Footnotes & Stuff

As college students, we had to type footnotes on the bottom of each page in our term papers. Back then, with an IBM Selectric, even with the backspace eraser, that meant re-typing pages for days. Just to organize the stupid format so everything fit. And. We had to read all of the footnotes in a text, which seemed so tedious.

Later learned to love great writers’ footnotes. Many were better than the core work itself. David Foster Wallace had the funniest footnotes ever. They could go on for pages and were laugh-out-loud biting wit.

Nephew Matt Levine is the DFW of Finance, with a happier ending. Matt’s Bloomberg Money Stuff column is stuffed with clever footnotes. For that and other stuff, he is profiled in the NYTimes.

Douche Bank

I was a managing director for a Dutch Bank. ABN AMRO. It was a premier global bank rivaling CitiBank at the time. Not to be confused with Deutsche Bank. Which is German.

ABN had a rule never to do real estate deals. EVER. Deutsche Bank came on the scene in the late 90’s and made the same mistake as the Japanese Banks had done in the ’80’s. Lots of bad high rise bets.

Deutsche got cozy with the biggest real estate loser, giving loans to Trump from each side of its so-called Chinese Wall. Much to its demise.

Too Big to Fail – Again

Remember too big to fail? The 2008 government bank bailout? That worked out really well. And today? 6 banks still run everything. Determine the global markets. Shape the American economy. CitibankBank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. Their CEOs say that they have ample liquidity available for lending this time around in a strange set of calls from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. And we should believe them?

Mnuchin is forming a group including these six banks, the Fed and the SEC, the same assemblage as in the financial crisis of 2008. Calling it a “Plunge Protection Team”.   Danger. Danger.

And. Oh yeah. Merry Christmas!

Game of Loans

Follow the money. Mueller will subpoena Trump’s tax returns. They may well reveal shady dealings. Loans from Russian banks? Deutsche Bank can’t be the only source of funding. Donnie Jr. already admitted as much. And. Kushner comes from a sleazy clan with a history of crossing legal and ethical lines. So. Here we go.

Pence has lawyered up. He must have been witness to compromising discussions of at least obstruction. He’ll have to tell the truth. Or resign. Next in line. President Paul Ryan.

Too Big To Manage

Glass-Steagall resurrection won’t heal the banking system. Segregating commercial and investment entities never worked. Senior executives were always able to peer over the so-called Chinese wall. Amalgamations have caused unwieldy national behemoths.

Incompetence at the top. Incestuous Boards. Obscene compensation assured. Cue Stumpf. Wells Fargo’s dufey CEO. Typical of the genre. Isolated from business units. De-centralized disparate cultures left to their own devices. By the time the OCC gets involved at least 5 years of fraudulent practices to rein in. Fire a bunch of low-level guys as a PR stunt.

Too big to manage. Too big to fail.