This is the begging-for-the-overthrow-of-a-corrupt-status-quo economy we have thanks to the Federal Reserve giving the J. P. Morgans and Jamie Dimons of the world the means to skim and scam the bottom 95%. Dear Jamie Dimon: quick quiz: which words/phrases are associated with you and your employer, J. P. Morgan? Looting, pillage, rapacious, exploitive, only saved from collapse by massive intervention by the Federal Reserve, the source of rising wealth inequality, crony capitalism, privatized profits-socialized losses, low interest rates = gift from savers to banks, bloviating overpaid C. E. O., propaganda favoring the financial elite, tool of the top .01%, destroyer of democracy, financial fraud goes unpunished, free money for financiers, debt-serfdom, produces nothing of value to society or the bottom 99.5%. Jamie, if you answered “all of them,” you’re correct. The only reason you have a soapbox from which you can bloviate is the central bank (Federal Reserve) saved you and your neofeudal looting machine (bank) from well-deserved oblivion in 2008-09, and the unprecedented, co-ordinated campaign by global central banks to buy trillions of dollars of bonds and stocks.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Confounded Interest. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. Bloomberg has nice piece on the battle between JPMorganChase’s Jamie Dimon and the Minneapolis Fed’s Neel Kashkari. (Bloomberg) Jamie Dimon is America’s most famous banker, and Neel Kashkari is its most outspoken bank regulator, so it’s not a shock that they would eventually come to blows. What’s interesting is that their contretemps is over an acronym that most Americans have never heard of, but one that may be central to preventing another recession. TLAC, which is pronounced TEE-lack, is something you need to know about if you want to judge the sparring between Dimon, the well-coiffed chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Kashkari, the very bald man who ran for governor of California on the Republican ticket and is now president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. On April 6, Kashkari went after Dimon in a way that circumspect central bankers ordinarily don’t. In an essay published on Medium and republished on the Minneapolis Fed website, he challenged Dimon’s assertion in his annual letter to shareholders that 1) there’s no longer a risk that taxpayers will be stuck with the bill if a big bank fails, and 2) banks have too much capital (meaning an unnecessarily thick safety cushion). Wrote Kashkari: ‘Both of these assertions are demonstrably false.’
It’s more than a coincidence that at a time when the two leading candidates for the highest office in the United States are considered untrustworthy by tens of millions of their fellow citizens, the industry that has perpetually attempted to stack the political deck in Washington has also lost the trust of a majority of Americans. This feels to many like having Wall Street’s one percent at the rudder for the past two decades has finally steered the ship of state into a toxic sink hole that is devouring the credibility of the United States at home and abroad. Wall Street’s image has fallen so low that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is holding an annual ‘Reforming Culture and Behavior in the Financial Services Industry’ conference. That New York Fed President Bill Dudley is heading up this conference shows just how hopelessly lost Wall Street really is. (Dudley is the guy who didn’t see a problem with his wife collecting $190,000 annually from JPMorgan Chase while Dudley supervised the bank. The New York Fed is also the place that allowed JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon to continue to sit on its Board as JPMorgan was being investigated by the Fed for losing over $6 billion in depositors’ money in the London Whale derivatives fiasco. And Dudley is also the guy that allowed the firing of one of his own bank examiners, Carmen Segarra, after she filed a negative examination of Goldman Sachs. Segarra filed a Federal lawsuit charging that she was fired in retaliation for refusing to change her examination report. The portrait of the New York Fed as a crony regulator under Dudley was dramatically broadened in 2014 when ProPublica and public radio’s This American Life released internal tape recordings Segarra had made inside the New York Fed showing a lap dog regulator cowering before a powerful Wall Street firm.)
THE most dramatic moment of the global financial crisis of the late 2000s was the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15th 2008. The point at which the drama became inevitable, though – the crossroads on the way to Thebes – came two years earlier, in the summer of 2006. That August house prices in America, which had been rising almost without interruption for as long as anyone could remember, began to fall – a fall that went on for 31 months (see chart 1). In early 2007 mortgage defaults spiked and a mounting panic gripped Wall Street. The money markets dried up as banks became too scared to lend to each other. The lenders with the largest losses and smallest capital buffers began to topple. Thebes fell to the plague. Ten years on, and America’s banks have been remade to withstand such disasters. When Jamie Dimon, the boss of JPMorgan Chase, talks of its ‘fortress’ balance-sheet, he has a point. The banking industry’s core capital is now $1.2 trillion, more than double its pre-crisis level. In order to grind out enough profits to satisfy their shareholders, banks have slashed costs and increased prices; their return on equity has edged back towards 10%. America’s lenders are still widely despised, but they are now in reasonable shape: highly capitalised, fairly profitable, in private hands and subject to market discipline. The trouble is that, in America, the banks are only part of the picture. There is a huge, parallel structure that exists outside the banks and which creates almost as much credit as they do: the mortgage system. In stark contrast to the banks it is very badly capitalised (see chart 2). It is also barely profitable, largely nationalised and subject to administrative control.
In an op-ed originally posted by Jamie Dimon in the NYT, the JPM CEO explains that what is plaguing the US is not anger at bailed out banks, some of which like HSBC were confirmed to have been “too big to prosecute” and hatred of crony capitalism which has bailed out banks like, oops, JPMorgan, and is instead mostly due to “wage stagnation and income inequality”, which according to Dimon is due to minimum wage pressures. We kept looking for some additional comments about how the average Wall Street CEOs on average made 124 times the average worker at the banks, but couldn’t find it. Instead we read many words why raising the wage for a tiny subset of JPM workers who still make $10.15 to $12 or even, gasp, $16.50, should fix the US. * * * Jamie Dimon: Why We’re Giving Our Employees a Raise WAGE stagnation. Income inequality. A lack of quality education. Insufficient training and skills development. Issues like these have led approximately two-thirds of Americans to believe that the next generation will be worse off than the last. And it is true that too many people are not getting a fair opportunity to get ahead. We must find ways to help them move up the economic ladder, and everyone – business, government and nonprofits – needs to play a role.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 12, 2016.
A little noticed 2008 email from former Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, raises serious questions about his official narrative on the collapse of Lehman Brothers. We’ll get to the email in detail, but first some necessary background. A lot of eyes rolled on Wall Street last October when Ben Bernanke, who chaired the Federal Reserve in the lead up to and during the financial collapse in 2008, released his memoir of the financial crisis with the title: ‘The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and its Aftermath.’ Many Wall Street observers felt the title would have more correctly captured the facts on the ground had it read: ‘The Lack of Fed Courage to Supervise Mega Banks Led to an Epic Collapse.’ (In the leadup to the crisis, the Fed allowed Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill and JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, to sit on the Board of its Federal Reserve Bank of New York, among numerous other conflicts of interest.) Throughout his memoir, including Chapter 12 titled ‘Lehman: The Dam Breaks,’ Bernanke goes to great pains to paint a portrait of the Fed and himself as being intensely on top of the situation at Lehman Brothers from March 2008 forward, following the Bear Stearns collapse and its absorption by JPMorgan Chase.
Under the auspices of “protecting clients from criminal activity,” JPMorgan Chase has decided to impose capital controls on . As WSJ reports, following the bank’s ATM modification to enable $100-bills to be dispensed with no limit, some customers started pulling out tens of thousands of dollars at a time. This apparent bank run has prompted Jamie Dimon to cap ATM withdrawals at $1,000 per card daily for non-customers. Most large U. S. banks, including Chase, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. have been rolling out new ATMs, sometimes known as eATMs, which perform more services akin to tellers. That includes allowing customers to withdraw different dollar denominations than the usual $20, typically ranging from $1 to $100. The efforts run counter to recent calls to phase out large bills such as the $100 bill or the 500 note ($569) to discourage corruption while putting up hurdles for tax evaders, terrorists, drug dealers and human traffickers.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 04/04/2016.
What do Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, James Gorman, John Thain, Jimmy Cayne, and any of the revolving door of AIG CEO’s have in common? Three things come to mind rather quickly: 1) All were financial executives during the 2008 global financial crisis. 2) All of their firms received massive public bailouts. 3) None of them went to jail for their firm’s involvement in said crisis. As a matter of fact, most are still plugged in somewhere on Wall Street, presumably helping to facilitate the next great financial crisis. While everyday Americans were (and still are) quite disgusted with the fact that absolutely nobody was actually held accountable for the creation of the financial crisis, it’s safe to say that most have given up hope that anyone will be convicted. As a matter of fact, US Attorney General Eric Holder once said thatbanks are so large that it would be difficult to prosecute anyone. That’s nice. Enter Iceland, a small country of roughly 330,000 residents, where as Bloomberg reports, bank executives are actively being prosecuted and sent to jail for their negligent actions. Unlike the jellyfish in the US, Iceland appointed Olafur Hauksson as special prosecutor to investigate bankers and their roles in the financial crisis. The result? 26 convictions of bankers and financiers since 2010. In upholding the convictions, Iceland’s Supreme Court said that actions were ‘thoroughly planned’, and ‘committed with concentrated intent’ – refreshingly different than Holder’s let’s just let them get away with it because it’s hard to figure out verbiage.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 04/03/2016 –.
In a feeble public relations move, Bill Dudley, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and FINRA, the self-regulatory body on Wall Street, are making noises about cleaning up the culture on Wall Street. It’s always dangerous to make any predictions when it comes to Wall Street but in this case we can confidently predict that when it comes to the New York Fed and FINRA, the only possible impact they could have on the culture is to make it worse. The New York Fed didn’t see a problem for Bill Dudley’s spouse to collect $190,000 a year in deferred compensation from JPMorgan Chase while the New York Fed served as the bank’s main regulator. The New York Fed didn’t see a problem for Citigroup’s CEO, Sandy Weill, or JPMorgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, to sit on its Board of Directors as their banks embarked on a serial reign of abuses against the investing public. In 2013, Carmen Segarra, a lawyer and former Bank Examiner at the New York Fed, filed a lawsuit alleging that Relationship Managers at the New York Fed obstructed her investigation of Goldman Sachs and attempted to bully her into changing her negative findings. When Segarra refused, she was fired by the New York Fed according to the lawsuit. Segarra later produced internal tape recordings backing up the toothless regulation of Goldman by the New York Fed. In 2012, Wall Street On Parade reported on how a Barclays’ bank employee revealed to a Senior Financial Economist at the New York Fed that his bank was not ‘posting um, an honest Libor.’ (Libor is the benchmark interest rate used to set the rates for trillions of dollars of financial products around the globe.) That conversation provided an early window into one of the biggest cartel frauds in history. The conversation occurred in April 2008 and yet no one at the New York Fed saw any reason to alert the U. S. Justice Department that a key interest rate benchmark was being rigged. The New York Fed epitomizes failing up. Timothy Geithner was the President of the New York Fed from November 17, 2003 right through the buildup of unprecedented leverage and toxic subprime assets on Wall Street. He continued in the position until 2009, despite failing to foresee the impending crash or the systemic corruption. As a reward for his negligence as a regulator, President Obama appointed him to become the U. S. Treasury Secretary in 2009, where he proceeded to oversee an unprecedented taxpayer bailout of Wall Street.
The trader at the center of the ‘London Whale’ trading debacle has broken nearly four years of silence by taking aim at former employer J. P. Morgan, saying he was made a scapegoat for trades that were ‘initiated, approved, mandated and monitored’ by senior management. Bruno Iksil also said that he resents the London Whale nickname, which was devised by rival traders to dramatize the size of J. P. Morgan’s JPM, -1.57% bets in corporate debt markets. In a single-spaced letter exceeding three pages and sent to publications including Financial News, Iksil contends the bank and the news media misrepresented his role in the 2012 episode, which led to more than $6 billion in losses for the nation’s largest bank and a handful of personnel changes. ‘For no good reason, I was singled out by the media,’ Iksil writes. The losses represented a stain on the reputation of chief executive Jamie Dimon, who originally dismissed the idea that the bank was at risk of big losses. In part, Iksil’s letter lays out a stance that is consistent with media reporting and facts established by various investigators. Three years ago, a Senate report said J. P. Morgan brushed off internal warnings and misled regulators and investors about the scope of losses on its trades, which occurred in the London operations of a unit called the Chief Investment Office, or CIO.
On May 27, in her first major prosecutorial act as the new U.S. attorney general, Loretta Lynch unsealed a 47-count indictment against nine FIFA officials and another five corporate executives. She was passionate about their wrongdoing. ‘The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,’ she said. ‘Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice.’ Lost in the hoopla surrounding the event was a depressing fact. Lynch and her predecessor, Eric Holder, appear to have turned the page on a more relevant vein of wrongdoing: the profligate and dishonest behavior of Wall Street bankers, traders, and executives in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. How we arrived at a place where Wall Street misdeeds go virtually unpunished while soccer executives in Switzerland get arrested is murky at best. But the legal window for punishing Wall Street bankers for fraudulent actions that contributed to the 2008 crash has just about closed. It seems an apt time to ask: In the biggest picture, what justice has been achieved? Since 2009, 49 financial institutions have paid various government entities and private plaintiffs nearly $190 billion in fines and settlements, according to an analysis by the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. That may seem like a big number, but the money has come from shareholders, not individual bankers. (Settlements were levied on corporations, not specific employees, and paid out as corporate expenses – in some cases, tax-deductible ones.) In early 2014, just weeks after Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, settled out of court with the Justice Department, the bank’s board of directors gave him a 74 percent raise, bringing his salary to $20 million.
The General Accountability Office (GAO) released a sobering study yesterday that looks at how much 55-64 year olds have been able to set aside for retirement. The short answer is: excruciatingly too little. Why that is happening can best be summed up by a headline out this morning at Bloomberg News: Jamie Dimon Becomes Billionaire Ushering in Era of the Megabank. The GAO study found the following: Approximately 55 percent of households age 55-64 in America have less than $25,000 in retirement savings, including 41 percent who have zero. Most of the households in this age group have some other resources or benefits from a Defined Benefit plan, but 27 percent of this age group have neither retirement savings nor a Defined Benefit plan. For the 59 percent of households age 55-64 with some retirement savings, the GAO study estimates that the median amount saved is about $104,000. While about 15 percent of these households have retirement savings amounts over $500,000, 11 percent have retirement savings below $10,000 and 24 percent have savings of less than $25,000. The conclusion to draw from this study is that millions of Americans will never be able to stop working, to enjoy a financially-worry free retirement, to have a nest-egg into their 80s, or even to eat nutritionally balanced meals in retirement because Wall Street’s megabanks that Jamie Dimon concocted with Sandy Weill have eaten America’s lunch – and its future. Occupy Wall Street was right: the megabanks got bailed out; Americans got sold out – and are still being sold out by the self-declared felonious megabanks who have found ever creative ways of siphoning off trillions from the pockets of the working class while paying back pennies on the dollar, courtesy of the revolving-door regulators and sycophants in Congress.