Meet the Banking Cartel that Is Planting the Seeds for the Next Banking Panic and Bailout

U.S. Capitol With Storm Clouds

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 21, 2023 ~ On July 27, the Federal Reserve, FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released a proposal to require higher capital levels at banks with $100 billion or more in assets – those that demonstrated quite clearly this past spring that they could spread systemic contagion throughout the U.S. banking system. Community banks will not be impacted at all by the new proposals according to the regulators. The three federal bank regulators provided a very generous public comment period of 120 days on the proposal. (Submit your own comment here.) The large banks had to only begin transitioning to the new rules on July 1, 2025, with full compliance not due for an absurd five years – on July 1, 2028. On September 12, the banking cartel made their anger known in a 7-page letter that assaulted the proposal from … Continue reading

Lobbyists Grab Control at House Financial Services Hearings, Backing Jamie Dimon’s Push to Gut Higher Capital Proposals

Greg Baer, President and CEO, Bank Policy Institute

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 20, 2023 ~ We’re very sorry to have to tell you this, but if you’re not watching Senate Banking or House Financial Services Committee hearings when the topic is about increasing bank capital or any new regulations to make the U.S. banking system less prone to blowing up, you are likely seriously underestimating how corruption has become the new normal in the United States of America. The big banks’ trade associations and law firms that pay millions of dollars each year to registered lobbyists to bend Congress to their will are now dominating the witness list at these hearings. The right-wing Republican Senators that are funded by the banks and Wall Street then read from a script written by the lobbyists to ask their toady questions, pretending there is actually a give-and-take in these hearings. Take, for example, the hearing held on September 14 by … Continue reading

Professors Point to JPMorgan Chase as Poster Boy of a Financial System Dependent on Corruption to Sustain Itself

Wall Street Bull (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 18, 2023 ~ The full day conference sponsored by nonprofit watchdog Better Markets last Wednesday was a unique opportunity to gain brilliant insights from academic experts who have battled on the frontlines of the most unprecedented and ongoing era of corruption in U.S. financial history. (You can watch it on YouTube at this link.) In fact, at the close of the conference, Anat Admati, Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business, summed up the U.S. financial system in five words: “Corruption has become the system.” Admati’s celebrated 2013 book, The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It, co-authored with German economist Martin Hellwig, will have an expanded new edition coming out in early January. The new edition includes coverage of the banking failures this spring and four new chapters: “Too Fragile Still,” “Bailouts and Central … Continue reading

Another FDIC-Insured Bank Is Teetering, Closing at 27-1/2 Cents Yesterday, Down 96 Percent in a Year

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 14, 2023 ~ There may be a lesson here: don’t put the word “Republic” in the name of your bank; don’t hold a lot of uninsured deposits; and don’t have wads of unrealized losses on your investment securities. If those lessons sound familiar, it’s because they played out in stunning fashion earlier this year when the second, third and fourth largest bank failures in U.S. history occurred. One of those banks that blew up was First Republic Bank, which was put into FDIC receivership on May 1 and later sold, under much controversy, to the already behemoth JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S. (JPMorgan Chase can’t seem to stay away from criminal charges. It thus far has notched five felony counts in its belt and is currently being sued by the U.S. Virgin Islands for “actively participating” in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking of minors … Continue reading

JPMorgan’s Pampered Client, Jeffrey Epstein, Broke a Lot More Laws Than Just Sex Trafficking of Minors

Jeffrey Epstein

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 13, 2023 ~ A closer look at the trail of lawlessness perpetrated by Jeffrey Epstein while he was receiving VIP treatment from executives and licensed brokers at the largest bank in the United States – JPMorgan Chase – demands a comprehensive investigation by a genuinely independent Special Counsel. After Epstein had sexually assaulted dozens of underage school girls in Palm Beach County, Florida, the Florida State Attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice cut him a sweetheart deal that allowed him to serve just 13 months in jail from June 2008 to July 2009 – the majority of the time in a work release program where Epstein was driven to an office each day by his limo driver. After his cozy jail time, Epstein was supposed to spend one year under house arrest at his Palm Beach residence. But in the Netflix series on Epstein, … Continue reading

Grab an Easy Chair and Watch 21 Experts Explore the Path from the Collapse of Lehman Brothers to This Spring’s Banking Crisis to the Urgency of Defanging the Mega Banks

Better Markets Releases In-Depth Study on Bailout Dollars and Crime Spree of the Wall Street Mega Banks on April 9, 2019

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 12, 2023 ~ The outspoken nonprofit watchdog, Better Markets, and its co-founder, President and CEO, Dennis Kelleher, have planned a unique full-day webinar for tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET. (Register here at no cost. You do not need Zoom to watch the program.) For millions of Americans who understand that the U.S. cannot remain a superpower, or even compete effectively on the world stage without a first-class banking system and a properly functioning Wall Street, this is an opportunity to hear from people who have been on the front lines of the battle for genuine reform for decades. Wall Street On Parade has covered the efforts of many of these individuals over the years. This virtual conference of some of the smartest minds in the country when it comes to banking and Wall Street could not come at a more critical time. … Continue reading

FDIC Releases a New Problem Bank List: It’s an Exercise in Fantasy

FDIC Problem Bank List, As of June 30, 2023 (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 11, 2023 ~ Last Thursday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released its Quarterly Banking Profile for the quarter ending June 30, 2023. The report includes the FDIC’s Problem Bank List. While the actual names of the problem banks aren’t provided, the total assets listed provide an indication of whether any large banks are on the list. The FDIC’s first quarter banking profile had published a “Problem Bank List” showing just 43 banks with total assets of $58 billion as of March 31, 2023. Unfortunately, on March 10 Silicon Valley Bank blew up with assets at year-end 2022 of $209 billion. Two days later, on March 12, Signature Bank blew up with assets of $110 billion as of year-end. Clearly, the FDIC did not see these as problem banks in advance of their blowing up in a matter of days. What the FDIC did know … Continue reading

Senate Banking to Convene Hearing Today on Climate Crisis Becoming a Homeowners Insurance Crisis

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By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 7, 2023 ~ As climate-related disasters in the United States have taken on the look and feel of sci-fi films, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing this morning on the dramatic impact this is having on the ability of homeowners to find and keep affordable homeowners insurance policies. As a backdrop to the hearing, four days ago Jacob Bogage, a business reporter at the Washington Post, shared these revelations with readers: “At least five large U.S. property insurers — including Allstate, American Family, Nationwide, Erie Insurance Group and Berkshire Hathaway — have told regulators that extreme weather patterns caused by climate change have led them to stop writing coverages in some regions, exclude protections from various weather events and raise monthly premiums and deductibles. “Major insurers say they will cut out damage caused by hurricanes, wind and hail from policies underwriting property … Continue reading

Study Finds 75 Percent of U.S. Banks Didn’t Hedge Interest Rate Risk; Unrealized Losses on Securities $516 Billion at End of First Quarter

Authors of Limited Hedging and Gambling for Resurrection... (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 6, 2023 ~ A group of academics have conducted a study that found that during the fastest pace of Fed interest rate hikes in 40 years, the majority of U.S. banks failed to hedge their interest rate risk. The report’s findings include the following: “Over three quarters of all reporting banks report no material use of interest rate swaps.” “Only 6% of aggregate assets in the U.S. banking system are hedged by interest rate swaps.” “Banks with the most fragile funding – i.e., those with highest uninsured leverage — sold or reduced their hedges during the monetary tightening. This allowed them to record accounting profits but exposed them to further rate increases. These actions are reminiscent of classic gambling for resurrection: if interest rates had decreased, equity would have reaped the profits, but if rates increased, then debtors and the FDIC would absorb the losses.” … Continue reading

A JPMorgan Court Filing Shows Another Bank Exec Visited Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex-Trafficking Residences 13 Times – Two More Times than Jes Staley

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 5, 2023 ~ JPMorgan Chase is in a protracted legal battle in a federal district court in Manhattan over highly credible allegations that it “actively participated” in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking of minors. The lawsuit has been brought against JPMorgan Chase by the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands where Epstein owned a private island compound that was a frequent venue of the sex trafficking operation. Part of the bank’s damage control strategy has been to sue one of its former top executives, Jes Staley, making him a third-party defendant in the same case, and attempting to convince the Judge and the media that Staley is mainly responsible for the bank keeping sex trafficker Epstein as a client for more than 15 years (and perhaps as long as 28 years). The bank says in court documents that it wants to claw back Staley’s $140 million … Continue reading