and had to go to the ECB after those bailouts because it was broke, then what happens when this bank needs more capital.

The way I see it, if Cyprus is the new template, than depositor funded recaps (read, they take your money to bail out the bank) are inevitable!

If you have believe that the information below actually identifies a gross misrepresentation of fact, omission or outright fraud, simply contact the SEC and let them know that Reggie Middleton suggested they look into it. You can actually use this form to convery my message.

Here's that interest rate calculator from EU Bank Depositors: Your Mattress Is Starting To Look Awfully Attractive - Bank Risk, Reward & Compensation . It shows how much interest you should be getting in return for the banking risk that you are taking.

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canadian dollar 400Continuing my series of banks ready to "Cyprus" their depositors, I offer this reader contribution from Don from Canada 2013-03-29 23:11:

As part of the 2013 budget in Canada, the Minister of Finance tabled the Economic Action Plan 2013 which included the newest buzzword 'bail-in'.

Source: budget.gc.ca/.../...
Page 145
“The [Canadian] Government proposes to implement a “bail-in” regime for systemically important banks. This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. This will reduce risks for taxpayers. The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime in Canada. Implementation timelines will allow for a smooth transition for affected institutions, investors and other market participants. Systemically important banks will continue to be subject to existing risk management requirements, including enhanced supervision and recovery and resolution plans.
This risk management framework will limit the unfair advantage that could be gained by Canada’s systemically important banks through the mistaken belief by investors and other market participants that these institutions are ‘too big to fail’.”

A depositor is an unsecured creditor to a bank. The Canadian government presents its position to be one of shielding the taxpayer from the need to pay for bailing out a failing bank. As a taxpayer that is comforting. 
However as a depositor, the phrase “rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital” concerns me. My deposit is the bank’s liability. Could depositors’ funds fall under the definition of ‘certain bank liabilities’? 
I searched the entire 442 page document and I cannot find where the term ‘certain bank liabilities’ is defined.
The prudent approach I believe would be to assume that under certain conditions, certain bank liabilities will include depositors’ funds; at least those funds in excess of CAD 100,000 which is our so-called insured amount.
Even if it has noble intentions now, under a credit and derivatives collapse scenario, it is conceivable that the Canadian government could be coerced or bullied by external agents into grabbing depositors’ funds just like what is happening in Cyprus.
I find the newest ‘bail-in’ term being used since the Cyprus debacle quite amusing. It reminds me of the ‘sit-in’ and ‘love-in’ terms of the peace/hippie generation.
We all seem to be floating on the bathwater of fiat currency liquidity. The tub is being drained at the opposite end from where we are floating. The EU is circling the drain. The central banks are feverishly trying to replenish the tub with thimbles full of water, but it appears inevitable that some will go down the drain, whilst others will be left high and dry. The central bankers only have thimbles, not a drain stopper.
________________________________________________________________________
Now, tell me if this looks even remotely familiar... from an article publsihed in the Financial Times on February 10, 2013 which clearly, accurately and timely foretold the events to unfold over the following 45 days or so :
A radical new option for the financial rescue of Cyprus would force losses on uninsured depositors in Cypriot banks, as well as investors in the country’s sovereign bonds, according to a confidential memorandum prepared ahead of Monday’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

The proposal for a “bail-in” of investors and depositors, and drastic shrinking of the Cypriot banking sector, is one of three options put forward as alternatives to a full-scale bailout. The ministers are trying to agree a rescue plan by March, to follow the presidential elections in Cyprus later this month.

By “bailing in” uninsured bank depositors, it would also involve more foreign investors, especially from Russia, some of whom have used Cyprus as a tax haven in recent years. That would answer criticism from Berlin in particular, where politicians are calling for more drastic action to stop the island being used for money laundering and tax evasion.

Labelled “strictly confidential” and distributed to eurozone officials last week, the memo says the radical version of the plan – including a “haircut” of 50 per cent on sovereign bonds – would shrink the Cypriot financial sector, now nearly eight times larger than the island’s economy, by about one-third by 2015.

Senior EU officials who have seen the document cautioned that imposing losses on bank depositors and a sovereign debt restructuring remain unlikely. Underlining the dissuasive language in the memo, they said that bailing in depositors was never considered in previous eurozone bailouts because of concern that it could lead to bank runs in other financially fragile countries.

But the authors warn such drastic action could restart contagion in eurozone financial markets...

Oh, and it can get worse. Zerohedge reports, via Reuters, that there will be absolute wipeouts for some big depositors in Cyprus:

In what appears to be drastically worse than many had hoped (and expected), uninsured depositor in Cyprus' largest bank stand to get no actual cash back from their initial deposit as the plan (expected to be announced tomorrow) is:

    • 22.5% of the previous cash deposit gone forever (pure haircut)
    • 40% of the previous cash deposit will receive interest (but will never be repaid),
    • and the remaining 37.5% of the previous cash deposit will be swapped into equity into the bank (a completely worthless bank that is of course.)

So, theoretically this is 62.5% haircut but once everyone decides to 'sell' their shares to reconstitute some cash then we would imagine it will be far greater. Furthermore, at what valuation will the 37.5% equity be allocated (we suspect a rather aggressive mark-up to 'market' clearing levels).

Critically though, there is no cash. None. If you had EUR150,000 in the bank last week (net of insured deposits which may well be impaired before all is said and done) you now have EUR0,000 to draw on! But will earn interest on EUR60,000 (though we do not know at what rate); and own EUR56,250 worth of Bank of Cyprus shares (the same bank that will experience the slow-burn leak of capital controlled outflows).

In the post "EU Bank Depositors: Your Mattress Is Starting To Look Awfully Attractive - Bank Risk, Reward & Compensation", I offered a way to calculate what return you should expect to receive to take on the risk of a potential 40% haircut. The second tab offers what recent Cyprus bank rates were. Do you see a disparity??? To bring things up to date, up the haircut to 63% and you will find that no bank in the world will compensate you for the risk you assume in banking there. Banco Posturepedico shares: Strong BUY!!!!

Now that you see its just Cyprus - the perceived uber-conservative Canadian banks are prepping to Cyprus their depositors as well.
Oh, it gets worse. I will start posting a list of definitive bank names that I have apparently caught in some amazingly duplicitous and misleading capital schemes, at least as it appears to me and my staff. I know I wouldn't have MY money in them, particularly after reading the info above. The first bank name and a description of their actions are avialable to all paying subscribers right now in the right hand downloads column and in the commercial bank research section of my site. I will release a new bank expected to be "Cyprus'd" every 48 hours  to subscribers until I run out of definitive candidates. Yes it pays to be a BoomBustBlog member (click here to subscribe)
This Easter weekend, I will also release a PSA (public service announcement) to give a heads up to non-paying subscribers and readers who are too comfortable with their current banking arrangement.
 
As a reminder for those who wish to ignore my banking calls as a frivolous episode of Chicken Little, BoomBustBlog is the place that was the first to reveal:
  1. The collapse of Bear Stearns in January 2008 (2 months before Bear Stearns fell, while trading in the $100s and still had buy ratings and investment grade AA or better from the ratings agencies): Is this the Breaking of the Bear? 
  2. The warning of Lehman Brothers before anyone had a clue!!! (February through May 2008): Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise? Thursday, February 21st, 2008 | Web chatter on Lehman Brothers Sunday, March 16th, 2008 (It would appear that Lehman’s hedges are paying off for them. The have the most CMBS and RMBS as a percent of tangible equity on the street following BSC. 
  3. The collapse of the regional banks (32 of them, actually) in May 2008: As I see it, these 32 banks and thrifts are in deep doo-doo! as well as the fall of Countrywide and Washington Mutual
  4. The collapse of the monoline insurers, Ambac and MBIA in late 2007 & 2008: A Super Scary Halloween Tale of 104 Basis Points Pt I & II, by Reggie Middleton, Welcome to the World of Dr. FrankenFinance! and Ambac is Effectively Insolvent & Will See More than $8 Billion of Losses with Just a $2.26 Billion
  5. The ENTIRE Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis (potentially soon to be the Global Sovereign Debt Crisis) starting in January of 2009 and explicit detail as of January 2010: The Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis
  6. Ireland austerity and the disguised sink hole of debt and non-performing assets that is the Irish banking system: I Suggest Those That Dislike Hearing “I Told You So” Divest from Western and Southern European Debt, It’ll Get Worse Before It Get’s Better!
The problems that plagued Cyprus banks plague banks in much larger nations within, and around the EU. From Ovebanked, Underfunded, and Overly Optimistic: The New Face of Sovereign Europe you see institutions that are literally too big to be handled safely...

The Banks Are Bigger Than Many of the Sovereigns

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Ready! Set! Bank Run!!!

Cyprus contagion raw

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 Bloomberg ran a very interesting article yesterday, jumping on the bandwagon of what I espoused years ago - and in great detail. Let's take a look at the article as I run down a check list of Reggie's favorite bank busting hits...

On television, in interviews and in meetings with investors, executives of the biggest U.S. banks -- notably JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon -- make the case that size is a competitive advantage. It helps them lower costs and vie for customers on an international scale. Limiting it, they warn, would impair profitability and weaken the country’s position in global finance.

Hmmm.... JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, check... An Independent Look into JP Morgan

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Cute graphic above, eh? There is plenty of this in the public preview. When considering the staggering level of derivatives employed by JPM, it is frightening to even consider the fact that the quality of JPM's derivative exposure is even worse than Bear Stearns and Lehman‘s derivative portfolio just prior to their fall. Total net derivative exposure rated below BBB and below for JP Morgan currently stands at 35.4% while the same stood at 17.0% for Bear Stearns (February 2008) and 9.2% for Lehman (May 2008). We all know what happened to Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, don't we??? I warned all about Bear Stearns (Is this the Breaking of the Bear?: On Sunday, 27 January 2008) and Lehman ("Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?": On February 20th, 2008) months before their collapse by taking a close, unbiased look at their balance sheet. Both of these companies were rated investment grade at the time, just like "you know who".

Back to Bloomberg...

So what if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers?

Granted, it’s a hard concept to swallow. It’s also crucial to understanding why the big banks present such a threat to the global economy.

Let’s start with a bit of background. Banks have a powerful incentive to get big and unwieldy. The larger they are, the more disastrous their failure would be and the more certain they can be of a government bailout in an emergency. The result is an implicit subsidy: The banks that are potentially the most dangerous can borrow at lower rates, because creditors perceive them as too big to fail.

 In one relatively thorough effort, two researchers -- Kenichi Ueda of theInternational Monetary Fund and Beatrice Weder di Mauro of the University of Mainz -- put the number at about 0.8 percentage point. The discount applies to all their liabilities, including bonds and customer deposits.

Big Difference

Small as it might sound, 0.8 percentage point makes a big difference. Multiplied by the total liabilities of the 10 largest U.S. banks by assets, it amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion a year. To put the figure in perspective, it’s tantamount to the government giving the banks about 3 cents of every tax dollar collected.

Big bank bailouts? Check!

The top five banks -- JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. - - account for $64 billion of the total subsidy, an amount roughly equal to their typical annual profits (see tables for data on individual banks). In other words, the banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry -- with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy -- would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfare. In large part, the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.

Hmmmm. Taxpayer subsidized, big name hedge fund bank barely breaking even without bailout funds... Check!

The BoomBustBlog Review of Goldman Sach's 2nd Quarter, 2010 ...

GS return on equity has declined substantially due to deleverage and is only marginally higher than its current cost of capital. With ROE down to c12% from c20% during pre-crisis levels, there is no way a stock with high beta as GS could justify adequate returns to cover the inherent risk. For GS to trade back at 200 it has to increase its leverage back to pre-crisis levels to assume ROE of 20%. And for that GS has to either increase its leverage back to 25x. With curbs on banks leverage this seems highly unlikely. Without any increase in leverage and ROE, the stock would only marginally cover returns to shareholders given that ROE is c12%. Even based on consensus estimates the stock should trade at about where it is trading right now, leaving no upside potential. Using BoomBustBlog estimates, the valuation drops considerably since we take into consideration a decrease in trading revenue or an increase in the cost of funding in combination with a limitation of leverage due to the impending global regulation coming down the pike.

gs_roe.jpggs_roe.jpggs_roe.jpg

Subscribers can download my full review of GS's most recent quarter here: File Icon GS 2Q10 review. It is a recommended read, for we have performed some sleuthing and believe we may have conclusive evidence that the solvency of this overly marketed hedge fund investment bank is again at risk, just as it was in 2008. For those who wish to partake in our services, you may subscribe here.

And back to Bloomberg...

Neither bank executives nor shareholders have much incentive to change the situation. On the contrary, the financial industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle on campaign donations and lobbying, much of which is aimed at maintaining the subsidy.

Hmmm! Hundreds of millions of bank bonus cum taxpayer dollars recycled back into government official's pockets in teh form of lobbying dollars, donations and gifts? Check!

How Regulatory Capture Turns Doo Doo Deadly

  • Regulatory capture (adopted from Wikipedia): A term used to refer to situations in which a government regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead acts in favor of the commercial or special interests that dominate in the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is an explicit manifestation of government failure in that it not only encourages, but actively promotes the activities of large firms that produce negative externalities. For public choice theorists, regulatory capture occurs because groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory decisions can be expected to focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, will ignore it altogether - blah, blah....

About a year and a half ago, after sounding the alarm on the regionals, I placed strategic bearish positions in the sector which paid off extremely well. The only problem is, it really shouldn't have. Why? Because the problems of these banks were visible a mile away. I started warning friends and family as far back as 2004, I announced it on my blog in 2007, and I even offered a free report in early 2008.

Well, here comes another warning. One of the Doo Doo 32 looks to be ready to collapse some time soon. Most investors and pundits won't realize it because a) they don't read BoomBustblog, and b) due to regulatory capture, the bank has been given the OK by its regulators to hide the fact that it is getting its insides gutted out by CDOs and losses on loans and loan derivative products. Alas, I am getting ahead of myself. Let's take a quick glance at regulatory capture, graphically encapsulated, then move on to look at the recipients of the Doo Doo Award as they stand now...

A picture is worth a thousand words...

fasb_mark_to_market_chart.png

And back to the Bloomberg article...

The result is a bloated financial sector and recurring credit gluts. Left unchecked, the superbanks could ultimately require bailouts that exceed the government’s resources. Picture a meltdown in which the Treasury is helpless to step in as it did in 2008 and 2009.

Excessive liablities potetially outstripping the ability of the .gov to bail? Check! The BoomBustBlog Review of Goldman Sach's 2nd Quarter, 2010 ...

So, what is GS if you strip it of its government protected, name branded hedge fund status. Well, my subscribers already know. Let' take a peak into one of their subscription documents (Goldman Sachs Stress Test Professional Goldman Sachs Stress Test Professional2009-04-20 10:06:454.04 Mb- 131 pages). I believe many with short term memory actually forgot what got this bank into trouble in the first place, and exactly how it created the perception that it got out of trouble. The (Off) Balance Sheet!!!

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Contrary to popular belief, it does not appear that Goldman is a superior risk manager as compared to the rest of the Street. They may the same mistakes and had to accept the same bailouts. They are apparently well connected though, because they have one of the riskiest balance sheet compositions around yet managed to get themselves insured and protected by the FDIC like a real bank. This bank's portfolio looked quite scary at the height of the bubble.

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More recently...

Bigger Tax Payer Bank Bailouts Cometh?

But there are solutions, as detailed in How To Prevent Bailouts, Bank Runs & Other Fun

Observe the setting of the infamous "Bamboozled" speech delivered by Malcom X on 125th Street in Harlem in the video below. Take careful note of the signs and banners and tell me if they don't apply to today's situation & what banks/captured regulators have gotten away with today...

A discussion on bank bailouts, bank runs and other fun things to do with your hard earned dollars... Plus a simple solution to prevent such occurrences.

Let there be no mistake, most have been "Bamboozled by the Banking Industry"

If rampant bank bailouts irk you, read this and get ready to SPIT FIRE!!!

10 Ways to say No, the Banks Have Not Paid Back Their Bailout ...

Dipping into the BoomBustBlog archives with "Bank Run" on the brain???...

Bernanke's Bold Bailout Of The Banking Sector Has

Reggie Middleton's REALity TV #2 - Bernanke's Bank Bailouts Blow ...

Bank of America Lynch[ing this] CountryWide's

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Maurice Greenberg, the ousted CEO, Chairman, and founder of AIG who remains a major investor in the company, filed suit in 2011 on behalf of fellow shareholders against the government. He has urged A.I.G. to enjoin which should pressure the government into settlement talks - that is if the powers that be don't start distending the law. NY Times Dealbook looks at it this way:

Should Mr. Greenberg snare a major settlement without A.I.G., the company could face additional lawsuits from other shareholders. Suing the government would not only placate the 87-year-old former chief, but would put A.I.G. in line for a potential payout.

Yet such a move would almost certainly be widely seen as an audacious display of ingratitude. The action would also threaten to inflame tensions in Washington, where the company has become a byword for excessive risk-taking on Wall Street.

Some government officials are already upset with the company for even seriously entertaining the lawsuit, people briefed on the matter said. The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, noted that without the bailout, A.I.G. shareholders would have fared far worse in bankruptcy.

“On the one hand, from a corporate governance perspective, it appears they’re being extra cautious and careful,” said Frank Partnoy, a former banker who is now a professor of law and finance at the University of San Diego School of Law. “On the other hand, it’s a slap in the face to the taxpayer and the government.”

AIG has every right and responsibility to sue the US for excessive interest payments on it's bailout! Yes, the company failed in execution. Yes, the company would have went bust if the government didn't rescue it. But that is besides the point. If the government wanted market forces to reign supreme they would have let AIG collapse. The fact is they didn't. The reason is because the government was bailing out the banks, namely the most politically connected publicly traded entity in the entire world. The Vampire Squid! Goldman Sachs! As excerpted from the NY Times:

At the end of the American International Group’s annual meeting last month, a shareholder approached the microphone with a question for Robert Benmosche, the insurer’s chief executive. “I’d like to know, what does A.I.G. plan to do with Goldman Sachs?” he asked. “Are you going to get — recoup — some of our money that was given to them?

As a condition of AIG's bailout, the government "insisted" on paying Goldman et. al. 100 cents on the dollar of its CDS written with AIG, something that wouldn't have been necessary if Goldman had prudently underwritten counterparty and credit risks that it was taking. Apparently, the US government believes that it didn't. In addition, it's somethng that wouldn't have been possible if the government didn't intervene on behalf of the banks, forcing the AIG shareholders to take a hit, but shielding the Goldman, et. al. shareholders. As my grandma used to tell me, what's good for the goose is good for the gander! It's not as if these credit/counterparty risks were invisible, I saw them as far back as early 2008 - reference I won't say I told you so, again. This page also happened to of shown the credit risk concentration of every bank granted a reprieve by the government after the fact. As a matter of fact, there's still more than a modicum of risk present, as clearly illustrated in...

Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?  

Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?

Welcome to part two of my series on Hunting the Squid, the overvaluation and under-appreciation of the risks that is Goldman Sachs. Since this highly analytical, but poignant diatribe covers a lot of material, it's imperative that those who have not done so review part 1 of this series, I'm Hunting Big Game Today:The Squid On The Spear Tip, Part...

 

Hunting the Squid, part 4: So, What Else Can Go Wrong With The Squid? Plenty!!!Hunting the Squid, part 4: So, What Else Can Go Wrong With The Squid? Plenty!!!  

Hunting the Squid, part 4: So, What Else Can Go Wrong With Goldman Sachs? Plenty!

Yes, this more of the hardest hitting investment banking research available focusing on Goldman Sachs (the Squid), but before you go on, be sure you have read parts 1.2. and 3:  I'm Hunting Big Game Today:The Squid On A Spear Tip, Part 1 & Introduction Hunting the Squid, Part2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To...

Now, AIG's shareholders are being forced to finance the bailout of Goldman Sachs. To not combat that should open AIG management up to shareholder lawsuits, for they are not acting as a fiduciary of the shareholder capital if they let this slide. It's one thing to pay for the AIG bailout, but its another to pay for the Goldman bailout. In addition, this forced bailout that refused to force AIG creditors not to take haircuts runs counter to the ideology the government used when it forced the Chrysler's creditor's to take massive haircuts.

When the government began rescuing it from collapse in the fall of 2008 with what has become a $182 billion lifeline, A.I.G. was required to forfeit its right to sue several banks — including Goldman, Société GénéraleDeutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch — over any irregularities with most of the mortgage securities it insured in the precrisis years.

But after the Securities and Exchange Commission’s civil fraud suit filed in April against Goldman for possibly misrepresenting a mortgage deal to investors, A.I.G. executives and shareholders are asking whether A.I.G. may have been misled by Goldman into insuring mortgage deals that the bank and others may have known were flawed.

The anger here should be directed at Goldman, et. al., and not AIG. AIG's management is doing its job, something that our government officials failed to do in making Goldman, et. al. whole during the bailout. Can anyone say regulatory capture?  Goldman et. al.'s transgressions against its clients and counterparties in terms of misrepresentation and what appears to this lay person as outright fraud have been downright egregious, as clearly articulated in Goldman Sachs Executive Director Corroborates Reggie Middleton's Stance: Business Model Designed To Walk Over Clients, it's just that this time, the US taxpayer AND the AIG shareholders are the "Muppets"! The Abacus deal was particularly atrocious, Paulson, Abacus and Goldman Sachs Lawsuit. How about Morgan Stanley's CRE deals on behalf of their so-called clients? Wall Street Real Estate Funds Lose Between 61% to 98% for Their Investors as They Rake in Fees!

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 If Goldman, et. al. were allowed to swim solely at the mercy of the free markets, it (they) would be sinking, Goldman Sachs Latest: Vindicates BoomBustBlog Research ...

... documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts. That decision, say critics of the A.I.G. bailout, has cost taxpayers billions of extra dollars in payments to the banks. It also contrasts with the hard line the White House took in 2009 when it forced Chrysler’s lenders to take losses when the government bailed out the auto giant.

Regulatory capture! Banks simply lobby harder and pay more to the government than auto companies. How many auto company execs are embedded in government leadership seats worldwide?

As a Congressional commission convenes hearings Wednesday exploring the A.I.G. bailout and Goldman’s relationship with the insurer, analysts say that the documents suggest that regulators were overly punitive toward A.I.G. and overly forgiving of banks during the bailout — signified, they say, by the fact that the legal waiver undermined A.I.G. and its shareholders’ ability to recover damages.

“Even if it turns out that it would be a hard suit to win, just the gesture of requiring A.I.G. to scrap its ability to sue is outrageous,” said David Skeel, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “The defense may be that the banking system was in trouble, and we couldn’t afford to destabilize it anymore, but that just strikes me as really going overboard.”

“This really suggests they had myopia and they were looking at it entirely through the perspective of the banks,” Mr. Skeel said.

Nahh? It's called the Federal Reserve Bank, not the Federal Reserve Insurer, nor the Federal Reserve Taxpayer! Who the hell do you think they will back in a crunch?

About $46 billion of the taxpayer money in the A.I.G. bailout was used to pay to mortgage trading partners like Goldman and Société Générale, a French bank, to make good on their claims. The banks are not expected to return any of that money, leading the Congressional Research Service to say in March that much of the taxpayer money ultimately bailed out the banks, not A.I.G.

Of which the interest of about 50% of which should be refunded to AIG shareholders. Without the AIG bailout, these banks would have recieved ZILCH, NOTHING, NADA, Bull Sh1t!

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I recently recieved this email and thought it may spark conversation if I posted it to the general site.

I had some general finance questions about CA's massive debt. 

I read that CA issued 55 billion in new debt in the 10-11 year, I'm assuming much of this new debt are CABs (capital appreciation bonds) as CA can't really spend a dime more on any new debt as we're not paying our existing debt. 

Who is buying this "unserviced" debt and are they taking a 20-30 year "call bet" on the assets and collecting NO interest?  
Or are investors & funds booking "fictional interest gains" from CA's unpaid debt? (later to be written off)

If the "investors" of CA's CAB debt are getting interest, from whom are they getting the interest?

And do the payers of that interest get preference in claims over the bond holders?  
Other CA debt, CALPERS & the City of San Bernardino seem to be rewriting federal bankruptcy law avoiding the inevitable (default) I don't think bond holders will ever get their money back (except from their insurer LOL)
Water district debt, are you following the Central Basin Water district scene in LA County? 
Some cities made some uncompensated water withdraws (over $100,000,000.00 worth) from the "community water bank" unlike fiat currency banks water banks can't "cook the books", if you don't keep the water bank's "minimum funding standards" with real water (as opposed to certificates of water) the aquifer gets ruined with saltwater forever.
Now the aquifer is low, needs refilling, and the people that drained it are broke.

And on that note, from two and a half years ago as reported by the Wall Street Journal:

Stanford's Institute for Economic Policy Research released a study suggesting a more than $500 billion unfunded liability for California's three biggest pension funds—Calpers, Calstrs and the University of California Retirement System. The shortfall is about six times the size of this year's California state budget and seven times more than the outstanding voter-approved general obligations bonds. The pension funds responsible for the time bombs denounced the report. Calstrs CEO Jack Ehnes declared at a board meeting that "most people would give [this study] a letter grade of 'F' for quality" but "since it bears the brand of Stanford, it clearly ripples out there quite a bit." He called its assumptions "faulty," its research "shoddy" and its conclusions "political." Calpers chief Joseph Dear wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that the study is "fundamentally flawed" because it "uses a controversial method that is out of step with governmental accounting standards."

Now let's take a closer look at that.

The Stanford study uses what's called a "risk-free" 4.14% discount rate, which is tied to 10-year Treasury bonds. The Financial Accounting Standards Board requirescorporate pensions to use a risk-free rate, but the Government Accounting Standards Board allows public pension funds to discount pension liabilities at their expected rate of return, which the pension funds determine. Calstrs assumes a rate of return of 8%, Calpers 7.75% and the UC fund 7.5%. But the CEO of the global investment management firm BlackRock Inc., Laurence Fink, says Calpers would be lucky to earn 6% on its portfolio. A 5% return is more realistic

Two years later... CalSTRS posts 1.8% return on investment:

West Sacramento-based California State Teachers’ Retirement System reported a low return rate of 1.8 percent on Friday. The public pension plan was considerably below its assumed rate of return of 7.5 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to CalSTRS. In comparison, it ended the 2010-2011 fiscal year with a 23.1 percent investment return.

The three-year return is 12.0 percent. CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes said in a statement. He said that investments alone can’t return the pension fund to solid footing, and that the government needs to enact a plan to increase contributions. Christopher Ailman, CalSTRS chief investment officer, said the slowing economy has hit long-term investors such as the public pension fund through instability in Europe and slowing global growth. CalSTRS predicts a 0.3 percent of return over five years, 6.5 percent over 10 years and 7.5 percent over 20 years.

Feel free to comment freely below.

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While perusing the news today, I came across this most interesting article in Bloomberg, Swaps ‘Armageddon’ Lingers as New Rules Concentrate Risk'. Before we delve into it, I want to review how vehemently I've sounded the alarm on this topic over the last 6 years. Let's start with So, When Does 3+5=4? When You Aggregate A Bunch Of Risky Banks & Then Pretend That You Didn't?, where I've aggregated my warnings into a single article. In a nutshell, 5 banks bear 96% of the global derivatives risk. The argument to defend such ass backwards risk concentration is "but it's mostly hedged, offset and netted out". Right! You know that old trader's saying about liquidity? It's always available, that is until you need it!

Even though I've made this point of netting = nonsense multiple times, I must admit, ZH did a more loquacious job, as follows:

..Wrong. The problem with bilateral netting is that it is based on one massively flawed assumption, namely that in an orderly collapse all derivative contracts will be honored by the issuing bank (in this case the company that has sold the protection, and which the buyer of protection hopes will offset the protection it in turn has sold). The best example of how the flaw behind bilateral netting almost destroyed the system is AIG: the insurance company was hours away from making trillions of derivative contracts worthless if it were to implode, leaving all those who had bought protection from the firm worthless, a contingency only Goldman hedged by buying protection on AIG. And while the argument can further be extended that in bankruptcy a perfectly netted bankrupt entity would make someone else who on claims they have written, this is not true, as the bankrupt estate will pursue 100 cent recovery on its claims even under Chapter 11, while claims the estate had written end up as General Unsecured Claims which as Lehman has demonstrated will collect 20 cents on the dollar if they are lucky.

The point of this detour being that if any of these four banks fails, the repercussions would be disastrous. And no, Frank Dodd's bank "resolution" provision would do absolutely nothing to prevent an epic systemic collapse. 

Hey, there ain't no concentration risk in US banks, and any blogger with two synapses to spark together should know this... From An Independent Look into JP Morgan.

Click graph to enlarge

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Cute graphic above, eh? There is plenty of this in the public preview. When considering the staggering level of derivatives employed by JPM, it is frightening to even consider the fact that the quality of JPM's derivative exposure is even worse than Bear Stearns and Lehman‘s derivative portfolio just prior to their fall. Total net derivative exposure rated below BBB and below for JP Morgan currently stands at 35.4% while the same stood at 17.0% for Bear Stearns (February 2008) and 9.2% for Lehman (May 2008). We all know what happened to Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, don't we??? I warned all about Bear Stearns (Is this the Breaking of the Bear?: On Sunday, 27 January 2008) and Lehman ("Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?": On February 20th, 2008) months before their collapse by taking a close, unbiased look at their balance sheet. Both of these companies were rated investment grade at the time, just like "you know who".

So, the Bloomberg article that got this rant started basically says that the risk is being shifted from the banks to clearing houses, who demand above board, translucent collateral for transactions. This should solve the problem, right? Hardly! You see, the Fed and US banking regulators have made it legal and acceptable for banks to outright lie about the qualit of their collateral and the condition of their finances. It all came to light with my research on Lehman (and Bear Stearns, amonst others). These mistakes are so repetitive of the ones made in the past, I literally do not have to right any new material, let's just re-read what was written several years ago:

Lehman Brothers and Its Regulators Deal the Ultimate Blow to Mark to Market Opponents

Let's get something straight right off the bat. We all know there is a certain level of fraud sleight of hand in the financial industry. I have called many banks insolvent in the past. Some have pooh-poohed these proclamations, while others have looked in wonder, saying "How the hell did he know that?"

The list above is a small, relevant sampling of at least dozens of similar calls. Trust me, dear reader, what some may see as divine premonition is nothing of the sort. It is definitely not a sign of superior ability, insider info, or heavenly intellect. I would love to consider myself a hyper-intellectual, but alas, it just ain't so and I'm not going to lie to you. The truth of the matter is I sniffed these incongruencies out because 2+2 never did equal 46, and it probably never will either. An objective look at each and every one of these situations shows that none of them added up. In each case, there was someone (or a lot of people) trying to get you to believe that 2=2=46.xxx. They justified it with theses that they alleged were too complicated for the average man to understand (and in business, if that is true, then it is probably just too complicated to work in the long run as well). They pronounced bold new eras, stating "This time is different", "There is a new math" (as if there was something wrong with the old math), etc. and so on and associated bullshit.

So, the question remains, why is it that a lowly blogger and small time individual investor with a skeleton staff of analysts can uncover systemic risks, frauds and insolvencies at a level that it appears the SEC hasn't even gleaned as of yet? Two words, "Regulatory Capture". You see, and as I reluctantly admitted, it is not that I am so smart, it is that the regulator's goals are not the same as mine. My efforts are designed to ferret out the truth for enlightenment, profit and gain. Regulators' goals are to serve a myriad constituency that does not necessarily have the individual tax payer at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Before we go on, let me excerpt from a piece that I wrote on the topic at hand so we are all on the same page: How Regulatory Capture Turns Doo Doo Deadly.

You see, the banking industry lobbied the regulators to allow them to lie about the value and quality of their assets and liabilities and just like that, the banking problem was solved. Literally! At least from a equity market pricing and public disinformation campaign point of view...

A picture is worth a thousand words...

fasb_mark_to_market_chart.pngfasb_mark_to_market_chart.pngfasb_mark_to_market_chart.png

So, how does this play into today's big headlines in the alternative, grass roots media? Well, on the front page of the Huffington Post and ZeroHedge, we have a damning expose of Lehman Brothers (we told you this in the first quarter of 2008, though), detailing their use of REPO 105 financing to basically lie about their
liquidity positions and solvency. The most damning and most interesting tidbit lies within a more obscure ZeroHedge article that details findings from the recently released Lehman papers, though:

On September 11, JPMorgan executives met to discuss significant valuation problems with securities that Lehman had posted as collateral over the summer. JPMorgan concluded that the collateral was not worth nearly what Lehman had claimed it was worth, and decided to request an additional $5 billion in cash collateral from Lehman that day. The request was communicated in an executive?level phone call, and Lehman posted $5 billion in cash to JPMorgan by the afternoon of Friday, September 12. Around the same time, JPMorgan learned that a security known as Fenway, which Lehman had posted to JPMorgan at a stated value of $3 billion,was actually asset?backed commercial paper credit?enhanced by Lehman (that is, it was Lehman, rather than a third party, that effectively guaranteed principal and interest payments). JPMorgan concluded that Fenway was worth practically nothing as collateral.

Well, I'm sure many are saying that this couldn't happen in this day and age, post Lehman debacle, right? Well, it happened in 2007 with GGP and I called it -  The Commercial Real Estate Crash Cometh, and I know who is leading the way! As a matter of fact, we all know it happened many times throughout that period. Wait a minute, it's now nearly 2013, and lo and behold.... When A REIT Trading Over $15 A Share Is Shown To Have Nearly All Of Its Properties UNDERWATER!!!

Paid subscribers are welcome to download the corporate level valuation of PEI as well as all of the summary stats of our findings on its various properties. The spreadsheet can be found here - File Icon Results of Properties Analysis, Valuation of PEI with Lenders' Names. In putting a realistic valuation on PEI, we independently valued a sampling of 27 of its properties. We found that many if not most of those properties were actually underwater. Most of those that weren't underwater were mortgaged under a separate credit facility.   

PEI Underwater  Overly Encumbered Properties

What are the chances that the properties, whole loans and MBS being pledged by PEI's creditors are being pledged at par? Back to the future, it's the same old thing all over again. Like those banks, PEI is trading higher with its public equity despite the fact that its private equity values are clearly underwater - all part of the perks of not having to truly mark assets to market prices.  

 From Bloomberg: Swaps ‘Armageddon’ Lingers as New Rules Concentrate Risk

Clearinghouses cut risk by collecting collateral at the start of each transaction, monitoring daily price moves and making traders put up more cash as losses occur. Traders have to deal through clearing members, typically the biggest banks and brokerages. Unlike privately traded derivatives, prices for cleared trades are set every day and publicly disclosed.

And what happens when everybody lies about said prices? Is PEI's debt really looking any better than GGP's debt of 2007?

GGP Leverage Summary 2007

Properties with negative equity and leverage >80% 32
Properties with leverage >80% 44
% of properties with negative equity (based on CFAT after debt service) 72.7%

PEI Summary 2012

PEI Underwater  Overly Encumbered Properties

Both of these companies have debt that have been pledged by banks as collateral. Would you trust either of them? The banks then use the collateral to do other deals leading to more bubbles. What's next up in bubble land? I warned of it in 2009...

Check this out, from "On Morgan Stanley's Latest Quarterly Earnings - More Than Meets the Eye???" Monday, 24 May 2010:

Those who don't subscribe should reference my warnings of the concentration and reliance on FICC revenues (foreign exchange, currencies, and fixed income trading).  Morgan Stanley's exposure to this as well as what I have illustrated in full detail via the  the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis series, has increased materially. As excerpted from "The Next Step in the Bank Implosion Cycle???":

The amount of bubbliciousness, overvaluation and risk in the market is outrageous, particularly considering the fact that we haven't even come close to deflating the bubble from earlier this year and last year! Even more alarming is some of the largest banks in the world, and some of the most respected (and disrespected) banks are heavily leveraged into this trade one way or the other. The alleged swap hedges that these guys allegedly have will be put to the test, and put to the test relatively soon. As I have alleged in previous posts (As the markets climb on top of one big, incestuous pool of concentrated risk... ), you cannot truly hedge multi-billion risks in a closed circle of only 4 counterparties, all of whom are in the same businesses taking the same risks.

Click to expand!

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So, How are Banks Entangled in the Mother of All Carry Trades?

Trading revenues for U.S Commercial banks have witnessed robust growth since 4Q08 on back of higher (although of late declining) bid-ask spreads and fewer write-downs on investment portfolios. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, commercial banks' reported trading revenues rose to a record $5.2 bn in 2Q09, which is extreme (to say the least) compared to $1.6 bn in 2Q08 and average of $802 mn in past 8 quarters.

bank_trading_revenue.pngbank_trading_revenue.png

High dependency on Forex and interest rate contracts

Continued growth in trading revenues on back of growth in overall derivative contracts, (especially for interest rate and foreign exchange contracts) has raised doubt on the sustainability of revenues over hear at the BoomBustBlog analyst lab. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, notional amount of derivatives contracts of U.S Commercial banks grew at a CAGR of 20.5% to $203 trillion by 2Q-09 from $87.9 trillion in 2004 with interest rate contracts and foreign exchange contracts comprising a substantial 84.5% and 7.5% of total notional value of derivatives, respectively. Interest rate contracts have grown at a CAGR of 20.1% to $171.9 trillion between 4Q-04 to 2Q-09 while Forex contracts have grown at a CAGR of 13.4% to $15.2 trillion between 4Q-04 to 2Q-09.

In terms of absolute dollar exposure, JP Morgan has the largest exposure towards both Interest rate and Forex contracts with notional value of interest rate contracts at $64.6 trillion and Forex contracts at $6.2 trillion exposing itself to volatile changes in both interest rates and currency movements (non-subscribers should reference An Independent Look into JP Morgan, while subscribers should referenceFile Icon JPM Report (Subscription-only) Final - Professional, and File Icon JPM Forensic Report (Subscription-only) Final- Retail). However, Goldman Sachs with interest rate contracts to total assets at 318.x and Forex contracts to total assets at 11.2x has the largest relative exposure (see Goldman Sachs Q2 2009 Pre-announcement opinion Goldman Sachs Q2 2009 Pre-announcement opinion 2009-07-13 00:08:57 920.92 Kb,  Goldman Sachs Stress Test ProfessionalGoldman Sachs Stress Test Professional 2009-04-20 10:06:45 4.04 MbGoldman Sachs Stress Test Retail Goldman Sachs Stress Test Retail 2009-04-20 10:08:06 720.25 Kb,). As subscribers can see from the afore-linked analysis, Goldman is trading at an extreme premium from a risk adjusted book value perspective.

bank_forex_exposure.pngbank_forex_exposure.png


Back to the Bloomberg article:

Disaster Scenario

The need for a Fed rescue isn’t out of the question, said Satyajit Das, a former Citicorp and Merrill Lynch & Co. executive who has written books on derivatives. Das sketched a scenario where a large trader fails to make a margin call. This kindles rumors that a bank handling the trader’s transactions -- a clearing member -- is short on cash.

Remaining clients rush to pull their trading accounts and cash, forcing the lender into bankruptcy. Questions begin to swirl about whether the remaining clearing members can absorb billions in losses, spurring more runs.

“Bank customers panic, and they start to withdraw money,” he said. “The amount of money needed starts to become problematic. None of this is quantifiable in advance.” The collateral put up by traders and default fund sizes are calculated using data that might not hold up, he said.

The collateral varies by product and clearinghouse. At CME, the collateral or “margin” for a 10-year interest-rate swap ranges between 2.89 percent and 4.06 percent of the trade’s notional value, according to Morgan Stanley. At LCH, it’s 3.2 percent to 3.41 percent, the bank said in a November note.

How Much?

The number typically is based on “value-at-risk,” and is calculated to cover the losses a trader might suffer with a 99 percent level of confidence. That means the biggest losses might not be fully covered.

It’s a formula like the one JPMorgan used and botched earlier this year in the so-called London Whale episode, when it miscalculated how much risk its chief investment office was taking and lost at least $6.2 billion on credit-default swaps. Clearinghouses may fall into a similar trap in their margin calculations, the University of Houston’s Pirrong wrote in a research paper in May 2011.

“Levels of margin that appear prudent in normal times may become severely insufficient during periods of market stress,” wrote Pirrong, whose paper was commissioned by an industry trade group.


Oh, but wait a minute? Didn't I clearly outline such a scenario in 2010 for French banks overlevered on Greek and Italian Debt (currently trading at a fractiono of par)? See The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs!

The problem then is the same as the European problem now, leveraging up to buy assets that have dropped precipitously in value and then lying about it until you cannot lie anymore. You see, the lies work on everybody but your counterparties - who actually want to see cash!

 

image012image012

Using this European bank as a proxy for Bear Stearns in January of 2008, the tall stalk represents the liabilities behind Bear's illiquid level 2 and level 3 assets (including the ill fated mortgage products). Equity is destroyed as the assets leveraged through the use of these liabilities are nearly halved in value, leaving mostly liabilities. The maroon stalk represents the extreme risk displayed in the first chart in this missive, and that is the excessive reliance on very short term liabilities to fund very long term and illiquid assets that have depreciated in price. Wait, there's more!

The green represents the unseen canary in the coal mine, and the reason why Bear Stearns and Lehman ultimately collapsed. As excerpted from "The Fuel Behind Institutional “Runs on the Bank" Burns Through Europe, Lehman-Style":

The modern central banking system has proven resilient enough to fortify banks against depositor runs, as was recently exemplified in the recent depositor runs on UK, Irish, Portuguese and Greek banks – most of which received relatively little fanfare. Where the risk truly lies in today’s fiat/fractional reserve banking system is the run on counterparties. Today’s global fractional reserve bank get’s more financing from institutional counterparties than any other source save its short term depositors.  In cases of the perception of extreme risk, these counterparties are prone to pull funding are request overcollateralization for said funding. This is what precipitated the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, the pulling of liquidity by skittish counterparties, and the excessive capital/collateralization calls by other counterparties. Keep in mind that as some counterparties and/or depositors pull liquidity, covenants are tripped that often demand additional capital/collateral/ liquidity be put up by the remaining counterparties, thus daisy-chaining into a modern day run on the bank!

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I'm sure many of you may be asking yourselves, "Well, how likely is this counterparty run to happen today? You know, with the full, unbridled printing press power of the ECB, and all..." Well, don't bet the farm on overconfidence. The risk of a capital haircut for European banks with exposure to sovereign debt of fiscally challenged nations is inevitable.

You see, the risk is all about velocity and confidence. If the market moves gradually, the clearing house system is ok. If it moves violently and all participants move for cash at the same time against bogus collateral... BOOMMMM!!!!!!!

Back to the Bloomberg article...

Stress Levels

What’s more, clearinghouses can’t use their entire hoard of collateral to extinguish a crisis because it’s not a general emergency fund. The sum represents cash posted by investors to cover their own trades and can’t be used to cover defaults of other people.

Clearinghouses can turn to default funds to cover the collapse of the two largest banks or securities firms with which they do business. They have the power to assess the remaining solvent members for billions more, enough to cover the demise of their third- and fourth-largest members.

But wait a minute, the other members are only solvent because they have hedges against the insolvency of the insolvent members. If those hedges fail, then the so-called solvent members are insolvent too! Or did nobody else think of that?

After all, this circular reasoning worked out very well for Greece, didn't it? See Greece's Circular Reasoning Challenge Moves From BoomBustBlog to the Mainstream...

 

 


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