Maybe bailing out the biggest banks wasn’t such a good idea:
The number of banks at risk of failing made up nearly 12 percent of all federally insured banks in the final three months of 2010, the highest level in 18 years.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said Wednesday that the number of banks on its confidential “problem” list rose to 884 in the October-December quarter, up from 860 in the previous quarter. Those are banks rated by examiners as having very low capital cushions against risk.
Twenty-two banks have failed so far this year. And more banks are at risk, even as the FDIC reported the industry’s highest earnings as a group since the financial crisis hit three years ago.
Only a small fraction of the 7,657 federally insured banks — about 1.4 percent with assets of more than $10 billion — are driving the bulk of the earnings growth. They are the largest banks, including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.
The big banks accounted for about $20.6 billion of the industry earnings of $21.7 billion in the fourth quarter. The total earnings compared with a net loss of $1.8 billion in the same quarter of 2009. The agency said bank earnings were buoyed in the latest quarter by reduced charges for soured loans.
Most of the big banks have recovered with help from federal bailout money and record-low borrowing rates. On the other side, many smaller banks are struggling.
The Bush/Obama bailouts aren’t working out so well for the small community banks, the ones that really provide the lifeblood and working capital to small businesses. I’m shocked that politicians in Washington didn’t see that coming. Shocked, I say!
And what about that Democratic party tenet that says Democrats are always looking out for the little guy? Last I checked, the Democrats had complete control of Washington until six weeks ago.
[Hat Tip: Instapundit]
This morning I got up at the usual time and surfed my favorite local New Jersey news sites for blizzard updates, when I saw this story about my ethically-challenged Senator, and head of the DSCC, Robert Menendez:
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez today defended his efforts to convince regulators to save a struggling minority-owned bank in Union County that failed last year.
First BankAmericano had been under financial pressure for more than a year because of mounting loan losses. A highly critical report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. also found the institution had engaged in unsafe or unsound banking practices, including operating without adequate supervision by its board of directors, an excessive level of delinquent or bad loans, inadequate earnings and insufficient coverage of its assets.
Last May, BankAmericano negotiated a merger agreement with the parent holding company of Crown Bank of Brick, another community bank. Michael Horn, who served as BankAmericano’s attorney, said the $1 million deal was meant to keep the bank branches operating in the community it had served for more than a dozen years.
Horn said the long delay led to a decision to seek the help of Menendez. The senator, in a July 21 letter to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, urged expedited action on the acquisition plan before a likely takeover by the FDIC. “Putting First BankAmericano into receivership would send yet another negative message to consumers and investors and further impact our fragile economy,” Menendez wrote.
The issue as far as Menendez is concerned, is that he regrets the “wording” of his letter to the FDIC which demanded action, rather than “encouraging” it.
But what’s the real issue here? Despite Menendez’ bogus concern for “consumers and investors” in general, it’s actually for certain, specific investors:
The chairman of First BankAmericano at the time of the letter, Joseph Ginarte, is a high-profile attorney with offices in New York and New Jersey. He has given a total of about $30,000 to Mr. Menendez and his political-action committee since 1999, according to federal records.
The vice chairman of the bank was Raymond Lesniak, a New Jersey state senator and local political heavyweight. He also has given generously to Mr. Menendez’s campaign coffers. In 2006, Mr. Lesniak held a fund-raiser at his home for the senator featuring former President Bill Clinton, according to news reports at the time.
When the bank failed, the shareholders, many of them board members, lost their investments. Had the acquisition been approved, Messrs. Ginarte and Lesniak still would have lost a large chunk of their investment but not all, according to First BankAmericano’s former chief executive, Holly Bakke.
One of the reasons Republicans lost their majority status and have suffered at the ballot box over the last few cycles is because of the open corruption and hubris that infected the party. The media was quick to report it and voters acted accordingly.
Part of the problem with our mainstream media is that they turn a blind to Democratic corruption. Here is a blatant conflict of interest—a politician demanding that taxpayer money be used to help line the pockets of his political donors. And then turns around and says he’s concerned about the “message” of the bank’s failure.
I’m not surprised about any of this—I’ve been wary of him since his days as mayor of Union City.
Establishment Democrats are corrupt and sleazy, and Menendez is no exception. Too bad there’s a double standard when dealing with corrupt Republicans versus corrupt Democrats