Archive for May 18th, 2009

RGE recently pubsliched a lengthy article on what needs to happen to save tu US banking system. It makes for a good read and I highly recommend it.

“Many important US banks are currently in a dangerous halfway house between public and private, fragile and failed. This is unprecedented in scale, but not in situation. The United States faced a very similar problem with our Savings and Loan crisis of the mid-1980s, Japan and Sweden had systemic banking crises during the 1990s, and a host of less advanced economies have suffered from this type of problem.”

It continues…

“The ongoing accumulation of nonperforming loans and the resulting continued decline in solvency of many American banks has been a significant drag on growth and will only get worse absent government action. Properly capitalized banks will face losses from the recession no matter what, but will not roll over bad loans because they would have enough of their own capital at risk and can bear the costs of writing off bad loans. The costs to the US economy of leaving its financial system undercapitalized are enormous in terms of lost growth, missed investments in new firms and projects (due to the bias towards rolling over old loans to avoid write-offs by undercapitalized banks), and low returns on savings.

The Obama administration has announced that it will do strict examinations of the 20 biggest banks’ balance sheets starting this week. If anything close to current asset values are used to evaluate those books, and they should be, many of these banks will need public capital injections or closure. The reluctance to pull the trigger appears to be based on the fact that such forced write-offs would require the unpopular steps of another injection of public funds and/or round of closures, either way involving government ownership of those banks, a.k.a. nationalization. Failing to be so strict and leaving current shareholders and top management in control will just lead to further losses and repeated suspicions about some banks’ viability, as we saw in the stock market last week.”

Read the full article here.

Others covering this topic: Peterson Institute, Steve Lendman Blog, Institutional Partners and The BaseLine Scenario.

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