guarantees

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who oversees stakes in some of the largest U.S. banks, said the nation’s lenders have rebuilt capital to the point where they no longer pose a threat to the economy. “The banks will not get this country in trouble, I guarantee it,” Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway, said in a phone interview last week. “The capital ratios are huge, the excesses on the asset side have been largely cleared out.” […] Buffett’s firm has investments in at least four of the seven biggest U.S. lenders by assets, including a stake of more than $14 billion in San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, $5 billion in Bank of America and warrants that allow it to buy $5 billion of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. shares. Berkshire also has a holding in U.S. Bancorp. “Our banking system is in the best shape in recent memory,” Buffett said. [Bloomberg]

Yesterday morning, as Bank of America continued “reaping the benefits of what Countrywide hath sowed,” Jim Cramer proposed an idea: get a billionaire to vouch for you. Just as Warren Buffett investing in Goldman Sachs had been a signal that everything was cool with the Masters of the Universe and Prince Alwaleed and his horses’ unflagging love ‘o Citi have at times kept the bank afloat, BofA, Cramer proposed, should get someone to send a message that all is good in the hood. JC suggested Carlos Slim was the guy to take one for the team, while we liked the idea of, among others, Bruce Wayne, Lynn Tilton or Warren Buffett, who enjoys spreading the love. Apparently WB is our man. Read more »

Pacific Investment Management Co., seeking to raise $600 million for a fund that would invest in residential mortgages, agreed to slash its management fee should the fund suffer losses. Pimco REIT Inc., which filed for an initial public offering in April, disclosed last week that its annual management fee would decline to 1.0 percent from 1.5 percent if the fund loses money over a one-year period…“Investors have complained that you shouldn’t be able to earn a fee if the entity is losing money,” said Merrill Ross, a REIT analyst at Wunderlich Securities Inc., a regional brokerage based in Memphis, Tennessee. “But no one has ever offered this as a resolution before.” [Bloomberg]