Time magazine has announced an end to the banking crisis! Huzzah!
the great banking crisis of 2008 is over.
All of those plans, no matter how well-intentioned they may seem, are unnecessary now. Wells Fargo (WFC) indicated that it made about $3 billion in the first quarter of the year and declared its buyout of the deeply troubled Wachovia to be a success. Wells Fargo (WFC) said that the low cost of money from the government combined with a surging demand for mortgages was all the medicine that it required.
It's all True! Wells Fargo Bank announced an immense $3 Billion profit last quarter.
Shortly afterward Goldman Sachs announced a $1.8 Billion profit.
Suddenly everything is coming up roses on Wall Street.
At least if you are willing to believe total bullsh*t.
Let's start with Wells Fargo.
(Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co., the second- biggest U.S. home lender, may need $50 billion to pay back the federal government and cover loan losses as the economic slump deepens, according to KBW Inc.’s Frederick Cannon.
How could a bank that is making profits of $3 Billion a quarter need another $50 Billion? The combination of a one-time event and Enron accounting, that's how.
Net charge-offs were $3.3 billion in the quarter, compared with $2.8 billion in the previous period at Wells Fargo and $3.3 billion at Wachovia. The current numbers are artificially low because consumers received tax refunds and a there was a moratorium on some mortgage defaults, wrote Cannon, who predicts a “re-acceleration” of charge-offs in the second quarter.
“Given rising unemployment, continued home price declines and general macroeconomic headwinds, WFC’s consumer and commercial portfolios remain at risk for meaningfully higher credit losses over 2009 and 2010,” Orenbuch wrote.
OK. so WFB managed to book a huge "profit" by saying that they really weren't losing money hand over fist despite whatever reality was dictating. But how about Goldman Sachs? How did they manage to make big bucks?
Where’s December?: Goldman Sachs reported a profit of $1.8 billion in the first quarter, and plans to sell $5 billion in stock and get out of the government’s clutches, if it can.
How did it do that? One way was to hide a lot of losses in not-so-plain sight.
Goldman’s 2008 fiscal year ended Nov. 30. This year the company is switching to a calendar year. The leaves December as an orphan month, one that will be largely ignored. In Goldman’s earnings statement, and in most of the news reports, the quarter ended March 31 is compared to the quarter last year that ended in February.
The orphan month featured — surprise — lots of write-offs. The pretax loss was $1.3 billion, and the after-tax loss was $780 million.
Would the firm have had a profit if it had stuck to its old calendar, and had to include December and exclude March?
That certainly is an unusual method of accounting - dropping an entire month as if it never happened. Don't you wish you could do that with your IRS returns? The financial media ate it up, but insiders aren't buying it.
It doesn't end there.
You see, any and all Goldman Sachs profits are being directly funded by the taxpayer through AIG bailouts.
“The fact that they (like so many others) are being paid by the taxpayer through AIG’s “conduit” for losses that didn’t (yet) happen at 100 cents on the dollar might be the basic math.
And further (and potentially much worse) there is the repeated statement by Goldman executives that they were “fully hedged” against a potential counterparty default by AIG. One wonders - was that “hedge” to be short the equity on AIG itself, perhaps?
Why is this important?
Because if that’s how Goldman hedged they got paid twice and the taxpayer literally got robbed. Someone in Congress needs to look into this now; there are already rumblings of investigation. Those rumblings need to get a lot louder and turn into subpoenas, not “polite inquiries.”
Its time to send your money to Wall Street via your 401k, so you too can take part in the Great Wall Street Bank Comeback. You can't win if you don't play!
And Gawd knows Wall Street needs more of your money.