Friday, February 27, 2009

Roubini The Case For and Against Bank Nationalization

These paragraphs were extracted from Nouriel Roubini's GlobalEconoMonitor. The article contains a discussion of insolvency and the Pros and Cons of nationalization. Must reading for the well informed.
As an example, consider the poster child for the “freebie” programs, the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, started in late November of 2008. For a cost of 0.75%, it allows banks to issue bonds backed by the government, i.e., essentially risk free. The banks have accessed this market 97 times for $190 billion!

The biggest pig at the trough - Bank of America 11 times for $35.5 billion. But close behind, JP Morgan at $30 billion, GE Capital $27 billion, Citigroup $24 billion, Morgan Stanley $19 billion, Goldman Sachs $19 billion and Wells Fargo $6 billion. A not so surprising correlation with their respective writedowns (including merged entities), Bank of America $96 billion, JP Morgan $75 billion, Citigroup $88 billion, Morgan Stanley $22 billion, Goldman Sachs $7 billion and Wells Fargo $115 billion.

In terms of helping us move forward out of the financial crisis, this program has many problems. It charges the same amount for each institution, so it hardly separates the solvent from the insolvent institutions. It charges a fee which is grossly below what these institutions could issue in the marketplace given their current balance sheets, distorting the system. Wasn’t this the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac problem? And it makes it less likely to cleanse the system of the toxic assets because these institutions can continue their way out-of-the-money option and hope that the prices of the toxic assets increase. In effect, the access to this capital allows them to continue to make the original bet.

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Bob DeMarco is a citizen journalist, blogger, and Caregiver. In addition to being an experienced writer he taught at the University of Georgia , managed on Wall Street at Bear Stearns, was CEO of IP Group, and is a mentor. Bob currently resides in Delray Beach, FL where he cares for his mother, Dorothy, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Bob has written more than 500 articles with more than 11,000 links to his work on the Internet. His content has been syndicated on Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Pluck, BlogCritics, and a growing list of newspaper websites (15). Bob is actively seeking writing assignments and syndication.

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