Daily Archives: April 30, 2016

UPS Braces For $3.8 Billion Charge As Treasury’s Pension Benefit Decision Looms

Zerohedge:

Treasury is set to decide on the matter by May 7th, and as it turns out, the decision impacts more than just current plan participants…

During its Q1 earnings call, UPS told investors that if Treasury approves the CSPF plan to cut benefits, the company would have to take a charge of approximately $3.2 to $3.8 billion.

 

As part of a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters when UPS withdrew from the fund in 2007,  the company agreed to provide supplemental benefits to any remaining members in the event that certain benefits were lawfully reduced.

While any income statement impact will be adjusted out by analysts, it will be a significant drain on UPS’ cash flow (UPS generated $5 billion in free cash flow in fiscal 2015) as it funds the benefit gap over time.

JPMorgan Says Justice Department, SEC Probing Hires in Asia

Another day, another probe.. Same bankster, same crime, different country…

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. lender by assets, said the Justice Department’s criminal division is among regulators investigating its hiring practices in Asia.

The lender is also facing probes by the Securities and Exchange Commission, JPMorgan said Friday in a filing. Regulators are seeking to determine whether the bank violated anti-bribery laws by hiring the children and other relatives of well-connected politicians and clients in China in exchange for having business steered to the firm, people familiar with the matter said in 2013. JPMorgan hadn’t named the agencies in its disclosures on the matter until Friday’s quarterly regulatory filing.

“The firm is responding to and cooperating with these investigations,” JPMorgan said in the filing.

Read on.

Sens.Warren, Brown: Treasury should probe Panama Papers scandal for U.S. links

I really don’t believe that the Treasury and the government will have enough guts to investigate and prosecute individuals that are named in the Panama Papers scandal once the names come out from icij.com website on May 9. I’ll believe when I see it…

Here is the letter from Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown to U.S. Treasury head Jack Lew. Click here.

Two-year foreclosure nightmare ends for elderly couple

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It was December, 2013: the City of Buffalo had foreclosed on the house Dawn Gonzales and her husband bought for Dawn’s parents on Esser Avenue, and the property was sold at an In Rem auction, two months earlier, to cover a $440 bill for unpaid garbage user fees.

The New Jersey investor who bought the property sent a relative to the house and told Dawn’s parents, Lillian and Bob Rabatoy, they would have to start paying rent or move.

Gonzales was furious when she contacted Call 4 Action, “My mother has Parkinsons, my father is sick. They don’t want to leave the house.”

The Rabatoys were all packed up but had no place to go, then shortly after the Call 4 Action story aired, one of Buffalo’s prominent law firms took their case, pro bono. After more than two years of uncertainty the Rabatoys’ ordeal ended and the case was settled, returning the property to the Gonzales’.

Read on.

Best “woman card” response to Trump by Sen. Warren

hands_clapping

All I can say is… you go Elizabeth!

“I hoped you were going to ask me if I thought he was a sexist..That’s like asking if he has bad hair..He wears the sexism out front for everyone to see.”–Elizabeth Warren’s response to Donald Trump’s assertion that Hillary Clinton is playing the “woman card.”

For Nebraska’s Poor, Get Sick and Get Sued

Cheap court fees and looser rules make suing over medical debts as small as $60 easy. Every year Nebraska collection agencies file lawsuits by the tens of thousands.

This story was co-published with The Daily Beast.

 

Two years ago, the president of Credit Management Services, a collection agency in Grand Island, Nebraska, presented a struggling local family with the keys to a used 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis. To commemorate the donation, the company held a ceremony that concluded outside its offices, where the couple and their two young girls could try out their new car.

The family’s story was dire: their eight-year-old daughter’s failing kidney had led to multiple surgeries and a deluge of medical bills, according to an article in the local newspaper.

But CMS played another role in the family’s life, one the article didn’t mention. The company had previously sued the couple eight times over unpaid medical bills and garnished both of their wages. As recently as two weeks earlier, CMS had seized $156, a quarter of the girl’s father’s paycheck.

Shortly after the ceremony, CMS released the family from further garnishment, court records show. But just four months later, the company filed a motion to start up again. The couple, who did not respond to attempts by ProPublica to contact them, has since declared bankruptcy.

In almost any other state, such a barrage of lawsuits against a family in desperate financial straits would be remarkable. Not in Nebraska. There, debt collectors frequently sue over medical debts as small as $60 and a simple missed doctor’s bill can quickly land you in court.

Read on.

Freddie Mac may need another taxpayer bailout next week

Another bailout for Freddie Mac.. This continues to be a disaster of bailing out Fannie and Freddie thanks to the Bush Administration that had Freddie and Fannie is conservativeship under the FHFA. Both mortgage giants need to be reformed and taken out of the conservativeship from FHFA.

The mortgage giant under government control is expected to report a Q1 loss thanks to interest rate derivative bets.

Freddie Mac FMCC, -1.21%  is expected to report a loss when it announces first-quarter earnings before the bell on Tuesday. That’s bad news for any public company, but especially critical for the mortgage provider because of its tangled history with the federal government.

Freddie and its counterpart, Fannie Mae FNMA, -0.58% were put into conservatorship in 2008 as the mortgage meltdown ensnared the financial system. They have lingered as wards of the state ever since. The Treasury Department modified the deal in 2012, requiring Fannie and Freddie to send all quarterly profits to the government — and shrink their reserves to zero by 2018.

As Mel Watt, the chairman of Fannie and Freddie’s regulator, put it in a speech in February, Fannie and Freddie are quickly approaching the point where they won’t be able to weather quarterly losses without going back to the Treasury for taxpayer dollars.

Read on.

 

Forbes: Five Biggest U.S. Banks Control Nearly Half Industry’s $15 Trillion In Assets

This is an article in 2014.

DEC 3, 2014 @ 10:37 AM

Bank concentration

Forbes:

The wreckage of the financial crisis led to pages upon pages of financial reform aimed at ending the era of Too Big To Fail, but six years after the banking system blew up the five biggest firms control 44% of the $15.3 trillion in assets held by U.S. banks according to data compiled by SNL Financial. Those banks — JPMorgan Chase JPM -0.63%, Bank of America BAC -1.56%, Wells Fargo WFC -0.85%,Citigroup C -0.96% and US Bancorp USB -1.02% — collectively held $6.8 trillion in assets as of Sept. 30.

JPMorgan holds just over $2 trillion in assets, or 13.1% of the industry’s total, followed by BofA at $1.5 trillion (9.9%), Wells Fargo just under $1.5 trillion (9.7%) and Citi at $1.4 trillion (9%), before a substantial dropoff to US Bank at $387 billion (2.5%).

SNL’s analysis, which considered only commercial banks, notes the drastic increase in banking industry concentration over the past few decades. In 1990, the five biggest U.S. banks held less than 10% of industry assets, but that figure has steadily marched higher ever since, pausing only for the year from 1999 to 2000. Today, Wells Fargo, the third biggest bank, controls basically the same percentage of assets the entire top five did in 1990.

That increased concentration is largely thanks to banking industry consolidation that accelerated in the 1990s then hit overdrive after Sandy Weill’s controversial deal to create the modern Citigroup prompted the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the legislation that forced a separation of church and state between commercial and investment banks.

On a side note: According to the OECD, general government gross debt (federal, state, and local) in the United States in the third quarter of 2012 was$16.3 trillion, 108% of GDP. We are at $16.3 trillion in debt while the 5 big banks combined assets could wipe out most or all of the government gross debt. Real sad and yet too dangerous that Congress and government have given so much financial power to the 5 big banks…

Sanders
“Today, you have six financial institutions, the largest six, that have assets that are the equivalent of 60 percent of the GDP of the United States of America.”

Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 in an interview with MSNBC

True

Source: Politifact

 

Is Bernie Sanders Right About The Big Banks?

Summary

The liberal Democratic presidential candidate has advocated breaking up the big banks.

He correctly points out that three of the four biggest U.S. banks entering the 2008 financial crisis are bigger today.

Capitalism’s creative destructive process would have cleansed the banking system, accomplishing Bernie’s goal.

“There is nothing new in Wall Street. There can’t be because speculation is as old as the hills. Whatever happens in the stock market today has happened before and will happen again.” – Jesse Livermore

Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria – Sir John Templeton

Life and investing are long ballgames. – Julian Robertson

Introduction

While driving in my home state of Indiana, I heard a radio advertisement by Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign that caught my attention. To paraphrase the personally approved campaign message by Bernie, he describes how three of the four largest U.S. banks that emerged from the 2008 financial crisis have gotten bigger, hinting that the “Too Big To Fail” problem that plagued the banks back then, is an even bigger problem today.

As an ardent believer in capitalism and as someone who has benefited more than many thought possible and been punished worse than many thought possible by decisions in the financial markets, I strangely find myself in agreement with Mr. Sanders.

With that premise, I wanted to take a look at the state of the largest banks today compared to their standing in 2008 and 2007.

Thesis

The largest U.S. banks are indeed larger today and pose a greater risk to the financial system.

The Biggest Banks In 2007

The following is a list of the world’s biggest banks by assets in 2007. The table is from an October 1, 2007, article by author Dan Keeler, published in the Global Finance magazine.

Europe dominated the world’s largest banks by assets in 2007, with Barclays (NYSE:BCS), UBS (NYSE:UBS), BNP Paribas (OTCQX:BNPQY) (OTCQX:BNPQF), and Credit Agricole (OTCPK:CRARY), (OTCPK:CRARF), taking the top four spots, followed by the first U.S. bank in 2007, Citigroup (NYSE:C), at number five. For comparison and reference, Barclays had approximately $2 trillion in assets and Citigroup had $1.9 trillion.

Read on.

A New Twist on Splitting Chairman-CEO Roles at JP Morgan

JPMorgan Chase shareholders should support a proposal to consider an independent chairman, proxy adviser Glass Lewis & Co. said.

The difference in this shareholder proposal, which will be up for a vote at the firm’s annual meeting on May 17, is that it does not specifically target Jamie Dimon, who holds both the chairman and chief executive officer titles.

While the measure is similar to ones shareholders have rejected in the past, it says the board could wait until Dimon leaves New York-based JPMorgan before implementing the plan.

“We ultimately believe vesting a single person with both executive and board leadership concentrates too much responsibility in a single person and inhibits independent board oversight of executives on behalf of shareholders,” Glass Lewis wrote in a report this week and obtained by Bloomberg.

Proxy advisers typically advocate for separating the two most powerful roles at a corporation. But companies and majorities of voting shareholders often ignore the advice.

Read on.