Archive for January, 2010

Quick Hit: “Bad Omen for Banks!”

For the banking industry, January, 2010 ends badly!

While the Huge Banks: JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citi Bank, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley pay out billions of dollars in bonuses, the FDIC is forced to close down 6 more banks.

While the Huge Banks who caused the financial meltdown continue to gamble with its depositors money—reaping some big risky rewards—the FDIC seizes its 15th bank of this young decade—barely the beginning of a new year.

Last year, 2009, we lost just 6 banks in January at a cost to the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund of approximately $810 million. The 6 seized today could easily cost the Fund over a billion dollars adding significantly to the already $1.37 billion the first 9 foreclosures of this year has cost the FDIC.

The crisis that is still building is mimicking the loss pattern of the Savings & Loan Crisis that lasted 8 years and saw 1,600 S&L’s and banks fail.

Considering what happened in the 90’s, this bad start could be the precursor of another lost decade; something everyone should brace for!

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Posted in FDIC Foreclosures, Quick Hits | 1 Comment »

“A Supreme Blow to Democracy!”

Last Thursday, five men in black robes set democracy back over 100 years; they signed the death certificate on the 235 year old dream of our forefathers.

They might as well have been wielding axes, swords, and flails for what they have done with a pen to this once great country.

With one stroke of the pen, 5 simple, mortal men have denigrated the 1st amendment. They have stomped all over the graves of far more brilliant men than they. They have sold the American people to the military-industrial complex that former President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned us about as he left office.

Five men in black robes: Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice’s Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, destroyed democracy. For that they should be punished.

With one stroke of the pen they destroyed the heart of democracy, the ability ‘of the people’ to elect their own representatives without interference and manipulation of corporations, and the unregulated proliferation of corporate money.

Over one hundred years ago, in 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt called on Congress to forbid corporations, railroads and national banks from using their money to influence federal elections. His reasons were as patriotic and altruistic—as was his understanding of the potential consequences—as it was visionary. After World War II Congress extended the ban to labor unions.

So what does the Supreme Court decision mean?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Call to Action, Opinion, Politics, Supreme Court, UnAmerican | 12 Comments »

“Banking in 2010”

Two-thousand and nine was a tough year for banks. One-hundred and forty (140) were seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the year.

As we enter 2010 many are banking on a reduction in foreclosures given that the economy is showing signs of stabilizing.

Some of the big banks have reported record profits for the last two quarters which is clearly a sign of an improving economy. These positive signs must be pointing to a decline in bank foreclosures in through the coming year.

Last year Georgia, Illinois, California and Florida lost a disproportionate number of banks. Together they lost 66 banks. Thirty-two (32) states lost at least one bank in 2009. The year showed an increase of 114 more banks than were closed in 2008 when the FDIC closed only 26 banks all year.

So how are we doing so far in the first 3 weeks of this year? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in FDIC Foreclosures | Comments Off

“Move Your Money!”

Two weeks ago, Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson introduced a program which will cleanse the financial system of banks that are too big to fail.

The program, “Move Your Money” will help stabilize good community banks and credit unions while making big banks smaller, reducing their negative effect on the economy.

How does it work? Actually it is very simple. They have, along with the help of political strategist Alexis McGill, filmmaker/author Eugene Jarecki and Nick Penniman of the HuffPost Investigative Fund, set up a data base that helps you find healthy community banks in your area by entering your zip code.

The list of banks that come up in your area are community banks, the vast majority avoided the greed and corruption that created the toxic economic environment that we still face. They are banks that have not taken careless risks with their depositors money—Your Money!

I had previously advocated this move in an article in March of 2009 in “Too Big to Fail; Too Big to Bail!” It was an opinion of mine I had been developing since the request for TARP money; the $700 billion giveaway to save Big Banks from themselves with taxpayer’s money.

But the powers at Huffington Post have taken it one step further and made it easy to find quality banking institutions in your area.

I’m moving all my money from Big Bad U.S. Bank to Schools First Credit Union and will be glad when the final automatic transaction has changed, freeing me of the nickel and dime mentality of U.S. Bank. Happy to be free of one of the most predatory banks in the country I find my credit union to be friendlier, more efficient, more caring, and more responsive to my needs.

The more people that move their money to better community institutions, the quicker the banking sector will become more transparent and stable for hard-working American families.

The process has already begun. Send an important message to the irresponsible banking giants by joining the thousands of Americans who have already moved their money. Let the Big Chief Bankers, who will be receiving millions of dollars in bonuses, know that you cannot participate in the extreme, almost criminal risks that they continue, without restraint, to take with your hard-earned money.

As a reassurance, your money at both community banks and credit unions are insured by the FDIC and National Credit Union Administration at the same levels as the Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Citibank, PNC Financial, Fifth Third Bank, Keycorp, Zions Bank, and Goldman Sachs.

Go to www.moveyourmoney.info and find  a good community bank or credit union—Today!

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Posted in Banking, Call to Action, Economy | 1 Comment »

“Too Big to Fail; Too Big to Bail!”

In March of 2009 I wrote an opinion on the big banks, their executives, and what they did to cause the financial crisis that almost melted down the entire global economy.

Just over a year ago, as the total collapse of the financial system was unraveling, the banks were given a huge bailout despite the fact that clearly over 90% of those that wrote, called, and e-mailed their Congressional representatives told them NO bailout. The banks had misused depositors and investors money and deserved to fail.

Our corporate bought, non-responsive members of Congress voted for the bailout, despite their constituent’s admonition of such a use of taxpayer’s money. Despite the fact that some of these big banks have kinda paid-back the TARP (Toxic Asset Relief Program) funds they were given, they still have billions in government guarantees for their toxic assets, corporate bonds, and shares we still own.

Are the banks remorseful for causing the recession and a bad economy for millions of hard-working Americans and their families? They’re giving out billions of dollars in bonuses! Have they learned anything from their mistakes?

The answer is unequivocally—NO!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Banking, Economy, Opinion, Too Big to Bail | 4 Comments »

Recession? Over? When?

In July of 2008 I wrote a humorous look at the economy and sent it to Harpers Magazine.

It would be another 6 months before the Bureau of Labor Statistics would determine that we had been in a recession for the past year. And many in the Markets, Congress, and the administration were surprised—surprised we were in a recession? Surprised we had been in a recession for over a year?

Amazing!

But Main Street knew. Main Street felt it, and is still feeling it. For many hard-working Americans—especially those that are losing their jobs in huge numbers every week—the recession has not ended. It seems it has only ended on Wall Street, at the Big Banks, AIG, and on CNBC!

Now that the current administration, some economists, a whole hoard of Wall Street analysts, financial television and radio, and the wing nuts on the right have declared an end to the recession I felt it would be a good time to repost the article.

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Read my prescient piece on recession from July of 2008: Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Economy, Predictions, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Quick Hit: “Vision, Not Hindsight”

Since its establishment, February of 2009, It’s Worth an Opinion has been dedicated to vision, not just hindsight!

My efforts were focused on presenting the information the media either ignored or missed; not just the headlines which are generally presented in a positive or optimistic way. It has not been my intent to be contrarian, but to research deeper; to root out the whole political or economic story in order to present a more informed and more truthful picture of the state of this country.

There has been an undercurrent—ugly in many places—that goes virtually unreported. Investigative journalism, with the exception of the internet, is virtually dead. News organizations: newspapers, magazines, television, cable, and radio are focused on the bottom-line and are failing to do the job for which they were designed—for which they were licensed; reporting and providing truthful and valid information to the American people.

I added The Cutting Edge blog to the web site on June 24th to present a comprehensive and organized format in which to view and read my opinions and predictions. It’s purpose, like the initial web site, was and is designed to inform. My mission then, remains my mission today.

No one is paying for this service or my time. My purpose is altruistic and is an effort to afford change for those that cannot defend or protect themselves. It behooves each of you to read my introduction of the blog: “Welcome to the Cutting Edge.”

Freedom of speech is a valuable tool in a democracy. I applaud the ability to exercise that freedom, and will continue to raise my voice until things change to return this country to the leader it can and should be.

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Posted in Opinion, Predictions | Comments Off

“Banking Hours Decline in 2009”

In the old days, banking hours were from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm, except Friday.

On Friday banks stayed open till 6:00 pm giving working people extra time to deposit their hard-earned paychecks and get a little cash for the weekend. Banks were never open on Saturday or Sunday!

Then the world of banking changed. But, has it changed for the better?

Not really!

Sure, banking has become more convenient; longer hours, seven days a week, ATM’s. They’ve increased their services and products. But over the last ten years they’ve increased their deception, over-leveraging, and taken greater risks with their depositors money. The results; foreclosures beyond our imagination.

The FDIC took Christmas Day off or it could have been even worse.

As a result of taking the day off, not a single bank was closed on Friday, December 25th. The ten (10) they assumed the previous two weeks brought the 2009 total to 140; six more from the four states with the most failures.

Georgia (25), Illinois (21), California (16), and Florida (14) account for 55% of the bank failures in 2009. But very few states escaped the tenacity of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation this year. The FDIC Bank Watchlist increased to 552 last quarter. Eighteen (18) states lost no banks in 2009; although Arkansas and West Virginia each lost a bank in 2008. Hawaii has not had a bank foreclosed on since October of 2000. Louisiana, Tennessee, and Connecticut each lost a bank back in 2002. There are twelve states that have not lost a bank since the current list posted by the FDIC begins in 2000.

Georgia and California had five (5) banks each seized in 2008 accounting for 40% of all the foreclosures that year. IndyMac, based in Pasadena, California, was the largest bank seized by the FDIC in 2008, with an *asterisk, and cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund nearly $9 billion. Colonial Bank of Montgomery, Alabama was the largest bank taken over in 2009 at $25 billion. But, incredibly, it only cost the Fund $2.8 billion.

The * in 2008? Washington Mutual was by far the largest foreclosure of the year with $307 billion in assets. But the quick sale to JP Morgan Chase left the FDIC with zero liabilities. Two other banks, both giants and dwarfing IndyMac, avoided foreclosures when the FDIC was able to find buyers in the 11th hour. Wells Fargo snatched Wachovia away from Citi with a better proposal and PNC Financial got a sweet deal to take-over National City Corp, then the 10th largest bank in the nation, in the closing days of the year.

So what does the landscape look like for 2010? What can we realistically expect? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in FDIC Foreclosures | Comments Off