Tag Archives: Deutsche Bank

Big Banks Outed For Enabled Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Trafficking Crimes

Unlike the unfounded narrative that cryptocurrency enables crime, big banks are more than happy to serve unsavory clients if it is lucrative enough for them. The latest example of this is a report that Jeffrey Epstein was apparently using his bank accounts to fund sex trafficking and possibly other crimes.

Follow the Money

The reported death of the Wall Street financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on Saturday morning in a Manhattan prison cell has left a lot of questions. Among these is how exactly he funded his criminal activities, which included sex trafficking of minors to be used by the rich and powerful. One matter that is not a mystery is how Epstein funded his perversions: he used the traditional fiat banking system, with all its extensive KYC and AML regulations.

The alleged suicide of Epstein shouldn’t stop the “Legions of lawyers, bankers and accountants” that have been digging into his financial affairs in recent weeks claims the New York Times. These include officials conducting internal reviews at the two big banks that worked with him for years, JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank. The employees at both of these financial institutions have reportedly been going over their books in a long overdue attempt to understand how they got into business with the convicted criminal and what exactly he was using their banking services for. A person who was briefed on Deutsche Bank’s internal review reportedly said “it appeared that Mr. Epstein was using his accounts for sex trafficking and possibly other illegal activity.”

Deutsche Bank headquarters on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York

Further, according to the report, compliance officers and other employees at both JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank had strongly advised their higher-ups to stop doing business with Epstein years before his accounts were finally closed. This was suggested not due to the unpalatable nature of his businesses, but due to the risks associated with him such as hurting the bank’s brand and upsetting regulators. However, former employees at both banks said that “managers and executives rejected that advice and kept doing business with the lucrative client.”

Deutsche Bank Only Recently Closed Epstein’s Accounts

Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty and was convicted in court of law of both soliciting a prostitute and of procuring a minor for prostitution back in 2008. He served 13 months in custody with work release, as part of a plea deal, where federal prosecutes had identified 36 girls as young as 14 years old who had been victimized. His case was very hard to miss due to the fact that his name was tied to some of the most famous and powerful people in the world such as Donald Trump, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.K.’s Prince Andrew, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and disgraced Hollywood star Kevin Spacey.

Despite all of this, it isn’t too hard to see why the higher-ups at the big banks didn’t want to let go of his business. While not much is known about the source of his money, Epstein definitely had a lot of it moving around. Among his confirmed assets is a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a Manhattan mansion worth over $77 million, a Palm Beach estate worth over $12 million, additional real-estate properties in New Mexico and Paris, a private jet airplane and no less than 15 cars. Considering this, it isn’t that surprising that Deutsche Bank only cut its ties to Epstein when prosecutors were set to charge him again with operating a sex-trafficking ring of underage girls in June of this year.

A Chase Bank branch in Manhattan, New York

JP Morgan Chase worked with Epstein from the late 1990s until 2013 and Deutsche Bank served him from 2013 until June 2019. The latter bank has reportedly already started giving his complete transaction history to investigators while the former awaits receiving similar demands for his financial data from U.S. authorities.

In a statement on Saturday after the alleged suicide, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman expressed his commitment to the victims to keep the investigation ongoing, despite the demise of the defendant. This means that the public will hopefully get a detailed examination into the criminal banking activities of Epstein in due course.

Big Banks Have a Long History of Enabling Crime

Governments, central banks and international financial institutions have all been pushing a largely unfounded narrative in recent years that cryptocurrencies enable illicit activity. Parroted by the mainstream media, it was used as justification to crack down on exchanges and other crypto service providers with demands for less user privacy or outright bans. In contrast, the established banking system has a long and proven track record of enabling all sorts of crimes, despite its burdensome compliance requirements, and yet erring institutions receive nothing more than a fine equal to a slap on the wrist.

The recent seizure of a cargo ship owned by JP Morgan, which was loaded with 20 tons of cocaine, highlight the involvement of the big banks, albeit unwittingly in this instance, in such activities. Money laundering for drug cartels as well as moving funds for terrorists, arms dealers and dictatorial regimes are among the many misdeeds the banks have been caught red-handed abetting over the years.

What do you think about the big banks that reportedly enabled Jeffrey Epstein to fund his sex trafficking crimes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Source: by Avi Mizrahi | Bitcoin.com

Deutsche Bank Enters Controlled Collapse Two Weeks After Passing Fed Stress Test

“The Deutsche Bank As You Knew It Is No More”: DB Exits Equities In $8.4 Billion Overhaul, To Fire Thousands

Europe’s 2nd largest banking behemoth that only a decade ago dominated equity, fixed income, sales, trading, and investment banking across the globe is no more.

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The Purge Expands: Deutsche Bank Planning To Fire Up To 20% Of US Workers

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Two weeks after Deutsche Bank wasted no time at all to lay off 400 US bankers, or roughly 10% of total, as the bank’s post-disastrous earnings purge began, today the purge is accelerating and according to Bloomberg, the biggest European bank is considering a sweeping restructuring, a less scary phrase than “mass termination” in the U.S. “that could result in cutting about 20% of staff in the region” although Bloomberg caveats that a formal decision has not yet been made, the total figure may end up lower.

Some more details from Bloomberg:

Deutsche Bank isn’t targeting a specific level of cuts at the U.S. unit and the final figure will depend on each business line’s decisions, according to another person briefed on the matter. The company had about 10,300 employees in the U.S. at the end of 2017, or about a tenth of its global workforce.

The news follows an earlier report that Deutsche Bank’s Barry Bausano, a senior banker in charge of overseeing the company’s relations with hedge fund clients, was leaving as the firm shakes up its U.S. operations.

When Bloomberg asked the bank about its mass termination plans, bank spokesman Joerg Eigendorf said “There are no such plans,” although considering the billions Deutsche has spent on rigging and manipulation, they may be excused if they are not seen as exactly credible.

Separately, Bloomberg also reports that under its new CEO, Christian Sewing, Deutsche Bank is considering cuts to businesses including prime brokerage, rates and repo,according to a bank statement last month and people familiar with the matter. As reported previously, the firm is already planning to close an office in Houston and shrink its presence in New York City, moving from Wall Street to a midtown Manhattan space that’s 30 percent smaller.

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

 

Deutsche Bank Is Blood In The Water… And Sharks Smell It.

Is This Crisis Like Lehman Brothers on Steroids?

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Deutsche Bank is blood in the water… and the sharks smell it.

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that major hedge funds were reducing their exposure to the German banking behemoth. The smart money is headed for the exits.

That caused the bank’s U.S.-listed shares to hit a new all-time low of $11.27 yesterday. The stock closed down nearly 7% for the day.

And that’s just the most recent bad news for Deutsche…

Earlier this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany wasn’t going to bail it out.

That’s on top of $14 billion fine recently imposed by the U.S. Justice Department that the bank can’t afford to pay. Its current market capitalization is just $16.8 billion.

This torrent of negativity has the talking heads warning that Deutsche Bank is careening toward bankruptcy, bringing back memories of Lehman Bros. in 2008.

But it’s more than that…

Leveraged to the Hilt:

What investors are finally realizing is that Deutsche Bank is insolvent, something I told my Trend Following subscribers back in July.

Deutsche has astounding leverage of 40 times. Leverage is the proportion of debts that a bank has compared with its equity/capital. That means Deutsche has 40 times more debt than equity/ capital.

Remember, Lehman Bros. was only 31 times leveraged when it imploded in 2008.

The huge concern for investors right now is whether the bank can make enough profit to start overcoming its liabilities.

But it’s trapped in a low-growth economic environment. And it’s being choked to death by the European Central Bank’s negative interest rate policy (NIRP).

Because of NIRP, EU banks like Deutsche Bank effectively have to pay the central bank to hold cash on their balance sheets. At the same time, they can’t charge high rates on the loans they make. As a result, they’re getting squeezed on net interest margins, which decimates profits.

Plus, Deutsche has more than $72 trillion of risky derivatives exposure. Derivatives are the complex financial instruments that cratered the global economy in 2008.

By Michael Covel | Daily Reckoning

This Will Devolve Into A No Brexit, Brexit

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Summary

  • The UK voters have been conned, the costs of Brexit are prohibitive.
  • They will either have to vote again (either in a new referendum or a general election) or there will be a ‘Brexit light’.
  • The latter option will make a mockery of the promises to Brexit voters, but it will limit the economic dangers.
  • Still, the saga has increased the risks in the world economy, especially in the EU.

We sold everything on the Friday after Brexit, as we saw little upside, and many festering risks in the world economy. Risks which Brexit would clearly increase, most notably the risks of an economic slowdown in the EU, causing further political turmoil.

But these are by no means the only pressure points in the world economy, as we described in the previous article.

But markets rallied back (we didn’t expect an immediate crash as a result of Brexit), and it slowly dawned upon us that the most logical explanation is that there will be no Brexit.

Why? In essence, it’s fairly simple. The price of the promises made by the Brexit camp, most notably to control immigration, to pay much less to Brussels and to ‘take back control’ cannot really be achieved at anywhere near acceptable cost.

Let’s start with immigration. The UK wasn’t part of Schengen (which abolished internal border controls), but it was bound by the four freedoms of the internal market, most notably the freedom for EU citizens to live anywhere in the EU.

In order to escape that (the UK is a popular destination for East Europeans, most notably Polish) the UK would really have to get out of the single market. But this opens up a Pandora’s box of problems.

First, since the EU is the UK’s most important market, it would have to negotiate access to the single market, and do that within the two years given by Article 50 (the EU has made it clear no negotiations will start before Article 50 is triggered).

Not only that, it would have to deal with negotiating multiple other trade deals, perhaps as many as 50, basically with much of the rest of the world.

 

The UK isn’t equipped to do that (trade has been an EU prerogative), let alone in any amount of acceptable time. The resulting uncertainty isn’t exactly good for business. This will affect inward investment, location decisions, job creation, etc.

That alone is already too high a price to pay. But there are other implications, like (Bloomberg):

Britain has voted to exit the EU and Xi’s being forced to reassess his strategy for the 28-member bloc, China’s second-biggest trading partner, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The U.K. has been a key advocate for China in Europe, from building trade-and-financial links to supporting initiatives such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Beijing’s leaders were counting on the U.K’s backing later this year when the bloc decides whether to grant China market-economy status. “One major reason why China attaches great importance to its relations with the U.K. is to leverage EU policy via the U.K.,” said Xie Tao, a professor of political science at Beijing Foreign Studies University. London’s value as a “bridgehead” to Europe has been lost with Brexit, Xie said, leaving China to turn its focus to Germany.

Perhaps even more important is London’s status as a financial center. From Business Insider:

First, international banks are likely to move staff out of London and do less business in the UK. Long before the vote, rival financial centers like Paris began campaigns to woo those bankers. JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon told an audience of bank employees in Bournemouth, one of many regional financial centers in the UK, that as many as 4,000 jobs may be affected by a Brexit before the vote… It isn’t just a question of whether staff move from London to another financial center, either. New jobs are less likely to be created in London. M&G Investments, the fund arm of insurer Prudential, is looking at expanding its operations in Dublin, according to Reuters. The proposed merger between the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Borse, which would have seen the combined group based in London, now looks to be on shaky ground. Germany’s financial regulator has also said that London will no longer be the center of euro-denominated trading.

There are myriad other costs and awkward consequences, but this suffices to highlight the fact that it’s not a good idea to actually leave.

Ergo, powers will awake to prevent this and keep the UK in the single market. We can’t see the UK’s economic, financial and political elite shoot themselves in the foot without regrouping and giving this a mighty fight.

It’s fortunate that there is a cooling off period, in which calmer heads can prevail. First the governing Conservative Party has to choose a new leader.

Then they will have to work out a plan and trigger (or not) Article 50, the formal request to leave the EU.

Two outcomes seem likely, either things stay as they are, or the UK opts for membership of the EEA, which guarantees access to the single market. Perhaps they manage some symbolic concessions.

Both of these options amount to betraying the Brexit voters, one could even say they have been conned. It’s obvious if the referendum is simply ignored by Parliament, after all there already is a Parliamentary majority of 350 for remaining in the EU.

But EEA membership, like Norway, would also betray the Brexit voters and we doubt it’s any more attractive than simply remain in the EU. The UK would continue to have access to the single market, but not be a part of setting its rules.

The UK would continue to be bound by the freedom for people to live and work anywhere within the EU, making a mockery of the promise to control immigration.

Even the budgetary consequences aren’t really that much better (Yahoo):

But the fees in Norway, the nearest analog to the UK, are almost as high as what the UK pays to the EU now, and Norway has no say at all in EU decisions.

So either there will be no Brexit (a new referendum or new elections, with the winning side clearly having a mandate for remaining in the EU will be necessary), or it will be a Brexit light (EEA membership), making a mockery of the promises to the Brexit voters.

The economic consequences of the latter are much less damaging, so did we sell in vain? Not necessarily. The whole Brexit saga is still increasing the risks in the world economy, of which there are many, especially in the eurozone.

Stocks are still expensive (especially on a GAAP basis), we see limited upside, and might very well go short when stocks start approaching their all-time highs again. It’s more of a trader’s market, in our opinion.

by Shareholders Unite | Seeking Alpha

IMF Says “Deutsche Bank Poses The Greatest Risk To The Global Financial System”

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Over three years ago we wrote “At $72.8 Trillion, Presenting The Bank With The Biggest Derivative Exposure In The World” in which we introduced a bank few until then had imagined was the riskiest in the world.

As we explained then “the bank with the single largest derivative exposure is not located in the US at all, but in the heart of Europe, and its name, as some may have guessed by now, is Deutsche Bank. The amount in question? €55,605,039,000,000. Which, converted into USD at the current EURUSD exchange rate amounts to $72,842,601,090,000….  Or roughly $2 trillion more than JPMorgan’s.”

So here we are three years later, when not only did Deutsche Bank just flunk the Fed’s stress test for the second year in a row, but moments ago in a far more damning analysis, none other than the IMF disclosed that Deutsche Bank poses the greatest systemic risk to the global financial system, explicitly stating that the German bank “appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks.”

Yes, the same bank whose stock price hit a record low just two days ago.

Here is the key section in the report:

Domestically, the largest German banks and insurance companies are highly interconnected. The highest degree of interconnectedness can be found between Allianz, Munich Re, Hannover Re, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Aareal bank, with Allianz being the largest contributor to systemic risks among the publicly-traded German financials. Both Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are the source of outward spillovers to most other publicly-listed banks and insurers. Given the likelihood of distress spillovers between banks and life insurers, close monitoring and continued systemic risk analysis by authorities is warranted.

Among the G-SIBs, Deutsche Bank appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks, followed by HSBC and Credit Suisse. In turn, Commerzbank, while an important player in Germany, does not appear to be a contributor to systemic risks globally. In general, Commerzbank tends to be the recipient of inward spillover from U.S. and European G-SIBs. The relative importance of Deutsche Bank underscores the importance of risk management, intense supervision of G-SIBs and the close monitoring of their cross-border exposures, as well as rapidly completing capacity to implement the new resolution regime.

The IMF also said the German banking system poses a higher degree of possible outward contagion compared with the risks it poses internally. This means that in the global interconnected game of counter party dominoes, if Deutsche Bank falls, everyone else will follow.

Notwithstanding moderate cross-border exposures on aggregate, the banking sector is a potential source of outward spillovers. Network analysis suggests a higher degree of outward spillovers from the German banking sector than inward spillovers. In particular, Germany, France, the U.K. and the U.S. have the highest degree of outward spillovers as measured by the average percentage of capital loss of other banking systems due to banking sector shock in the source country

The IMF concluded that Germany needs to urgently examine whether its bank resolution, i.e., liquidation, plans are operable, including a timely valuation of assets to be transferred, continued access to financial market infrastructures, and whether authorities can ensure control over a bank if resolution actions take a few days, if needed, by imposing a moratorium:

Operationalization of resolution plans and ensuring funding of a bank in resolution is a high priority. The authorities have identified operational challenges (e.g., the timely valuation of assets to be transferred, continued access to financial market infrastructures) and are working to surmount them. In some cases, actions to effect resolution may require a number of days to implement, and the authorities should ensure they can maintain control over the bank during this period, including by using their powers to impose a more general moratorium for a specific bank.

Here is the IMF’s chart showing the key linkages of the world’s riskiest bank:

And while DB is number 1, here are the other banks whose collapse would likewise lead to global contagion.

Considering two of the three most “globally systemically important”, i.e., riskiest, banks just saw their stock price scrape all time lows earlier this week, we wonder just how nervous behind their calm facades are the executives at the ECB, the IMF, and the rest of the handful of people who realize just close to the edge of collapse this world’s most riskiest bank (whose market cap is less than the valuation of AirBnB) finds itself right now.

IMF Report | Article Source: ZeroHedge

ECB Blows €400bn on “Brexit Black Friday” Bank Bailouts

Dealing with a Financial Crisis under cover of Brexit Chaos

Remember TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program that the US Congress approved to bail out banks and other companies during the Financial Crisis? $700 billion were authorized, later reduced to $475 billion. The Treasury eventually dispersed $432 billion. I bring this up because the ECB bailed out the European banks with more than TARP, in just one day: on Brexit Black Friday.

The ECB saw what was happening to the shares of the largest banks on that propitious day. It saw a blooming financial crisis:

Top UK Banks:

  • HSBC, the apparent winner in this fiasco, perhaps because of its exposure to Asia, -1.4%
  • Barclays: -17.7%
  • Royal Bank of Scotland: -18.0%
  • Lloyds Banking Group: -21.0%

Top German Banks:

  • Deutsche Bank: -15.9% to €13.25, down 59% from April last year, possibly on the way to zero.
  • Commerzbank: -13.6%, to €6.20. The German government still owns nearly 16% of it as a result of the bailout during the Financial Crisis.
  • The third-largest German bank, KfW, is a state-owned institution, so taxpayers are automatically on the hook.

Top French banks:

The fiasco that happened to the Spanish and Italian banks was so enormous that it sent stock markets into their largest one-day plunges on record, of over 12% [ Brexit Blowback Hits Italian and Spanish Banks].

The Stoxx 600 banking index, which covers the largest European banks, plunged 14.5% on Friday. It’s down 29.3% year-to-date, 42% from its 52-week high, and 76% from its all-time high in May 2007 before the Financial Crisis and the euro debt crisis knocked the hot air out of the banks.

But to keep panic at bay, Brexit and the resulting political crisis are used to cover up the blooming financial crisis.

And what a political crisis it is, not just for the UK, but for the EU. No one knows how this will end up. Businesses need certainty. They need to know what money they’re going to use next year, and what the trade and legal frameworks will be. They like to take those things for granted. But now, in the EU, no one can take anything for granted anymore.

Companies with cross-border operations – this includes all major banks and brokerages – have gigantic headaches, and the UK’s 2.2 million financial-sector employees are fidgeting on the edge of their chairs. It might take a couple of years for the UK to actually exit the EU, if it even happens at all, so there’s a little breathing room.

But where there’s apparently no longer any breathing room is with banks, and the ECB went into panic mode.

With bank stocks collapsing on Brexit Black Friday, the frazzled folks at the ECB decided it was high time to start bailing out the banks – and not dabble at the margins, but pull out the whatever-it-takes money-printing machine, and do so under the cover of Brexit chaos when no one was supposed to pay attention.

On Friday, the ECB pulled a huge magic trick, larger than TARP. Under one of its alphabet-soup programs – long-term refinancing operations (LTRO) – it handed teetering banks $399.3 billion, or $444 billion.

€399.3 billion – like a used car is advertised for €19,999.99 – because €400 billion might have been too much of a sticker shock. So let’s round it to €400 billion.

And as central banks do, it didn’t ask legislators for permission. It just did it. Here’s a screenshot of the ECB’s disclosure, with my annotations:

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Settlement date is Wednesday. This money is going to go somewhere.

Part of it may be mopped up by the liquidity crisis the ECB sees unfolding at the banks.

And part of it might end up in other assets. This sort of thing is supposed to prop stock markets, particularly bank stocks. But since April last year, European stock markets have swooned, despite all the efforts by the ECB. Its flood of liquidity went into bonds, real estate, and into US assets.

This money might pump up prices, perhaps in the most unexpected places, if only briefly. It might even pump up bank stocks. Short sellers should take note.

And the day before Brexit Black Friday, with impeccable timing, the ECB pulled another big one: it leaked to Reuters that it was addressing the nonperforming-loan epidemic among Eurozone banks by sweeping it further under the rug.

The ECB, which regulates 129 Eurozone banks, has estimated that these banks are bogged down in €900 billion ($1 trillion) of bad loans, or 7.1% of all Eurozone bank loans. At some banks, NPLs have reached catastrophic levels: for example, 15% at Italy’s UniCredit.

So instead of forcing the banks to finally take the losses, raise a lot of new capital or topple, the ECB will merely give them “non-binding guidance” by the end of 2016 or early 2017, and some of this “guidance” won’t even be in writing, sources told Reuters with perfect timing the day before Brexit sank these banks.

The ECB doesn’t want to hurt fake earnings. And this leak to Reuters was supposed to have soothed the markets and helped prop up bank stocks.

The thing is, banks that need to raise equity capital must have inflated stock prices or else existing investors get crushed. If Deutsche Bank has to raise €30 billion in capital by issuing shares at €3 a share, existing shareholder will essentially be wiped out, and raising equity capital may no longer be possible. So the name of the game is to manipulate up bank stocks before issuing new shares. But it may be too late.

And this is what happened to Italian and Spanish stock markets, as banks were massacred. Read…  Brexit Blowback Hits Italian and Spanish Banks

by Wolf Richter | WolfStreet


European Banks Get Crushed, Worst 2-Day Plunge Ever, Italian Banks to Get Taxpayer Bailout, Contagion Hits US Banks

European bank stocks just experienced their worst two-day plunge ever in the post-Brexit fallout that rained down on the already blooming European banking crisis.

Healthy big banks would get over Brexit and the political turmoil it is spawning, particularly non-UK banks. But there are no healthy big banks in Europe. And non-UK banks are crashing just as hard, and some harder. This is about a banking crisis morphing into a financial crisis, that has gotten so bad that on Friday, the ECB tried to bail out the banks in its bailiwick with €400 billion – more than the entirety of TARP – in just one day.

These bank stocks got crushed on Friday. And they got crushed again today. Italian banks have been reduced to penny stocks. Spanish banks are getting closer. Commerzbank, Germany’s second largest bank, and still partially owned by the German government as a consequence of the last bailout, is well on the way.

The two-day losses are just breathtaking. This table shows the largest banks by country with their percentage losses for today and for the two-day period:

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Note that the European Stoxx 600 banking index fell 7.6% today for a 21.1% two-day plunge! It isn’t just a few banks whose stocks are collapsing!

Deutsche Bank’s infamous CoCo bonds deserve a special word. These hybrid bonds that are just above equity on the capital totem pole had spiraled down, with the 6% CoCos hitting 70 cents on the euro in February. At that point, they and all other Deutsche Bank bonds were propped up by government verbiage and bank money. The bank ingeniously announced it would buy back its own bonds! Like all these transparent market manipulations, the market ate it up, and even the CoCo bonds jumped to 87 cents on the euro. But that didn’t last long. They have since lost 11.5%, including today’s 3.7% plunge to 77 cents on the euro.

In Italy, the banking crisis that has been growing for years has reduced all major Italian banks to penny stocks. It has triggered bailouts of some banks, including the third largest publicly traded bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Now the taxpayer is going to get shanghaied into bailing them out to put a floor under the collapsing share prices and prevent them from going to zero.

Italian banks are bogged down in a sea of bad debt whose true dimensions are still unknown publicly, and that the ECB publicly estimates to be €360 billion, but every time someone looks at it, it gets larger.

According to “a banking source familiar with the government’s thinking,” as Reuters put it, the Italian government is now fretting about a hedge fund attack on these zombies, following the Brexit turmoil! To counter this attack, the government is trying to figure out how to “protect its banks from a destabilizing sell-off of their shares” that “could tip them into full-blown crisis.”

(I have some news for the Italian government: Your banks have been in full-blown crisis for years!)

The government is thinking about using some kind of taxpayer guarantee and taking a stake in these banks, funded by about €40 billion in new government debt, issued by the second-most indebted government in the Eurozone, after Greece.

According to media reports in Italy, cited by Reuters, the government is already in talks with the European Commission about this sort of bailout. European rules are supposed to end state aid to tottering companies, and collapsing banks are supposed to be wound down involving losses for stock holders and junior bondholders (the bail-ins).

But the government is invoking the exemption in these rules in case of “exceptional events,” which would be the crash of bank stocks, as a consequence of investors figuring out that these Italian banks are toast.

That doesn’t mean that bottom fishers and falling-knife catchers aren’t jostling for position to pick up “bargains” among these European banks, as they have done so many times before, only to see banks stocks, after a brief rally, fall once again to new lows.

Contagion is infecting US banking stocks. As I’m writing this, Goldman Sachs is down -1.1%, Wells Fargo -1.3%, JPMorgan -3.1%, Morgan Stanley -3.1%, Citibank -3.5%, and Bank of American -5.3%.

These wounds among US banks are just cosmetic compared to the bank massacre happening in Europe, where the ECB is now fully engaged in trying to deal with a Financial Crisis under the cover of Brexit Chaos.

by Wolf Richter | WolfStreet

Deutsche Bank Admits To Rigging Markets (video)

Global level fraud, other banks involved, silent mainstream media, what the heck is going on?

It Just Cost Deutsche Bank $25,000 Per Employee To Keep Its Libor Manipulating Bankers Out Of Jail

Is Deutsche Bank’s Gold Manipulation The Main Scam Or Just A Side-Show?

Investigating Deutsche Bank’s €21 Trillion Derivative Casino In Wake Of Admission It Rigged Gold And Silver

Deutsche Bank Confirms Silver Market Manipulation In Legal Settlement, Agrees To Expose Other Banks

What is the end game?

 

 

Pension Funds Sue Big Banks over Manipulation of $12.7 Trillion Treasuries Market

At least two government pension funds have sued major banks, accusing them of manipulating the $12.7 trillion market for U.S. Treasury bonds to drive up profits, thereby costing the funds—and taxpayers—millions of dollars.

As with another case earlier this year, in which major banks were found to have manipulated the London Inter bank Offered Rate (LIBOR), traders are accused of using electronic chat rooms and instant messaging to drive up the price that secondary customers pay for Treasury bonds, then conspiring to drop the price banks pay the government for the bonds, increasing the spread, or profit, for the banks. This also ends up costing taxpayers more to borrow money.

In the latest complaint, the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System is suing Barclays Capital, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Securities, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and others, according to Courthouse News Service. Last month State-Boston Retirement System (SBRS) filed a similar complaint against 22 banks, many of which are the same defendants in the Oklahoma suit.

“Defendants are expected to be ‘good citizens of the Treasury market’ and compete against each other in the U.S. Treasury Securities markets; however, instead of competing, they have been working together to conclusively manipulate the prices of U.S. Treasury Securities at auction and in the when-issued market, which in turn influences pricing in the secondary market for such securities as well as in markets for U.S. Treasury-Based Instruments,” the Oklahoma complaint states.

The State-Boston suit, which named Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch unit, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, UBS and 14 other defendants, makes similar charges.

SBRS uncovered the scheme when it hired economists to analyze Treasury securities price behavior, which pointed to market manipulation by the banks.

“The scheme harmed private investors who paid too much for Treasuries, and it harmed municipalities and corporations because the rates they paid on their own debt were also inflated by the manipulation,” Michael Stocker, a partner at Labaton Sucharow, which represents State-Boston, said in an interview with Reuters. “Even a small manipulation in Treasury rates can result in enormous consequences.”

Both the suits are seeking treble unnamed damages from the financial institutions involved. The LIBOR action earlier this year involved a settlement of $5.5 billion.

The U.S. Justice Department has reportedly launched its own investigation into the alleged Treasury market conspiracy.

by Steve Straehley in allgov.com

To Learn More:

Banks Rigged Treasury Bonds, Class Claims (by Lorraine Baily, Courthouse News Service)

State-Boston Retirement System, on behalf of itself and v. Bank of Nova Scotia (Courthouse News Service)

Lawsuit Accuses 22 Banks of Manipulating U.S. Treasury Auctions (by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters)

Four Banks Guilty of Currency Manipulation but, as Usual, No One’s Going to Jail (by Steve Straehley and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Why Were So Many Chinese Company Stocks Suspended? – Bank loans against stocks

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At least 1,331 companies have halted trading on China’s mainland exchanges, freezing $2.6 trillion of shares, or about 40 percent of the country’s market value, Bloomberg News reports today.

The Shanghai Composite Index has fallen 5.9 percent on Wednesday, July 8th, 2015. It was about 32 percent below the peak of 5,166 it reached on June 12. The unwinding of margin loans is adding fuel to the fire. Individual investors, we all know by now, have used generous margin financing terms to enter the stock market and then build up their portfolios. Less known is that Chinese companies have been doing the exact same thing by using their own corporate stock to secure loans from banks.

This means that they stood to lose a lot when those share prices start trending dramatically lower. 

Says Nick Lawson at Deutsche Bank: “Stocks are being suspended by the companies themselves because many have bank loans backed by shares which the banks themselves may want to liquidate, joining the queues of margin sellers.”

Nomura analysts add that: “Some bank loans have been extended with shares of listed companies put up as collateral.”

Numbers here are sketchy, but the team at Nomura estimate that the total amount of such loans may be 500-600 billion yuan ($80 billion – $96 billion), which sounds like a lot but is equivalent to about 1 percent of total loans to Chinese enterprises.

Still, the dynamic now at play is reminiscent of the troubles encountered by U.S. energy firms thanks to the plunging price of oil. Many shale explorers have bank loans tied to the value of their oil and gas reserves. When the price of oil began sinking last year, those credit lines were generally reassessed at a lower value, limiting the amount of credit available to the energy companies and creating further pressure for firms that were already dealing with the fallout from dramatically lower crude prices.

The easiest way to stop a painful cycle of lower share prices leading to curbed corporate credit, further troubles for Chinese companies and then ever-increasing share price pressures is to halt stock trading altogether.

Speaking of which, the latest move from Chinese regulators announced on Wednesday bans corporate executives from selling stock for six months.

Source: Bloomberg

This vicious circle described above also explains why China’s central bank has quickly moved to support the market in an effort to limit its impact on the wider economy. 

by Tracy Alloway for Bloomberg Business News

The Next Housing Crisis May Be Sooner Than You Think

How we could fall into another housing crisis before we’ve fully pulled out of the 2008 one.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.citylab.com/media/img/citylab/2014/11/RTR2LDPC/lead_large.jpgby Richard Florida

When it comes to housing, sometimes it seems we never learn. Just when America appeared to be recovering from the last housing crisis—the trigger, in many ways, for 2008’s grand financial meltdown and the beginning of a three-year recession—another one may be looming on the horizon.

There are at several big red flags.

For one, the housing market never truly recovered from the recession. Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko points out that, while the third quarter of 2014 saw improvement in a number of housing key barometers, none have returned to normal, pre-recession levels. Existing home sales are now 80 percent of the way back to normal, while home prices are stuck at 75 percent back, remaining undervalued by 3.4 percent. More troubling, new construction is less than halfway (49 percent) back to normal. Kolko also notes that the fundamental building blocks of the economy, including employment levels, income and household formation, have also been slow to improve. “In this recovery, jobs and housing can’t get what they need from each other,” he writes.

Americans are spending more than 33 percent of their income on housing.

Second, Americans continue to overspend on housing. Even as the economy drags itself out of its recession, a spate of reports show that families are having a harder and harder time paying for housing. Part of the problem is that Americans continue to want more space in bigger homes, and not just in the suburbs but in urban areas, as well. Americans more than 33 percent of their income on housing in 2013, up nearly 13 percent from two decades ago, according to newly released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The graph below plots the trend by age.

Over-spending on housing is far worse in some places than others; the housing market and its recovery remain highly uneven. Another BLS report released last month showed that households in Washington, D.C., spent nearly twice as much on housing ($17,603) as those in Cleveland, Ohio ($9,061). The chart below, from the BLS report, shows average annual expenses on housing related items:

(Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The result, of course, is that more and more American households, especially middle- and working-class people, are having a harder time affording housing. This is particularly the case in reviving urban centers, as more affluent, highly educated and creative-class workers snap up the best spaces, particularly those along convenient transit, pushing the service and working class further out.

Last but certainly not least, the rate of home ownership continues to fall, and dramatically. Home ownership has reached its lowest level in two decades—64.4 percent (as of the third quarter of 2014). Here’s the data, from the U.S. Census Bureau:

(Data from U.S. Census Bureau)

Home ownership currently hovers from the mid-50 to low-60 percent range in some of the most highly productive and innovative metros in this country—places like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. This range seems “to provide the flexibility of rental and ownership options required for a fast-paced, rapidly changing knowledge economy. Widespread home ownership is no longer the key to a thriving economy,” I’ve written.

What we are going through is much more than a generational shift or simple lifestyle change. It’s a deep economic shift—I’ve called it the Great Reset. It entails a shift away from the economic system, population patterns and geographic layout of the old suburban growth model, which was deeply connected to old industrial economy, toward a new kind of denser, more urban growth more in line with today’s knowledge economy. We remain in the early stages of this reset. If history is any guide, the complete shift will take a generation or so.

It’s time to impose stricter underwriting standards and encourage the dense, mixed-use, more flexible housing options that the knowledge economy requires.

The upshot, as the Nobel Prize winner Edmund Phelps has written, is that it is time for Americans to get over their house passion. The new knowledge economy requires we spend less on housing and cars, and more on education, human capital and innovation—exactly those inputs that fuel the new economic and social system.

But we’re not moving in that direction; in fact, we appear to be going the other way. This past weekend, Peter J. Wallison pointed out in a New York Times op-ed that federal regulators moved back off tougher mortgage-underwriting standards brought on by 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act and instead relaxed them. Regulators are hoping to encourage more home ownership, but they’re essentially recreating the conditions that led to 2008’s crash.

Wallison notes that this amounts to “underwriting the next housing crisis.” He’s right: It’s time to impose stricter underwriting standards and encourage the dense, mixed-use, more flexible housing options that the knowledge economy requires.

During the depression and after World War II, this country’s leaders pioneered a series of purposeful and ultimately game-changing polices that set in motion the old suburban growth model, helping propel the industrial economy and creating a middle class of workers and owners. Now that our economy has changed again, we need to do the same for the denser urban growth model, creating more flexible housing system that can help bolster today’s economy.

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Dream housing for new economy workers
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Energy Workforce Projected To Grow 39% Through 2022

The dramatic resurgence of the oil industry over the past few years has been a notable factor in the national economic recovery. Production levels have reached totals not seen since the late 1980s and continue to increase, and rig counts are in the 1,900 range. While prices have dipped recently, it will take more than that to markedly slow the level of activity. Cycles are inevitable, but activity is forecast to remain at relatively high levels.  

An outgrowth of oil and gas activity strength is a need for additional workers. At the same time, the industry workforce is aging, and shortages are likely to emerge in key fields ranging from petroleum engineers to experienced drilling crews. I was recently asked to comment on the topic at a gathering of energy workforce professionals. Because the industry is so important to many parts of Texas, it’s an issue with relevance to future prosperity.  

 

Although direct employment in the energy industry is a small percentage of total jobs in the state, the work is often well paying. Moreover, the ripple effects through the economy of this high value-added industry are large, especially in areas which have a substantial concentration of support services.  

Petroleum Engineer

Employment in oil and gas extraction has expanded rapidly, up from 119,800 in January 2004 to 213,500 in September 2014. Strong demand for key occupations is evidenced by the high salaries; for example, median pay was $130,280 for petroleum engineers in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  

Due to expansion in the industry alone, the BLS estimates employment growth of 39 percent through 2022 for petroleum engineers, which comprised 11 percent of total employment in oil and gas extraction in 2012. Other key categories (such as geoscientists, wellhead pumpers, and roustabouts) are also expected to see employment gains exceeding 15 percent. In high-activity regions, shortages are emerging in secondary fields such as welders, electricians, and truck drivers.  

The fact that the industry workforce is aging is widely recognized. The cyclical nature of the energy industry contributes to uneven entry into fields such as petroleum engineering and others which support oil and gas activity. For example, the current surge has pushed up wages, and enrollment in related fields has increased sharply. Past downturns, however, led to relatively low enrollments, and therefore relatively lower numbers of workers in some age cohorts. The loss of the large baby boom generation of experienced workers to retirement will affect all industries. This problem is compounded in the energy sector because of the long stagnation of the industry in the 1980s and 1990s resulting in a generation of workers with little incentive to enter the industry. As a result, the projected need for workers due to replacement is particularly high for key fields.

The BLS estimates that 9,800 petroleum engineers (25.5 percent of the total) working in 2012 will need to be replaced by 2022 because they retire or permanently leave the field. Replacement rates are also projected to be high for other crucial occupations including petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers (37.1 percent); derrick, rotary drill, and service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining (40.4 percent).  

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Putting together the needs from industry expansion and replacement, most critical occupations will require new workers equal to 40 percent or more of the current employment levels. The total need for petroleum engineers is estimated to equal approximately 64.5 percent of the current workforce. Clearly, it will be a major challenge to deal with this rapid turnover.

Potential solutions which have been attempted or discussed present problems, and it will require cooperative efforts between the industry and higher education and training institutions to adequately deal with future workforce shortages. Universities have had problems filling open teaching positions, because private-sector jobs are more lucrative for qualified candidates. Given budget constraints and other considerations, it is not feasible for universities to compete on the basis of salary. Without additional teaching and research staff, it will be difficult to continue to expand enrollment while maintaining education quality. At the same time, high-paying jobs are enticing students into the workforce, and fewer are entering doctoral programs.  

Another option which has been suggested is for engineers who are experienced in the workplace to spend some of their time teaching. However, busy companies are naturally resistant to allowing employees to take time away from their regular duties. Innovative training and associate degree and certification programs blending classroom and hands-on experience show promise for helping deal with current and potential shortages in support occupations. Such programs can prepare students for well-paying technical jobs in the industry. Encouraging experienced professionals to work past retirement, using flexible hours and locations to appeal to Millennials, and other innovative approaches must be part of the mix, as well as encouraging the entry of females into the field (only 20 percent of the current workforce is female, but over 40 percent of the new entries).

Industry observers have long been aware of the coming “changing of the guard” in the oil and gas business. We are now approaching the crucial time period for ensuring the availability of the workers needed to fill future jobs. Cooperative efforts between the industry and higher education/training institutions will likely be required, and it’s time to act.

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Today’s Hottest Trend In Residential Real Estate

The practice of multigenerational housing has been on the rise the past few years, and now experts are saying that it is adding value to properties.
by Lauren Mennenas

The practice of multigenerational housing has been on the rise the past few years, and now experts are saying that it is adding value to properties.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, several couples across the country are quoted saying that instead of downsizing to a new home, they are choosing to live with their adult children.

This is what many families across the country are doing for both a “peace of mind” and for “higher property values.”

“For both domestic and foreign buyers, the hottest amenity in real estate these days is an in-law unit, an apartment carved out of an existing home or a stand-alone dwelling built on the homeowners’ property,” writes Katy McLaughlin of the WSJ. “While the adult children get the peace of mind of having mom and dad nearby, real-estate agents say the in-law accommodations are adding value to their homes.”

And how much more are these homes worth? In an analysis by Zillow, the homes with this type of living accommodations were priced about 60 percent higher than regular single-family homes.

Local builders are noticing the trend, too. Horsham based Toll Brothers are building more communities that include both large, single-family homes and smaller homes for empty nesters, the company’s chief marketing officer, Kira Sterling, told the WSJ.

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Don’t Count On A Major Slowdown In U.S. Oil Production Growth

https://i1.wp.com/upachaya.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/fracking.jpgby Richard Zeits

Summary

  • The presumption that North American shale oil production is the “swing” component of global supply may be incorrect.
  • Supply cutbacks from other sources may come first.
  • Growth momentum in North American unconventional oil production will likely carry on into 2015, with little impact from lower oil prices on the next two quarters’ volumes.
  • The current oil price does not represent a structural “economic floor” for North American unconventional oil production.

The recent pull back in crude oil prices is often portrayed as being a consequence of the rapid growth of North American shale oil production.

The thesis is often further extrapolated to suggest that a major slowdown in North American unconventional oil production growth, induced by the oil price decline, will be the corrective mechanism that will bring oil supply and demand back in equilibrium (given that OPEC’s cost to produce is low).

Both views would be, in my opinion, overly simplistic interpretations of the global supply/demand dynamics and are not supported by historical statistical data.

Oil Price – The Economic Signal Is Both Loud and Clear

The current oil price correction is, arguably, the most pronounced since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. The following chart illustrates very vividly that the price of the OPEC Basket (which represents waterborne grades of oil) has moved far outside the “stability band” that seems to have worked well for both consumers and producers over the past four years. (It is important, in my opinion, to measure historical prices in “today’s dollars.”)

(Source: Zeits Energy Analytics, November 2014)

Given the sheer magnitude of the recent oil price move, the economic signal to the world’s largest oil suppliers is, arguably, quite powerful already. A case can be made that it goes beyond what could be interpreted as “ordinary volatility,” giving the hope that the current price level may be sufficient to induce some supply response from the largest producers – in the event a supply cut back is indeed needed to eliminate a transitory supply/demand imbalance.

Are The U.S. Oil Shales The Culprit?

It is debatable, in my opinion, if the continued growth of the U.S. onshore oil production can be identified as the primary cause of the current correction in the oil price. Most likely, North American shale oil is just one of several powerful factors, on both supply and demand sides, that came together to cause the price decline.

The history of oil production increases from North America in the past three years shows that the OPEC Basket price remained within the fairly tight band, as highlighted on the graph above, during 2012-2013, the period when such increases were the largest. Global oil prices “broke down” in September of 2014, when North American oil production was growing at a lower rate than in 2012-2013.

(Source: OPEC, October 2014)

If the supply growth from North America was indeed the primary “disruptive” factor causing the imbalance, one would expect the impact on oil prices to become visible at the time when incremental volumes from North America were the highest, i.e., in 2012-2013.

Should One Expect A Strong Slowdown in North American Oil Production Growth?

There is no question that the sharp pullback in the price of oil will impact operating margins and cash flows of North American shale oil producers. However, a major slowdown in North American unconventional oil production growth is a lot less obvious.

First, the oil price correction being seen by North American shale oil producers is less pronounced than the oil price correction experienced by OPEC exporters. It is sufficient to look at the WTI historical price graph below (which is also presented in “today’s dollars”) to realize that the current WTI price decline is not dissimilar to those seen in 2012 and 2013 and therefore represents a signal of lesser magnitude than the one sent to international exporters (the OPEC Basket price).

(Source: Zeits Energy Analytics, November 2014)

Furthermore, among all the sources of global oil supply, North American oil shales are the least established category. Their cost structure is evolving rapidly. Given the strong productivity gains in North American shale oil plays, what was a below-breakeven price just two-three years ago, may have become a price stimulating growth going into 2015.

Therefore, the signal sent by the recent oil price decline may not be punitive enough for North American shale oil producers and may not be able to starve the industry of external capital.

Most importantly, review of historical operating statistics provides an indication that the previous similar WTI price corrections – seen in 2012 and 2013 – did not result in meaningful slowdowns in the North American shale oil production.

The following graph shows the trajectory of oil production in the Bakken play. From this graph, it is difficult to discern any significant impact from the 2012 and 2013 WTI price corrections on the play’s aggregate production volumes. While a positive correlation between these two price corrections and the pace of production growth in the Bakken exists, there are other factors – such as takeaway capacity availability and local differentials – that appear to have played a greater role. I should also note that the impact of the lower oil prices on production volumes was not visible in the production growth rate for more than half a year after the onset of the correction.

(Source: Zeits Energy Analytics, November 2014)

Leading U.S. Independents Will Likely Continue to Grow Production At A Rapid Pace

Production growth track record by several leading shale oil players suggests that U.S. shale oil production will likely remain strong even in the $80 per barrel WTI price environment. Several examples provide an illustration.

Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) grew its Bakken production volumes at a 58% CAGR over the past three years (slide below). By looking at the company’s historical production, it would be difficult to identify any impact from the 2012 and 2013 oil price corrections on the company’s production growth rate. Continental just announced a reduction to its capital budget in 2015 in response to lower oil prices, to $4.6 billion from $5.2 billion planned initially. The company still expects to grow its total production in 2015 by 23%-29% year-on-year.

(Source: Continental Resources, October 2014)

EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) expects that its largest core plays (Eagle Ford, Bakken and Delaware Basin) will generate after-tax rates of return in excess of 100% in 2015 at $80 per barrel wellhead price. EOG went further to suggest that these plays may remain economically viable (10% well-level returns) at oil prices as low as $40 per barrel. The company expects to continue to grow its oil production at a double-digit rate in 2015 while spending within its cash flow. EOG achieved ~40% oil production growth in 2012-2013 and expects 31% growth for 2014. While a slowdown is visible, it is important to take into consideration that EOG’s oil production base has increased dramatically in the past three years and requires significant capital just to be maintained flat. Again, one would not notice much impact from prior years’ oil price corrections on EOG’s production growth trajectory.

(Source: EOG Resources, November 2014)

Anadarko Petroleum’s (NYSE:APC) U.S. onshore oil production growth story is similar. Anadarko increased its U.S. crude oil and NLS production from 100,000 barrels per day in 2010 to close to almost 300,000 barrels per day expected in Q4 2014. Anadarko has not yet provided growth guidance for 2015, but indicated that the company’s exploration and development strategies remain intact. While recognizing a very steep decline in the oil price, Anadarko stated that it wants “to watch this environment a little longer” before reaching conclusions with regard to the impact on its future spending plans.

(Source: Anadarko Petroleum, October 2014)

Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) posted company-wide oil production of 216,000 barrels per day in Q3 2014. While Devon will provide detailed production and capital guidance at a later date, the company has indicated that it sees 20% to 25% oil production growth and mid‐single digit top‐line growth “on a retained‐property basis” (pro forma for divestitures) in 2015.

The list can continue on.

In Conclusion…

Based on preliminary 2015 growth indications from large shale oil operators, North American oil production growth in 2015 will likely remain strong, barring further strong decline in the price of oil.

No slowdown effect from lower oil prices will be seen for at least six months from the time operators received the “price signal” (August-September 2014).

Given the effects of the technical learning curve in oil shales and continuously improving drilling economics, the current ~$77 per barrel WTI price is unlikely to be sufficient to eliminate North American unconventional production growth.

North American shale oil production remains a very small and highly fragmented component of the global oil supply.

The global oil “central bank” (Saudi Arabia and its close allies in OPEC) remain best positioned to quickly re-instate stability of oil price in the event further significant decline occurred.

Single Family Construction Expected to Boom in 2015

https://i0.wp.com/s3.amazonaws.com/static.texastribune.org/media/images/Foster_Jerod-9762.jpgKenny DeLaGarza, a building inspector for the city of Midland, at a 600-home Betenbough development.

Single-family home construction is expected to increase 26 percent in 2015, the National Association of Home Builders reported Oct. 31. NAHB expects single-family production to total 802,000 units next year and reach 1.1 million by 2016.

Economists participating in the NAHB’s 2014 Fall Construction Forecast Webinar said that a growing economy, increased household formation, low interest rates and pent-up demand should help drive the market next year. They also said they expect continued growth in multifamily starts given the nation’s rental demand.

The NAHB called the 2000-03 period a benchmark for normal housing activity; during those years, single-family production averaged 1.3 million units a year. The organization said it expects single-family starts to be at 90 percent of normal by the fourth quarter 2016.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said multifamily starts currently are at normal production levels and are projected to increase 15 percent to 365,000 by the end of the year and hold steady into next year.

The NAHB Remodeling Market Index also showed increased activity, although it’s expected to be down 3.4 percent compared to last year because of sluggish activity in the first quarter 2014. Remodeling activity will continue to increase gradually in 2015 and 2016.

Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi told the NAHB that he expects an undersupply of housing given increasing job growth. Currently, the nation’s supply stands at just over 1 million units annually, well below what’s considered normal; in a normal year, there should be demand for 1.7 million units.

Zandi noted that increasing housing stock by 700,000 units should help meet demand and create 2.1 million jobs. He also noted that things should level off by the end of 2017, when mortgage rates probably will  rise to around 6 percent.

“The housing market will be fine because of better employment, higher wages and solid economic growth, which will trump the effect of higher mortgage rates,” Zandi told the NAHB.

Robert Denk, NAHB assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis, said that he expects housing recovery to vary by state and region, noting that states with higher levels of payroll employment or labor market recovery are associated with healthier housing markets

States with the healthiest job growth include Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming, as well as farm belt states like Iowa.

Meanwhile Alabama, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island continue to have weaker markets.

BofA Banker Arrested In Hong Kong For Double Murder Of Two Prostitutes

Rurick Jutting, a Cambridge University graduate, has been named as the suspect of the double murder

by Tyler Durden

The excesses of 1980s New York investment banking as captured best (and with just a dose of hyperbole) by Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho may be long gone in the US, but they certainly are alive and well in other banking meccas, such as the one place where every financier wants to work these days (thanks to the Chinese government making it rain credit): Hong Kong. It is here that yesterday a 29-year-old British banker, Rurik Jutting, a Cambridge University grad and current Bank of America Merrill Lynch, former Barclays employee, was arrested in connection with the grisly murder of two prostitutes. One of the two victims had been hidden in a suitcase on a balcony, while the other, a foreign woman of between 25 and 30, was found lying inside the apartment with wounds to her neck and buttocks, the police said in a statement.
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A spokesman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch told Reuters on Sunday that the U.S. bank had, until recently, an employee bearing the same name as a man Hong Kong media have described as the chief suspect in the double murder case. Bank of America Merrill Lynch would not give more details nor clarify when the person had left the bank.

Britain’s Foreign Office in London said on Saturday a British national had been arrested in Hong Kong, without specifying the nature of any suspected crime.

The details of the crime are straight out of American Psycho 2: the Hong Kong Sequel. One of the murdered women was aged between 25 and 30 and had cut wounds to her neck and buttock, according to a police statement. The second woman’s body, also with neck injuries, was discovered in a suitcase on the apartment’s balcony, the police said. A knife was seized at the scene.

According to the WSJ, the arrested suspect, who called police to the apartment in the early hours of Nov. 1, was until recently a Hong Kong-based employee of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

 
 

Filings with Hong Kong’s securities regulator show that the suspect was an employee with the bank as recently as Oct. 31.The man had called police in the early hours of Saturday and asked them to investigate the case, police said.

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper said the suspect had taken about 2,000 photographs and some video footage of the victims after the killings including close-ups of their wounds. Local media said the two women were prostitutes.

The apartment where the bodies were found is on the 31st floor in a building popular with financial professionals, where average rents are about HK$30,000 (nearly $4,000) a month.

According to the Telegraph the suspect, who had previously worked at Barclays from 2008 until 2010 before moving to BofA, and specifically its Hong Kong office in July last year, had apparently vanished from his workplace a week ago. It has also been reported that he resigned from his post days before news of the murders emerged.

And as usual in situations like these, the UK’s Daily Mail has the granular details. It reports that the British banker arrested on suspicion of a double murder in Hong Kong has been identified as 29-year-old Rurik Jutting. 

 
 

Mr Jutting, who attended Cambridge University, is being held by police after the bodies of two prostitutes were discovered in his up-market apartment in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Officers found the women, thought to be a 25-year-old from Indonesia and a 30-year-old from the Philippines, after Mr Jutting allegedly called police to the address, which is located near the city’s red light district. The naked body of the Filipina victim, who had suffered a series of knife wounds, was found inside the 31st-floor apartment in J Residence – a development of exclusive properties in the city’s Wan Chai district that are popular with young expatriate executives.

The second woman was reportedly discovered naked and partially decapitated in a suitcase on the balcony of the apartment. She is believed to have been tied up and to have been left there for around a week. 

Sex toys and cocaine were also reportedly found, along with a knife which was seized by officers.

Mr Jutting’s phone is today being examined by police in a bid to identify possible further victims, according to the South China Morning Post. 

It is understood that photos of the woman who was found in the suitcase, apparently taken after she died, were among roughly 2,000 that officers found on the device.

Mr Jutting attended Winchester College, an independent boys school in Hampshire, before continuing his studies in history and law at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he became secretary of the history society.  

He appears to have worked at Barclays in London between 2008 and 2010, when he took a job with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He was moved to the bank’s Hong Kong office in July last year. 

A spokesman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch confirmed that it had previously employed a man by the same name but would not give more details nor clarify when the person had left the bank.

CCTV footage from the apartment block, located near Hong Kong’s red light district, showed the banker and the Filipina woman returning to the 31st floor shortly after midnight local time yesterday.

He allegedly called police to his home at 3.42am, shortly after the woman he was seen with is believed to have been killed.

She was found with two wounds to her neck and her throat had been slashed. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The body on the balcony, wrapped in a carpet and inside a black suitcase, which measured about three feet by 18 inches, was not found by police until eight hours later. 

A police source quoted by the South China Morning Post said: ‘She was nearly decapitated and her hands and legs were bound with ropes. ‘She was naked and wrapped in a towel before being stuffed into the suitcase. Her passport was found at the scene.’

Wan Chai, the district where the apartment is located, is known for its bustling nightclub scene of ‘girly bars,’ popular with expatriate men and staffed by sex workers from South East Asia.  Police have today been contacting nearby bars in an attempt to find out more about the background of the two murdered women.  

One resident in the 40-storey block, where most of the residents are expatriates, said he had noticed an unusual smell in recent days. He told the South China Morning Post that there had been ‘a stink in the building like a dead animal’.

And just like that, the worst excesses of the “peak banking” days from 1980, when sad scenes like these were a frequent occurrence, are back.


Government workers remove the body of a woman who was found dead at a flat in Hong Kong’s Wan chai district in the early hours of this morning. A British man was been arrested in connection with the murders.

A second victim was found stuffed inside a suitcase on the balcony of the residential flat in Hong Kong

The 40-storey J Residence is reportedly a high-end development favored by junior expatriate bankers

Update

Bank Of America Psycho Killer Was Busy Helping Hedge Funds Avoid Taxes During His Business Hours

The most bizarre story of the weekend was that of Bank of America’s 29-year-old banker Rurik Jutting, who shortly after allegedly killing two prostitutes (and stuffing one in a suitcase), called the cops on himself and effectively admitted to the crime having left a quite clear autoreply email message, namely “For urgent inquiries, or indeed any inquiries, please contact someone who is not an insane psychopath. For escalation please contact God, though suspect the devil will have custody. [Last line only really worked if I had followed through..]”

But while his attempt to imitate Patrick Bateman did not go unnoticed, even if it will be promptly forgotten until the next grotesquely insane banker shocks the world for another 15 minutes, the question that has remained unanswered is what did young Master Jutting do when not chopping women up.

The answer, as the WSJ has revealed, is just as unsavory: “he had been part of a Bank of America team that specialized in tax-minimization trades that are under scrutiny from prosecutors, regulators, tax collectors and the bank’s own compliance department, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.”

Basically, when not acting as a homicidal psychopath, Jutting was facilitating full-blown tax evasion, just the activity that every developed, and thus broke, government around the globe is desperately cracking down on, and why every single Swiss bank is non-grata in the US and may be arrested immediately upon arrival on US soil.

More from the WSJ:

Mr. Jutting, a U.K. native and a competitive poker player, worked in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Structured Equity Finance and Trading group, first in London and then in Hong Kong, according to these people and regulatory filings. Mr. Jutting resigned from the bank sometime before Oct. 27, which police say was the date of the first murder, according to a person familiar with the matter.

 The trading group, known as SEFT, employs about three dozen people globally, one of these people said. It helps hedge funds and other clients manage their stock portfolios, often through the use of derivatives, according to the people and internal bank documents.

Mr. Jutting joined Bank of America in 2010 and worked three years in its London office, the bank’s hub for dividend-arbitrage trades, the people familiar with the matter say. He moved to Bank of America’s Hong Kong office in July 2013.

Ironic, because it was just this summer that a Congressional panel headed by Carl Levin was tearing foreign banks Deutsche Bank and Barclays a new one for providing structures such as MAPS and COLT, which did precisely this: give clients a derivative-based means of avoiding taxation (as described in “How Rentec Made More Than 34 Billion In Profits Since 1998 “Fictional Derivatives“).

As it turns out not only did a US-based bank – Bank of America – have an entire group dedicated to precisely the same type of hedge fund, and other Ultra High Net Worth, clients tax evasion advice, but it also housed a homicidal psychopath.

Perhaps if instead Levin had been grandstanding and seeking to punish foreign banks, he had cracked down on everyone who was providing this service, Jutting’s group would have been disbanded long ago, and two innocent lives could have been saved, instead allowing the alleged cocaine-snorting murderer to engage in far more wholesome, banker-approrpriate activities:

During his time in Asia, Mr. Jutting’s pastimes apparently included gambling. In a Sept. 14 Facebook post, he boasted of winning thousands of dollars playing poker at a tournament in the Philippines. He signed off the post: “God I love Manila.” The comment drew eight “likes.”

Alas one will never know “what if.”

But we are certain that with none other than America’s most prominent bank, the one carrying its name, has now been busted for aiding and abetting hedge fund tax evasion around the globe, it will get the same treatment as evil foreign banks Barclays and Deutsche Bank, right Carl Levin?

Americans Pay More For Slower Internet

internet speeds

When it comes to Internet speeds, the U.S. lags behind much of the developed world.

That’s one of the conclusions from a new report by the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, which looked at the cost and speed of Internet access in two dozen cities around the world.

Clocking in at the top of the list was Seoul, South Korea, where Internet users can get ultra-fast connections of roughly 1000 megabits per second for just $30 a month. The same speeds can be found in Hong Kong and Tokyo for $37 and $39 per month, respectively.

For comparison’s sake, the average U.S. connection speed stood at 9.8 megabits per second as of late last year, according to Akamai Technologies.

Residents of New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. can get 500-megabit connections thanks to Verizon, though they come at a cost of $300 a month.

There are a few cities in the U.S. where you can find 1000-megabit connections. Chattanooga, Tenn., and Lafayette, La. have community-owned fiber networks, and Google has deployed a fiber network in Kansas City. High-speed Internet users in Chattanooga and Kansas City pay $70, while in Lafayette, it’s $110.

The problem with fiber networks is that they’re hugely expensive to install and maintain, requiring operators to lay new wiring underground and link it to individual homes. Many smaller countries with higher population density have faster average speeds than the United States.

“Especially in the U.S., many of the improved plans are at the higher speed tiers, which generally are the most expensive plans available,” the report says. “The lower speed packages—which are often more affordable for the average consumer—have not seen as much of an improvement.”

Google is exploring plans to bring high-speed fiber networks to a handful of other cities, and AT&T has also built them out in a few places, but it will be a long time before 1000-megabit speeds are an option for most Americans.

The Boom-and-bust Fed’s Rental Society

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5477/10625414354_3f92ab4979.jpg

by Reuven Brenner

Now, as during World War II and up to 1951, the US Federal Reserve practiced what is now called quantitative easing (QE). Then, as now, nominal interest rates were low and the real ones negative: The Fed’s policy did not so much induce investments as it allowed the government to accumulate debts, and prevent default.

Marriner Eccles, the Fed chairman during the 1940s, stated explicitly that “we agreed with the Treasury at the time of the war [that the low rates were] the basis upon which the Federal Reserve would assure the Government financing” – the Fed thus carrying out fiscal policy. Real wages stagnated then as now, and global savings poured into the US.

With the centrally controlled war economy, there was no sacrifice buying Treasuries. Extensive price controls, whose administration was gradually dismantled after 1948 only, did not induce investments. Citizens backed this war, and consumer oriented production was not a priority. Black markets thrived, and the real inflation was significantly higher than the official one computed from the controlled prices.

Still, even the official cumulative rate of inflation was 70% between 1940-7. Yet interest rates during those years hovered around 0.5% for three-months Treasuries and 2.5% for the 30-year ones – similar to today’s.

When the Allies won the War, there were many unknowns, among them the future of Europe, Russia, Asia, and there was much uncertainty about domestic policies in the US too: how fast the US’s centralized “war economy” would be dismantled being one of them. As noted, the dismantling started in 1948, but the Fed gained independence and ceased carrying out fiscal policy in 1951 only.

Mark Twain said history rhymes but does not repeat itself. Though now the West is not fighting wars on the scale of World War II, there is uncertainty again in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, in Europe, in Russia and in Latin America. Savings continue to pour in the US, into Treasuries in particular, much criticism of US fiscal and monetary policies notwithstanding.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed person – the US – committing fewer mistakes and expected to correct them faster than other countries, can still do reasonably. And although domestically, the US is not as much subject to wage and price controls as it was during and after World War II, large sectors, such as education and health, among others, are subject to direct and indirect controls by an ever more complex bureaucracy, the regulatory and fiscal environment, both domestic and international is uncertain, whether linked to climate, corporate taxes, what differential tax rates would be labeled “state aid”, and others.

Many societies are in the midst of unprecedented experiments, with no model of society being perceived as clearly worth emulation.

In such uncertain worlds, the best thing investors can do is be prepared for mobility – be nimble and able to become “liquid” on moments’ notice. This means investing in deeper bond and stock markets, but even in them for shorter periods of time – “renting” them, rather than buying into the businesses underlying them, and less so in immobile assets. Among the consequence of such actions are low velocity of money (with less confidence, money flows more slowly) and less capital spending, in “immobile assets” in particular.

As to in- and outflows to gold, its price fluctuations post-crisis suggest that its main feature is being a global reserve currency, a substitute to the dollar. As the euro’s and the yen’s credibility to be reserve currencies first weakened since 2008, and the yuan, a communist party-ruled country’s currency is not fit to play such role, by 2011 the dollar’s dominant status as reserve currency even strengthened.

First the price of gold rose steadily from US$600 per ounce in 2005 to $1,900 in 2011, dropping to $1,200 these days. And much sound and fury notwithstanding, the exchange rate between the dollar, euro and yen are now exactly where they were in 2005, with the price of an ounce of gold doubling since.

The stagnant real wages in Main Street’s immobile sectors are consistent with the rising stock prices and low interest rates. Not only are investors less willing to deploy capital in relatively illiquid assets, but also that critical mass of talented people, I often call the “vital few”, has been moving toward the occupations of the “mobile” sector, such as technology, finance and media.

Such moves put caps on wages within the immobile sectors. Just as “stars” quitting a talented team in sports lower the compensation of teammates left behind, so is the case when “stars” in business or technology make their moves away from the “immobile” sectors. Add to these the impact due to heightened competition of tens of millions of “ordinary talents” from around the world, and the stagnant wages in the US’s immobile sectors are not surprising.

This is one respect in which our world differs from the one of post-World War II, when talent poured into the US’s “immobile” sectors, freed from the constraints of the war economy. It differs too in terms of rising inequality of wealth. The Western populations were young then, hungry to restore normalcy, and able to do that in the dozen Western countries only, the rest of the world having closed behind dictatorial curtains.

This is not the case now: the West’s aging boomers and its poorer segments saw the evaporation of equities in homes and increased uncertainty about their pensions in 2008. They went into capital preservation mode with Treasuries, not stocks. At the age of 50-55 and above, people cannot risk their capital, as they do not have time and opportunities to recoup.

However, those for whom losing more would not significantly alter their standards of living did put the money back in stock markets after the crisis. As markets recovered after 2008, wealth disparities increased. This did not happen after World War II; even though stock markets did well, they were in their infancy then. Even in 1952, only 6.5 million Americans owned common stock (about 4% of the US population then). The hoarding during the war did not find its outlet after its end in stock markets, as happened since 2008 for the relatively well to do.

The parallels in terms of monetary and fiscal policies between World War II and today, and the non-parallels in terms of demography and global trade, shed light on the major trends since the crisis: there are no “conundrums.” This does not mean that solutions are straightforward or can be done unilaterally. The post -World War II world needed Bretton-Woods, and today agreement to stabilize currencies is needed too.

This has not been done. Instead central banks have improvised, though there is no proof that central banks can do well much more than keep an eye on stable prices. The recent improvised venturing into undefined “financial stability”, undefined “cooperation” and “coordination”, and the Fed carrying out, as during World War II, fiscal rather than monetary policy, add to fiscal, regulatory and foreign policy uncertainties, all punish long-term investments and drive money into liquid ones, and society becoming a “rental”, one, with shortened horizons.

Jumps in stock prices with each announcement that the Fed will continue with its present policies and favor devaluation (as Stan Fisher, vice chairman of the Fed just advocated) – does not suggest that things are on the right track, but quite the opposite, that the Fed has not solved any problem, and neither has Washington dealt with fundamentals. Instead, with devaluations, they have avoided domestic fiscal and regulatory adjustments – and hope for the resulting increased exports, that is, relying on other countries making policy adjustments.

Reuven Brenner holds the Repap Chair at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management. The article draws on his Force of Finance (2002).

(Copyright 2014 Reuven Brenner)

 

Foreclosures Tossed Out Of Ohio Courts – ”They Own Nothing”

Source: loansafe.org

Judge Christopher A. Boyko of the Eastern Ohio United States District Court, seven years ago on October 31, 2007 dismissed 14 Deutsche Bank-filed foreclosures in a ruling based on lack of standing for not owning/holding the mortgage loan at the time the lawsuits were filed.

Judge Boyko issued an order requiring the Plaintiffs in a number of pending foreclosure cases to file a copy of the executed Assignment demonstrating the plaintiff (Deutsche Bank) was the holder and owner of the Note and Mortgage as of the date the complaint was filed, or the court would enter a dismissal.

The Court’s amended General Order No. 2006-16 requires the plaintiff (Deutsche Bank) to submit an affidavit along with the complaint, which identifies them as the original mortgage holder, or as an assignee, trustee or successor-interest.

Apparently Deutsche Bank submitted several affidavits that claim that they were in fact the owner of these mortgage notes, but none of these affidavits mention assignment or trust or successor interest.

Thus, the Judge ruled that in every instance, these submissions create a “conflict” and they “do not satisfy” the burden of demonstrating at the time of filing the complaint that Deutsche Bank was in fact the “legal” note holder.

While the decision is great for homeowners in distress (due to providing a new escape hatch out of foreclosure), it also represents a serious roadblock. If the toxic mortgage fiasco is to be cleaned up, there must be a simple means of identifying what banks own and what they do not own. This judgment is an example of the enormous task ahead in sorting out the mortgage mess.

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Attorney, April Charney, had said this in regards to the Ohio Federal Court ruling (emphasis ours): “This court order is what I have been saying in my cases. This is rampant fraud on every court in America or non judicial foreclosure fraud where the securitized trusts are filing foreclosures when they never own/hold the mortgage loan at the commencement of the foreclosure.”

These loans are clearly in default at the time of any eventual transfer of the ownership of the mortgage loans to the trusts. This means that the loans are being held by the originating lenders after the alleged “sale” to the trust despite what it says per the pooling and servicing agreements and despite what the securities laws require. This means that many securitized trusts don’t really, legally own these bad loans. Regarding this mess Charney further explains:

“In my cases, many of the trusts try to argue equitable assignment that predates the filing of the foreclosure, but a securitized trust cannot take an equitable assignment of a mortgage loan. It also means that the securitized trusts own nothing.”

This decision confirms that investors in the mortgage debacle may very well own nothing—not even the bad loans they funded! It seems their right to the cash flow from the underlying properties does not extend to ownership of the properties themselves; thus, clouding the recovery picture considerably.

Summarizing the problem Charney concludes:

Photobucket “This opinion, once circulated and adopted by State and Federal Courts across the country, will stop the progress of foreclosures, at first in judicial foreclosure states, across America, dead in their tracks.”

We agree with the remarks Charney makes pointing out that this decision will have major adverse implications for the prospects of an amicable financial workout for the various investor contingents in mortgage-backed securities (MBSes). Doubt is cast on where the full write-downs will eventually land, and this uncertainty can only be expected to further harm the market value of MBS and MBS-based synthetic securities, already in shambles purely due to rising underlying delinquencies. Investors in these securities might have assumed—wrongly, it turns out—that they actually owned some “real estate” in these deals.

To paraphrase Jim Cramer, “They own nothing!”

Banker Suicides: The JPMorgan-CIA-NYPD connection Exposing what lies beneath the bodies of dead bankers and what lies ahead for us

Source: Reprinted From Canada Free Press

I feel that this is one of the most important investigations I’ve ever done. If my findings are correct, each of us might soon experience a severe, if not crippling blow to our personal finances, the confiscation of any wealth some of us have been able to accumulate over our lifetimes, and the end of the financial world as we once knew it. The evidence to support my findings exists in the trail of dead bodies of financial executives across the globe and a missing Wall Street Journal Reporter who was working at the Dow Jones news room at the time of his disappearance.

If the bodies were dots on a piece of paper, connecting them results in a sinister picture being drawn that involves global criminal activity in the financial world the likes of which is almost without precedent. It should serve as a warning that we are at the precipice of something so big, it will shake the financial world as we know it to its core. It seems to illustrate the complicity of big banks and governments, the intelligence community, and the media.

Although the trail of mysterious and bizarre deaths detailed below begin in late January, 2014, there are others. Not only that, there will be more, according to sources within the financial world. Based on my findings, these are not mere random, tragic cases of suicide, but of the methodical silencing of individuals who had the ability to expose financial fraud at the highest levels, and the complicity of certain governmental agencies and individuals who are engaged in the greatest theft of wealth the world has ever seen.

It is often said that life imitates art. In the case of the dead financial executives, perhaps death imitates theater, or more specifically, the movie The International, which was coincidentally released in U.S. theaters exactly five years ago today.

We are told by the media that the untimely deaths of these young men and men in their prime are either suicides or tragic accidents. We are told what to believe by the captured and controlled media, regardless of how unusual or unlikely the circumstances, or how implausible the explanation. Such are the hallmarks of high level criminality and the involvement of a certain U.S. intelligence agency intent on keeping the lid on money laundering on a global scale.

Obviously, it is important that this topic is approached with the utmost respect for the families of those who died, that they be allowed to grieve for the loss of their loved ones in private. However, it is extremely important that the truth about what is happening in the global financial arena is not kept from us, as we will also be victims of a different nature.

The missing and the dead: a timeline

The following is provided as a chronological list of those who have gone missing or been found dead under mysterious circumstances. It is important to note that this list consists of names of the most recent incidents. There are more that extend back through 2012 and beyond.

January 11, 2014:

MISSING: David Bird, 55, long-time reporter for the Wall Street Journal working at the Dow Jones news room, went for a walk on Saturday, January 11, 2014, near his New Jersey home and disappeared without a trace. Mr. Bird was a reporter of the oil and commodity markets which happened to be under investigation by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for price manipulation.

January 26, 2014:

DECEASED: Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, was reportedly found dead under undisclosed circumstances.

DECEASED: William Broeksmit, 58, former senior manager for Deutsche Bank, was found hanging in his home from an apparent suicide. It is important to note that Deutsche Bank is under investigation for reportedly hiding $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis and for potentially rigging the foreign exchange markets. The allegations are similar to the claims the institution settled in 2013 over involvement in rigging the Libor interest rates.

January 27, 2014:

DECEASED: Karl Slym, 51, Managing director of Tata Motors was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok. Police said he “could” have committed suicide. He was staying on the 22nd floor with his wife, and was attending a board meeting in the Thai capital.

January 28, 2014:

DECEASED: Gabriel Magee, 39, a JP Morgan employee, died after reportedly “falling” from the roof of its European headquarters in London in the Canary Wharf area. Magee was vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM) London headquarters.

Gabriel Magee, a Vice President at JPMorgan in London, plunged to his death from the roof of the 33-story European headquarters of JPMorgan in Canary Wharf. Magee was involved in “Technical architecture oversight for planning, development, and operation of systems for fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives” based on his online Linkedin profile.

It’s important to note that JPMorgan, like Deutsche Bank, is under investigation for its potential involvement in rigging foreign exchange rates. JPMorgan is also reportedly under investigation by the same U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for its alleged involvement in rigging the physical commodities markets in the U.S. and London.

Regarding the initial reports of his death, journalist Pam Martens of Wall Street on Parade astutely exposed the controlled, scripted details of the media accounts surrounding Magee’s death in an article written on February 9, 2014. Ms. Martens writes:

“According to numerous sources close to the investigation of Gabriel Magee’s death, almost nothing thus far reported about his death has been accurate. This appears to stem from an initial poorly worded press release issued by the Metropolitan Police in London which may have been a result of bad communications between it and JPMorgan or something more deliberate on someone’s part.” [Emphasis added].

Ms. Martens also notes:

No solid evidence exists currently to suggest that the death was a suicide. In fact, there is a strong piece of evidence pointing in the opposite direction. Magee had emailed his girlfriend, Veronica, on the evening of January 27 to say that he was about to leave the office and would see her shortly. [Emphasis added].

Based on information she developed, it appears likely that Magee did not meet his fate on the morning his body was discovered, but hours earlier. Considering the possibility that Magee might now have died in the manner publicized, Ms. Martens offers speculation, and notes it as such:

If Magee became aware that incriminating emails, instant messages, or video teleconferences were not turned over in their entirety to Senate investigators or Justice Department prosecutors, that might be reason enough for his untimely death.

Looking at the death of Magee in the context of a larger conspiracy, it is difficult not to suspect foul play and media manipulation.

January 29, 2014:

DECEASED: Mike Dueker, 50, who had worked for Russell Investment for five years, was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State. Dueker was reported missing on January 29, 2014. Police stated that he “could have” jumped over a fence and fallen 15 meters to his death, and are treating the case as a suicide.

Before joining Russell Investments, Dueker was an assistant vice president and research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis from 1991 to 2008. There he served as an associate editor of the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics and was editor of Monetary Trends, a monthly publication of the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

In November 2013, the New York Times reported that Russell Investments was one of several investment companies that were under subpoena from New York State regulators investigating potential “pay-to-play” schemes involving New York pension funds.

February 3, 2014:

DECEASED: Ryan Henry Crane, 37, was the Executive Director in JPMorgan’s Global Equities Group. Of particular relevance is that Crane oversaw all of the trade platforms and had close working ties with the now deceased Gabriel Magee of JPMorgan’s London desk. The ties between Mr. Crane and Mr. Magee are undeniable and outright troublesome. The cause of death has not yet been determined, pending the results of a toxicology report.

February 6, 2014:

DECEASED: Richard Talley, 57, was the founder and CEO of American Title, a company he founded in 2001. Talley and his company were under investigation by state insurance regulators at the time of his death. He was found in the garage of his Colorado home by a family member who called authorities. Talley reportedly died from seven or eight “self-inflicted” wounds from a nail gun fired into his torso and head.

The enormity of the lie

One must look back far enough to understand the enormity of the lie and the criminality of bankers and governments alike. We must understand the legal restraints that were severed during the Clinton years and the congress that changed the rules regarding financial institutions. We must understand that the criminal acts were bold and bipartisan, and were designed to consolidate wealth through the destruction of the middle class. All of this is part of a much larger plan to establish a one world economy by “killing” the U.S. dollar and consequently, eradicating the middle class by a cabal of globalists that existed and continue to exist within all sectors of our government. The results will be crippling to not just the United States, but the entire Western world.

What began decades ago is now becoming more transparent under the Obama regime. Perhaps that’s the transparency Obama promised, for we’ve seen little else in terms of transparency with regard to the man known as Barack Hussein Obama. For those not locked into the captured corporate media, we’re starting to see the truth emerging. The truth is that we’ve been living under a giant Ponzi scheme and we, the American citizens, are the suckers. As illustrated by the list of dead bankers above, however, the power elite need a bit more time before the extent of their criminality is revealed. They need a bit more time to transfer the remaining wealth from middle-class America to their private coffers. Timing is everything, and a magic act only works when all props are in place before the illusion is performed. Only when their timing is right will the slumbering Americans realize the extent of the illusion by which they’ve been entranced, at which time they will be forced into submission to accept a financial reset that will ultimately subjugate them to a global economy. I contend that this is the reason for the recent spate of deaths, for those who met their tragic and untimely end had the ability to expose this nefarious agenda by what they knew or discovered, or what they would reveal under subpoena and the damage they could cause to the globalist financial agenda.

It is an insult to the public intellect that the media so readily pushes the official line that the deaths were all suicides given the unusual circumstances surrounding nearly all of those listed. This itself should be ringing alarm bells with anyone of reasonable sensibilities, or at last those who are paying the slightest bit of attention to the larger picture. The media is either complicit or completely inept. While incompetence is evident in many areas, even the most inept journalist or media company cannot possible deny what exists directly in front of them. They can only withhold the truth.

Connecting the dots

To understand what is taking place, I contacted a financial source who has accurately predicted many events that we are now seeing taking place, including the deaths of certain financial people for an explanation. In fact, he actually predicted that we would see a “clean-up” of individuals who posed a serious threat to certain too-big-to-fail-or-jail banks and “banksters” a full week before the events began to unfold. Truth be told, I initially greeted his prediction with some skepticism, for such things don’t really happen in the real world, or so the obedient and well-managed media tells me.

V, The Guerrilla Economist” as he is known in the alternative media, has provided numerous insider alerts for Steve Quayle‘s website and has appeared as a regular guest on The Hagmann & Hagmann Report. He has an undeniable track record for accuracy, which has earned my respect. However, I thought that he had taken temporary leave of his senses when he twice suggested that there will be some house cleaning done of anyone posing a threat to the agenda of certain banks and the globalist agenda on our broadcasts of November 20, 2013, and again on January 10, 2014. In a separate venue, he described what was about to take place by using the analogy of the movie The International. Several dead bodies and a missing journalist later, that analogy has been proven accurate.

The fact is that we are seeing a clean-up where JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank seems to appear at the epicenter of it all. In January, JPMorgan admitted facilitating the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme by turning its head to his activities. Despite this admission, the U.S. Department of Justice under Eric Holder declined to send anyone to jail under a deferred prosecution agreement. Yet this is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

In March, 2013 the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a heavily redacted 307-page report detailing the financial irregularities surrounding the actions of JPMorgan and the deliberate withholding of critical financial information by JPMorgan. Prominent in the mix are the actions of Bruno Iksil, who earned the nickname the “London Whale,” for his “casino bets” of other’s money that caused billions of dollars in losses. Yet, no cooperation was provided by Dimon’s foot soldiers as they failed to testify or otherwise cooperate with Senate investigators.

Remember the damage control and the deliberate downplaying by Jamie Dimon, who maintained that there was nothing to see here with regard to the “London Whale” criminal activities? What was originally described as a loss of perhaps $2 billion ultimately turned into many more times that, yet the actual numbers are still hidden from the public. Such events occurred under the noses of numerous financial executives who had knowledge that went undisclosed.

As we fast forward to today and the current spate of mysterious deaths, we begin to see that many of those who died existed on the periphery of events in the criminal actions of the financial industry. Moreover, it is reasonable to conclude that they possessed knowledge that if disclosed, could have interrupted the magic act taking place for the awestruck audience, captivated by the carefully crafted words of Yellen, her predecessors and the operatives within government who’s duty it is to regulate whatever is left of our current financial system.

That regulation is now a thing of the past. What we have today is a system of facilitation and co-operation between the largest corporations and financial institutions and the U.S. and our intelligence agencies. We now have the “too-big-to-fails” operating with impunity as a result of an incestuous, if not outright unconstitutional relationship where the banks are acting as operational assets for the CIA, the NYPD, and other intelligence and police agencies.

The JPMorgan-CIA-NYPD connection

Perhaps one of the best kept secrets, at least from the majority of the American public, is the integration and overlap between the “too-big-to-fail-and-jail” banks and the most advanced system of surveillance in the U.S. Would it surprise you to learn that the very banks that brought the United States to the brink of financial collapse in 2008, who looted the American public and continue to engage in what most perceive as criminal behavior in the financial venue not only have ties to the CIA, but are actually partnered with the CIA and NYPD surveillance of all of lower Manhattan? That’s right, the big banks such as JPMorgan, Citigroup and others have their own desks and surveillance monitors at a facility known as the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, located at 55 Broadway, deep in the center of New York’s financial district.

The big banks—the very banks that have been the focus of fraud and corruption investigations have their own system of cameras, more than 2,000 in number, and operate them in tandem with NYPD surveillance cameras at a center that was funded with taxpayer money. Every square inch of lower Manhattan is under surveillance 24/7, not just by NYPD, but by JP Morgan and other members of the so-called “one percent.” Carefully consider the implications of this pact.

JPMorgan Chase and others have had long and quite intimate ties with the CIA. Today, however, the line between the banks that control our financial present and future and police and intelligence agencies no longer exist. This relationship of mutual benefit permits the CIA to use the financial institutions to “handle the money” for their various global initiatives, while it provides the banks a stable of “professional assistants” to handle their “security,” whether such security issues arise in the U.S., London, or elsewhere. Highly trained and skilled CIA operatives now work within the system of interlocked financial institutions that have been at the epicenter of the most egregious crimes involving the theft from our bank accounts and retirement savings.

Please stop and consider this for a moment. The very banks and their top executives who have not only brought the U.S. to the brink of financial collapse and Martial Law, engaged or facilitated in various criminal actions that resulted in fines (but no jail time) for the perpetrators, are working hand-in-hand with the CIA. Not only that, they are working in tandem with the NYPD at their surveillance centers, watching and videotaping every move made by anyone—including potential whistleblowers within their vast purview. By the way, this is no ordinary surveillance or surveillance cameras. You won’t find these cameras on the shelves of your local spy shop. These cameras can focus on the footnotes of a book you might be reading, or the words written on a piece of paper being held by an unwitting person. They employ facial recognition and other advanced visual and data aggregation capabilities, and the extent of their technological abilities is increasing every day.

Additionally, the data is collected and maintained, and files are created of people and groups who are merely going about their daily lives. Equally important, files are created and maintained of problem children and groups, like the Occupy movement and others who lawfully exercise their constitutional rights to protest the actions of the one-percent. Consider this in the context of the Occupy Wall Street protests. where the protesters were not only under police surveillance, but surveillance by the banks and their corporate officers against whom they were protesting. And it was all done with the approval and assistance of the police, in this case the NYPD, and U.S. intelligence agencies.

Now consider the plight of a whistleblower who wants to expose criminality within the ranks of a too-big-to-fail. The institution who is engaged in purported criminality based on the findings of the whistleblower can observe the whistleblower’s every move. Where they go, who they meet and what they are carrying to such a meeting. They can be tracked to a residence, a business, or even to their psychiatrist’s office, place of ill repute, or the residence of some significant other outside of their marriage, all of which would be invaluable for blackmail.

Perhaps the potential whistleblower is clean and free from anything that might dissuade them from revealing what they know, their case could be turned over to the in-house security of former CIA agents for proper disposition. It makes the movie The Firm look like child’s play by comparison.

This is not some fanciful delusion. There is proof of this that exists. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has documented the increasingly extensive surveillance being conducted in lower Manhattan and throughout the city. They have verified that not only are our constitutional rights being violated every minute of every day, but the fruits of surveillance by police and corporate entities are shared between the police, the intelligence agencies and private financial institutions, without restraint on the distribution on such findings.

Are you engaged in a protesting against the criminality of the one-percent? Well, they one-percent are watching you, and they are literally seated right next to the police. Are you a journalist following up on possible “bankster” corruption by meeting a potential whistleblower? You better understand that the bankster target of your investigation is watching you, in real-time, with the complete approval and cooperation of the police. As documented by the NYCLU, you are likely now “on file,” and all data compiled is maintained and accessible not just to law enforcement, but to the very target of your investigation—in real time.

Such surveillance and integration between big banks, law enforcement and spy agencies is not just limited to lower Manhattan or even the United States. It is also most prevalent in London and other cities where international banking is conducted.

Real-time surveillance and the close working relationship between the “one-percenters,” police and the intelligence agencies gives the targets of criminal probes the ability to be pro-active when necessary. It’s all being done under the pretext of national security when it would appear that the real objective is to insulate the banksters from potential problems that exposure of their criminal actions might cause.

Oh, and don’t forget that it is us who are paying for this.

Perhaps we would be well advised to not only consider the capabilities of the surveillance apparatus that exists where the big banks and police are working at adjacent surveillance terminals at 55 Broadway and other locations, but the incestuous working relationship between the banks and the CIA when we read about banker suicides.

Do not expect to see any exclusive report on this in the corporate media, for they, as requested have dutifully maintained their code of silence by not showing pictures of the brass name plates that identify the bankster terminals situated adjacent to the police terminals during photo shoots of this super-secret surveillance complex a few years ago. As detailed by the tenacious and indefatigable Pam Martens, journalist for Wall Street on Parade in this article, the captured media took a pass on revealing the whole truth about what’s really going on at 55 Broadway.

What has been revealed here is merely the tip of the iceberg. The tentacles of the corporate elite, facilitated and empowered by the CIA, the NYPD top brass, and other agencies have now covertly and effectively succeeded in invading everything you do. The fruits of this operation are being used to advance their global financial agenda and silence the opposition.

Knowing this, is it possible that the dead bodies that are increasing in number are the results of this joint surveillance operation? You will not find any answers in the mainstream media. The big banks have chosen to remain silent, even in the face of subpoenas, and have yet to face any legal consequences for their contempt. It’s not, however, merely contempt of congress or pseudo-investigative bodies. It’s their contempt of humanity, of you and me, and the victims that lie dead, leaving their families broken and wanting for the truth.

Banks, Mortgage Companies Defrauded HUD, Veteran Whistleblower Says

Source: Mortgage Servicing News

A whistle blower with a track record of wresting large settlements from banks is suing 22 companies for allegedly filing fraudulent mortgage documents with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lynn E. Szymoniak, famous for her 2011 “60 Minutes” interview on the robo-signing scandal, filed a lawsuit late Monday against the companies, including Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. The Palm Beach, Fla., plaintiff’s lawyer alleges the 22 banks, mortgage servicers, trustees, custodians and default management companies created fraudulent mortgage assignments and submitted tens of thousands of false claims to HUD.

The lawsuit is a stark reminder that banks still face massive litigation and potential settlements for wrongdoing from the mortgage boom and financial crisis. On Wednesday, JPMorgan Chase acknowledged that it violated the False Claims Act and agreed to pay $614 million to settle claims that it improperly approved Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs loans that did not meet underwriting standards.

HUD oversees the FHA, which reimburses servicers for losses and fees when government-guaranteed loans go into foreclosure.

Banks can be held liable for treble damages under the False Claims Act if they are found to have “falsely certified” that mortgages met all FHA requirements. The act also gives whistle blowers the right to file suit on behalf of the government.

“It’s been very difficult to uncover how fraudulent documents were created and spread through the system,” says Reuben Guttman, Szymoniak’s attorney at the firm of Grant & Eisenhofer. “Lynn Szymoniak did the original analysis, looked at documents and put the pieces together in a way that nobody else did.”

The new lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in South Carolina. Several of the defendants, including Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo, said they are reviewing the lawsuit and could not immediately comment.

In 2012, Szymoniak helped the government recover $95 million from the top five mortgage servicers, as part of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement. She personally received $18 million for providing information on the filing of false claims on FHA loans.

The suit also seeks to recover damages and penalties on behalf of the federal government, 16 states, the District of Columbia and the cities of Chicago and New York for the financial harm incurred in the purchase of private-label mortgage-backed securities that allegedly used fraudulent documents in foreclosure filings since 2008.

As investors in mortgage bonds, the government and others paid fees and expenses for services such as reviewing all mortgage documents put into trusts that were supposed to be performed by trustees. The federal government bought mortgage-backed securities with missing or forged documents through several avenues, including the Federal Reserve’s direct purchases and Maiden Lane vehicles, and the Treasury Department’s purchases through public-private partnership investment funds, the suit states.

The complaint does not specify damages but Szymoniak says she expects them to total around $10 billion.

The fraudulent mortgage documents were created because the original loans documents either were never delivered to the securitization trusts, or they were lost or destroyed, the lawsuit states. Many of the documents were created years after the trusts’ closing dates and showed the trusts acquired the loans only after they were in default.

Servicers “devised and operated a scheme to replace the missing documents,” the lawsuit states, and to conceal the fact that the trusts and servicers never actually held the mortgage notes and assignments, which are needed to initiate a foreclosure.

Szymoniak was also instrumental in uncovering fraud and forged documents at DocX, a now-defunct subsidiary of Lender Processing Services. She worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and U.S. Attorney’s office in Jacksonville, Fla., that ultimately led to the conviction of an LPS executive, the closure of DocX, firm, and various settlements by LPS, which is now owned by Black Knight Financial Services.

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