Fed Data on Cash Assets at the Biggest Banks Depicts an Out-of-Control Fed and Banking System

Fed's Repo Loans to Largest Borrowers, Q4 2019, Adjusted for Term of Loan -- Thumbprint

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 28, 2023 ~ FRED is a giant online database at the St. Louis Fed that allows anyone to graph the financial and economic data stored in its repositories. We use the data regularly to bring our readers a crystal-clear snapshot of the increasingly dangerous underpinnings of the U.S. financial system. Let’s start with the first chart above. This chart depicts the cash assets held by the 25 largest U.S. commercial banks. The Fed defines the term “cash assets” as “vault cash, cash items in process of collection, balances due from depository institutions, and balances due from Federal Reserve Banks.” Notice that from April 1, 1985 to just before the financial crash of 2008, cash levels at the biggest banks were as steady as a soft breeze on a spring day. But from that point on through today, there have been freakish spikes and plunges … Continue reading

Watchdog to Fed: JPMorgan Is Controlling Fossil Fuels Empire, Which Just Spilled a Million Gallons of Oil in Gulf of Mexico

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 27, 2023 ~ The formidable Washington watchdog, Public Citizen, has trained its sights on JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon’s house of serial frauds and felony counts that is allowed to also operate as the largest federally-insured bank in the United States. Public Citizen’s pursuit of JPMorgan Chase began in 2019 when its Energy Program Director, Tyson Slocum, began investigating a hodge podge of private equity shell companies using the name Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF). At the time, IIF was in the process of buying El Paso Electric and Public Citizen smelled something rotten and started digging. Public Citizen concluded that JPMorgan Chase was controlling IIF. Public Citizen then filed a series of complaints in the matter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC is not a federal agency that JPMorgan Chase should be riling up again. In 2013, FERC fined the bank $410 million … Continue reading

Six Big Banks Forced to Declare $9.3 Billion in Additional FDIC Expenses; Another Reason Their Talons Are Out for FDIC Chair Gruenberg

Bank Logos (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 22, 2023 ~ The biggest banks in the U.S. that have been serially bailed out by the Federal Reserve since they blew up the financial system in 2008, are ripping mad at the Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Martin Gruenberg. In addition to the FDIC and other federal banking regulators’ proposed rule to increase capital requirements on the largest banks, the FDIC just issued a final rule on November 16 that will force six banks to report an FDIC special assessment expense totaling more than $9.3 billion in the final quarter of this year. (See chart above.) Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, is hair-on-fire mad because his bank is getting hit with the whopping figure of approximately $3 billion according to the firm’s most recent quarterly filing (10-Q) with the SEC. The most recent 10-Q filings with the … Continue reading

A Deep Dive into the Unprecedented Wall Street Journal Attack on FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg

Martin Gruenberg, Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 21, 2023 ~ In seven of the past nine days, a Wall Street Journal article has been published attacking the culture of the bank regulator, the FDIC, and/or its Chairman, Martin Gruenberg, a Democrat and Biden nominee. The cumulative total of this attack so far is eight articles bylined by Rebecca Ballhaus (one was co-bylined with Andrew Ackerman); an unsigned Wall Street Journal video; and a podcast interview with Rebecca Ballhaus on her reporting about the FDIC and Gruenberg. According to one Ballhaus article, the Wall Street Journal investigation included “interviews with more than 100 current and former employees, including more than 20 women who quit.” The thrust of the unprecedented volume of articles in such a short span of time is that a culture of sexual harassment has existed for years at the FDIC, under both Republican and Democratic leadership. But after more … Continue reading

Gutting Big Bank Capital Rules? What’s Really Behind Republicans’ Feigned Outrage Over Sexual Harassment at FDIC

Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 20, 2023 ~ Last Tuesday the U.S. Senate Banking Committee convened for a hearing to take testimony from the key federal banking regulators – ostensibly to get more clarity on why the second, third and fourth largest bank failures in U.S. history had occurred this past Spring and to learn what regulators were doing to restore public confidence in the banking sector. But instead of dealing with critical banking issues like the safety and soundness of the U.S. banking system, one Republican Senator after another used big chunks of their allotted time to talk about a Wall Street Journal article that had conveniently appeared just the day prior with the clickbait headline: (Paywall) “Strip Clubs, Lewd Photos and a Boozy Hotel: The Toxic Atmosphere at Bank Regulator FDIC.” While the allegations of sexual harassment at the FDIC are serious and should spark a thorough … Continue reading

Last Year 12,000 Lobbyists Were Whispering in the Ear of Congress with a Bankroll of $4.1 Billion; Five Senators Are Demanding Transparency

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 16, 2023 ~ Yesterday, five U.S. Senators who are members of the Senate Banking Committee issued a letter to Gary Gensler, the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), demanding that he issue a rule that would force publicly-traded companies to disclose the dollar amount of their lobbying expenditures as well as the issues they are lobbying for or against. The authors of the letter were: U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown  (D-Ohio), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and John Fetterman (D-Pa.). Publicly-traded companies are already forced to disclose in SEC filings matters that are deemed material to the financial health of the company or that may be a source of reputational risk. It makes good sense that the investing public should also know if a public company is lobbying for an issue that is contrary to the values of the … Continue reading

The Deposit Insurance Fund Has a Balance of $117 Billion to Protect Deposits at 4,622 Banks. But One of Those Banks Has $1.4 Trillion in Uninsured Deposits

Martin Gruenberg, Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 14, 2023 ~ Today, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee will call federal banking regulators before it to testify at a hearing at 10 a.m. The underlying theme will be why these regulators were caught napping when the second, third, and fourth largest bank failures in U.S. history occurred in a span of seven weeks this past Spring and hear about the new plans of action to restore confidence in the U.S. banking system. One of the regulators testifying will be the soft-spoken Martin Gruenberg, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the federal agency that insures the deposits at federally-insured U.S. banks up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank, as long as the branch is located on U.S. soil. (Deposits at foreign branches of U.S. banks are not insured by the FDIC.) In his written remarks for today’s hearing (which were released early), … Continue reading

Bank Regulator Who Approved the Riskiest U.S. Bank Getting Bigger in May, Wants to Do a Survey on Why Trust in U.S. Banks Is Tanking

Michael Hsu, Acting Comptroller of the OCC

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 13, 2023 ~ Tomorrow, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing to question federal banking regulators on what they are doing to restore public trust and financial stability to the U.S. banking system after the second, third and fourth largest bank failures in U.S. history occurred this Spring and caught regulators napping. One of the regulators scheduled to testify is Michael Hsu, the Acting Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Hsu undermined public trust in the U.S. banking system in May when he allowed JPMorgan Chase, the largest and riskiest bank in the United States, to become even larger and riskier through its purchase of the failed bank, First Republic Bank. At a July 12 Senate hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren had this to say about Hsu’s conduct: “When First Republic Bank collapsed in April, the bank was ultimately … Continue reading

WilmerHale’s Plan to Buy Blanket Immunity for JPMorgan for Banking Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Trafficking Ring Has Backfired Badly

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 9, 2023 ~ On October 20 we reported that JPMorgan Chase, a serial recidivist when it comes to crime, had paid $1.085 billion in legal expenses in just the last six months. A nice chunk of that money went to the Big Law firm, WilmerHale, which has been representing JPMorgan Chase this year in multiple lawsuits involving the bank’s dark history of financial dealings with child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. (See Related Articles at the bottom of this article.) When the largest bank in the United States pays big bucks to a law firm with a roster of 1,000 attorneys, it doesn’t expect its $290 million class action settlement with Jeffrey Epstein’s victims to blow up in its face just days before the final Fairness Hearing – a legally required court event to determine if the terms of the agreement are “fair, adequate and … Continue reading

Report: During Spring Banking Crisis, Banks Borrowed Over $1 Trillion from Federal Home Loan Banks — $100 Billion More than During the Crash of 2008

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 8, 2023 ~ Yesterday, the regulator of the Federal Home Loan Bank system, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), released a report on its recommended changes going forward. The report was in response to the questionable conduct of the Federal Home Loan Banks in the leadup to the banking crisis this past spring. The core mission of the 11 regional Federal Home Loan Banks is to “provide liquidity to their members to support housing finance and community development through all economic cycles.” In short, the Federal Home Loan Banks are supposed to make it possible for banks to provide home mortgages to low-income folks. The banks that failed this spring were engaged in crypto (Silvergate and Signature Bank), providing loans to the super wealthy (First Republic Bank), and in the case of Silicon Valley Bank, it was more of a Wall Street IPO pipeline. … Continue reading