Goldman's Next Challenge

Now that Goldman has received the green light to pay back TARP, the firm's next hurdle is losing the commercial bank holding company status. While Goldman's overall model has not changed much since it became a commercial bank in September, it is subject to additional supervision and regulations that constrain profitability.

With the worst of the financial crisis seemingly over, the benefits of being a bank holding company are outweighed by the restrictions and conditions, said Tom Sowanick, the chief investment officer of Princeton, New Jersey-based Clearbrook Financial LLC.
Since Goldman became a commercial bank, industry watchers have said the change would expose the firm to stringent capital requirements, dampening its ability to use borrowed money to boost profits for its lucrative proprietary trading business.

It is going to be a long road back to the point where regulators have some degree of trust in large firms to not blow up themselves or the banking system. Given all the GS favoritism conspiracy theories in DC, allowing them in particular to crank up the leverage again seems unlikely.
Goldman could shed "commercial bank" charter [Reuters]


Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge

I just. Gillian Tett has a book called "Fool's Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan and How Wall St. Greed Corrupted Its Bold Dream and Created a Financial Catastrophe." It's a pretty good book about the creation and rise to prominence of synthetic CDOs, and I'm sure the subtitle isn't her fault, but it's always bothered me, because how exactly was the "bold dream" of creating synthetic CDOs "corrupted" into ... like ... selling more synthetic CDOs? If you think synthetic CDOs are a Bad Thing, they were a Bad Thing at their creation. This is not an orphanage that was taken over by bandits and turned into a source of black-market organs. It was a financial derivative that was sold to people looking to buy financial derivatives. Similarly, Greg Smith spent twelve years flogging equity derivatives to "two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia" and is just now discovering that they're designed to make money for his employer? I imagine his contacts at these hedge funds reading his op-ed today and being like "holy shit, Goldman was trying to make money off of us?" Wait no I don't. I'm pretty sure they wanted to make money too.*