According to a report from the Federal Reserve, over the last two decades the nation’s biggest banks have created thousands of subsidiaries for the purpose of dodging taxes and regulation. As Bloomberg News reported, the most prolific user of these subsidiaries is JP Morgan Chase:
The biggest U.S. banks created more than 10,000 subsidiaries in the past 22 years as they expanded, using legal structures to pay lower taxes and escape tighter regulation, according to a Federal Reserve study.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the largest U.S. lender, has the most units at 3,391, followed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) with more than 2,000 each, the study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows. Citigroup Inc. (C), the third-largest lender, has 1,645. […]
The subsidiaries in the Fed study include the banks’ overseas units. For Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs (GS) and New York- based Citigroup, about half the legal entities are based outside the U.S. At JPMorgan and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, the ratio drops to below a quarter.
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LIBOR, was created in 1986 by a trade group — the British Bankers’ Assn. –
The scandal surrounding the London InterBank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, seems like yet another barely comprehensible tale of Wall Street’s opaque inner workings. At its heart, though, the LIBOR con was both simple and distressingly familiar: Insiders took advantage of weak oversight to game the system, and regulators did nothing.
LIBOR was created in 1986 by a trade group — the British Bankers’ Assn. — to measure how much banks in London paid in interest to borrow the money they lent and invested. Each business day more than a dozen banks submit estimates to the BBA on how much it would cost them to borrow money in various currencies and for different time periods. The BBA throws out the highest and lowest estimates, then averages the rest to produce LIBORs in 150 distinct categories. Those figures have become the global benchmarks for setting the interest rates or prices for hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of financial instruments, ranging from subprime mortgages to complex derivatives.
Now we know that those rates aren’t necessarily honest. Last month, prosecutors in the United States and Britain announced a settlement with London-based Barclays Bank that revealed how traders at the megabank had conspired with others to try to rig the LIBOR readings. Before the Wall Street meltdown in 2007, the traders worked to set an artificially high LIBOR, boosting Barclays’ profits and their own bonuses. After the meltdown, they submitted artificially low LIBOR estimates to make the bank appear healthier than it was.
And who was Fed chief in that era of LIBOR? Alan Greenspan. Paul Volcker was fired because the Reagan Administration didn’t believe he was an adequate de-regulator. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Volcker
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By Neil M. Barofsky
In the year since I stepped down as the special inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the sadly predictable consequences of the government’s disparate treatment of Wall Street and Main Street have only become worse. As the banks amass size and power, Main Street continues to get pummeled.
Part of the current economic malaise can be traced directly to Treasury’s betrayal of its promise to use TARP to “preserve homeownership.” The Home Affordable Modification Program has brought little meaningful improvement, with fewer than 800,000 ongoing permanent modifications as of March 31, 2012, a number that is growing at the glacial pace of just 12,000 per month.
In June 2011, Treasury appeared to take a tentative step toward holding the mortgage servicers accountable for the widespread misconduct in the program by pledging to withhold the incentive payments to three of the largest banks — Wells Fargo (WFC) & Co., Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) — until they came into compliance with HAMP’s rules.