Jamesb101.com

commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

CitiGroup following the Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase… returns to profitability ……

And why am I not surprised?

While all of the banks took a beating…..the Stimulus loans and Government assistance programs have put them back on their feet along with the recovery in Europe…..

As the Dog has said during the dark days of last fall……

These things are cyclcal….and no matter what..the banks will be saved……

As for the future…..

Well lets ee what the Democrats can get passed in financial reform….

He, he, he……I say this  again,  though…..

What ever’s passed will only take the backroom boys and girls about ten minutes to figure out how the bank can get around it……

After nearly two years of being drenched in red ink, Citigroup provided the strongest signs yet that the troubled bank is beginning to recover as it reported a $4.4 billion profit in the first quarter.

The earnings, which handily beat analyst expectations and were the bank’s best since the financial crisis began, were the result of the resurgence in the bond market and improvements in the economy, particularly overseas. Both play to Citigroup’s strengths as a major player in fixed income and emerging markets, and come as some of its rivals benefited from similar trends. JPMorgan Chase andBank of America both reported big first-quarter earnings from hefty trading profits and from adding less money to their loan loss reserves.

For Citigroup, however, the promise of a turnaround has always seemed more distant. Just over a year ago, its chief executive,Vikram S. Pandit, was staring at losses so big that the bank received two helpings of bailout money and gave the government a 27 percent ownership stake. It posted multibillion-dollar losses in eight out of its last nine quarters. Citigroup shares briefly traded below a dollar.

Today, however, the stock has started to rebound with shares 6.9 percent higher, to $4.86 on Monday. The Treasury Department has signaled that it will soon begin selling its 7.7 billion shares, and after two years on the job, Mr. Pandit is making progress on slimming down the bank.

More……..

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bank of America is going to stop overdrafts on debit cards… period…..and the fee….. by July…

Well…..

Thats gonna make some people happy…

And make some people…not so happy…..

People are going to start disciplining themselves if they use the Bank of America card……

Bank officials said that effective this summer, customers who try to make purchases with their debit cards without enough money in their checking accounts will simply be declined. Debit purchases account for roughly 60 percent of overdrafts at Bank of America, the nation’s largest issuer of debit cards.

Banks are bracing for a new federal rule that will require them to get permission from account holders before providing overdraft services for debit purchases and A.T.M. withdrawals. That change was already expected to wipe out billions of dollars in overdraft revenue for the banks.

“What our customers kept telling me is ‘just don’t let me spend money that I don’t have,’ ” said Susan Faulkner, the bank’s deposit and card product executive, who said the overdraft changes were part of a broader push to build trust among its customers. “We wanted to help them avoid those unexpected overdraft fees.”

The bank will continue to provide overdraft protection, for a fee, for checks and automatic payments, say to a biller that debits money from an account each month. Consumers who try to exceed their balance when making an A.T.M. withdrawal are already being notified that they will be charged a $35 overdraft fee if they choose to proceed.

There has been considerable consumer and political outcry against overdraft fees on deposit accounts. Over the last decade, the fees have become a major source of revenue for banks as they realized they could make more money by covering consumer overdrafts, offering a short-termloan for a fee, than in denying them.

But as reports surfaced of customers incurring hundreds, even thousands, in overdraft fees, often for purchases of just a few dollars like a cup of coffee, regulators and lawmakers stepped in. As of July 1, the Federal Reserve will require that banks obtain a customer’s consent before they can charge them overdraft fees for A.T.M. transactions and debit purchases; many banks now automatically enroll customers.

More…….

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates, Women | , , | 1 Comment

A year ago with Geithner, Paulson and Bernanake…and the bottom dropping out….

This piece reminds of how bad things where last year….and I’m no mind reader…but before it’s over …you’re gonna find all three of the guys above finger prints all over AIG, Bank of America….and whole lot of other places trying to keep the system from falling apart….it ain’t gonna be pretty…and some of it ain’t gonna seem kosher…..but we do have mild recovery on tarc…not a depression……

There is that to consider while you see the media roast these guys a year after the fact.………

I’m not making excuses…but one should remember the atmosphere, in which, these guys operated in during that time……..

The age old question……..’The ends and the means’….

January 8, 2010 Posted by | Government, Law, Media, Men, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bank of America fired Jackie Ramos for 'doing the the right thing'…..trying to help people in debt….

The ex-Bank of America ‘customer advocate’ got tired of saying no to the people she was supposed to help when they fell behind on their payments….Ms. Ramos, who lives in Fairburn, Ga…started to deal with trouble she had from doing her job by ……” I stopped denying people,” said Ramos. “I helped people get on programs that they didn’t necessarily qualify for but who definitely needed the help.”

Now Ramos admits she didn’t follow all the companies rules…and she so far isn’t mad at them (she’s mad at the credit card system)…but she did do a YouTube video and uploaded it on November 27th, two days after she lost her job……

This young lady after hearing people drowning in debt everyday tried to help….And yes she didn’t follow the company’s line…and yes they let her go…..But we can all understand why she did what she did…..

I hope someone hires her to help people somewhere…..

Bank of America didn’t……..

December 8, 2009 Posted by | Media, Other Things, The Economy | , , , | Leave a comment

Bank of America fired Jackie Ramos for ‘doing the the right thing’…..trying to help people in debt….

The ex-Bank of America ‘customer advocate’ got tired of saying no to the people she was supposed to help when they fell behind on their payments….Ms. Ramos, who lives in Fairburn, Ga…started to deal with trouble she had from doing her job by ……” I stopped denying people,” said Ramos. “I helped people get on programs that they didn’t necessarily qualify for but who definitely needed the help.”

Now Ramos admits she didn’t follow all the companies rules…and she so far isn’t mad at them (she’s mad at the credit card system)…but she did do a YouTube video and uploaded it on November 27th, two days after she lost her job……

This young lady after hearing people drowning in debt everyday tried to help….And yes she didn’t follow the company’s line…and yes they let her go…..But we can all understand why she did what she did…..

I hope someone hires her to help people somewhere…..

Bank of America didn’t……..

December 8, 2009 Posted by | Media, Other Things, The Economy | , , , | Leave a comment

The Treasury will let Bank of America repay its $45 BILLION bailout loan so that it can pay bonuses to its employees…

Yes ….you read that right…..$45 BILLION!

They have negotiated a deal with the Treasury (who have to approve them paying the money) to pay back their TARP money….they have had trouble recruiting a replacement for their departing CEO Kenneth D.Lewis due the restrictions that bank must deal with until they pay the money back…..when they repay the government, they will get from under the extraordinary compensation control of the Treasury (they still be subject to a ‘look back’ provision)…..

The government was happy to get the money back..but talks where about the how the Bank could do things…….

……..’discussions bogged down with some regulators initially disagreeing over what steps Bank of America had to take to satisfy concerns about its capital base. In order to win over hesitant parties, the bank agreed to a number of concessions: raising $18.8 billion in new capital; shifting some of its bonus pay to restricted stock instead of cash; and agreeing to shed $4 billion of assets. “We discussed with them what they felt we needed and there was a negotiation around it,” said Bank of America spokesman Robert Stickler.

While regulators wanted Bank of America to shrink as a precondition of their TARP exit, they wanted to avoid the company cutting back on lending in a rush to downsize. The $4 billion of assets the company needs to get rid of will consist of business lines or strategic investments, such as its stake in China Construction Bank, Mr. Stickler said.’……

In the end …this move is about people getting paid more money…..the spot light has moved on…and these guys and girls are assuring that they get those big salaries, stock options, deferred compensation and other perks…no matter how the media chastised them last year….and they will….you wait and see….

This deal will put pressure on the big companies (J.P. Chase & Co and Citibank) to follow suit……

December 2, 2009 Posted by | Government, Law, Media, Politics, The Economy | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Kenneth D. Lewis, the CEO of the Bank of America, will take early retirement….

After riding thru a very rough period for the bank and its acquisitions…Kenneth D. Lews, the CEO of the United States largest bank, largest retain brokerage, largest credit card holder and largest mortgage holder…..Bank of America is leaving (joining other Wall Street CEO’s gone)…..he will receive pension benefits worth $53.2 million, and other compensation (including stock trading at a low of $16 vs a high of $54 in 2006) worth almost  $81 million…….

I posted earlier that Lewis got a whole lot of people mad at him for buying Merrill Lynch during crunch time last year after he found out the company was just about worthless…his defense was that Paulson and Bermenke forced him to do it….but neither forced him to allocate almost $5 billion in salaries for employees after borrowing billions of dollars from the government to prop up the Bank after the merger ……. something any reasonable person would not do, fearing that the government and stockholders would be pissed …..

And they still are………

October 1, 2009 Posted by | Politics, The Economy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The banks are listening…..they are dropping some overdraft fee's and offering better debit card fee's

Back on September 9th I wrote a post on how the banks are making money on over draft fee’s and such……well a guess the bankers can read…because after a few pieces on the overdraft problems in the media….the  Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and now Wells Fargo, are going to readjust their fee structure for debit cards, and offer customers the option of not having overdraft protection……

Those Banks will also eliminate fee’s for accounts overdrawn by as little as $5 to $10, or less……….While that is good news …one wonders where they are going to make up the lost revenue?

September 24, 2009 Posted by | Other Things, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The banks are listening…..they are dropping some overdraft fee’s and offering better debit card fee’s

Back on September 9th I wrote a post on how the banks are making money on over draft fee’s and such……well a guess the bankers can read…because after a few pieces on the overdraft problems in the media….the  Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and now Wells Fargo, are going to readjust their fee structure for debit cards, and offer customers the option of not having overdraft protection……

Those Banks will also eliminate fee’s for accounts overdrawn by as little as $5 to $10, or less……….While that is good news …one wonders where they are going to make up the lost revenue?

September 24, 2009 Posted by | Other Things, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and Ken Lewis, Bernanke and Paulson…….and Cuomo….

I’ve been following an inside story that occurred during the height on the financial crisis last fall……..During the time after the bottom fell out, after Lehman went belly up, a whooper deal went through……Bank of America brought Merrill Lynch…….A story of this appeared recently in the Atlantic Magazine.( generated by Cuomo’s digging)…………And the story basically went like this……..

The CEO of B of A (BOA)……started talking about buying Merrill Lynch (ML)….the CEO of ML was very agreeable to the deal because the company was undercapitalizedbig time……Lewis had his people check out BOA, and at first they reported back everything was Okay……..but, as the deal date got closer it became known to Lewis that he was going to be buying an empty shell of the company, he thought he was getting……..Merrill was in the hole, big time……

So according to the story, Lewis started to get cold feet, and started talking about backing out of the deal, invoking a MAC (which is called a MAC….short for Material Adverse Clause, which means the material…i.e. equity…. ain’t there)……..now here’s where things get sideways……yesterday, a judge would not approve a $33 million settlement between BOA and the SEC on the no-board notification, which would have laid the thing to rest……then there’s this…….

Once Lewis knew ML was not what he thought it was ……he should have notified his board  (which he did not) which in the end, approved the deal…….failure to do so could be a legal no-no (hence they wanted the SEC deal)……..Lewis has reported that he didn’t do so because Treasury Secretary Paulson, and Fed Chairman Bernake both threatened him with his job, and the boards tenure if he didn’t go thru with the deal…which they called ‘essential to the national interest’…….

Lewis has not endeared himself to anyone because he fired the head of Merrill (John Thain) right after the deal,  then paid  out  $3.6  billion in bonuses to staff for the past year, and went on to boast that he did a ‘great deal’……and Andrew Cuomo the AG of New York has sent supeona\’s to the Bank of America board members…..

The thing that bothers me is ……..if Lewis is telling the truth, and the Feds threaten him (he related this to congress), where does this investigation by Cuomo go?…..Is Lewis the bad guy here?…Is Cuomo gonna go after anyone, or is he just bearing the facts of the deal?….what about Paulson and Bernanake?…..if saving Merrill helped save the  US and, in turn, world’s economy, and hurt BOA stock holders, what is the solution?…….Is Cuomo doing the right thing, or is he going to run into a brick wall from the White House?………that’s lot of questions, and this could end up anyplace………

Note:…..I thought about this morning…….they have to be on Lewis’ case……and the bonus money……no doubt……

Update: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has told Bank of America that it cannot use attorney-client privilege in dealing with congress……Its Chair,  Rep Edolphus Towns (D-NY) has given B of A till noon today to divulge when the board of B of A found out about Merrill Lunch’s true financial short falls prior to the deal between the two companies……B of A is stuck…because answering the questions could expose the bank to liabilities with the SEC, and NY State Atty. Gen. probes……..The reason for the House probe?……The money given to the firm from the  TARP fund ( $20 Billion ) right after the merger….And the bonuses which came before that………..

September 16, 2009 Posted by | Law, Politics, The Economy | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment