David Kirkpatrick

February 3, 2009

Banks still not lending

Yep, that financial sector “free money, no strings” bailout last year really looks good right about now. The entire concept, at least as it was sold to the public, was to give banks cash so they could ease the credit crunch and start lending money apace.

Here we are months later and credit is still tight. Very tight.

From the link:

Many banks have made it harder for borrowers to obtain all kinds of loans over the last three months despite a $700 billion federal bailout program and a flurry of other bold moves to stem the worst financial crisis to hit the U.S. since the 1930s.

The Federal Reserve in its quarterly survey of bank lending practices released Monday found large numbers of banks reporting tighter credit standards across a broad range of loan products _ from credit cards and home mortgages to business loans.

Nearly 60 percent of banks responding to the survey said they had tightened lending standards on credit card and other consumer loans, about the same share as in the previous survey released in early November. And about 80 percent of domestic banks said they tightened lending standards on commercial real-estate loans, slightly less than the roughly 85 percent that reported doing so in the previous survey.

All told, though, the proportion of banks that “reported having tightened their lending policies on all major loan categories over the previous three months stayed very elevated,” the Fed concluded.

Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, predicted that banks _ whose lax lending standards for home mortgages contributed to the financial meltdown _ won’t be in any rush to loosen lending standards.

“Even when lenders come back to the marketplace and become willing to lend again, who they lend to is not going to change,” McBride said. “The tighter qualification standards that we’ve been seeing are here to stay for the foreseeable future regardless of whether or not there is stress in the credit markets and a deep recession. Lenders won’t go back to giving out credit like candy anytime soon.”

September 29, 2008

The House scuttles bailout plan

And the market takes a big hit.

From the link:

The House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue package, ignoring urgent pleas from President Bush and bipartisan congressional leaders to quickly bail out the staggering financial industry.

Stocks plummeted on Wall Street even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was announced on the House floor.

When the critical vote was tallied, too few members of the House were willing to support the unpopular measure with elections just five weeks away. Ample no votes came from both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle.

Bush and a host of leading congressional figures had implored the lawmakers to pass the legislation despite howls of protest from their constituents back home.

The vote had been preceded by unusually aggressive White House lobbying, and spokesman Tony Fratto said that Bush had used a “call list” of people he wanted to persuade to vote yes as late as just a short time before the vote.

Lawmakers shouted news of the plummeting Dow Jones average as lawmakers crowded on the House floor during the drawn-out and tense call of the roll, which dragged on for roughly 40 minutes as leaders on both sides scrambled to corral enough of their rank-and-file members to support the deeply unpopular measure.

From the New York Times and news on the Dow freefalling over 400 points on the news.

Update — Dow is down almost 700 points.

I’m glad the vote failed. And no, I don’t think it’s a case of cutting off one’s nose to spite the face. I think it’s a case of a failed administration making one more attempt at a naked and craven power-grab. Get Paulson out of the picture, bring in some adult nonpartisan brains and knock-out a real solution, not some BS version of, “be very afraid and give me unlimited power.”

I think the US public finally woke up, and maybe the GOP did too after the Bush 43 effort at corporate socialism and their presidential standard bearer choosing an unqualified religious nutjob as his running mate.

Go below the fold for additional updates as the situation warrants.

(more…)

September 24, 2008

The no-short list grows

I’ve already put my thoughts on the anti-capitalist move by the SEC to ban the short selling of certain stocks out there. Predictably everyone wants a little protection from the free and open market leading to more companies being added to the no-short list.

Here’s a NYT article via AccountantsWorld covering the very subject.

From the second link:

The list of companies that regulators are protecting from short-sellers keeps growing, as do the questions surrounding it.

By Monday evening, the number of companies on the list rose to nearly 900, from 799 on Friday, when the Securities and Exchange Commission sought to restrict bearish bets against financial companies to help stabilize the markets.

 

Nearly every major bank is now included, along with large insurance companies and others. Trading in bank stocks withered on Monday amid uncertainty over the rules and the sweeping bailout that the Bush administration has proposed for financial companies.

But many questions remain. Some analysts — and a few firms initially left off the list — complained that the initial S.E.C. roster was incomplete.

Want to see just how ridiculous this whole process becomes once the stinky can has been opened? Here’s a bit from later in the article:

By Monday evening, the Ford Motor Company, which also owns a bank, was added to the list.

September 22, 2008

Just say no to government bailouts

Filed under: Business, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:03 pm

Here’s a CNNMoney.com article  on some of the righfully angry public response to Bush 43’s little $700M-plus — udpate: pardon my error, but the figure is $700 BILLION — exercise in corporate socialism.

And this administration still claims to be Republican.

From the link:

“NO NO NO. Not just no, but HELL NO,” writes Richard, a reader from Anchorage, Alaska.

“This is robbery pure and simple,” Anna from Denver posted on CNNMoney.com’s TalkBack blog this weekend.

“It’s our money! Let these companies die,” added Claudio from Plainville, Conn.

After President Bush petitioned Congress Saturday for the authority to spend up to $700 billion to to bail out a financial industry on the verge of collapse, he said the high price tag was not only justified, but essential.

“It is a big package because it’s a big problem,” Bush told reporters at a news conference. “The risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of the package.”

But when asked what they thought of the government’s proposal, most readers gave an overwhelming thumbs down.