French Fears Ignite Selloff in U.S. Megabanks and Foreign Peers

Taming the Megabanks

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 12, 2024 ~ Yesterday, The Hill published an OpEd by the man who, literally, wrote the book on the megabanks: Arthur E. Wilmarth, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Law at George Washington University Law School. Wilmarth raised critical points on why these megabanks continue to pose unacceptable levels of risk to U.S. financial stability and need to dramatically boost their equity capital – notwithstanding their fierce lobbying and propaganda battle to overturn the proposed new capital rules by bank regulators. The forces of the universe seemed to align with Wilmarth’s gutsy OpEd yesterday. In a display of just how dangerously interconnected with derivatives these megabanks remain, their share prices tanked in tandem yesterday despite the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes each setting a new record high. The contagion among the megabanks spread after French President Emmanuel Macron called snap parliamentary elections for June 30 and … Continue reading

Crypto Just Got Exponentially More Dangerous: Meet Fairshake

Congresswoman Katie Porter

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 11, 2024 ~ The first thing you need to know about crypto is that some of the smartest minds in investment and technology have studied crypto carefully and determined it’s a total sham. In July 2019, NYU Professor and economist Nouriel Roubini summed up his findings like this: “Crypto currencies are not even currencies. They’re a joke…The price of Bitcoin has fallen in a week by how much – 30 percent. It goes up 20 percent one day, collapses the next. It is not a means of payment, nobody, not even this blockchain conference, accepts Bitcoin for paying for conference fees cause you can do only five transactions per second with Bitcoin. With the Visa system you can do 25,000 transactions per second…Crypto’s nonsense. It’s a failure. Nobody’s using it for any transactions. It’s trading one sh*tcoin for another sh*tcoin. That’s the entire trading … Continue reading

Nvidia Hit a $3 Trillion Market Cap Last Week; Dark Pools Are Making Over 300,000 Trades in the Stock Weekly


By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 10, 2024 ~ The much-hyped artificial intelligence chipmaker, Nvidia (ticker NVDA), reached a market cap of $3 trillion on Thursday, beating out Apple as the second most valuable company, just behind Microsoft. This morning, Nvidia’s 10-for-1 stock split will become effective, reducing its share price to, ideally, entice more retail investors. Year-to-date, Nvidia’s stock price is up 144 percent through the closing bell on Friday. The company was founded on April 5, 1993 and lived the bulk of its existence in obscurity until a New York Times article appeared on September 1, 2017 with this headline: “Why a 24-Year-Old Chipmaker Is One of Tech’s Hot Prospects.” Browsing the company’s prolific newsroom reveals no shortage of bold pronouncements. A June 2 press release carries this seismic prediction: “The next industrial revolution has begun. Companies and countries are partnering with NVIDIA to shift the trillion-dollar … Continue reading

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Is Making Enemies in All the Right Places

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 6, 2024 ~ Fresh off a big win at the U.S. Supreme Court on May 16, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is wasting no time in its heady pursuit of financial bad actors preying on the little guy. On Monday, the federal agency announced it was creating a public registry to help law enforcement, investors and the public check the history of repeat offenders in finance. The CFPB already offers consumers who have been victimized by a financial firm the ability to file a public complaint with the CFPB. The agency then quickly demands a written response from the alleged wrongdoer. Repeat offenders dislike the fact that these complaints go into a permanent database at the CFPB, which can be mined by the public, reporters, attorneys and prosecutors looking for patterns of fraud. (For how Wall Street On Parade put that complaint database to good use, … Continue reading

A Former Exec at Citibank Raises Alarm Bells in Federal Court Over Failed Risk Controls Inside the Bank

Jane Fraser, Citigroup CEO

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 5, 2024 ~ Kathleen Martin, a former Managing Director at Citigroup’s federally-insured bank, Citibank N.A., has sued the bank and her former boss, Anand Selva, in federal court in Manhattan. According to Martin’s lawsuit, she was hired for the express purpose of making sure that Citibank complied with a Consent Order from a federal banking regulator. Instead, Martin alleges, she was fired in retaliation for refusing to file false information with that regulator. The first thing you need to know about Citigroup/Citibank is that it is a recidivist megabank – serially charged for wrongdoing by its regulators while also being perpetually bailed out by the Fed. This particular saga of sticking its finger in the eye of its regulator began on October 7, 2020 when the federal regulator of national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), slapped a $400 … Continue reading

Charles Koch’s Money Is Being Used in Elections in Ways Only Orwell Could Have Imagined

Charles Koch

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 4, 2024 ~ On August 31, 2018 we broke the news that the fossil fuels conglomerate, Koch Industries, led by billionaire Charles Koch, had purchased i360 – an Orwellian political operation made all the more dangerous by the fact that it was affiliated with a billionaire who had been creating and funding political front groups for decades to push an anti-regulatory agenda and call it “liberty.” We wrote at the time: “Quietly, and without any corporate press release on such an unusual acquisition, Koch Industries has purchased i360, a vast voter database and data harvesting operation. According to i360’s website, it has ‘1800 unique data points’ on 290 million American consumers as well as detailed information on 199 million voters from all 50 states. It brags that its data ‘shows you everything you need to know including the demographic and psychographic breakdown of your … Continue reading

Freakonomics and Frankenbanks: JPMorgan Chase Sucked Up 18 Percent of All Profits of 4,568 FDIC-Insured Banks in the First Quarter

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 3, 2024 ~ Last Wednesday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released its quarterly banking profile for the quarter ending March 31, 2024. A key piece of data released at that time was the net income (net profits) for all 4,568 FDIC-insured banks in the United States. That tally came in at $64.2 billion. We decided to see just how concentrated those profits have become at a handful of behemoth banks on Wall Street – which also dangerously operate as trading casinos. We had no problem knowing where to start. We picked the largest and riskiest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase. The publicly-traded JPMorgan Chase & Co., which includes its sprawling trading operations around the globe as well as the FDIC-insured bank, had previously reported net income for the first quarter of $13.4 billion. A handy page at the FDIC, using the … Continue reading

Academic Study Provides Hard Numbers to the Sick, Revolving Door Culture at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Citigroup

Taming the Megabanks

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 30, 2024 ~ On January 18, 2019 the Cambridge University Press published a stunning research paper from the Journal of Institutional Economics. The paper provides the hard numbers to support the thesis that federal banking and securities regulators have arrived at a deep understanding and acceptance that the more connections they acquire while working in government and the more prominent their position becomes – the fatter their future paycheck will be once they make the leap to a megabank on Wall Street. The authors call what the “public servants” are selling to their prospective Wall Street employers “bureaucratic capital.” The authors then provide the hard data in the chart below, showing that Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Citigroup are light years ahead of their peers in monetizing public service to fatten their own bottom lines and create an influence network. (The structure of that influence … Continue reading

$244 Billion of Treasury Debt to Hit the Market Today and Tomorrow as Interest Rates Spike on Ballooning Supply

Frightened Wall Street Trader

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 29, 2024 ~ When Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell held his press conference on May 1 to explain the Fed’s latest policy actions, more than a dozen reporters showed up to ask questions. Those reporters came from every major business news outlet. (See transcript here.) But on the same date, when the U.S. Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets, Josh Frost, conducted a press conference to announce the details of the Treasury’s plans to issue $125 billion in Treasury debt securities (quarterly refunding), only one reporter from Bloomberg News showed up to ask questions. (See the awkward video at this link.) Perhaps the U.S. Treasury needs to hire a strong arm like Michelle Smith, Director of Communications at the Fed for the past 23 years, to oversee its press conferences. Or, perhaps a lighter touch would be more welcome. Then again, maybe the U.S. … Continue reading

CFTC Fines J.P. Morgan Securities — a Fed Primary Dealer — $100 Million for Failing to Surveil Potential Spoofing and High Frequency Trading for Eight Years

Jamie Dimon Sits in Front of Trading Monitor in his Office (Source -- 60 Minutes Interview, November 10, 2019)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 28, 2024 ~ How does a Wall Street trading firm gain competitive advantage to entice spoofers and high-frequency trading firms to use its trading platforms instead of those of its competitors? How about having its trading compliance personnel wear a blindfold as billions of trades occur over the span of 8 or 9 years? That is essentially what three of JPMorgan Chase’s federal regulators have suggested is behind the $448 million in fines they’ve leveled against three separate units of the largest bank in the United States. When JPMorgan Chase filed its quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 1, it sheepishly admitted that the $348 million it had already paid out to two of its regulators for trading violations was not the end of this saga. It said that it “expects to enter into a resolution with a third U.S. … Continue reading