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

Unmasking the Truth on Masks to Protect Against Coronavirus: Fire the Surgeon General

Boston Red Cross Volunteers During 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 3, 2020 ~ On March 23 we wrote this: “For want of a mask the largest economy in the world has been gutted, with Goldman Sachs now projecting that U.S. GDP could contract by as much as 24 percent in the second quarter.” Now, in the past two weeks, 10 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment. Let that sink in, 10 million of our fellow citizens have lost their jobs in just a two-week period. In the same article linked above, we showed a photo dated March 4 from the Associated Press of people packed together on a subway in New York City with almost no one wearing a mask. And then we explained why: “On February 29, the Surgeon General Tweeted that the public should stop buying masks – despite scientific agreement that the virus is spread by sneezing, coughing and … Continue reading

Fed’s Balance Sheet Blasts to $5.8 Trillion; Suggests Fed Is Back to Bailing Out Foreign Banks along with Wall Street

Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 2, 2020 ~ At 4:30 p.m. today, the Federal Reserve released the shocking details of what it has been up to in the past week. Its balance sheet has skyrocketed from $5.3 trillion as of March 25 to $5.85 trillion yesterday, a growth of $557 billion in one week’s time. One of the factors affecting this growth was a $142 billion jump in the amount of its Central Bank Liquidity Swaps, where it provides dollars to foreign central banks in exchange for their local currency. During the last financial crisis, some of these dollar swaps were used to bail out global foreign banks that were in trouble. Given the current condition of numerous European banks, and their ties through derivatives to Wall Street’s mega banks, there is every reason to believe these dollar swaps are another thinly disguised bailout of a Frankenbank-financial system … Continue reading

Citigroup, an Admitted Felon with a History of Abusing Customers, Is Handling Billions from the Stimulus Bill

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 2, 2020 ~ Yesterday CNBC reported that Citigroup is one of the banks selected by the Small Business Administration to handle billions of dollars earmarked in last week’s stimulus bill to help small businesses get back on their feet and keep their employees paid during the coronavirus crisis. Citigroup’s Citicorp subsidiary was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, a criminal felony count brought by the U.S. Department of Justice on May 20, 2015 for its role in rigging foreign currency trading. Its rap sheet for a long series of abuses to its customers and investors since 2008 is nothing short of breathtaking. (See its rap sheet at the end of this article.) During the financial crash of 2007 to 2010, Citigroup received the largest bailout in global banking history after its former top executives had walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars … Continue reading

Wall Street Had Cut 68,000 Jobs and Received Trillions in Emergency Loans Prior to COVID-19 Anywhere in the World

Fed Chair Jerome Powell Appears on Today Show

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 1, 2020 ~ On March 26 Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell went on the Today show to deliver one message: “There is nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy.” Recently U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has appeared on the White House lawn to tell reporters that this is nothing like the last financial crisis. Fed regional bank presidents have appeared on cable news asserting that the Wall Street banks have plenty of capital and today’s economic distress is caused solely by the coronavirus. Even New York Times columnist and perpetual Wall Street cheerleader, Paul Krugman, was on CNBC this week reassuring viewers that today’s problem was not like the last financial crisis. And yet – the facts keep getting in the way of this “official” narrative. The first coronavirus COVID-19 case was discovered in China in December 2019 and didn’t become a major issue … Continue reading

The Dark Secrets in the Fed’s Last Wall Street Bailout Are Getting a Devious Makeover in Today’s Bailout

New York Fed Headquarters Building in Lower Manhattan

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 31, 2020 ~ From December 2007 to November 10, 2011, the Federal Reserve, secretly and without the awareness of Congress, funneled $19.6 trillion in cumulative loans to bail out the trading houses on Wall Street. Just 14 global financial institutions received 83.9 percent of those loans or $16.41 trillion. (See chart above.) A number of those banks were insolvent at the time and did not, under the law, qualify for these Fed loans. Significant amounts of these loans were collateralized with junk bonds and stocks, at a time when both markets were in freefall. Under the law, the Fed is only allowed to make loans against “good” collateral. Six of the institutions receiving massive loans from the Fed were not even U.S. banks but global foreign banks that had to be saved because they were heavily interconnected to the Wall Street banks through … Continue reading

Icahn Called BlackRock “An Extremely Dangerous Company”; the Fed Has Chosen It to Manage Its Corporate Bond Bailout Programs

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 30, 2020 ~ In 2015, the legendary Wall Street investor, Carl Icahn, called BlackRock “an extremely dangerous company.” (See video clip below.) Icahn was specifically talking about BlackRock’s packaging of junk bonds into Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and calling them “High Yield,” which the average American doesn’t understand is a junk-rated bond. The ETFs trade during market hours on the New York Stock Exchange, giving them the aura of liquidity when one needs it. Icahn said: “I used to laugh with some of these guys…I used to say, you know, the mafia has a better code of ethics than you guys. You know you’re selling this crap.” Icahn warned that “if and when there’s a real problem in the economy, there’s going to be a rush for the exits like in a movie theatre, and people want to sell those bonds, and think … Continue reading

The Tide Is Going Out and JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and AIG Appear to Be Swimming (Read Trading) Naked

JPMorgan Chase Bank Building

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 29, 2020 ~ Warren Buffett is credited with the quote: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Friday’s closing prices among some of the heavily interconnected mega Wall Street banks and insurance companies known to be counterparties to Wall Street’s derivatives appeared to show who’s swimming naked in the realm of derivatives – naked meaning who has sold derivative protection (gone short the risk) on something that is blowing up. As the chart above shows, the S&P 500 stock index (SPX) closed with a loss of 3.37 percent while the following three stocks closed with more than double that percentage of loss: Deutsche Bank was down by 7.44 percent; JPMorgan shed 7.12 percent while AIG was off by 7.27 percent. When the Federal Reserve needs to create a hodgepodge of  secretive Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and run … Continue reading

The Federal Reserve Now Owns 15 Percent of the U.S. Treasury Market; At Its Current Rate, It Could Own the Whole Market in Less than Two Years

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 28, 2020 ~ “The More I See Of The Moneyed Classes, The More I Understand the Guillotine.” ~ George Bernard Shaw According to the U.S. Treasury, as of February 29, 2020, there was $16.9 trillion in marketable U.S. Treasury securities outstanding. Of that amount, at the end of February, the Federal Reserve held $2.47 trillion or 14.6 percent – making it, by far, the largest single holder of U.S. Treasuries anywhere in the world. By this past Friday, the Fed’s ownership of the Treasury market had increased to $3.12 trillion. It had grown by an unprecedented $650 billion in one month’s time. And on March 23, the Fed announced that it would buy unlimited amounts of both Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities “to support smooth market functioning.” But exactly how can a so-called “free market” function smoothly if the country’s own central … Continue reading

New York Fed Has Allowed Dangerous Wall Street Banks to Have Lower Loan Loss Reserves than at time of 2008 Crash

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 27, 2020 ~ The New York Fed supervises four of the most dangerous banks in America: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. That opinion is not just ours but is documented by data from federal agencies. All four of these banks own federally-insured commercial banks that are backstopped by the U.S. taxpayer while also gambling in the stock market through their own Dark Pools and in trillions of dollars of derivatives. All four of these banks received tens of billions of dollars in bailout money during the 2007-2010 financial crash, which was brought on by their greed and corrupt activities in the derivatives and subprime market. Citigroup’s losses were of such magnitude that it became insolvent, turned into a 99 cent stock, and yet secretly received the largest bailout in global banking history from the same regulator who had allowed it … Continue reading

Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 26, 2020 ~ The U.S. Senate voted 96-0 late yesterday on a massive bailout of Wall Street banks versus a short-term survival plan for American workers thrown out of their jobs – and potentially their homes. The text of the final bill was breathtaking in the breadth of new powers it bestowed on the Federal Reserve, including the Fed’s ability to conduct secret meetings with no minutes provided to the American people. The House of Representatives has yet to vote on the bill. The bill provides specific sums that can be made as loans or loan guarantees to passenger airlines ($25 billion), cargo airlines ($4 billion), and loans and loan guarantees to businesses necessary to national security ($17 billion). But when it comes to the money going to the Federal Reserve and then out the door to Wall Street, the legislation says only … Continue reading

Stimulus Bill: The Fed and Treasury’s Slush Fund Is Actually $4 Trillion

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

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 25, 2020 ~ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and New York State Senator and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer trotted out to the Senate floor after midnight last night to announce that they had reached a deal on the government stimulus package – the text of which the American public has not seen and only snippets of which have been seen by the members of Congress. Neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives have yet to vote on the bill. Americans got their first whiff that this was going to be another massive giveaway to Wall Street banks, just as happened from 2007 to 2010, when White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow appeared at the White House briefing yesterday evening. Kudlow revealed that the stimulus plan is actually a $6 trillion package — $2 trillion to struggling Americans and $4 trillion to dispense … Continue reading

This Is the Fear Chart that the Smart Money on Wall Street Is Watching

Bank and Insurance Companies' Stock Prices, Feb 15 through March 23, 2020

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 24, 2020 ~ The chart that tells you how all of today’s economic troubles are going to end is not the bar graph of new deaths from coronavirus in Italy versus deaths in the U.S. It’s the chart that shows the number of potential deaths among the banks and insurance companies that have gorged themselves on risky derivatives and serve as counterparties to each other in a daisy chain of financial contagion. The chart above is why the Federal Reserve is throwing unprecedented sums of money in all directions on Wall Street. Because despite being a primary regulator to these massive bank holding companies, the Fed has no idea who is actually in trouble on derivative trades, other than looking at a chart like the one above. The chart above also justifies the Democrats refusing to sign off on the fiscal stimulus legislation … Continue reading

These Two Graphics Show Why New York City Is the Virus Epicenter in the U.S.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 23, 2020 ~ For want of a mask the largest economy in the world has been gutted, with Goldman Sachs now projecting that U.S. GDP could contract by as much as 24 percent in the second quarter. New York City, a major contributor to U.S. GDP, is now the epicenter of coronavirus cases in the U.S. We saw this as a likely outcome from the moment that we learned that droplets could be spread from person to person through the air. According to the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, “the average population density of the U.S. is 87 people per square mile.” But in New York City, “the population density is 27,012 people per square mile,” far greater than any other major city in America. Let that sink in for a moment. The population density in New York City … Continue reading

For First Time in History, Fed to Make Billions in Loans to Big and Small Businesses

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 23, 2020 ~ Without one vote by an elected official, the Federal Reserve just became a brand new national legislative body. It will, without any oversight in Congress, decide what corporations and businesses to save and which to let fail. While the corporations and small businesses will receive “billions,” Wall Street’s mega banks and trading houses will, once again, have trillions of dollars of toxic securities removed from their balance sheets, including plunging stocks through the Fed’s Primary Dealer Credit Facility. The Fed also announced that its purchases of Treasury and Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) will now be limitless, rather than capped at a total of $500 billion. The reason for that change is that the Fed blew through $272 billion in Treasury purchases and $68 billion in MBS purchases just last week alone, already using up $340 billion of its $500 billion allotment … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase and Citibank Have $2.96 Trillion in Exposure to Credit Default Swaps

JPMorgan Chase Bank Building

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 22, 2020 ~ According to the most recent report from the regulator of national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), JPMorgan Chase has exposure to $1.2 trillion in Credit Default Swaps while Citibank has exposure to $1.76 trillion for a combined total of $2.96 trillion as of September 30, 2019. According to the same report, the total exposure to Credit Default Swaps among all national banks in the U.S. is $3.7 trillion – meaning that just these two banks are responsible for 80 percent of that exposure. As of this past Friday, JPMorgan Chase had lost 39.3 percent of its common equity capital in the past five weeks while Citigroup, parent of Citibank, had lost 51.7 percent. That left JPMorgan Chase with just $256.68 billion in market cap versus Citigroup’s meager $79.86 billion. One of our readers emailed us … Continue reading

Five Mega Wall Street Bank Stocks Have Lost Average of 45 Percent in Five Weeks

Frightened Wall Street Trader

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 21, 2020 ~ Above is the chart that has the Federal Reserve and its Wall Street money funnel (a/k/a New York Fed) chewing on their worry beads and rapidly rolling out their alphabet soup of Wall Street bailout programs in a replay of their playbook during the 2007-2010 Wall Street collapse. While Fed and Treasury officials have been repeatedly assuring Americans that these Wall Street behemoth banks have plenty of capital, they’ve actually been bleeding their common equity capital faster than a snow cone in July. In just the past five weeks, from the close of trading on Friday, February 14 through the close of trading on Friday, March 20, five of the largest Wall Street banks have lost an average of 45 percent of their common equity capital. Adding to the embarrassment for the Federal Reserve, Citigroup, the bank it propped up … Continue reading

Fed’s Balance Sheet Skyrockets to $4.7 Trillion

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

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 19, 2020 ~ The Fed’s H.4.1 report was released at 4:30 p.m. today and it shows that the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has skyrocketed to $4.7 trillion. It also shows that as of yesterday, its repo loans to the trading houses on Wall Street had soared to a total of $441.9 billion outstanding while borrowings from its Discount Window added another $28.2 billion, bringing the combined total to over $470 billion in loans outstanding. Wall Street has been receiving hundreds of billions of dollars a week in assistance from the Fed since September 17, 2019 while struggling Americans have yet to see a dime of assistance to help offset job losses from the coronavirus outbreak. The Fed doesn’t have to wait for a vote in Congress to funnel $9 trillion in cumulative loans to Wall Street. It can create an unlimited amount of … Continue reading

Wall Street’s Crisis Began Four Months Before the First Reported Death from Coronavirus in China; Here’s the Proof

New York Stock Exchange

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 19, 2020 ~ U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Wall Street pundits are all over cable news, repeating the mantra that “this is nothing like the last financial crisis,” while seeking to lay the blame for all of the newly-announced bailout measures for Wall Street at the feet of the coronavirus. But in terms of Wall Street privatizing profits and socializing losses, this is exactly like the last financial crisis. Wall Street’s crisis has a specific launch date: September 17, 2019. That’s when the Fed, for the first time since the last financial crisis, began dumping hundreds of billions of dollars a week into Wall Street’s trading houses. That program, called “repo loans,” now tallies up to more than $9 trillion in cumulative loans made to Wall Street at super-cheap borrowing rates. The first article we wrote on that Fed program was dated … Continue reading

Fed Announces Program for Wall Street Banks to Pledge Plunging Stocks to Get Trillions in Loans at ¼ Percent Interest

Actress Louise Linton and Husband, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 18, 2020 ~ The Federal Reserve Board of Governors announced at 6 P.M. last evening that it is following the direction of Steve Mnuchin, the former foreclosure king who now serves as U.S. Treasury Secretary, and authorizing the reinstatement of a hideously operated, multi-trillion dollar bailout program for Wall Street’s trading houses known as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF). Veterans on Wall Street think of it as the cash-for-trash facility, where Wall Street’s toxic waste from a decade of irresponsible trading and lending, will be purged from the balance sheets of the Wall Street firms and handed over to the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve – just as it was during the last financial crisis on Wall Street. The Fed fought for years in court to keep the details of the PDCF and its sibling Wall Street bailout programs a secret … Continue reading

Here’s Why the Fed Hasn’t Yet Invoked Its 13(3) Emergency Powers to Stem a Stock Market Crash

Stock Price Chart of Citigroup Versus Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley Since February 14, 2020

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 17, 2020 ~ The U.S. stock market set new records yesterday – all of them bad. The Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst point loss in history, closing down 2,997 points at 20,188.52, which effectively erases all of its gains in the last three years. On January 20, 2017, when Donald Trump was sworn in as President, the Dow closed at 19,827. It’s now grown by just 1.8 percent in total over that span of time. The Dow also had its second worst percentage loss in history yesterday, losing 12.93 percent. That loss is only exceeded by Black Monday, October 19, 1987, when the Dow lost 22.6 percent. It barely beats out October 28, 1929 when the Dow lost 12.8 percent and ushered in what would become the worst stock market crash in history. From late 1929 to 1933 the stock market … Continue reading

The Fed Tried to Give Away $1 Trillion to Wall Street Today and Failed, Suggesting Specific Banks Are In Trouble

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 16, 2020 ~

What is the world coming to when the New York Fed can’t mix up $1 trillion of almost-free money in its punch bowl and get the mega Wall Street banks to drink freely?

The New York Fed handed out $129.60 billion this morning at an average interest rate of 0.112. That was for a one-day loan to one or more of Wall Street’s trading firms. The specific names of which firms are doing the borrowing are a closely-guarded secret at the Fed – just as they were during the financial crisis in 2008 until media lawsuits and a legislative amendment forced the banks’ names out into the open. All that the public is allowed to know today is that any of the Fed’s 24 primary dealers (Wall Street trading houses) are allowed to borrow from the facility. (See list below.)

The New York Fed also offered $500 billion in a 28-day loan this morning and, stunningly, it only had offers for $18.45 billion of the $500 billion, which was loaned at an average interest rate of 0.151 percent.

Despite that poor showing at its money spigot party this morning, the New York Fed made a surprise announcement and said it was throwing another money giveaway of $500 billion at 1:30 p.m. today. Again, only takers for $19.40 billion of the $500 billion showed up. The loans were made at the incredibly low average interest rate of 0.102 percent.

There was this same lack of demand last Thursday and Friday when the Fed tried to give away, almost for free, $1.5 trillion over the two-day span.

What could possibly account for this lack of greed from the typical pigs at the trough?

The reason that jumps to mind to anyone who has been following the Fed’s money spigot closely, is that there are only a handful of Wall Street banks that are in desperate need of this cash. Since the beginning of this program last fall, the New York Fed has imposed caps on how much any one of the 24 Wall Street firms could borrow at each offering. It refers to this limit as a “proposition.”

So, for example, on the latest $500 billion loans, firms can make a “proposition” up to $20 billion on loans backed by U.S. Treasury collateral and up to $20 billion on loans backed by government-backed mortgage securities. It’s not clear if the Fed would provide an individual bank with a total of $40 billion on that specific loan or just $20 billion for both propositions.

It’s also not clear if the Fed has, without the public’s knowledge, imposed an overall cap on how much any one bank can borrow within a specific period of time.

But what today’s unscheduled afternoon loan operation suggests is that a bank that borrowed last Thursday or Friday or this morning, may have been in need of more assistance this afternoon.

We looked at how the Fed’s primary dealers were trading today to see which banks were showing the most distress. At approximately 2:30 today, these banks were showing large percentage declines on the day: Citigroup was down a scary 18.24 percent; Morgan Stanley was down 14.35 percent; Bank of America was down 14.38 percent; and JPMorgan Chase was down 13.64 percent.

Deutsche Bank had earlier in the day traded at a new all-time low of $4.99 before bouncing back to $5.39 for a percentage decline of 9.67 percent. That leaves the bank with just $11.5 billion in common equity capital versus tens of trillions of dollars (notional) in derivatives exposure.

Federal Reserve's 24 Primary Dealers as of October 7, 2019 (Source -- Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Federal Reserve’s 24 Primary Dealers (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Fed Sets Off Panic with Plan to Eliminate Reserves at Wall Street’s Mega Banks

Fed Chair Powell at Press Conference, January 29, 2020

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 16, 2020 ~ Last evening, it became painfully clear that the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve do not understand the inner workings of Wall Street. After prattling on for months about the need to rebuild “ample reserves” at the behemoth Wall Street banks after the Fed was forced on September 17 to become the liquidity provider of last resort to the tune of $9 trillion cumulatively thus far, the Fed flipped its thinking on a dime yesterday and sent markets into a panic. As of 8:55 a.m. this morning, S&P 500 futures are locked, limit down, suggesting a steep drop in stocks at the open of trading at 9:30 a.m. Along with a series of other measures to prop up liquidity on Wall Street, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors announced last evening that it “has reduced reserve requirement ratios to … Continue reading