Remember all those articles about Kenneth Lewis and what a great CEO he was and how well Bof A was doing and how well-run it was and.... never mind.
With the new government bailout plan for B of A and with a new capital infusion of $20 billion and $118bln of assets under a loss-sharing government guarantee, Bof A now looks a lot more like Citigroup than like some bank run by a near rock-star CEO.
Merrill Lynch is Bullish on Bank of America?
BofA simply bit off more than it could chew. Left unsaid is how much of this loss is from its earlier Countrywide acquisition. Stories only want to talk about losses and the more newly acquired Merrill Lynch. Who knows what Merrill had and how it was marked but we KNOW about Countrywide. Hey Pssst: don't ask, don't tell. If Merrill's losses were so huge how could Merrill/BofA and Flowers (Bof A's vetting firm for the Merrill investment) not have known that before the acquisition? If they were known problems, then - hey - time to roll back the clock and give Thain that $10mln bonus! It now appears he richly deserved it. This is not because he ran Merrill into the ground, but because he sold BofA a pig in a poke at a very respectable price.
A Cynics View of Wall Street
And, of course, that's what Wall Street pays people for. They don't 'give you crap.' Anyone can do that. They SELL IT TO YOU. And that takes a real master.
So who is the villain and who is the hero? Or is Heroes just a TV show - definitely not a reality show?
Or has everyone tied a different 'Nell' to the train tracks?
AAh So...Sushi with those banking problems, sir?
We are becoming Japan. I have always said we are different but we are becoming Japan. We not longer have any strong banks left- only strong-smelling banks. We merged and combined and 'saved' so many ailing institutions that we have spread this disease and banks have readily exposed themselves to it because, well, in banking there is no other way to say this: size matters. Every bank wants to be bigger. Now every bank's losses are bigger. Good Job! No wonder those CEOs get the BIG BUCKS! They are paid for balls not for brains that is now very clear. Maybe they should recruit from the ranks of the WWF?
Oh what tangled losses we spread when we cheat to get ahead...
Imagine what things would be like had Citibank gotten Wachovia? Oh, they we also were going to get for $45bln or so in government assistance or in portfolio guarantees, weren't they? Never mind. I guess the Wells-Fargo bid blew the doors off that 'stealth' bail out. Now Citi is exposed and Bof A is right beside it.
...and on and on this saga goes.
Bank is just a four-letter word
But whatever - WHATEVER - you do, DO not help the floundering homeowners. No THAT would surely bring moral hazard into play. Authorities rightly understand you can't have moral hazard where there are not morals - so bailing out our bankers is a safe bet.
Who's next? Who's left?
Obama-rama meets loss cram-a-rama ding dong
I guess Obama should appoint a head of nationalized banking because that is clearly where we are headed. And we may be headed for a new guy at Treasury too. Things change and fast. Welcome to Washington, Mr-O.