Archive for October 2010

  • 28 Oct 2010 at 12:14 PM

Bank Of America “Robo-Signer” On His Craft

“I had no idea what I was signing,” Tam Doan says of his work for Bank of America’s pre-sale foreclosure department in Southern California. “Either you were in or you were out.” Unlike his job at Countrywide, which he described as orderly, Doan said Bank of America’s foreclosure operations were chaotic and stressful. There weren’t enough people to do the job and they didn’t receive the training needed to do it properly. “With the volume coming in, we were getting inundated,” he said, noting his workday often lasted from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. “We were signing documents right and left.” He spent so many hours writing his name that his signature morphed into a series of four circles overlapping one another…”I shudder to think how many foreclosure documents have my name on it,” he said. [CNN Money]

They can also suck it, but first things first. Read more »

Earlier this week, it was sadly reported that Paul the Prognosticating Octopus, whose powers of prediction blew those of UBS and other investment banks out of the water, had passed away. Now that he’s dead, some people feel it necessary to dig up the past and make a mockery of his legacy. Starting with the fact that it was all a cheap trick.

Far from being a simple cephalopod that got lucky on a 256-1 chance of predicting eight two-option outcomes in a row (matches at the 2010 World Cup), it turns out Paul was / is a publicity stunt for a global entertainment conglomerate, the Merlin Entertainments Group (MEG)…Paul the Octopus, who provided colourful if inane fodder for umpteen news and broadcast organisations during the World Cup, especially those with no rights to any live action in South Africa, was also credited with predicting correct match results for Euro 2008 games. It should be stressed that, contrary to some reports, that was actually a different octopus, and that the different octopus got other results wrong, but such facts shouldn’t get in the way of a good story…Since [the summer Paul] has been relentlessly marketed as a brand to make cash.

And the sickest part? Is that one of the people he was making cash for was then turning around and using it to finance the murder of Paul’s compadres and distant relatives. Read more »

Opening Bell: 10.28.10

Gross, Grantham Blast Fed’s Asset Buying (NYT)
The U.S. central bank’s bond asset purchasing program “is in fact inflationary, and, if truth be told, somewhat of a Ponzi scheme,” Gross wrote in his monthly investment outlook posted on Pimco’s website on Wednesday. “It raises bond prices to create the illusion of high annual returns, but ultimately it reaches a dead end where those prices can no longer go up,” said Gross.

Tiger Asia Receives SEC Subpoena After Hong Kong Probe (Bloomberg)
The firm said it assumes the subpoena was prompted by the allegations of insider trading from Hong Kong’s securities regulator, according to a letter to investors.

Banks `Want to Sit Down’ With States to Discuss Foreclosures (Bloomberg)
We’ve had several conference calls with major lenders,” Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in an interview, declining to specify which ones. “The banks want to sit down with the attorneys general. These meetings are being set up,” said Suthers, whose office is a member of the executive committee of the task force.

Man Group To Cut 200 Jobs (WSJ)
The planned cutbacks, over the next 6 months, which would be among the largest at a major hedge-fund firm in recent history, will primarily come from layoffs, though some reductions will come via attrition and not renewing consultants’ contracts, the person said. The size of the reduction is several times as much as Man projected when it announced the deal in May. The combined firm currently has about 1,800 employees.

HSBC, JPMorgan Accused in Suit By Investors of Placing ‘Spoof’ Silver Orders (BW)
The investor, Peter Laskaris, alleges that starting in March 2008, the banks colluded to suppress silver futures so that call options, or the right to buy, would decline, and put options for the right to sell would increase, according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan. The collusion was also intended to maintain prices at levels at which some options would expire as worthless, Laskaris claims. The banks placed so-called spoof trading orders, or the “submission of a large order which is not executed but influences prices and is then withdrawn before it reasonably can be executed,” according to the complaint.

Ackman’s Cash For Booker Brings In $240 Million In Aid From Wall Street (Bloomberg)
“This guy has the same or greater talent than the vast majority of my peers who are working on Wall Street and making millions of dollars,” Ackman, said. “Here’s this guy making nothing and living in a housing project, who is motivated for all the right reasons. That’s what made him compelling.”

Treasury Official: No Systemic Risk Fears (WSJ)
At a hearing Wednesday of the Congressional Oversight Panel, Phyllis Caldwell, Treasury’s chief of homeownership preservation, said the Obama administration is monitoring the “put-back” risk of home loans packaged into securities that are being challenged by investors as a result of revelations about flawed documents. “At this point, there is no evidence of a systemic risk,” Ms. Caldwell told the panel, created in 2008 to monitor the federal government’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Read more »

  • 27 Oct 2010 at 6:33 PM

Write-Offs: 10.27.10

$$$For the past two months, [Credit Suisse’s M&A co-chairman] and his son, Jacob, have been biking across the southern half of the country, heading for their final destination of St. Augustine, Fla., on Sunday. The ride is aimed at raising money for the Sinai Health System of Chicago, a charity hospital system in his hometown. (So far, the trip has raised $285,090 and spanned 2,796 miles.)” [Dealbook]

$$$ James Bond’s Aston Martin on Sale [WSJ]

$$$ Banks May Face $97 Billion Loss From Mortgage Mess [CNBC] Read more »

Paul Tudor Jones’ Latest Letter To Investors (In Full)

Yesterday we excerpted a story from Paul Tudor Jones’ most recent letter to investors about how we need to fix the economy like a very smart doctor treated his foot injury ten years ago. A number of you asked for the full note, which is after the jump. Read more »

Earlier this week, Troubled Asset Relief Program’s inspector general Neil Barofsky issued a report noting that the Treasury’s estimate that it will lose $5 billion on its AIG TARP investment “represents a dramatic shift from the $45 billion loss that Treasury had projected in its AIG investment just six months earlier.” Barofsky went on to say that “while AIG’s fortune may have indeed improved during the course of those six months, there is a serious question over how much of this decrease comes from a change in Treasury’s methodology for calculating the loss as opposed to AIG’s improved prospects.” Some people did not like that. This morning, the White House took it its blog to respond. These are its best moments, starting with the first line:

* Some people just don’t like movies with happy endings.

* How else to explain this week’s report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP)? Read more »

Pop quiz: you’re a 62 year-old financial services executive and you’ve been convicted of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy for your role in a $2.9 billion fraud and sentenced to 25 years in prison, not to mention ordered to pay $2.38 billion. Do you a) sit around moping in your home in the deceptively named town of Carefree, Arizona, waiting to be hauled off to the big house or b) say fuck it, flee to Mexico, and have yourself declared a fugitive? If you’re Rebecca Parrett, pictured, you’re gonna go with the answer b.

Moving along in the scenario, what do you do when you get there? Lay low, for a while? Not draw attention to yourself? Or live it up while you still can? Again, being Parrett, who’s been married 6 times, you go with door number two, which involves facelifts (as you have a 7th husband to bag) and dancing your ass off. Read more »