China's Central Bank Eliminates Margin T…

19-01-2017 Hits:347 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

China's Central Bank Eliminates Margin Trading of Bitcoin

There have been rumors that the Chinese Central Bank (PBoC - People's Bank of China) would limit or eliminate margin trading in Bitcoin. It is now official, sort of...

Read more

Is Donald Trump Truly Successful or Born…

18-01-2017 Hits:596 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Is Donald Trump Truly Successful or Born With A Silver Spoon? An Analysis

In social media and mainstream media, I often hear Donald Trump quoted (by himself, and others) as an extremely successful, self-made man. As an entrepreneur for nearly all of my...

Read more

As I Promised, EU Is Colliding Into Prac…

17-01-2017 Hits:961 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

As I Promised, EU Is Colliding Into Practical Confines of NIRP, Bank Hemorrhaging Up Next

Nearly a year ago, I warned subscribers of consequences stemming from the ECB's negative interest rate program. Here's an exceprt from our resarch report titled European Banking Macro Issues for March...

Read more

Is Bitcoin Too Risky? Whenever the Bitco…

12-01-2017 Hits:1603 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Is Bitcoin Too Risky? Whenever the Bitcoin is Mentioned in Financial Pop Media, Ignorance Ensues

I hate to be the one to break bad news to you, but most of the pop media/mainstream media financial pundits that I hear and see opine on bitcoin have...

Read more

What Happens When Rates Rise While the S…

10-01-2017 Hits:1339 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

What Happens When Rates Rise While the S&P 500 Relies on Cheap Credit To Boost EPS?

So, the stock market, bond market and real estate markets are all at all-time highs. Everything is Awesome! You know better than that. You see, when the bond market wakes...

Read more

Debt Encumbered Oil, Sovereign Soil, Toi…

10-01-2017 Hits:679 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Debt Encumbered Oil, Sovereign Soil, Toil & Trouble: Can't You Hear Seems Cracking in the OPEC Empire?

@WSJ reports Libya Ramping Up Oil Production, Threatening OPEC (supposed) Plans to lift global oil place by artificially limiting supply. This would be in violation of federal antii-trust laws in the...

Read more

Ten Years Since BoomBustBlog Was 1st Pub…

09-01-2017 Hits:1000 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Ten Years Since BoomBustBlog Was 1st Published & That Initial Research Still Relevant Today

We have looked into insurance companies' performance last month in regards to our bearish real estate thesis. A small comederie of companies are suffering losses and/or declining profits as we've exected....

Read more

The Macro Truth About The Big Bitcoin Po…

07-01-2017 Hits:1182 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Bitcoin has dropped precipitously, and as is usual, we have the cacophony of instant digital currency pundits cackling about as if they had a clue. This is the inaugural post...

Read more

To Bust or Not To Bust: Are We In A Real…

04-01-2017 Hits:845 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

To Bust or Not To Bust: Are We In A Real Estate Bubble?

Banks are showing thin NIM, yet many of the big banks are able to boast stable if not slightly improving credit metrics. This doesn’t make sense considering the explosive growth...

Read more

What Happens To Real Asset Lending Banks…

03-01-2017 Hits:697 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

What Happens To Real Asset Lending Banks When the Real Funding Rate Appears? We're About to Find Out

During the financial crisis of 2008, money market funds who subjectively agreed to hold their NAV (net asset value) unit prices at $1 “broke the buck”. That is, the unit...

Read more

Stress Test on Banks’ Earnings Facing th…

30-06-2014 Hits:44824 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Stress Test on Banks’ Earnings Facing the Veritaseum UltraCoin Value Transaction Platform

My last post on the topic of disintermediation during a paradigm shift was Wall Street Should Be First To Invest In Reggie Middleton's UltraCoin, Much Of It Won't Be Here In...

Read more

Introducing the "Unbreakable Promis…

09-06-2014 Hits:39602 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Introducing the "Unbreakable Promise" As a Method Increasing Efficiencies and Decreasing Risk

Continuing on the margin compression theme originally laid out in Margin Compression Is Coming in the Payment Processing Space As $100 Million Pours Into Startups, I illustrate mathematically how the bit...

Read more

Nouriel Roubini, global macro Uber-Bear, has posted an interesting commentary on his blog - "The delusional complacency that the “worst is behind us” is rapidly melting away…and the risk of another run against systemically important broker dealers" which I am excerpting below with my comments in red: 

The deleveraging process for the financial system has barely started as most of the writedowns have been for subprime mortgages; the writedowns and/or provisioning for the additional losses have barely started. Thus, hundreds of banks in the U.S. are at risk of collapse. The typical small U.S. Bank (with assets less of $4 billion has 67% of its assets related to real estate; for large banks the figure is 48%. Thus, hundreds of small banks will go belly up as the typical local bank financed the housing, the commercial real estate, the retail boom, the office building of communities where housing is now going bust. Even large regional banks massively exposed to real estate in California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and other states with a housing boom and now bust will go belly up. This is true, and the risk is borne not only by the smaller and regional banks, but the big brokers and the entire US economy as well. This is a snapshot from the Asset Securitization Crisis Series - A very significant part of our GDP is now tied up in this mess! In the decade from 1988-1997, residential loans have expanded at a CAGR of 10.1% as compared to 3.5% for commercial loans. However, in the following decade i.e. 1998-2007, residential loans grew at a lower CAGR of 11.2% as compared to 12.4% for commercial loans, mainly because of small and mid-size banks lent more in commercial real estate during the period. Although commercial real estate loans were higher paying, they also bore higher risk in the form of liquidity, valuation, market risk - which affected the risk profile of these banks that were incapable of bearing such a level of complexity in risk in the first place.

  image008.gif

 

Source: FDIC

 

Shift from traditional banking activities

With major opportunities of revenue generation being offered by trading and other investment activities, as well as the lifting of the Glass-Steagal Act in the US (which allowed commercial banks and investment banks to compete directely), banks across the globe shifted from traditional banking activities to other sources of income, leading to better revenue diversification. The ratio of non-interest income to a bank’s total income has more than doubled from 20% in 1980 to approximately 44% in 2006.

  image009.gif

 

Source: FDIC

  Back to the Roubini Excerpt...

 

And even large banks and broker dealers are now at risk. After the bailout of Bear Stearns’ creditor and the extension of lender of last resort liquidity support the tail risk of an immediate financial meltdown was reduced as that liquidity support stopped the run on the shadow banking system. Indeed in March we were an epsilon away from such meltdown as – without the Fed actions – you would have had a run not only on Bear but also on Lehman, JP Morgan, Merrill and most of the shadow banking system. This system of non-banks looked in most ways like banks (borrow short/liquid, leverage a lot and lend longer term and illiquid). So the risk of a bank-like run on non-bank (whose base of uninsured wholesale short term creditors/lenders is much more fickle and run trigger-happy – as the Bear episode showed - than the stable base of insured depositors of banks) became massive. Thus, the Fed made its most radical change of monetary policy since the Great Depression extending both lender of last resort support to non-bank systemically important broker dealers (via the PDCF) and becoming a market maker of last resort to banks and non-banks (via the TAF and the TSLF) to avoid a full scale sudden run on the shadow banking system and a sure meltdown of the financial system.

While the tail risk of such a meltdown has now been reduced the view that systemically important broker dealers - that have now access to the TSLF and the PDCF – now don’t risk a panic-triggered run on their liabilities is false; several of them can still collapse and not be rescued. The reasons are as follows: liquidity support by the Fed is warranted for illiquid but solvent institutions but not for insolvent ones; and the risks that some of the major broker dealers may face is not just of illiquidity but also insolvency (Lehman had as much exposure to toxic MBS, CDOs and other risky assets as Bear did). The Fed already tested the limits of legality (as argued by Volcker) in its bailout of Bear’s creditors.

I have a lot of respect of Professor Roubini's predictive success over the last few years, but he (like most) appear to have not taken a close look at these banker's books. Reference my original research on MS form December of last year. Once it comes to the truly illiquid stuff, Morgan has Bear beat by about 25% and Lehman beat by a large margin as well. As a matter of fact the only one's that come close are the media and Street's golden darling boys, Goldman Sachs. Surprise, Surprise!!! It always pays to go through the numbers. Is GS reyling on risky prop trading to keep up this pristine facade? Curious minds want to know.

The riskiest bank on Wall Street – High exposure to Level 3 assets despite significant write-downs

image001.png

 

Unconsolidated VIEs could aggravate woes

VIEs have tormented most Wall Street financial majors—several of them have had to consolidate their VIEs to increase liquidity and limit losses. These innovative, structured entities were introduced to boost earnings without transferring actual risk into the balance sheets of banks.

Morgan Stanley has significant exposure to VIEs, with the maximum loss ratio averaging roughly 50% in recent years. The large exposure ($37.7 billion in 4Q 07), high loss ratio and adverse market conditions could force the company out of business if its maximum loss assumptions become reality. Morgan Stanley’s unconsolidated VIEs comprise the most troublesome asset categories – MBS & ABS portfolios (worth $6.3 billion), credit & real estate portfolios ($26.6 billion) and some structured finance products ($8.6 billion). Loss exposure in the credit & real estate portfolio is not expected to be lower than 70% considering the slump in housing demand, falling home prices and rising foreclosures. The growing housing inventory across the U.S. has also raised concerns about the disposal of these assets. Home prices across the U.S. declined 7% (on average), while foreclosures increased 20% during the past year alone. This scenario reflects the bleak prospects of the housing industry and the securities linked to it.

 

Unconsolidated VIEs, Exposure to loss (in $ mn) and loss ratio (in %)

 

image004.png

Source: Company data

 

 

And back to Roubini... 

Suppose that a run – triggered by concerns about illiquidity and solvency – occurs against a major broker dealer (say Lehman) would the Fed come to the rescue again? The answer is not sure: such broker dealer has access to the PDCF but sharply borrowing from this facility would signal that the institution may be bleeding liquidity and be in trouble; thus large access to the Fed facility may cause the run on the liabilities of such financial institutions to accelerate rather than ebb. The reason is as follows: if creditors of the broker dealers knew with certainty that the Fed liquidity tab is open and unlimited the existence of the facility would stop the run. But if there is any meaningful probability that the amount that the Fed would be willing to lend to an institutions using that facility is not unlimited and is not unconditional then use of the facility may accelerate the run – as those first in line would have access to the liquidity provided by the Fed lending to the broker dealer in trouble while those waiting may be stuck once the lending stops. This is akin to a currency crisis in a pegged exchange rate regime triggered by a run on the forex reserves of a central bank. Once the reserves are running down and investors expect that the central bank will run out of reserves the run accelerated and the collapse of the peg occurs faster.

I tend not to build too high a concentration in any one position (risk managment guidelines), but I have been allowing certain broker banks to tilt the scale a little. I hear whispers of potential runs, and the logic is there as Dr. Roubini has illustrated and as I have pointed out in earlier posts. This combined with the fact that a couple of these brokers are quite exposed to risk and the media/pundits haves not their homework in regards to exactly who is weak and why portends another Bear Stearns-like catastrophe/profit oppurtunity.