17 Attorneys General and Two Claimants File Objections to JPMorgan Chase’s Tricked Up Settlement with Jeffrey Epstein Victims

Judge Jed Rakoff

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 1, 2023 The Attorneys General of 16 states and Washington, D.C. are challenging the settlement crafted by Big Law firm WilmerHale on behalf of JPMorgan Chase and by the high-profile lawyer, David Boies, on behalf of the sex-trafficked victims of the late Jeffrey Epstein. The class action settlement agreement was filed with the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York in June. The court set a date of November 9 for the final Fairness Hearing – a legal requirement for class action settlements where the court must hear from any objectors impacted by the agreement. Depending on the strength of those objections, the Court could decide to reject the settlement as not “fair, adequate and reasonable” as required under Rule 23 for class actions, and ask the parties to go back to the drawing board. The state Attorneys General filing the objection … Continue reading

After Two Years, There’s Still No Law Enforcement Report on Former Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan’s Trading Like a Hedge Fund Kingpin

Robert Kaplan, President of the Dallas Fed

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 31, 2023 ~ To understand how truly bizarre and alarming the trading scandal case involving former Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is, some important background is necessary: Kaplan didn’t just trade in and out of stocks while a voting member of the interest-rate setting committee of the Fed (known as the Federal Open Markets Committee or FOMC); Kaplan also traded in and out of $1 million+ lots of S&P 500 futures. That is astonishing; unprecedented; and lacks any viable justification for a sitting Fed official.  (See Kaplan’s financial disclosure forms from 2015 through 2020 while employed at the Dallas Fed.) Kaplan resigned from the Dallas Fed in September 2021, the same month that the trading scandal went viral in the news. S&P 500 futures allow an individual to trade almost around the clock from Sunday evening to Friday evening, unlike stock exchanges in the U.S. … Continue reading

Jamie Dimon Craters Bank Stocks on Friday with Plans to Sell One Million Shares of JPMorgan Chase; Warren Buffett Isn’t Smiling

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 30, 2023 ~ Last Friday, at 6:32 a.m. ET, headlines started rolling with the news that Jamie Dimon, the long-tenured Chairman and CEO of the largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase, was going to start selling a significant part of his sizeable stock holdings in the bank next year. The revelation came in an 8K filing with the SEC and noted that he and his family “currently intend to sell 1 million shares,” leaving open the door that he and his family might decide to sell more. The 8K filing also stated that “This is Mr. Dimon’s first such stock sale during his tenure at the company.” The reality is that Dimon, his wife and his Trusts held over 10 million common shares of JPMorgan Chase in 2017 according to SEC filings and now they hold 8.6 million shares, according to a May … Continue reading

Mike Johnson, “Champion of the Fossil Fuel Industry” and Climate Change Denier Elected as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the New Speaker of the House of Representatives

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 26, 2023 ~ Most people in America have never heard of the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana. Billionaire Charles Koch, the fossil fuel kingpin and self-anointed head of the right-wing political money machine, probably likes it that way. Koch is likely hoping that Americans will just breathe a sigh of relief that the House of Representatives finally has a leader and not look any deeper into who was handed the reins. According to OpenSecrets.org, the nonprofit watchdog of campaign money, the largest industry supporting Johnson since his first federal campaign in 2015 is the oil and gas industry, which has infused $338,000 into Johnson’s campaign coffers. Of that amount, $30,000 came from the Koch Industries PAC, where Charles Koch has sat as the Chairman and CEO for 56 years. Within hours of the news that Johnson was … Continue reading

The Dow Went Negative for the Year on Friday. One-Third of the Dow Is Down by Double-Digits.

Federal Reserve Building, Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 24, 2023 ~ The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 big-cap stocks closed out last year on Friday, December 30, 2022 at 33,147.25. After setting a year-to-date low of 31,819.14 on March 13 of this year during the banking crisis (a negligible decline of 4 percent year-to-date), the Dow climbed its way back to a year-to-date high of 35,630.68 on August 1. Since then, the Dow has been setting sharply lower lows – a sign of deterioration in its components. The Dow again went negative year-to-date last Friday, October 20, closing at 33,127.28. Equally notable, 20 components of the Dow 30, or two-thirds of the components, were negative year-to-date as of the close yesterday, October 23. Ten of the Dow’s components were down by double-digits year-to-date, through October 23. (See chart below.) The Dow index reading would be looking far worse were it not for … Continue reading

Fed’s Financial Stability Report Says $20.3 Trillion Is Subject to a Run

Fed Chair Jerome Powell at Press Conference on November 2, 2022

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 24, 2023 ~ Last Friday, the Federal Reserve published its Financial Stability Report, which takes a detailed look at U.S. financial stability through the second quarter of this year. Although the Fed does its best to put a rosy glow on the outlook, it’s not a pretty picture. We found the most disturbing sentence in the report to be the following: “Overall, estimated runnable money-like financial liabilities increased 3.4 percent to $20.3 trillion (75 percent of nominal GDP) over the past year.” Given that a handful of banks this past spring, with combined liabilities of less than $1 trillion, caused a full blown banking panic and bank runs, the Fed’s figure of $20.3 trillion of “runnable” money is not a comforting thought. The Fed elaborates as follows: “The banking industry maintained a high level of liquidity overall, but some banks continued to face funding pressures; meanwhile, structural vulnerabilities … Continue reading

Regional Bank Stocks Plunge on Friday; More Pain Ahead as 10-Year Treasury Note Trades at a 5 Percent Yield This Morning

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 23, 2023 ~ As the chart above indicates, Friday was not a good day to own regional bank stocks. The percentage declines are just for the one day of trading on Friday — not the year-to-date percentage losses. After the bank runs this past spring at regional banks brought on the second, third and fourth largest bank failures in U.S. history, things had quieted down in recent months. Then, along came earnings announcements last week, showing renewed struggles among the regional banks. One of the big losers for the week was Zions Bancorp. Its shares plunged 9.7 percent on Thursday and another 7.07 percent on Friday. The bank posted poor year-over-year comparisons on net interest income as it experienced rising expenses to compete for deposits. Another plunging bank stock on Friday was Regions Financial. The bank is facing continuing pressure on its net interest income. … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase Paid $1.085 Billion in Legal Expenses in Last Six Months; It’s Still Battling Hundreds of Charges and Legal Proceedings on Three Continents

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 20, 2023 ~ At some point, federal regulators, the Senate Banking Committee and the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice are going to reach the same conclusion that Wall Street On Parade reached quite some time ago: JPMorgan Chase is a criminal enterprise in drag as a federally-insured bank. JPMorgan Chase is the largest U.S. bank, with $3.9 trillion in assets and 4,863 Chase Bank branches sucking in mom and pop deposits across the United States. According to its regulators, it is also the riskiest bank in the United States. And, two trial lawyers have written a fact-intensive book describing how the bank resembles the Gambino crime family. The bank’s admission to five criminal felony counts since 2015 and spiraling rap sheet would seem to back up that theory. Now comes the latest revelation in the bank’s own 8K filing with the Securities … Continue reading

Bank of America’s Deposits Fall, But at Slower Pace than JPMorgan Chase

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 17, 2023 ~ Bank of America is the second largest bank by assets in the United States, topped in assets by only JPMorgan Chase. Both mega banks have seen a steady decline in deposits since the first quarter of 2022. But the decline in deposits at Bank of America represents just 65 percent of the deposit outflows that have occurred at JPMorgan Chase in the past seven quarters. (Bank of America, as the chart above shows, did report a small uptick in deposits in the current quarter.) At the end of the first quarter of 2022, Bank of America held $2.046 trillion in deposits. According to the 8-K filing the bank made with the Securities and Exchange Commission this morning, as of September 30, 2023 Bank of America’s deposits had declined to $1.885 trillion, a shrinkage of $161 billion. In the same span of time, … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase Has Lost a Quarter Trillion Dollars in Deposits in Last 7 Quarters — Fortress Balance Sheet or Leaky Sieve?

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

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 16, 2023 ~ On May 1, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced that First Republic Bank had failed and that it was being sold to JPMorgan Chase. At the time, JPMorgan Chase was already the largest and riskiest bank in the United States. The sweetheart deal the bank got from the FDIC to take over First Republic included the FDIC eating 80 percent of any losses on single-family residential mortgages for 7 years and 80 percent of any losses on commercial loans, including commercial real estate, for five years. The FDIC also provided JPMorgan Chase with a $50 billion, five-year fixed-rate loan at an undisclosed interest rate. According to the filing that JPMorgan Chase made with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday, the deal also gave JPMorgan Chase something that it desperately needed: deposits. According to the 8-K filing that JPMorgan Chase made with the … Continue reading