Opening Bell: 05.14.09

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Paulson Told Banks He Would Expose Them (Bloomberg)
"Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, saying nine U.S. banks were "central to any solution" of the credit crisis, told their leaders to take government aid or be forced to by regulators, according to a memo prepared for an October meeting.
"If a capital infusion is not appealing, you should be aware that your regulator will require it in any circumstance," Paulson's one-page list of talking points for the session with the banks' chief executives said. "We don't believe it is tenable to opt out because doing so would leave you vulnerable and exposed.""
More info at Judicial Watch, which obtained records of the scare tactics.
Dress Codes: When No One Wants To Look Like A Banker (NYT)
"I have guys coming in here saying, 'I don't want to look like a banker anymore,' " said Eric Goldstein, an owner of Jean Shop, a premium denim store in the meatpacking district. He is now dispensing advice on how to look like a "creative professional."
The new look is still professional enough for work, even a business lunch. But it is quirky and cool enough to suggest that you haven't spent the last decade lounging in the old boys' room inhaling cigar smoke and default swaps.
Global Banks Sue MBIA (FT)
"Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan and 15 other large financial institutions filed suit on Wednesday against MBIA, claiming the bond insurer reduced its ability to pay policyholders by splitting its business in two.
The suit, which includes Barclays and HSBC of the UK as well as European banks, is the second legal challenge to MBIA's restructuring since the bond insurer in February received regulatory approval to split into two: a "good bank" business responsible for guarantees of municipal bonds and a "bad bank" that had insured structured bonds backed by mortgages and other assets."
Lehman Considers Spinoff Of Remnants (WSJ)
"The unit oversees everything from corporate-bank debt and risky consumer mortgages to Miami condos and New York apartment complexes. Internal Lehman calculations have pegged their fair-market value at about $45 billion. That is down by more than half since last September, when the financial crisis flared after Lehman's collapse. Lehman values the assets at $400 billion at nondistressed prices, including $300 billion in the servicing of assets"

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