Daily Archives: September 30, 2012

New poll for the week.

Long toxic, mortgages now seen boosting bank results

Pay attention to QE3 profits for the banks that will be released next month. 

One of the few businesses working well for the biggest banks these days is the same one that got them in trouble just five years ago: mortgages.

Wells Fargo & Co and JPMorgan Chase & Co are both expected to post more than $4.5 billion in profits for the third quarter, an increase of more than 15 percent from last year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Other businesses at big banks will likely benefit from the mini-mortgage boom. Fixed-income trading revenue will likely rise at Goldman Sachs Group Inc and other investment banks, thanks in part to more trading in mortgage-backed securities.

A booming mortgage business will help make up for a challenging environment that includes low interest rates squeezing lending profits and slow merger activity pressing earnings from investment banking. Analysts said banks may announce new rounds of cost cutting.

While banks are making new mortgages, the home loan business is still tough. Lenders have millions of foreclosures to process, and all the current refinancing will translate into lower income from mortgage securities they choose to hold.

Read on.

Exposing China’s Shadow Banking System

h/t to Zerohedge.com:

Today, however, courtesy of AsiaFinanceNews we get a report as close as possible to the most comprehensive overview of what may soon be (especially if rumors of tumbling Chinese municipal dominoes are correct) the most talked about subject in the financial world: China’s Shadow Banking empire.

From Chinese Shadow Banking System

China presently has five state-controlled megabanks operating within the supervision of the central government, of which the government is a majority shareholder, and seventeen additional “shareholder banks.” Because China’s state banking sector operates as a direct subsidyfunding channel for state-owned enterprises (as opposed to acting in the capacity of risk analytics based credit institutions), the largest state-owned banks have required periodic recapitalization every decade over the past sixty years as the constant generation and cumulative exposure to non-performing loans exceeds the banks’ total equity. The circumstances comprising the present situation, however, will include monetary exposure by international asset management firms which have acquired both direct equity-stakes in the banks as well as exposure to Hong Kong-listed shares.

State Control and Politically Mandated Loans

The banking system is generally considered to represent the weakest link in China’s political economy. Loans are typically a form of direct subsidy by the central government to the various state-owned enterprises. According to Victor Shih, a professor at Northwestern University who specializes in China’s political economy and is considered an expert on China’s banking system, prior to 1997 there had been no comprehensive audits, nor general ledgers, nor any capital stock at any of the five largest banks, as such was considered unnecessary. The central government, which controls 98% of China’s financial sector, maintains control over the banks in order to finance various political and socio-economic policy objectives, maintain capital controls and set fixed interest rates, comprising in effect a self-referential sector,  resulting in inefficient capital allocation which deprives China’s small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) of access to credit through the supervised banking system

Rejection of Western Credit Practices: Global Financial Crisis Doomed Reforms

The government halted and subsequently reversed reforms, and began moving away from western banking practices in late 2008 in response to the global credit crisis, ordering banks to originate loans to both local and centrally-planned investment projects in order to prevent a rapid slowdown in growth. The credit expansion undertaken by banks in 2009 at the direction of Chinese president Hu Jintao resulted in approximately $3.1 trillion in new loans created by the end of 2010.5 The National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) fast-tracked and granted approval of virtually 100% of all fixed-asset investment projects submitted for funding by local governments. The NDRC was created to address the response to a survey by the central government asking local government officials to identify those projects for they had been unable to obtain credit financing. The role of the NDRC is to approve the projects rejected by the banks, thus in essence having approved the worst projects for financing in 2009 and continuing to approve such projects through the present

Read on below (full pdf):

Brookline man gets house back from foreclosure after fighting Bank of America

BROOKLINE – One Brookline family is pretty happy that this time the little guy won.

Ray Lavoie, a self-employed carpenter whose home was sold at auction this summer, is breathing easier after Bank of America agreed to reverse the sale and modify his mortgage under the terms of a billion-dollar Department of Justice mortgage settlement, allowing Lavoie, his wife and their two daughters to stay.

Lavoie mostly built his Cleveland Hill Road home 21 years ago, along with a large workshop beside the house where he earns his livelihood.

Read on.

When banks erase debt that isn’t there

GREETINGS, unhappy homeowners! Here’s some wonderful news:

“We are canceling the remaining amount you owe Chase!” says a letter that JPMorgan Chase sent recently to thousands of home loan borrowers. “You are approved for a full principal forgiveness of your Home Equity Account,” says another, from Bank of America.

Jackie Esposito, of Guilford, Conn., got a letter like that. But she wasn’t elated — because she doesn’t owe the money anymore. She and her husband filed for bankruptcy three years ago. The roughly $64,000 they owed Chase has been legally wiped out.

What’s going on?

Read on.

Welcome to another episode of the Twilight Zone.