08 May 2009

Financially Farcical Friday

Institutional Risk Analytics is one of the best weekly reads around.

Institutional Risk Analytics

"Washington has indeed fixed the solvency problems of the large zombie banks -- not with additional capital or stress tests, as many of us seem to think. Rather, the banks have been stabilized by turning them into GSEs via FDIC guarantees on their debt. Those banks which can end their dependence on federal guarantees will be the visible winners in the post stress test market, and valuations and spreads will reflect this divergence between zombies and viable private banks.

Seen from this perspective, Chrysler, General Motors and the large banks are GSEs rather than private companies, parestatales as they know them in Mexico. To talk about a rally in the equity of large US financials seems truly ridiculous, at least to us, especially true when you look at how the public sector subsidies being applied to the banks have distorted their financial statements."
"We hear from the Big Media, BTW, that Tim Geithner's growing corps of handlers directs media inquiries to Roubini for "an objective view" of the Secretary's handling of the financial crisis. One Democrat asks: Could it be Larry Summers to the Fed, Roubini to the White House?

And speaking of the fall of the elites, FRBNY Chairman Steve Friedman finally resigned yesterday, ending a scandalous period when the greater community of present and past employees of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and other dealers was arguably in control of the most important arm of the US central bank. (Ending? With Dudley still in place? - Jesse)

The fact that the Board of Governors appointed former GS ibanker Freidman as a "C" class director, who are meant to represent the public interest and not be past officers of regulated banks, was scandal enough. But then, when GS formally became a bank holding company last year, the Board failed to remove Friedman when his conflict became acute. The Board also failed too to appoint another "C" class director, making it almost seem that the Board wanted to assist in the GS operation to influence the operations of a Federal Reserve Bank."

The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, before there can be a sustainable economic recovery.