JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Fossil Fuel Industry Get Bailed Out Under Fed’s “Main Street” Lending Program

Dirty Dozen -- Worst Banks Funding Fossil Fuels Industry (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 4, 2020 ~ U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell have apparently never walked down a Main Street in America. We make that statement because there is a huge disconnect between what’s really located on a typical Main Street and what’s in the bailout program they’ve designed and are calling the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP). Americans need to sit up and pay attention to what’s going on here because the U.S. Treasury has committed $75 billion of taxpayers’ money to support this program under the illusion that it’s going to mom and pop operations on a typical Main Street in America. That initial $75 billion will be levered up to $750 billion under the Fed’s ability to create money out of thin air, with taxpayers eating the first $75 billion of losses. Once the loans are originated by … Continue reading

Wall Street’s Financial Crisis Preceded COVID-19: Chart and Timeline

Repo Loans and 10-Year T-Note Yields -- 2008 Crisis Versus 2019 Crisis

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 1, 2020 ~ If a reputable polling outfit were to ask Americans what caused the current financial crisis on Wall Street, they would say the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. If Americans were asked in the same poll when the financial crisis on Wall Street started, they would tie it to outbreaks of the virus in the U.S. this year. But as the timeline below and the chart above clearly substantiate, the financial crisis on Wall Street began in earnest on September 17, 2019, almost four months before the first death from coronavirus anywhere in the world was reported in China on January 11, 2020 and five months before the first death in the U.S. was reported on February 29, 2020, having occurred one day earlier on February 28. (See the New York Times coronavirus timetable here.) This big disconnect between what people believe about … Continue reading

Fed’s Powell Tells Reporters Fed Has Only “Lending Powers” – So How Does It Own $5.5 Trillion of Securities?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 30, 2020 ~ Fed Chairman Jerome Powell had one focus and one focus only at yesterday’s press conference. That was to come across as the epitome of prudence and law-abiding virtue. Unfortunately, the cold, hard facts on the ground keep getting in the way of that narrative. Powell first read an opening statement which included this rather remarkable statement about the trillions of dollars in emergency funding facilities that the Fed has already rolled out, or plans to roll out, to bail out Wall Street’s excesses: “Many of these programs rely on emergency lending powers that are available only in unusual circumstances such as those we find ourselves in today. We are deploying these lending powers to an unprecedented extent, enabled in large part by the financial backing and support from Congress and the Treasury…I would stress that these are lending powers and … Continue reading

This Chart Shows How the Fed Manipulated Junk Bonds to Help the Dow

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 29, 2020 ~ Thus far, the highly controversial corporate bond buying programs that the Federal Reserve first announced on March 23 have yet to spend a dime according to a spokesperson for the New York Fed, the regional Fed bank that is overseeing almost all of Wall Street’s emergency bailout programs today as well as during the financial crash of 2007 to 2010. But as the above chart indicates, just a promise from the Fed to spend billions removing toxic waste from Wall Street’s mega banks is enough to put a bid back in the junk bond market. Here’s the skinny on how the Fed propped up both the Dow and the junk bond market with its well-timed announcements on March 23 and April 9. From the close on March 4 to the close on March 23, the junk bond exchange traded fund … Continue reading

Gundlach: Fed’s Corporate Bond Buying Program Is Illegal; Fed Says Program Isn’t Operational

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Outside the New York Fed (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 28, 2020 ~ “The Fed has, effectively, become a hedge fund in drag as a central bank.” When the Fed published its weekly H.4.1 data last Thursday, there was no mention of its two, highly controversial, corporate bond buying programs: the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility (PMCCF) and the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF). We sent an email to the New York Fed to find out if the two programs are operational and if they will be consolidated on the Fed’s balance sheet. A spokesman for the New York Fed replied that “the PMCCF and SMCCF are not yet operational. And, as we note on the websites for each, additional information will be published before the facilities are launched.” That strikes us as strange. Last fall, the Fed launched a highly questionable repo loan program in as little as 24 hours and … Continue reading

The New York Fed Is Exercising Powers Never Bestowed on It by any Law

John Williams, President of the New York Fed

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 27, 2020 ~ Earlier this month President Trump advanced the view that during a national emergency the President has “total power.” The real power, however, is being exercised by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (New York Fed) with not so much as one vote by any elected representatives of the citizens of the U.S. The speed at which the New York Fed, owned by multinational banks, can create trillions of U.S. dollars by pushing an electronic button and bring financial relief to the 1 percent on Wall Street stands in sharp contrast to the millions of mom and pop small businesses across America who are still waiting to see a dime in relief from an elected Congress, forcing a growing number of small businesses to close permanently and thus further consolidating money and power in the United States. On September 17, … Continue reading

Fed Plans to Release Names of Bailout Recipients – Just Not on $9 Trillion in Secret Loans

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 24, 2020 ~ The Fed is back to its same ole bait and switch routine. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve issued a press release, which, on the surface, made it sound like the Fed is going to make full disclosure on where its trillions of dollars in money created out of thin air is going. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, the Fed is saying it will only release the names and details of its programs where the taxpayer is putting up money to absorb losses. That leaves the following programs with no guarantee of timely transparency: the Fed’s repo loan program which has already made more than $9 trillion in super cheap revolving loans to the trading houses on Wall Street; the Fed’s Discount Window which, as of this past Wednesday, has a balance of $33.7 billion that went to unknown banks; the $31.5 billion … Continue reading

Ten Things You Can Do Now to Curb Wall Street’s Wealth Transfer System

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 23, 2020 ~ (This article has been updated from one that originally ran in 2012.  Please consider emailing it to friends and family members who have given up hope on their ability to create change in America.) ~~~ The late 1920s and the early 2000s had two things in common. There was an unprecedented level of wealth and income inequality in the United States and there was no federal legislation to prevent giant Wall Street trading houses from owning deposit-taking banks filled with the savings of moms and pops across America. In both eras, those Wall Street trading houses used bank deposits to make wild bets in risky markets and pay themselves obscene amounts of money. The 1920s wild west on Wall Street ended in a staggering stock market crash from 1929 to 1932 that rendered thousands of banks insolvent and shut down. … Continue reading

As Markets Plunged in March, Dark Pools Upped their Trading in JPMorgan’s Stock

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 22, 2020 ~ When the history books of this era are finally written, this will go down as a time when regulators allowed a no-law zone to be drawn around Wall Street. As the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is using taxpayer money to buy up junk bonds to shore up the sagging balance sheets of the behemoth banks on Wall Street and making ¼ of one percent interest loans to those banks against tanking stocks as collateral, those same Wall Street banks are trading their own bank’s stock in their own thinly-regulated internal stock exchanges known as Dark Pools. It simply can’t get any crazier than this — and yet somehow it always does in this unprecedented era. On June 2, 2014, to stem public outrage over claims of rigged markets, FINRA, the self-regulator and good buddy of Wall Street that … Continue reading

Oil Price Collapse Delivers a Loud Warning

Oil Rig

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 21, 2020 ~ “Biggest” or “fastest” declines in history are  becoming routine characterizations in business media of everything from stocks to unemployment claims to U.S. Treasury yields and now to commodity prices. You’d have to go back to the 1930s and the Great Depression to find as many similar references. And there was one other key characteristic that defined the early 1930s and now: unprecedented wealth inequality that had been manufactured by Wall Street running an institutionalized wealth transfer system that culminated in a stock market crash that erased 90 percent of the stock market’s value from 1929 to 1932. The late MIT economist, Lester Thurow, explained some three decades ago what happens when wealth is concentrated in too few hands: “Depression is seen as a product of systematic tendencies for the distribution of wealth to become concentrated among a few. When this … Continue reading

Instead of Draining the Swamp, the Swamp Is Draining the U.S. Treasury via the New York Fed

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 20, 2020 ~ The Federal Reserve’s role under the U.S. law that governs it (the Federal Reserve Act) is to function as the nation’s central bank and lender of last resort to deposit-taking commercial banks in a crisis and to set monetary policy to achieve the dual objectives of stable prices (preventing deflation as well as runaway inflation) while maximizing employment. But since December 2007, the Federal Reserve has simply written its own playbook, independent of the law that governs it. The Fed has decided to outsource to one of its 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, the New York Fed, the role of propping up the swamp on Wall Street. The New York Fed’s own playbook involves dangling a shiny object for mainstream media in a “look here but not there” operation. During the 2008 financial collapse on Wall Street that took down … Continue reading

Americans Are Paying a Tragic Price for Allowing Five Banks to Control the U.S. Economy

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 17, 2020 ~ According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as of yesterday there were 5,117 federally-insured banks and savings associations in the United States. But in terms of risk to the U.S. economy and financial system, according to the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research, only five of those banks matter. And as you can see from the chart above, those five banks are tanking. On February 14 of this year, Citigroup’s share price closed at $78.79. Yesterday, it closed at $40.52, a decline of 48.5 percent in two months. This is the same bank that was resuscitated by its regulators during the 2007-2010 financial crash when its share price went to 99 cents. Citigroup received the largest bailout in global banking history, including $2.5 trillion in secret, cumulative revolving loans from the Federal Reserve. On February 14, the common stock of … Continue reading

Fed’s Balance Sheet Grows by $2.4 Trillion in One Year to a Stunning $6.4 Trillion

Fed Chair Jerome Powell

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 16, 2020 ~ The Fed’s H.4.1 release which is faithfully posted on the Fed’s website each Thursday at 4:30 p.m. was seriously delayed today due to “technical difficulties.” When the data was finally posted, it showed that the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has grown by a stunning $2.4 trillion since April 17 of last year. The Fed’s balance sheet now stands at $6.4 trillion. Following three rounds of Quantitative Easing (QE) after the financial crisis on Wall Street in 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet peaked at $4.5 trillion in 2015. On the day that Lehman Brothers collapsed into bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet stood at just $995 billion. The Fed’s balance sheet was supposed to be “normalized” and “wound down” following the last financial crisis. That it has now ballooned to new heights raises the serious question as to … Continue reading

Here Are the Contracts Showing How $4.5 Trillion in Stimulus Was Outsourced to Wall Street

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 16, 2020 ~ Bloomberg News has an article up today with the headline: “The Fed Loves Main Street as much as Wall Street This Time.” The article is accompanied with a graphic of Fed Chair Jerome Powell shooting equal amounts of money at Main Street and Wall Street. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the headline, the article by Peter Coy offers not a scintilla of evidence to support the premise that Main Street is getting a fair shake from the Fed. What the article does do is adopt the talking points the Fed has used in every press release it has issued on a new funding facility rollout – that the money will (through some magical and invisible and unexplained hand of the market Gods) make its way to American workers and households. It’s all bunk. Here’s what is actually … Continue reading

A Strange Timeline at JPMorgan Chase Includes a Meeting with Fed Chair Jay Powell  

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase

“This begs the question: did the U.S. have a Wall Street banking crisis similar to 2008 long before there was a pandemic crisis?”  By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 15, 2020 ~  From 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 19 of this year, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome (Jay) Powell met in the anteroom to his office in Washington, D.C. with Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Adding to the unusual nature of this meeting, the Chief Financial Officer of JPMorgan Chase, Jennifer Piepszak, had traveled with Dimon from New York to Washington, D.C. to attend this meeting. During the entire month of February, Powell met with no other CEO or CFO of any other Wall Street mega bank. We obtained this information from a review of the Fed Chairman’s daily calendar. The meeting came one day after Reuters reported a “sweeping reshuffle” at JPMorgan’s investment bank … Continue reading

Three of the Biggest Banks on Wall Street Have $7.4 Trillion In Off-Balance Sheet Exposures

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 14, 2020 ~ In the past few weeks everyone from Fed Chair Jerome Powell to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to former Fed Chair Janet Yellen to bank analyst Mike Mayo have appeared on TV to tell the American people that the big banks on Wall Street are well capitalized. To put it in Janet Yellen’s exact words on CNBC last Thursday, “we have a strong, well capitalized banking system.” These folks have to keep repeating this mantra to the public because the public is increasingly getting curious as to why the New York Fed has had to pump a cumulative $9 trillion in cash to these Wall Street banks, since September 17 of last year, if they are so well capitalized. Can big banks actually be well capitalized and have no liquid money to make loans – the key function of a … Continue reading

American Workers Get a 4-Month Safety Net; Wall Street Gets a 4 to 5-Year Bailout

Piggy Bank Thumbnail

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 13, 2020 ~ The stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in March, (the CARES Act), increases the miserly amount most states provide in unemployment benefits (an average of $378 weekly) by an additional $600 per week. But that extra $600 only lasts until July 31 — a period of four months. Millions of small businesses, such as restaurants and retail shops, will shut down permanently as a result of this business disruption, meaning that workers in places like Florida, the third most populous state in the U.S., will be back to their preposterously low weekly unemployment allotment of $275 per week in just four months. Let that sink in for a moment. A worker in Florida, where Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is in charge, is expected to live on $275 a week or $1100 per month, or … Continue reading

The Fed Is Killing the Two Main Functions of Wall Street: Price Discovery and Prudent Capital Allocation

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 11, 2020 ~ On Thursday, knowing that a three-day Easter weekend was coming and the attention of the public would be elsewhere, the Federal Reserve announced that it would allow two of its emergency lending programs to begin buying junk bonds. Those are bonds with less than an investment-grade credit rating, meaning they have a greater likelihood of defaulting. The Fed is not simply accepting junk bonds as collateral for loans, it will actually be buying junk bonds — potentially hundreds of billions of dollars of them. Two of the popular junk bond ETFs, iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (symbol HYG) and SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (symbol JNK) closed the trading day on Thursday up 6.55 and 6.71 percent, respectively, on the announcement. Those ETFs had been plunging in price for most of the month of March. For … Continue reading

Fed Chair Powell Tells Whoppers This Morning on the Brookings Institution Webcast

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Testifying Before House Financial Services Committee, February 11, 2020

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 9, 2020 ~ The Fed’s advance men were all over the media today attempting to transform a sow’s ear into a silk purse (or, as they say on Wall Street, put lipstick on a pig). The Fed surprised the market today with the stunning announcement that it was going to start buying up junk bonds from the markets after they had been cratering for most of the month of March. That was the pig. The lipstick it applied was worded like this: “The Federal Reserve on Thursday took additional actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy. This funding will assist households and employers of all sizes and bolster the ability of state and local governments to deliver critical services during the coronavirus pandemic.” Households and small businesses don’t issue junk bonds. Neither do most state and local … Continue reading

The New York Fed, Owned by Multinational Banks, Is Nationalizing Capital Markets

John Williams, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 9, 2020 ~ For the first time in the history of the Federal Reserve, it has signed on to a plan with Congress to nationalize the unmanageable debts of global banks and other multinational corporations and put the U.S. taxpayer on the hook for the losses. Conducting the bulk of these programs will be the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, known as the New York Fed, which is a private institution owned by (wait for it) multinational banks. Because the New York Fed is owned by multinational banks and is allowed to create trillions of dollars out of thin air to conduct bailouts of global banks and multinational corporations since it created this precedent in 2008, it is effectively functioning as a multinational central bank with the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell little more than titular props … Continue reading

Wall Street’s Banks Could Profit by Millions on Coronavirus Deaths of Employees

Bank Logos (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 7, 2020 ~ If it sounds ghoulish, it’s because it is ghoulish. Some of the biggest banks on Wall Street have been intimidating their traders to come back to work despite an executive order from the Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, ordering people to remain at home during the coronavirus outbreak unless they work for essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals. New York State, home to Wall Street, is now the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States with 5,489 deaths as of today or 44 percent of all deaths from coronavirus in the entire United States. Now, it turns out, while Wall Street traders have taken on greater health risks of catching the coronavirus by traveling to work on mass transit and working in a potentially contaminated building, some of the biggest banks will collect a … Continue reading

The Mood of Traders Darkens on Wall Street

New York Stock Exchange

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 7, 2020 ~ It’s become your life or your trading bonus at some Wall Street firms. On November 10 of last year, Lesley Stahl of the CBS investigative news program, 60 Minutes, interviewed Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. As part of the interview, Dimon strolled Stahl around one of his trading floors in New York where traders appeared tightly packed in close quarters. Dimon said this: “This is one of six trading floors in the building. There’s like 450 people in this trading floor. An equivalent to this in London, half of this in Hong Kong, and in 23 other countries around the world.” When we went back to re-watch the program to more carefully consider the dystopian work environment of human beings in the 21st century, we took a screen shot of a female trader at JPMorgan Chase. In … Continue reading

Janet Yellen Decided to Share Her Worst Nightmares on CNBC Today

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 6, 2020 ~ Bulls on Wall Street were likely nonplussed at former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as her interview progressed on CNBC today. It was like she woke up from a terrible nightmare, threw on a little lipstick and dialed into CNBC to share her horrifying vision with an already shell-shocked public. The fact that Yellen chose to do this at a time when the Dow was up over 1,000 points and providing a few rays of sunshine made it all the more remarkable. Yellen said the economy had taken a “huge, unprecedented, devastating hit.” One of those adjectives might have been enough for a seasoned economist. Yellen dropped the breathtaking tidbit that second quarter GDP could see a contraction of 30 percent. She then ran through a gut-wrenching laundry list of what could go wrong on the road to trying to get … Continue reading

The Fed Apparently Thinks It’s Going to Lose $454 Billion on Its Wall Street Bailout

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 6, 2020 ~ On Thursday, March 26, in the midst of a growing panic on Wall Street over a lack of liquidity for toxic debt, the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell did something unprecedented. He appeared live on the Today show. His interviewer, Savannah Guthrie, opened the interview by noting that one writer had said that the Fed can simply conjure money out of thin air. (It can.) Guthrie asked Powell if there was any limit to the amount of money the Fed was willing to put into the economy to keep it afloat. Her question should have been: is there any limit to the amount of money the Fed will conjure out of thin air to keep Wall Street afloat? Powell said this: “In certain circumstances like the present, we do have the ability to essentially use our emergency lending authorities and … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase Has $2.9 Trillion Exposure in Off-Balance Sheet Items Vs $2.3 Trillion on Its Balance Sheet

Frightened Wall Street Trader

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 5, 2020 ~ According to the Uniform Bank Performance Report for December 31, 2019 at the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), JPMorgan Chase, whose Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, has perpetually bragged about its “fortress balance sheet,” has $2.3 trillion in exposure on its balance sheet and $2.9 trillion in off-balance sheet exposure. The off-balance sheet exposure includes things like credit card lines of credit that have been issued but not tapped as of December 31, 2019; corporate standby letters of credits that have been issued but not yet tapped; securitized assets that have been sold with recourse back to JPMorgan Chase’s balance sheet; real estate loans committed but not yet funded; and a staggering $1.2 trillion in credit derivatives – the same instruments that brought on an FBI probe and congressional investigations of the bank in 2012 and cost the bank … Continue reading