Archive for April 2009
From here on out you’ll have to figure out what is and isn’t considered inappropriate touching on your own.* Apparently Thursday will be the last day at the House of Mack for at least a handful of employees in the homosapien resources department (particularly those focusing on recruiting).
*For those unsure, perhaps we can start a list below of what’s a-okay and what’s frowned upon. First up– sex with the cleaning lady on your desk. Does this fly with Mr. Mack?
Let the games begin!
Wall Street may be heading for the deepest investigation of its practices since a congressional panel’s probe of abuses following the 1929 stock market crash.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to push for a comprehensive inquiry, saying that three-quarters of Americans want to know what led to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the collapse of Bear Stearns Cos. and Merrill Lynch & Co. She favors one patterned after Senate Banking Committee hearings led by Ferdinand Pecora starting in 1933, according to her spokesman, Nadeam Elshami.
Well, he’s not a banker.
“I’m a lawyer and you’re a banker,” Silvers said at one point during a disagreement over the way the public’s exposure to risk was being presented in a chart.
Geithner interrupted: “I’ve always been in public service,” he said. Silvers went on, “But you were a banker.”
“I’ve never been a banker,” Geithner said.
He’s not a lawyer.
I’m not an attorney, Congressman, so it would be hard for me to say.
He’s not a regulator.
Ron Paul: “Well…any way. Any time a regulator comes in and says you’re guilty of something Why doesn’t the government have to prove he’s guilty? Why can’t we assume…”
Geithner: “Is that a criminal violation… or?”
Ron Paul: “Civil or criminal. Why not? I mean that’s a principle that’s been around for more than 1000 years, at least 800 years.”
Geithner: “I’m not a regulator nor a lawyer unfortunately, so I’m not sure I can give you an adequate answer to that, but I’d be happy to think about it a little bit and get back to you.
So what the hell is he?
Geithner: I’ve Never Been a Banker [The Wall Street Journal]
Yesterday we heard from the “Ex-Mrs. Hedgefunds,” a group of women who haven’t been left by their hedge fund husbands but rather their hedge fund husband’s money, forcing them to cut back (to an extent, though not really at all), due to unprecedented market volatility. Today’s sob story is about a seemingly anonymous “Bailout CEO Wife.”
Reading about the ways this woman has had to demean herself on account of her husband’s firm taking TARP money is almost too much to bear. First off, a new spring wardrobe is out of the question. Second there’s the matter of not looking like she and the husb are lavishly spending after taking taxpayer dollars, meaning they’re forced to show up to black tie events late so as to avoid photographers, and you know how much not having your picture taking has got to hurt. To that end, dining at lavish restaurants every night of the week is out and– and prepare yourselves for this one ’cause it’s really bad– TARP Wife has actually had to start cooking. And, sickeningly, the couple now flies commercial, among the untouchables, i.e. poors, i.e. general public. Above all, TARP Wife’s most important new role is not fucking shit up for her husband worse than he’s already got it, and that means avoiding bad press by keeping hers and their collective head down.
I’m trying to buck him up and not complicate his life. The last thing he needs is unpleasant publicity, so I’m learning to fly so far below the radar that I have perpetually skinned knees.
Which would all be well and good if the wife hadn’t dropped enough hints as to who exactly she and by extension HE is and where he works. Jessica Pressler over at Daily Intel did the math and is pretty sure Mrs. TARP is Liz Peck, wife of Jeffrey Peek, Chairman and CEO of CIT.
Felix Salmon, citing self-evident, points out that repaying the TARP doesn’t seem to be something banks require permission to do:
Subject to consultation with the appropriate Federal banking agency (as that term is defined in section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act), if any, the Secretary shall permit a TARP recipient to repay any assistance previously provided under the TARP to such financial institution, without regard to whether the financial institution has replaced such funds from any other source or to any waiting period, and when such assistance is repaid, the Secretary shall liquidate warrants associated with such assistance at the current market price.
Looking to the FDIA we get:
(q) APPROPRIATE FEDERAL BANKING AGENCY.–The term “appropriate Federal banking agency” means–
(1) the Comptroller of the Currency, in the case of any national banking association, or any Federal branch or agency of a foreign bank;
(2) the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in the case of–
(A) any State member insured bank,
(B) any branch or agency of a foreign bank with respect to any provision of the Federal Reserve Act which is made applicable under the International Banking Act of 1978,
(C) any foreign bank which does not operate an insured branch,
(D) any agency or commercial lending company other than a Federal agency,
(E) supervisory or regulatory proceedings arising from the authority given to the Board of Governors under section 7(c)(1) of the International Banking Act of 1978, including such proceedings under the Financial Institutions Supervisory Act of 1966, and
(F) any bank holding company and any subsidiary of a bank holding company (other than a bank);
(3) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the case of a State nonmember insured bank, or a foreign bank having an insured branch; and
(4) the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision in the case of any savings association or any savings and loan holding company.
Under the rule set forth in this subsection, more than one agency may be an appropriate Federal banking agency with respect to any given institution.
So the “only” real impediment for former investment banks become bank holding companies appears to be the “consultation of” (2) the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. I’m not sure that’s going to be a cakewalk, as there aren’t any particular criteria defining what constitutes “consultation.”
This will get more interesting before it gets boring. Could be that The Safecracker overstepped his bounds.
Can Geithner Stop Banks Withdrawing From TARP? [Felix Salmon]
So remember the modern day DB Cooper wannabe Marcus Schrenker? You know, accused of financial fraud, lept out of his plane with a parachute, found later trying to commit suicide in a tent with a map of campgrounds and notes on what his distress call should say? Turns out, he isn’t detail oriented enough to pull off something like that:
Schrenker told “GMA” that there would be too much planning involved in faking his own death.
“Let’s step back and think about what someone would have to do if they wanted to fake their own death,” Schrenker said in a jailhouse telephone interview with “Good Morning America’s” Chris Cuomo. “They would have to establish a new identity. They would have to have a well-funded bank account, a place where they would live. And I did nothing like that.”
Schrenker, 38, said that he’d survived an actual accident Jan. 11 by parachuting to safety after his plane hit turbulence and the oxygen system began to fail.
Absolutely nothing at the Treasury is fucked. Understand? Nothing is fucked. And, you know what? Screw you for asking too.
“We have the resources to move forward implementing all aspects of our Financial Stability Plan,” Geithner said in a letter to the panel overseeing the bailout.
In fact, with the implementation of all aspects of the Financial Stability Plan using the resources allocated to move forward that we have, we will be leveraging said resources according to per usual best practices unless unforeseen fluid developments materialize and challenge liquidity. (i.e. Greenspan he’s not).
Treasury doesn’t need more bailout money: Geithner [Reuters]
Highlighting the depth of the pain, Caterpillar set an unpleasant record today.
Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest maker of bulldozers and excavators, posted its first quarterly net loss in 16 years and said full-year profit and sales will trail its previous forecast amid a global recession.
The first-quarter net loss of $112 million, or 19 cents a share, compares with net income of $922 million, or $1.45, a year earlier, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said in a statement today. Revenue fell 22 percent to $9.23 billion.
This is worrisome. Caterpillar is in some sense a bellwether firm with very long cycles. Any extended weakness here is suggestive, at least to the extent anything is anymore, of longer-term headaches. Caterpillar benefited disproportionately from the cheap global credit that financed many global Caterpillar customers into shiny new development programs and Caterpillar gear. Now that the party is over it may be a long wait before things return to “agri-normal.”
Caterpillar Has First Loss in 16 Years, Cuts Forecast [Bloomberg]
If you’re reading this, it means that I was actually granted admittance to this thing, thanks in part to the generosity of a Dealbreaker reader who so selflessly gave up his ticket (and opportunity to bask in the reflected glow of Vikram Pandit), in addition to a lack of background checks on guests. Hopefully it won’t be too boring, and if we’re able to cut the lines to get to the front of the Tickle A Vickle Booth (a new feature this year that Investor Relations thought would go a long way in fostering good-will), I’ll tell the big guy you all say hello. I’ll be emailing EP updates, which she’ll be posting here. If there’s anything you’d like to share with the board let me know and I’ll try and pass it on.
- Ok, I’m in, with relative ease. They made everyone with a bag (i.e. every female, plus the males still making it to the gym) stand on a ridiculously long line to have our shit checked, but I spoke with some colorful characters so it wasn’t horrible.
- An absurdly cute old lady was PISSED to see that they were letting people sans bags but with umbrellas right on through and (rightly?) pointed out that you could “easily stick something in there, like a gun, especially if the umbrella’s a big one.”
- Middle aged guy behind us wants to know why Chuck Prince wasn’t fired, and “what Pandit’s going to say about that.”
- Middle aged guy behind us has had it with the checking of the bags. Asks, “What are we going to do, bring in a bomb?” Pauses, considers it and goes, “someone should bring a bomb. Wipe them out and get someone who knows what they’re doing.”
-We’re in a ballroom with big screen TVs. All the seats are taken up front, and it feels like Rosh Hashana services.
- Wait around ten minutes
- Dick Parsons and Vikram take the stage. Dick “Keep the Faith” Parsons introduces the new board members and mentions the departing ones. Someone shouts “Thank god they’re gone!” And I swear Parsons goes “Yeah!”
- Count Vikula takes the mic. He’s “not going to gloss over the bad.”
- Next year will be tough.
- There’s been “drastic cost cutting.” (Yeah?)
- “WE ARE POSITIONED TO WIN”
- Apparently there’s a clear strategy for taking home that big W (separating of the businesses and somesuch).
- Citi’s added risk managers.
- We anticipated a lot, but we didn’t anticipate Lehman and everything that happened after. Vikula: “Trust me, I know, I was there that weekend.” It. Was. Harrowing.
- All of this affected Citi.
- “We hope when liquidity returns, we’ll be able to recoup these losses. We hope. We hope.” Obvi, no promises.
- “Let me put TARP in perspective. Some people call it a bailout”- such a dirty little word- “Wrong. This is an investment, which we’ll be repaying, with interest.”
- Things are thawing a little but some of our assets might still hurt us.
- 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies are Citi Corp clients. “No one can service them like we do.” (Doesn’t mention A to M but you know he’s thinking it)
- “Let me end on a personal note. Many of my friends, my well meaning friends, have said how unfair this is and how hard this must be for me. I tell them that what’s not fair are our shareholders who’ve lost all their money and our employees who’ve lost their jobs. I’m going to do right by them. As the economy turns, you’ll see the full power of Citi. No financial institution has the ability to bounce back higher or harder than Citi… we’re not just going to return to success, we’re going to excel. I intend to see this through. ” So suck it those of you saying he’s getting fired (SheBair.)
- Parsons: “Thank you, Vikram. Well said. This should prove lively.”
Oh, man. Being a parent is tough, huh? Constantly worrying about drugs and drinking, and your kids getting caught up with the wrong crowd and all that. And then there’s TV and film. You can’t flip a channel without contracting an STD from some MTV trollop, am I right? And it’s like, you don’t want to be constantly monitoring what they’re watching but sometimes you have to! And it’s not like you’re not going to make mistakes, of course you’re going to make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes. Some are dumber than others, of course, and some are entirely avoidable and will make you look like a straight up idiot but whatever, honestly I’m a parent, I never said I was perfect, I’m just a human being like everyone else. That’s all I am. A government lovin’, prostie bangin’ human.