Nothing Fine About Our Banks

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Includes: IAT, KRE, XLF
by: Ray

SNL Financial came out with a report Wednesday that said 90 banks have missed at least 1 TARP dividend payment, that is-- about 11% of all TARP recipients have defaulted-- for those of you keeping count. Keep in mind that about 829 institutions received TARP funds and about 50+ have repaid TARP funds, mostly the big name institutions that we all know and love. What is critical to note is that the defaults, I would call missing a payment a default since banks call a borrower who misses a payment to be in default, are increasing, not decreasing, as we approach the 2 year anniversary of the historic TARP legislation.

What that tells me is that not everything is fine when we are 2 years into the largest bailout in the history of bailouts and we have banks defaulting, remember only the “strongest banks” were getting bailed out, and bank closures are accelerating as well. All of this while the pundits talk about “the greatest V shaped recovery in history” which is laughable. If we were in recovery mode wouldn’t these banks be earning their way out of this mess? They have the greatest accounting gimmick, mark to model, at their disposal and they are defaulting and being taken over by regulators at an increasing rate. How can that be? Perhaps the system is not as strong as we are told, that sounds about right to me.

We have to face the facts and the fact is that the data does not lie, banks are defaulting and failing. Real estate prices, both residential and-- especially-- commercial are falling, which means more problems for banks. The banking industry as a whole is much larger than Citi (NYSE:C), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM), and I am hard pressed to make the statement that those banks are largely benefiting from proprietary trading, government bond underwriting and the ability to mark to model. In other words, the bailout failed with the exception of the too big to fails and, as we already knew, the bailout was really just a selective bailout anyhow.

How could Bear Stearns be allowed to be acquired, but Lehman fail? Just days after Lehman fails AIG gets bailed out, the proof is pretty overwhelming about the selectivity of the bailouts, in my opinion, and TARP was designed to make the big banks flourish and the rest of the banks, well who cares because no one cares about the rest of the banks. I mean, who ever heard of Midwest Banc Holdings anyhow, except for the depositors.

So, as the ECB gets ready to release useless stress test results, which I am sure will show Greek and Spanish banks in trouble, but everything else hunky dory, consider the fact that our stress test and bailouts were completely and utterly useless. In other words, if you cannot trust our results, it has taken almost 2 years for the failures to show up, how can you trust the ECB’s results? Geithner knows this, which is why he pushed for the stress test. He knew you can fool the markets for a little while with useless stress tests and a seemingly huge bailout fund. However, the results cannot be hidden forever and our results are public, for those willing to look for the statistics, and prove that their strategy just kicks the can down the road and still leads to failure. Unless you consider accelerating defaults and closures a success, I am sure some talking head somewhere will see it as a stunning success, but in the real world most people see escalating failure for what it is, failure.

Disclosure: No positions