OCC Says JPMorgan Chase Has $29.1 Trillion of Custody Assets; That’s $8 Trillion More than the Assets of All Banks in the U.S.

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: December 4, 2020 ~ On November 24 the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) fined JPMorgan Chase $250 million for wrongdoing that was apparently too deplorable to be spoken out loud to the public. The specific details were cloaked in this phrase: “failure to maintain adequate internal controls and internal audit over its fiduciary business.” We went to the OCC’s Consent Order connected to the fine to see if there were the typical smoking gun internal emails or at least some clue as to what the actual illegal activity was. There were zero clues, just more obfuscation. What we did see, however, was a dollar figure that popped our eyes wide open. The OCC Consent Order said this: “The Bank maintains one of the world’s largest and most complex fiduciary businesses with total fiduciary and related assets of $29.1 trillion, including $1.3 … Continue reading

House Hearing: Wall Street Gets Bailed Out by Fed; Main Street Gets Sold Out

Congresswoman Katie Porter

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: December 3, 2020 ~ Sparks were flying throughout yesterday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing. After Fed Chair Jerome Powell and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, they were grilled for 2 more hours yesterday by members of the House Financial Services Committee. The atmosphere was far less cordial than the prior day, which wasn’t exactly tea and crumpets either. There was good reason for the hostility. For the second time in a dozen years, another former Goldman Sachs banker holds the reins at the Treasury Department as it bails out Wall Street while crushing Main Street businesses and American families. This time it’s Mnuchin rather than Hank Paulson, who served as Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush during the financial crisis. Before we get into the guts of yesterday’s hearing, it’s important to have the background on … Continue reading

Senator Menendez: “3.3 Million Small Businesses Have Closed” and “1.1 Million Local and State Employees Have Lost their Jobs” as a Result of Pandemic

Senator Bob Menendez

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: December 2, 2020 ~ The Orwellian nature of U.S. politics as well as the delusional Republican narrative that the U.S. economy has made a robust recovery and “turned the corner” was on tortuous display at yesterday’s Senate Banking hearing. Trump’s loyal devotees on the Senate Banking Committee continued to promote the narrative that job growth is stellar. It isn’t job “growth,” it’s simply some people being called back to the same jobs after their employers reopened after a shutdown because of the pandemic. The Trump administration’s own Department of Labor reported on November 25 that the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits in all unemployment benefit programs for the week ending November 7 was 20,452,223. The 20.4 million figure is 13.7 times where that number stood for the same week in 2019 before the pandemic struck. Yesterday’s hearing was called to question Fed … Continue reading

Trump Issued an Executive Memorandum Giving Mnuchin a $50 Billion Slush Fund; Mnuchin Gave Himself $386 Billion More

Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: December 1, 2020 ~ Five days before Congress passed the CARES Act on March 25 of this year, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Memorandum giving U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin complete discretion to use $50 billion in the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) as Mnuchin solely saw fit. The Memorandum was dated Friday, March 20. On the prior Tuesday and Wednesday of that same week, Mnuchin had already used $20 billion of the Exchange Stabilization Fund to bail out Wall Street. As Mnuchin’s letter of November 19 to Fed Chair Jerome Powell confirms, he gave (or committed) $10 billion from the ESF to the Fed’s Commercial Paper Funding Facility on March 17 and another $10 billion to another Fed emergency lending program, the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, on March 18. Most Americans have never heard of the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund … Continue reading

Senator Wyden Calls Mnuchin’s Grab of CARES Act Money “Sabotage.” Wyden Has a Right to be Suspicious of Mnuchin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 30, 2020 ~ On November 25, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon Tweeted this: “The Trump administration is working harder to sabotage the economy and tie the Biden administration’s hands than it is to help working families survive a pandemic.” Wyden’s Tweet included a clip from a Bloomberg News article about how U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was planning to move $455 billion of CARES Act money to the General Fund of the Treasury so that the next Treasury Secretary in the Biden administration wouldn’t be able to use it to help bolster the economy. That same Bloomberg News article included this sentence: “The money in question includes $429 billion that Mnuchin is clawing back from the Fed — which backed some of the central bank’s emergency lending facilities…” But as we detailed last Friday, 75 percent of the $454 billion that the CARES … Continue reading

75% of the $454 Billion CARES Act Money Never Went to the Fed; It Was Invested by a Mnuchin Slush Fund Called the ESF

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 27, 2020 ~ The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27. Congress earmarked $454 billion of that stimulus money to be distributed by the Treasury to the Federal Reserve to be used for emergency lending programs to save businesses and jobs during the pandemic and keep credit flowing to the U.S. economy. The catch was that the Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, would have to give his approval for each of the programs. Since June, Wall Street On Parade has been reporting that $340 billion of the $454 billion that Mnuchin was instructed to turn over to the Fed was unaccounted for. We noted that 98,000 businesses had permanently closed in the U.S. while this money, intended for economic relief, went missing. On November 19, Mnuchin publicly issued a letter to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, making it sound like most of the … Continue reading

Both Citigroup and JPMorgan Have Now Received Huge Fines for Crimes the Regulators Won’t Reveal

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 25, 2020 ~ Maybe it’s because Wall Street On Parade has been shining a bright light on the serial crimes and rap sheets of Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. Or maybe it’s because the nonpartisan watchdog, Better Markets, published a report last year titled “Wall Street’s Six Biggest Bailed-Out Banks: Their RAP Sheets & Their Ongoing Crime Spree.” Or maybe it all comes down to what Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said after the financial crisis of 2008: “And the banks – hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created – are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.” Whatever the reason, the darkness that started growing around the crimes committed by the big Wall Street banks during the Obama administration has now evolved into such a … Continue reading

The Wall Street Journal Nominates Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary

Janet Yellen

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 24, 2020 ~ Late yesterday afternoon, while the stock market was still open, three reporters at the Wall Street Journal penned an article with this opening statement: “President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, an economist at the forefront of policy-making for three decades, to become the next Treasury secretary, according to people familiar with the decision.” Within the next half hour, every major newswire and many of the largest newspapers in the U.S. were repeating the Journal’s story. The Journal noted that the Biden camp wasn’t expected to make a “formal announcement” of the Yellen nomination until November 30. Nonetheless, the Journal decided it had the self-anointed right to stand in for the Biden transition team and make the announcement a week ahead of time. To induce a nice big stock market rally on the news (the … Continue reading

The Untold Story of Mnuchin’s Demand for the Fed to Shut Down Emergency Lending Programs

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 23, 2020 ~ Fourteen days before U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin released a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, demanding the return of taxpayers’ money and the end to specific Fed emergency programs by the end of the year, four Senate Democrats had written to Mnuchin and Powell asking them to extend those very same emergency programs. The Senate Democrats who authored the letter were Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Mark Warner of Virginia and Chuck Schumer of New York. The letter explained that “As of September, 3.8 million workers suffered permanent job losses, with 2.4 million considered long-term unemployed. Moreover, according to an analysis from Moody’s, without more federal support, another 3 million teachers, nurses, emergency responders, firefighters, and others from around the country will lose their jobs in the next two years.” The Senators outlined sensible … Continue reading

Mnuchin Demands the Return of Emergency Funds from the Fed, without Explaining What He’s Been Doing with a Missing $340 Billion

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (Thumb Print)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 20, 2020 ~ Yesterday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stunned markets by demanding in a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the Fed return Treasury funds that are backstopping the bulk of its emergency lending programs and wind down these programs by year’s end. Adding further shock, the Fed rebuked the idea with its own statement, saying this: “The Federal Reserve would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy.” At issue in this newly-emerged war between Treasury and the Fed is $454 billion, $340 billion of which has yet to be accounted for. The process has played out as follows: On March 27, 2020 President Trump signed the CARES Act emergency stimulus plan into law. That law instructed the Treasury … Continue reading

A Sex Scandal at Goldman Sachs Has Morphed into a Lawyer Scandal

Government Sachs

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 19, 2020 ~ It’s starting to feel like Goldman Sachs has an insatiable appetite for scandal. Thanks to Matt Taibbi, Goldman is already known around the world as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Most recently, Goldman jammed its blood funnel into the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund of Malaysia, resulting in a criminal indictment by the Malaysian government followed by a settlement with Malaysia for $3.9 billion. In October criminal charges were brought in the same matter by the U.S. Department of Justice against Goldman, resulting in another $2.9 billion in fines by U.S. and foreign regulators. The heavily publicized 1MDB scandal has filled headlines for the past five years. The Justice Department just settled its 1MDB charges against Goldman four weeks ago. Now Goldman is already back … Continue reading

From Soros to Warren Buffett, the Smart Money Is Dumping Shares of JPMorgan Chase

Warren Buffett

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 18, 2020 ~ According to the 13F filing that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway made with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ending December 31, 2019, it held 59.5 million shares of JPMorgan Chase with a total value at that time of $8.29 billion. By June 30 of this year, that position had been trimmed by more than half, to 22.2 million shares. By September 30, one day after JPMorgan Chase had just admitted to its fourth and fifth felony count in the past six years, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, Berkshire Hathaway’s position in JPMorgan Chase tallied up to just under 1 million shares, a 98 percent reduction from the beginning of the year, according to the SEC filing Berkshire Hathaway made on Monday. And it’s not like Buffett is simply getting out of all big bank stocks. According … Continue reading

Congresswoman Katie Porter Tells the Fed that It’s Got a “Big Problem”

Congresswoman Katie Porter

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 17, 2020 ~ Last Thursday, during the House Financial Services Committee hearing with federal regulators of banks, Congresswoman Katie Porter of California told the Vice Chairman for Supervision of the Federal Reserve, Randal Quarles, that the Fed has a “big problem.” Porter has a Harvard Law degree and was previously a law professor at the University of California Irvine School of Law. If Porter believes the Fed has a legal problem, it is highly likely it does. Here’s how the exchange between Porter and Quarles went: Porter: “The Fed is largely responsible for dispensing the $500 billion Congress provided as a bailout for corporate America – the biggest bailout in our country’s history, potentially. Using taxpayer dollars to buy bank debt was never part of that plan. In fact, the Federal Reserve stated explicitly in this document [holds up document] that it would … Continue reading

Charles Koch Attempts an Apology Tour after He and His Father Financed a Political Hate Machine for Six Decades

Charles Koch and Brian Hooks

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 16, 2020 ~  Fossil fuels billionaire Charles Koch, the invisible hand behind the worst instincts of the Trump administration, has launched more deception with an apology tour, a new book and interviews last week with the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. But the folks who know Koch best are having none of it. Jane Mayer, author of the 500-page Koch history tome, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, fired back on Twitter with this: “Oops says Billionaire Political Donor Charles Koch in new book. He now regrets corrupting American democracy, along with the planet.” Medhi Hasan, British-American political journalist on Peacock’s news channel, had an even harsher assessment: “If there’s a figure who could compete with Mark Zuckerberg for the award of most destructive influence on modern American political life, it would be … Continue reading

The Fed Says It’s Considering a Central Clearing Facility for the Treasury Market

Congressman Bill Foster

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 13, 2020 ~ The Vice Chairman for Supervision at the Federal Reserve, Randal Quarles, dropped a bombshell during the House Financial Services Committee hearing held yesterday, but because mainstream media ignores these hearings unless they have something to do with Donald Trump, this critical news went unreported. Congressman Bill Foster of Illinois addressed Quarles with this statement: “The Treasury market is the most liquid fixed income market in the world. It serves as a critical benchmark for other bond markets that are essential. It allows the U.S. Dollar to operate as the world’s dominant reserve currency. That is why it is crucial that these financial pipes continue to function well, especially as we continue to fight COVID-19 and we work to provide fiscal relief to millions of struggling families and small businesses. “When the Fed has to step in to support the market … Continue reading