Category Archives: Banking

Wells Fargo Just Reported Their Worst Mortgage Numbers In Five Years

When ZH reported Wells Fargo’s Q4 earnings back in January, they drew readers’ attention to one specific line of business, the one they dubbed the bank’s “bread and butter“, namely mortgage lending, and which as they then reported was “the biggest alarm” because “as a result of rising rates, Wells’ residential mortgage applications and pipelines both tumbled. Specifically in Q4 Wells’ mortgage applications plunged by $10bn from the prior quarter, or 16% Y/Y, to just $63bn, while the mortgage origination pipeline dropped to just $23 billion”, and just shy of the post-crisis lows recorded in late 2013.

Fast forward one quarter when what was already a grim situation for Warren Buffett’s favorite bank, has gotten as bad as it has been since the financial crisis for America’s largest mortgage lender, because buried deep in its presentation accompanying otherwise unremarkable Q1 results (modest EPS and revenue beats), Wells just reported that its ‘bread and butter’ is virtually gone, and in Q1 2018 the amount in the all-important Wells Fargo Mortgage Application pipeline failed to rebound, and remained at $24 billion, the lowest level since the financial crisis.

Yet while the mortgage pipeline has not been worse since in a decade despite the so-called recovery, at least it has bottomed. What was more troubling is that it was Wells’ actual mortgage applications, a forward-looking indicator on the state of the broader housing market and how it is impacted by rising rates, that was even more dire, slumping from $63BN in Q4 to $58BN in Q1, down 2% Y/Y and the the lowest since the financial crisis (incidentally, a topic we covered just two days ago in “Mortgage Refis Tumble To Lowest Since The Financial Crisis, Leaving Banks Scrambling“).

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/wells%20mortgage%20apps%20q1.jpg?itok=DKt6MeNj

Meanwhile, Wells’ mortgage originations number, which usually trails the pipeline by 3-4 quarters, was nearly as bad, plunging $10BN sequentially from $53 billion to just $43 billion, the second lowest number since the financial crisis. Since this number lags the mortgage applications, we expect it to continue posting fresh post-crisis lows in the coming quarter especially if rates continue to rise.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/wells%20mortgage%20originations%20Q1%202.jpg?itok=_jVai7KX

Adding insult to injury, as one would expect with the yield curve flattening to 10 year lows just this week, Wells’ Net Interest margin – the source of its interest income – failed to rebound from one year lows, and missed consensus expectations yet again. This is what Wells said about that: “NIM of 2.84% was a stable LQ as the impact of hedge ineffectiveness accounting and lower loan swap income was offset by the repricing benefit of higher interest rates.” But we’re not sure one would call this trend “stable” as shown visually below:

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/WFC%20NIM%20q1%202018.jpg?itok=9pDb-ZbA

There was another problem facing Buffett’s favorite bank: while NIM fails to increase, deposits costs are rising fast, and in Q1, the bank was charged an average deposit cost of 0.34% on $938MM in interest-bearing deposits, exactly double what its deposit costs were a year ago.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/wfc%20deposits.jpg?itok=dtXxAD_g

And finally, there was the chart showing the bank’s consumer loan trends: these reveal that the troubling broad decline in credit demand continues, as consumer loans were down a total of $9.5BN sequentially across all product groups, far more than the $1.7BN decline last quarter.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/wells%20consumer%20loan%20trends%20q1%202018.jpg?itok=Wdae5yxL

What these numbers reveal, is that the average US consumer can not afford to take out mortgages at a time when rates rise by as little as 1% or so from all time lows. It also means that if the Fed is truly intent in engineering a parallel shift in the curve of 2-3%, the US can kiss its domestic housing market goodbye.

***
Wells Fargo Advisors continues to bleed reps

In the latest quarter, the broker-dealer suffered a net loss of 145 brokers

https://galesmind.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/rats-from-the-ship.jpg?w=600&h=332

Source: Zero Hedge | Wells Fargo Earnings Supplement

 

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“It’s Foolish to Believe The Endgame is Anything But Inflation…”

Authored by Kevin Muir via The Macro Tourist blog,

I am going to break from regular market commentary to step back and think about the big picture as it relates to debt and inflation. Let’s call it philosophical Friday. But don’t worry, there will be no bearded left-wing rants. This will definitely be a market-based exploration of the bigger forces that affect our economy.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180323-keith.png?itok=y_3ovh1C

One of the greatest debates within the financial community centers around debt and its effect on inflation and economic prosperity. The common narrative is that government deficits (and the ensuing debt) are bad. It steals from future generations and merely brings forward future consumption. In the long run, it creates distortions, and the quicker we return to balancing our books, the better off we will all be.

I will not bother arguing about this logic. Chances are you have your own views about how important it is to balance the books, and no matter my argument, you won’t change your opinion. I will say this though. I am no disciple of the Krugman “any stimulus is good stimulus” logic.

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-krugman.jpg

The broken window fallacy is real and digging ditches to fill them back in is a net drain on the economy. Full stop. You won’t hear any complaints from me there.

Yet, the obsession with balancing the government’s budget is equally damaging. In a balance sheet challenged economy the government is often the last resort for creating demand. Trying to balance a government deficit in this environment (like the Troika imposed on Greece during the recent Euro-crisis) is a disaster waiting to happen.

Have a look at these charts from the NY Times outlining the similarity of the Greece depression to the American Great Depression of the 1930s.

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-greece1.png

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-greece2.png

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-greece3.png

Now you might look at these charts and say, “Greece spent too much and suffered the consequences. Ultimately they will be better off taking the hit and reorganizing in a more productive economic fashion.” If so, you probably also still have this poster hanging in your room at your parent’s house where you grew up.

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-austrian.jpg

Personally, I don’t want to even bother discussing the possibility of this sort of Austrian-style-rebalancing coming to Western democracies. Yeah, it might be your dream, but it’s just a dream. I have Salma Hayek on my freebie list, but what do I think of my chances? About as close to zero without actually ticking at the perfect zero level. It’s not a “can’t happen,” but it’s certainly a “it’s not going to happen in a million years.”

Governments were faced with a choice during the 2008 Great Financial Crisis. Credit was naturally contracting, and the economy wanted to go through a cleansing economic rebalancing where debt would be destroyed through a severe recession. Yet, governments had practically zero appetite to allow this sort of cathartic cleansing to happen. Instead, they stepped up and stopped the credit contraction through government spending and quantitative easing.

I believe that government spending is not all bad, and at times, it plays an important role in our economy. I am a huge fan of Richard Koo’s work. When economies’ interest-rate policies become zero bound, governments are crucial in engaging in anti-cyclical spending. All debt is not bad. Take debt your company might issue for instance. Borrowing a million dollars to invest in capital equipment to make your firm more productive is a much different prospect than taking out a loan to engage in a Krugman-inspired-all-you-can-drink-party-headlined-by-the-Killers. Sure, the party sounds like fun, but it’s not going to benefit your firm past one night of excitement. Governments shouldn’t perpetuate unproductive pension grabs by workers, but instead actually spend money on infrastructure that will make the economy more productive. During the 1950s Eisenhower invested in the American highway system, helping America secure its place as the world’s most economically dominant country. Today that sort of infrastructure spending would be shouted down as irresponsible. Well, not continuing to invest in your country’s productive capacity is the irresponsible part.

The point is that not all spending is bad, but nor is all spending good. And even more importantly, government spending should be anti-cyclical. No sense spending more when your economy is rocking. Better to save the bullets to ebb the natural flow of the business cycle.

But I digress. Let’s get back to debt.

Creating debt is inflationary, while paying down debt is deflationary. That’s pretty basic.

The easiest way for me to demonstrate this fact is to look at an area where debt has been created for spending in a specific area. No better example than student loans.

Over the past fifteen years, inflation in college tuition has exploded. It’s been absolutely bonkers. Here is the chart of regular CPI versus tuition CPI.

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-cpi.png

But it should really be no surprise. If we add the student loan debt versus Federal debt series, it becomes clear that a tremendous amount of credit has been extended to students.

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-cpiversus.png

So let’s agree that credit creation is inflationary, and by definition, credit destruction should be deflationary.

Therefore when the market pundits that I like to affectionately call deflationistas argue that this next chart is ultimately deflationary, I understand where they are coming from.

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-percent.png

If you assume that this debt needs to be paid back, then it’s easy to understand their argument. When debt starts to contract and this chart heads lower, this will be deflationary. And if you assume that governments start to balance their books, then there is every reason to expect that future deflation is the worry, not inflation. After all, the money has already been spent. The inflation from that spending is already in the system.

I can already hear the deflationistas argument – over 100% of GDP is unsustainable therefore credit growth will at worst go sideways, but most likely actually contract in coming years.

Really? How about Japan?

https://www.themacrotourist.com/img/posts/05/20180323-japan.png

The same argument was made at the turn of the century when Japan was running a debt that was over 150% of GDP, yet they somehow managed to push that up another 80% to 230% without causing some sort of apocalyptic collapse.

Now before you send me an angry email about the moral irresponsibility of suggesting debt can go higher, save your clicks. I understand your argument. I am not interested in debating what should be done, but rather I am trying to determine what will be done. You might believe governments and Central Banks will gain religion and start conducting prudent and responsible policies. So be it. If you believe that, then by all means – load up on long-dated sovereign bonds as they will continue to be the trade of the century.

I, on the other hand, believe that Central Banks will continue printing until, as my favourite West Coast skeptic Bill Fleckenstein says, “the bond market takes away the keys.” And even when Central Banks are mildly responsible, politicians are sitting in the wings waiting to spend at any chance they get. Take Trump’s recent stimulus program. We are now more than eight years into an economic recovery, and he just pushed through one of the most stimulative fiscal policies of the past couple of decades. Regardless of where you stand politically regarding these tax cuts, there can be no denying they were much more needed in 2008 than today.

This is a long-winded way of saying that although I agree that the creation of debt is inflationary, and that the destruction of debt is deflationary, I don’t buy the argument that any sort of absolute amount of debt means the trend has to change. I don’t look at the 100% debt-to-GDP figure and worry that the US government will somehow institute deflationary policies to pay that back. Nope, I don’t see anything but a sea of growing deficits and debts. And in fact, the larger debts grow, the less likely they are to be paid back.

How will Japan pay back their debt that is 230% of GDP? The answer is that they can’t. It will be inflated away.

It’s foolish to believe that the end-game is anything but inflation. And even though increasing debt seems scary, if there is one thing that I am sure of, it’s that they will figure out a way to make even more of it.

Rant over. And no more big picture philosophy for a while – I promise.

Black Pilled Channel

Source: ZeroHedge

The Central Bank Bubble’s Bursting: It Will Be Ugly

The global economy has been living through a period of central bank insanity, thanks to a little-understood expansion strategy known as quantitative easing, which has destroyed main-street and benefited wall street. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/central-bank-bubble.jpg?itok=yQtms4DJ

Central Banks over the last decade simply created credit out of thin air. Snap a finger, and credit magically appears. Only central banks can perform this type of credit magic. It’s called printing money and they have gone on the record saying they are magic people.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-03-21-at-12.56.03-AM-800x321.png?itok=kh-gHD0A

Increasing the money supply lowers interest rates, which makes it easier for banks to offer loans. Easy loans allow businesses to expand and provides consumers with more credit to buy goods and increase their debt. As a country’s debt increases, its currency eventually debases, and the world is currently at historic global debt levels.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-03-21-at-1.01.35-AM-590x400.png?itok=PNeHs6ul

Simply put, the world’s central banks are playing a game of monopoly.

With securities being bought by a currency that is backed by debt rather than actual value, we have recently seen $9.7 trillion in bonds with a negative yield. At maturity, the bond holders will actually lose money, thanks to the global central banks’ strategies. The Federal Reserve has already hinted that negative interest rates will be coming in the next recession. 

These massive bond purchases have kept volatility relatively stable, but that can change quickly. High inflation is becoming a real possibility. China, which is planning to dethrone the dollar by backing the Yuan with gold, may survive the coming central banking bubble. Many other countries will be left scrambling. Some central banks are attempting to turn the current expansion policies around. Both the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, and the Bank of England have plans to hike interest rates. The European Central Bank is planning to reduce its purchases of bonds. Is this too little, too late?

The recent global populist movement is likely to fuel government spending and higher taxes as protectionist policies increase. The call to end wealth inequality may send the value of overvalued bonds crashing in value. The question is, how can an artificially stimulated economic boom last in a debtors’ economy?

Central bankers began to embrace their quantitative easing strategies as a remedy to the 2007 economic slump. Instead of focusing on regulatory policies, central bankers became the rescuers of last resort as they snapped up government bonds, mortgage securities, and corporate bonds. For the first time, regulatory agencies became the worlds’ largest investment group. The strategy served as a temporary band-aid as countries slowly recovered from the global recession. The actual result, however, has been a tremendous distortion of asset valuation as interest rates remain low, allowing banks to continue a debt-backed lending spree.

It’s a monopoly game on steroids.

The results of the central banks’ intervention were mixed. While a small, elite wealthy segment was purchasing assets, the rest of the population felt the widening income gap as wage increases failed to meet expectations and the cost of consumer goods kept rising. The policies of the Federal Reserve were not having the desired effect. While the Federal Reserve Bank began to reverse its quantitative easing policy, other central banks, such as the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank, and the European National Bank have become even more aggressive in the quantitative easing strategies by continuing to print money with abandon. By 2017, the Bank of Japan was the owner of three-quarters of Japan’s exchange-traded funds, becoming the major shareholder trading in the Nikkei 225 Index.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-03-21-at-1.13.42-AM-703x400.png?itok=AVRy-VSj

The Swiss National Bank is expanding its quantitative easing policy by including international investments. It is now one of Apple’s major shareholders, with a $2.8 billion investment in the company.

Centrals banks have become the world’s largest investors, mostly with printed money. This is inflating global asset prices at an unprecedented rate. Negative bond yields are just one consequence of this financial distortion.

While the Federal Reserve is reducing its investment purchases, other global banks are keeping a watchful eye on the results. Distorted interest rates will hit investors hard, especially those who have sought out riskier and higher yields as a consequence of quantitative easing (malinvestment).

The policies of the central banks were unsustainable from the start. The stakes in their monopoly game are rising as they are attempting to rectify their negative-yield bond purchasing with purchases of stocks. This is keeping the game alive for the time being. However, these stocks cannot be sold without crashing the market. Who will end up losers and winners? Middle America certainly isn’t going to be happy when the game ends. If central banks continue in their role as stockholders funded by fiat currency, it will change the game completely.

Middle America has cause to feel uneasy…

Source: ZeroHedge

US National Debt Hits $21 Trillion

For 8 years, we took every opportunity to point out that under Barack Obama’s administration, US debt was rising at a alarmingly rapid rate, having nearly doubled, surging by $9.3 trillion  during Obama’s 8 years. It now appears that the trajectory of US debt under the Trump administration will be no different, and in fact based on Trump’s ambitious fiscal spending visions, may rise even faster than it did under Obama.

We note this because as of close of Friday, the US Treasury reported that total US debt has risen above $21 trillion for the first time; or $21,031,067,004,766.25 to be precise.

Putting this in context, total US debt has now risen by over $1 trillion in Trump’s first year… and the real spending hasn’t even begun yet.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/total%20debt%20under%20trump.jpg?itok=_VKBbUvY

What is amusing is that Trump – who has a tweet for every occasion – and who no longer even pretends to care about the unsustainability of US spending was extremely proud as recently as a year ago by how little debt has increased during his term.

We doubt today’s milestone will be celebrated on Trump’s twitter account.

And while some can argue – especially adherents of the socialist Magic Money Tree, or MMT, theory – that there is no reason why the exponential debt increase can’t continue indefinitely…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/US%20debt%20LT.jpg?itok=Nq7Ddku2

… one can counter with the following chart from Goldman, which shows that if one assumes a blended interest rate of roughly 3.5% as the Fed does, and keeps America’s debt/GDP ratio constant, in a few years the US will be in what Goldman dubbed “uncharted territory” and warned that “the continued growth of public debt raises eventual sustainability questions if left unchecked.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/GS%20uncharted%20interest%20rate.jpg

The bad news, however, is that debt/GDP will not be constant, as the CBO recently forecast in what was actually an overly optimistic prediction.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/jpm%20debt%20cbo%20forecast.jpg?itok=GjazHBdB

Source: ZeroHedge

Fire Sale Begins: Chinese Conglomerate HNA Starts Liquidating Billions In US Real Estate


Yesterday ZeroHedge
explained that one of the reasons why Deutsche Bank stock had tumbled to the lowest level since 2016, is because its top shareholder, China’s largest and most distressed conglomerate, HNA Group, had reportedly defaulted on a wealth management product sold on Phoenix Finance according to the local press reports. While HNA’s critical liquidity troubles have been duly noted here and have been widely known, the fact that the company was on the verge (or beyond) of default, and would be forced to liquidate its assets imminently, is what sparked the selling cascade in Deutsche Bank shares, as investors scrambled to frontrun the selling of the German lender which is one of HNA’s biggest investments.

Now, one day later, we find that while Deutsche Bank may be spared for now – if not for long – billions in US real estate will not be, and in a scene right out of the Wall Street movie Margin Call, HNA has decided to be if not smartest, nor cheat, it will be the first, and has begun its firesale of US properties.

According to Bloomberg, HNA is marketing commercial properties in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Minneapolis valued at a total of $4 billion as the indebted Chinese conglomerate seeks to stave off a liquidity crunch. The marketing document lists six office properties that are 94.1% leased, and one New York hotel, the 165-room Cassa, with a total value of $4 billion.

One of the flagship properties on the block is the landmark office building at 245 Park Ave., according to a marketing document seen by Bloomberg.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/245%20park.jpg?itok=o04ldvfo245 Park Avenue, New York

HNA bought that skyscraper less than a year ago for $2.21 billion, one of the highest prices ever paid for a New York office building. The company also is looking to sell 850 Third Ave. in Manhattan and 123 Mission St. in San Francisco, according to the document. The properties are being marketed by an affiliate of brokerage HFF.

This is just the beginning as HNA’s massive debt load – which if recent Chinese reports are accurate the company has started defaulting on – is driving the company to sell assets worldwide.

According to Real Capital Analytics estimates, HNA owns more than $14 billion in real estate properties globally. The problem is that the company has a lot more more debt. As of the end of June, HNA had 185.2 billion yuan ($29.3 billion) of short-term debt — more than its cash and earnings can cover. The company’s total debt is nearly 600 billion yuan or just under US$100 billion. Which means that the HNA fire sale is just beginning, and once the company sells the liquid real estate, it will move on to everything else, including its stake in all these companies, whose shares it has already pledged as collateral.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/23/HNA%20reverse%20rollup.png

So keep a close eye on Deutsche Bank stock: while HNA may have promised John Cryan it won’t sell any time soon but companies tend to quickly change their mind when bankruptcy court beckons.

Finally, the far bigger question is whether the launch of HNA’s firesale will present a tipping point in the US commercial (or residential) real estate market. After all, when what until recently was one of the biggest marginal buyers becomes a seller, it’s usually time to get out and wait for the bottom.

Source: ZeroHedge

 

Fed Halts Wells Fargo’s Growth amid Endless Waves of Reckless Abandon

Is this what a “soft nationalization” looks like?

https://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/economics/wells-fargo/wells-fargo-hells-cargo.jpg

The Federal Reserve on Friday announced it was forcing Wells Fargo to oust board members and limit its growth, responding to a wave of abuses at the San Francisco giant that include opening accounts for customers who didn’t request them.

In the last major move of Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s reign at the central bank, the Fed said it won’t let Wells Fargo WFC, -6.21%  add assets beyond the level of the end of 2017 until it improves governance and controls. Wells Fargo ended 2017 with $1.95 trillion in assets.

Wells Fargo will be able to continue current activities including accepting customer deposits or making consumer loans, the Fed said.

“We cannot tolerate pervasive and persistent misconduct at any bank and the consumers harmed by Wells Fargo expect that robust and comprehensive reforms will be put in place to make certain that the abuses do not occur again,” Yellen said in a statement. “The enforcement action we are taking today will ensure that Wells Fargo will not expand until it is able to do so safely and with the protections needed to manage all of its risks and protect its customers.”

The asset cap is unprecedented, according to Federal Reserve officials.

Federal Reserve officials didn’t say it was specifically planned for Yellen’s last day — and they said the bank agreed to the terms on Friday afternoon.

The Fed cited not only the millions of customer accounts Wells Fargo opened without authorization but also more recent revelations that the bank charged hundreds of thousands of borrowers for unneeded guaranteed auto protection or collateral protection insurance for their automobiles.

Screwed by Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo will replace three current board members by April and a fourth board member by the end of the year, the Fed said. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat, had requested the Fed oust Wells Fargo board members. The Fed didn’t identify which board members will have to leave.

The Fed also singled out Stephen Sanger, the former lead independent director, and former CEO John Stumpf with letters excoriating them for the abuses.

The vote for the sanctions was 3-0, with the incoming chairman, Jerome Powell, joining Yellen and Gov. Lael Brainard. The new vice chairman for regulation, Randal Quarles, abstained.

Quarles previously said he would recuse himself from Wells Fargo matters because he and his family previously had a financial interest in the bank.

In after-hours trade late Friday, Wells Fargo shares dropped over 5%.

Source: By Steve Goldstein | MarketWatch

Hackers Make U.S. ATMs Spit Out Cash Like Slot Machines

Hackers able to make ATMs spit cash like winning slot machines are now operating inside the United States, marking the arrival of “jackpotting” attacks after widespread heists in Europe and Asia, according to the world’s largest ATM makers and security news website, Krebs on Security.

Thieves have used skimming devices on ATM machines to steal debit card information, but “jackpotting” augurs more sophisticated technological challenges that American financial firms will face in coming years.

“This is the first instance of jackpotting in the United States,” said digital security reporter Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post reporter. “It’s safe to assume that these are here to stay at this point.”

On his website, Krebs reported Saturday that the Secret Service has warned financial institutions about “jackpotting” attacks in the past few days, though specifics have not been revealed.

He cites an alert sent by ATM maker NCR Corp. to its customers:

“This represents the first confirmed cases of losses due to logical attacks in the U.S.,” the alert read. “This should be treated as a call to action to take appropriate steps to protect their ATMs against these forms of attack and mitigate any consequences.”

Krebs reported that criminal gangs are targeting Diebold Nixdorf ATM machines — the stand-alone kind you might see in a drive-through or pharmacy. He shared the ATM giant’s security notice. It described similar attacks in Mexico, in which criminals used a modified medical endoscope to access a port inside the machines and install malware. Diebold is also one of the largest manufactures of eVoting machines, based upon the same software as their casino slot machines and ATM’s used throughout the Americas and Western Europe.

Both ATM makers confirmed to Reuters that they sent out alerts.

Diebold Nixdorf spokesman Mike Jacobsen declined to provide the number of banks targeted in Mexico and the United States or comment on losses, according to Reuters.

Hackers have also been reported to remotely infect ATMs or completely swap out their hard drives. The Secret Service could not be immediately reached for comment about the nature of the reported U.S. attacks.

Whichever method is used, the results are about the same. At a hacker conference in 2010, Wired reported, a researcher brought two infected ATMs to the stage and gave a demonstration.

Source: Avi Selk | Washington Post