JPMorgan Managing Director Dies Suddenly; Has Links to Other JPM Deaths

Douglas Arthur Carucci

By Pam Martens: March 18, 2019 ~ When you are the largest bank in the United States and you’ve been compared to the Gambino crime family in a book by two trial lawyers; when you’ve pleaded guilty to three criminal felony counts brought by the United States Justice Department in the past five years; when you’ve paid over $30 billion in fines over charges of crimes against the public and investors since 2008; and when you’ve had an unprecedented string of employees leaping to their death from buildings, dropping dead at home or on the street, and two alleged murder-suicides by employees — all in just the past five years – one might think that law enforcement might show some interest – especially since this employer – JPMorgan Chase – holds tens of billions of dollars of Bank-Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) on its workers. (This death benefit, by the way, … Continue reading

How Is JPMorgan Chase Expanding While It’s Still on Probation for a Felony?

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Testifying Before Congress

By Pam Martens: March 18, 2019 ~ On April 19, 2018, JPMorgan Chase announced it would be opening “up to 70 new branches and hiring up to 700 new employees” in northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.” In the same announcement, the bank said it currently had “5,130 branches in 23 U.S. states and plans to open up to 400 new branches…” At the time of that announcement, the bank was under a deferred criminal prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department and on probation – a probation which continues to this day. Being prosecuted multiple times for felonies by the Justice Department does not appear to have clipped the wings of JPMorgan’s expansion plans under the Trump administration. According to current data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, JPMorgan Chase’s domestic bank branches have already grown by 8 branches to a total of 5,138 since the end of 2017. … Continue reading

Will the FAA Do to Boeing What the SEC and NY Fed Did to Wall Street

Trump Announces at 2:30 P.M. on March 13, 2019 that the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 Are Being Grounded in U.S.  (45 Other Countries Had Already Grounded the Plane.)

By Pam Martens: March 14, 2019 ~ A crony Federal regulator, or one perceived to be captured by the industry it polices, will eventually doom consumer confidence in the products and services of the industry to which it provides oversight. President Obama appointed Mary Jo White to serve as his Securities and Exchange Commission Chair for the final term of his presidency. White and her husband both worked for large law firms that together had represented every major Wall Street bank – the same ones that had created the largest financial collapse since the Great Depression in 2008. White’s supervision of Wall Street was so derelict that Senator Elizabeth Warren sent her a scathing 13-page critique of her performance. Warren called out the SEC’s practice of settling the vast majority of cases without requiring meaningful admissions of guilt and White’s repeated recusals from investigations because of her prior employment (and her husband’s … Continue reading

The Fed’s Fancy Footwork on Stress Tests Was About Silencing Bank Examiners

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Outside the New York Fed, September 17, 2012

By Pam Martens: March 12, 2019 ~ Last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors rushed through a rule change to its stress test for the too-big-to-fail banks on Wall Street, putting it into immediate effect without the customary 30-day delay. It is further noteworthy that the Board did not get the customary unanimous vote to move forward with the rule change: Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard, arguably the smartest member of the Board, voted against the rule change while the four other Governors, including Chairman Jerome Powell, voted in favor. There is a strong case that can be made that the rushed rule change was to protect the biggest banks on Wall Street – the ones serially charged with crimes around the globe – while putting the public at risk of another epic financial collapse. What the rule change effectively did was to tell the recidivist banks that their … Continue reading

A Book on Wall Street’s Dark Underbelly Could Alter Election Outcome in 2020

Noncompliant 150pix

By Pam Martens: March 11, 2019 ~ The underlying theme that Wall Street’s Federal regulators have become whores for the industry permeates most of the well-researched books that have been written about Wall Street over the past decade. But no book has connected the dots to the nuances and subtleties of how this whoring works as effectively as Noncompliant: A Lone Whistleblower Exposes the Giants of Wall Street. Written by Carmen Segarra, the petite lawyer turned bank examiner turned whistleblower turned one-woman swat team, the 340-page tome takes the reader along on her gut-wrenching workdays for an entire seven months inside one of the most powerful and corrupted watchdogs of the powerful and corrupted players on Wall Street – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (The days were literally gut-wrenching. Segarra reports that after months of being alternately gas-lighted and bullied at the New York Fed to whip her … Continue reading

A Look Back at How Reforming Wall Street Failed So Miserably Under Obama

President Obama Signs the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, July 21, 2010

By Pam Martens: March 7, 2019 ~ Progressives have every right to harbor a seething contempt toward the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress in the last two years of George W. Bush’s presidency as Wall Street blew itself up and Congress passed the massive taxpayer bailout of the Wall Street mega banks. (Democrats held fewer than 50 seats in the Senate but they held operational majority since two Independents caucused with them.) In Obama’s first two years in office (January 2009 to January 2011), Democrats had increased their majorities in both chambers of Congress. Democrats were in charge when it became crystal clear from Congressional hearings that Wall Street mega banks had created, through unbridled greed and corruption, the most catastrophic financial crash since the Great Depression. Democrats were in charge when it became profoundly evident that Wall Street needed a major … Continue reading

These Stock Market Charts Should Give You Pause

Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Trading Pattern on March 5, 2019

By Pam Martens: March 6, 2019 ~ When you’ve studied stock market charts for three decades, you can’t help but notice that something very peculiar has been happening to the U.S. stock market in recent years. Rather than taking off at the opening bell and holding an upward bias or a downward bias for the balance of the trading day – the way stock markets historically behave – the Dow Jones Industrial Average frequently spends the morning hours rotating between sharp upward spikes and big drops as if an invisible force (say an algorithm, for example, operating in the futures market) has the controls. To see what we mean, take a look at the two charts below: one from March 27, 2018 and one from May 16, 2018. The same thing happened in the market yesterday combined with one more frequent oddity. The Dow Jones Industrial Average includes companies with … Continue reading

This Tiny Country Has $245 Billion Invested in U.S. Stocks

Norwegian Central Bank Holdings of U.S. Stocks as of December 31, 2018 (Source: Norwegian Central Bank)

By Pam Martens: March 5, 2019 ~   According to the United Nations, Norway has a current population of 5.4 million people. That’s less than 2 percent of the population of the United States. The people of Norway don’t particularly like the United States right now, giving its leadership an abysmal 12 percent approval rating according to a recent Gallup survey. But according to data provided at the website of Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, every man, woman and child in Norway has the equivalent of a $45,000 stake in U.S. stocks. The central bank manages the Government Pension Fund Global (also known as the Norwegian Oil Fund) which owned a whopping $245 billion of the U.S. equity market as of December 31, 2018. That $245 billion includes big chunks of change in U.S. social media/tech stocks and the mega banks on Wall Street. Here’s a sampling: $7.5 billion in … Continue reading

Gallup Survey: Global Image of U.S. Plunges During Trump Administration

Gallup's Global Leadership Ratings -- 2019

By Pam Martens: March 4, 2019 ~ In what has to be the most diplomatic understatement of the year, Jon Clifton, the Global Managing Partner of the polling organization, Gallup, had this to say with the release of the company’s 2019 “Rating World Leaders” report: “The image of U.S. leadership abroad is not good right now.” In reality, the U.S. had a 48 percent global approval rating in President Obama’s last year in office and that rating plunged to 30 percent in Trump’s first year in office. It now sits at 31 percent median approval across the 133 countries surveyed by Gallup. One of the most dangerous takeaways from the new Gallup report is that our closest allies think so little of the U.S. right now. The report notes that “Regionally, the image of U.S. leadership fared worst in Europe, where approval remained low and stable, dropping one percentage point … Continue reading

A Sitting U.S. President’s Lawyer Bares His Soul Before Congress Today

Michael Cohen Testifies Before House Oversight and Reform Committee, February 27, 2019

By Pam Martens: February 27, 2019 ~ Today will mark a new milestone in the nightmarish hostage-taking of the United States of America, from which there is no readily apparent means of escape, by a daily non-reality TV show known as the Donald Trump Presidency. Today’s episode began at 10 a.m. in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight and Reform Committee and stars the President’s former confidante, lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen calling the sitting President of the United States and leader of the free world a “conman,” “a cheat,” and “a liar.” Cohen also compares Trump to an organized crime boss in his opening statement, saying that “Mr. Trump called me a ‘rat’ for choosing to tell the truth – much like a mobster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government.” That’s a very telling point. Mr. Trump is the highest official in … Continue reading

Memo to Maxine Waters: Wells Fargo Is Far from the Biggest Problem on Wall Street

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

By Pam Martens: February 26, 2019 ~ Yesterday, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, the Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, released the titles of the hearings she plans to hold during the month of March. Of the hearings held by this Committee in February, none addressed the systemic risk to the U.S. economy from the interconnected mega banks on Wall Street. According to the hearing list released yesterday for the month of March, systemic risks at the mega banks has again gone missing. The only mega bank to be grilled in March will be Wells Fargo, and that will focus on its “pattern of consumer abuses.” This lack of attention to the most dangerous, interconnected mega banks on Wall Street – JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley – by the newly installed Democratic Chair of the House Financial Services Committee does not bode well … Continue reading

New Book: Corporate Agenda Moves into the Maternity Ward

Jenny Brown, Author of Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women's Work

By Pam Martens: February 25, 2019 ~ Jenny Brown has cracked the code that few writers, outside of analysts trained by the CIA, have cracked. In her new book scheduled for release on March 1 by PM Press, Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight Over Women’s Work, Brown performs a brilliant forensic examination of the money and people behind the stealth agenda to raise the low birth-rate in the United States. That agenda includes concerted campaigns against abortion, the “morning-after pill” and other forms of contraception. Using exhaustive research, Brown convincingly makes the case that it’s a well-financed corporate agenda implanted in Washington with an end goal of putting more American women in the maternity ward. It’s not a cultural or religious agenda as many people believe. It’s just about money – corporate profits to be more specific. More babies mean more workers and more workers mean cheaper labor because there … Continue reading

Senator Bernie Sanders Should Be Taken Very Seriously as a Presidential Candidate

Presidential Candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, Delivers a Major Policy Speech on Reforming Wall Street on January 5, 2016

By Pam Martens: February 21, 2019 ~ On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont declared his candidacy to seek the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Wall Street On Parade endorsed Senator Sanders over Hillary Clinton in 2016 because Clinton was effectively running as Wall Street’s candidate and as Obama’s third term. Unfortunately, eight years of Obama had produced zero criminal prosecutions of the executives of the largest Wall Street banks who had brought the country to its knees as they grew obscenely rich from corrupt, cartel behavior at their banks. Obama also seriously misinformed the American people about how little had changed in terms of reining in the risks on Wall Street. Obama also refused to provide a bully pulpit for breaking up the dangerous Wall Street banks by restoring the Glass-Steagall Act. Senator Bernie Sanders has, on the other hand, been an unrelenting critic of the … Continue reading

Wall Street’s Banksters Are Clandestinely Trading the “Digital Gangster” Stock of Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress on April 10, 2018 on His Company's Technology Failings

By Pam Martens: February 19, 2019 ~ Being called a “digital gangster” by an investigative committee of the United States’ closest ally, the United Kingdom, might have been expected by the rational among us to do some serious damage to the share price of Facebook when it opened for trading this morning. The U.K. report was released yesterday when U.S. markets were closed for Presidents’ Day. But by this morning’s opening bell, it was business as usual for the serially investigated Facebook. Facebook closed Friday at $162.50 per share and opened this morning at $160.50. After a half hour of trading, Facebook’s stock was off a mere 63 cents. America is now the political dystopia ruled by Wall Street banksters and digital gangsters so the stock market no longer punishes corporate criminality. In fact, there is ample evidence to suggest that it rewards it. Just look at how the stock … Continue reading

4,823 U.S. Banks Have Disappeared Since 1999

bank logos 150 pix

By Pam Martens: February 18, 2019 ~ At the end of 1999, the year that President Bill Clinton and his  Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin brokered the deal to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and allow the casino investment banks on Wall Street to gobble up deposit-taking banks, there were 10,220 federally insured banks and savings institutions in the United States. Today, that number stands at 5,397, a decline of 47 percent according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). What exactly happened to those disappeared banks? We examined FDIC data to see if the sharp falloff in bank numbers was from failures or mergers. We found that the vast majority of the decline resulted from banks being absorbed in mergers. By the end of 2005, six years after the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the U.S. still had 8,832 federally insured banking institutions. But in just that year alone, 315 banks … Continue reading

Share Buybacks Have Created a Dangerous Bubble in Wall Street Bank Stocks

JPMorgan Building

By Pam Martens: February 14, 2019 ~ JPMorgan Chase is a Wall Street bank that has pleaded guilty to three felony counts in the past five years and lost at least $6.2 billion of its depositors’ money trading high-risk derivatives in London. And yet, somehow, the bank has a market capitalization (the value of all of its shares outstanding) that makes it among the most valuable companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500. The serially fined and investigated bank, as of yesterday’s close, has a market value of $342.817 billion which is $110.8 billion more than Boeing – one of the most sophisticated engineering companies in the world, producing commercial jet airplanes, military aircraft, rockets and satellites for customers around the globe. Looking at the bizarre situation with a wider lens, if you add up the market cap at yesterday’s market close of General Motors ($54.97 billion), GE ($90.199 billion), … Continue reading

Citigroup Pats Itself on the Back for Disclosing It Pays Women 29 Percent Less than Men

wall street sign, thumbnail

By Pam Martens: February 13, 2019 ~ In a blog post on January 19, Citigroup’s head of Human Resources, Sara Wechter, wrote that “Citi’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is longstanding.” She next bragged that “Last year, Citi was the first financial institution to publicly release the results of a pay equity review.” Three paragraphs later, we get the cold, hard facts: “median pay for women globally is 71% of the median for men” at Citigroup. Citigroup didn’t come up with the idea of releasing that data out of some newfound quest for transparency. The data came as a result of a pressure campaign by Arjuna Capital, an investment firm focused on sustainable investing. The campaign is introducing shareholder proposals at the big Wall Street banks, asking that the banks disclose, and then close, their gender pay gaps. After Citigroup released its data, Arjuna withdrew its shareholder proposal at Citigroup. At … Continue reading

All of a Sudden, Fixing American Capitalism Is on Everybody’s Mind

Citizen Capitalism

By Pam Martens: February 11, 2019 ~ Wall Street, the epicenter of American capitalism, brought down economies around the globe in 2008, including a banking, housing and foreclosure crisis in the U.S. Why is it just now that fixing American capitalism is on everybody’s mind? One answer is that it will be a central focus in the 2020 presidential campaign while a more nuanced reading is that the current dystopian billionaire administration has everyone grasping for answers as to how we got here. Harper’s magazine did make a valiant effort to look at the problem at the height of the financial crisis in November 2008 with seven essays on how to fix American capitalism. But the public at that time was more focused on keeping their jobs, a roof over their heads and pulling what little funds they had left from sinking mutual funds and teetering banks. Then the Obama … Continue reading

The Man Who Came to Dinner – With Donald Trump on His Birthday

Jerome Powell Is Sworn In As Federal Reserve Chairman on February 5, 2018 by Fed Vice Chairman  Randal Quarles.

By Pam Martens: February 5, 2019 ~ Remember that late 1930s play, “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” In the play (and later movie) the man slips on ice on the doorstep of his host, is injured, and never leaves. The question before the American people this week is if the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome (Jay) Powell, skidded on a slippery slope Monday evening when, on his 66th birthday, he chose to dine at the White House with the same President Donald Trump who has been bashing him for months in the press. Like the character in the play, will the Fed Chair now be thought of as the man confined to the House of Trump rather than as an independent central banker. The time line for Powell’s birthday dinner has the same rancid aroma of Trump’s favored weapon to try to bring people around to his way … Continue reading

Policing Wall Street: Is Maxine Waters Up to the Task?

Wall Street Bank CEOs Are Grilled at House Hearing, February 11, 2009

By Pam Martens: February 4, 2019 ~ The new chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters of California, has held elected office for more than four decades. She has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1991. Prior to that, she served 14 years in the California State Assembly. She has been on the House Financial Services Committee for the past 28 years – a period in which she has witnessed the largest Wall Street banks dramatically expand their financial frauds against the public. But can even a knowledgeable, seasoned veteran like Waters tackle the herculean problem that Wall Street banks represent to the country today? Apparently, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon aren’t wasting any time trying to get a handle on the topics on which Waters intends to hold hearings. According to a report by CNBC in late January, both … Continue reading

United States Falls Deeper Into Corrupt Nation Status

U.S. Capitol With Storm Clouds

 By Pam Martens: January 29, 2019 ~ The U.S. is no longer in the top 10, or even the top 20, of least corrupt nations. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018 was released today and the United States has fallen four points deeper into corruption than last year. The U.S. now ranks below Luxembourg, Estonia and France, coming in at number 22 on the chart. In the Americas region, only Canada came in among the top 10 least corrupt nations, earning a number 9 ranking. (View the full list here.) Zoe Reiter, Acting Representative to the U.S. at Transparency International said this about the report: “A four point drop in the CPI score is a red flag and comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power. If … Continue reading

If You’re Looking for Private Capital for Your Business, This Book’s for You

Judy Robinett - 150

By Pam Martens: January 28, 2019 ~ There’s a new book coming on February 5 from the HarperCollins Leadership imprint – and it’s a critical subject for every American, even if you’ve never before thought about starting your own business. That’s because America is losing its dynamism in creating new businesses, as we’ll discuss later in this article. Written by Judy Robinett, Crack the Funding Code: How Investors Think and What They Need to Hear to Fund Your Startup is the how-to guide for young business owners to tap into private capital sources like angel investors or venture capitalists. There are key sections in the book on how to find the people who can help you, how to write a solid business plan, financial statement and projections, and a compelling pitch. Equally important for the unsophisticated but creative entrepreneur, the book offers sound advice on hiring a lawyer to evaluate … Continue reading

Bad News for Deutsche Bank Is Bad News for Wall Street and Trump

Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: January 23, 2019 ~ There’s a troubling story out this morning at Bloomberg News indicating that the Federal Reserve “is examining how Deutsche Bank AG handled billions of dollars in suspicious transactions from Denmark’s leading lender [Danske Bank], according to people familiar with the matter, further intensifying what could be one of the biggest money-laundering scandals ever.” The story is troubling because (a) probing potentially criminal money laundering is the job of the Justice Department which can impose criminal charges, not the job of the Fed which cannot; and (b) the Fed is notorious for slapping knuckles and imposing small fines. The Fed’s New York regional bank, which plays an outsized role in the Federal Reserve system, is a deeply conflicted regulator. And, let’s not forget that it was the Fed that secretly funneled $16.1 trillion of almost zero interest loans to the global banks … Continue reading

The Silence on Wall Street’s Dark Pools Is Deafening

Citi Dark Pools Puzzle-Thumbnail

By Pam Martens: January 21, 2019 ~ It is destined to go down as one of the greatest journalistic and regulatory failures of our time – the lack of serious attention by investigative business reporters and the U.S. Department of Justice to the glaring fact that the largest Wall Street banks continue to trade their own and each other’s bank stocks in their own Dark Pools. Dark Pools function as unregulated stock exchanges inside the bowels of the largest Wall Street banks. Making the situation even more dicey, some of the big banks own more than one Dark Pool, raising the possibility that there could be cross-trading between those pools to artificially inflate or depress stock prices. JPMorgan Chase owns two Dark Pools; Citigroup currently owns at least two although it owned a lot more in the past; Morgan Stanley owns three; and then there is the Dark Pool that … Continue reading

Former SEC Attorney James Kidney Is Captured Regulators’ Worst Nightmare

By Pam Martens: January 18, 2019 ~ A jaw-dropping video of a lecture James Kidney delivered at Lake Forest College outside of Chicago on October 12 arrived in our incoming email last Friday. The courage and frankness of that lecture took our breath away. It has also, no doubt, caused major ripples among the top brass at what is supposed to be the nation’s most formidable Wall Street cop, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the lecture, Kidney calls the leadership of the SEC when he worked there “self-serving cowards” who didn’t go after the higher ups on Wall Street following the crash of 2008 because they were simply “looking to move on, to return to their Wall Street job.” (We don’t think much has since changed at the SEC. See SEC Nominee Has Represented 8 of the 10 Largest Wall Street Banks in Past Three Years.) Kidney was … Continue reading