2011 may go into history with the Bank Crisis.
It was a year where the financial system had to deal with the worst housing meltdown since the Great Depression. People were also confronted the financial system fending off an extraordinary number of body blows: the Bear Stearns debacle, the Washington Mutual bank failure, the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy and the government’s bailout of American Insurance Group and seemingly everyone on Wall Street.
The Power was in Wall Street and into the hand of Rating Offices.
While ratings services such as Bankrate.com’s Safe and Sound system and TheStreet.com Ratings tried to measure the relative strength of the nation’s financial institutions Standard & Poors, Moody’s and and Fitch Ratings got banks and countries from their ‘pied de stal’.
Though after assessing European banks’ recapitalization needs, the European Banking Authority has made recommendations for those that failed to attain a 9% core Tier 1 capital target while maintaining a sovereign exposure buffer. In a credit positive move, the European Central Bank has announced on December 12 measures to support euro area bank liquidity, demonstrating its commitment to supporting the banks as the sovereign crisis deepens. The measures may also help counteract incentives EU banks have to deleverage further, which would constrain growth in EU economies and further impair banks’ balance sheets. But meanwhile the Rating offices managed to keep pulling down the non American countries.
We could wonder how they managed to receive so much power that everybody seems to listen and take their warnings as the most accurate message and sign to act.
The McGraw-Hill Companies seem to have all the power in them by giving plusses and minusses, triple or single A’s or B’s, to have everybody jumping at their feet. Strangely enough some say that Credit rating agencies (CRA) do not downgrade companies promptly enough, while others say they are to harsh. While often accused of being too close to company management of their existing clients, CRAs have also been accused of engaging in heavy-handed “blackmail” tactics in order to solicit business from new clients, and lowering ratings for those firms . For instance, Moody’s published an “unsolicited” rating of Hannover Re, with a subsequent letter to the insurance firm indicating that “it looked forward to the day Hannover would be willing to pay”. When Hannover management refused, Moody’s continued to give Hannover Re ratings, which were downgraded over successive years, all while making payment requests that the insurer rebuffed. In 2004, Moody’s cut Hannover’s debt to junk status, and even though the insurer’s other rating agencies gave it strong marks, shareholders were shocked by the downgrade and Hannover lost $175 million USD in market capitalization. ( Klein, Alec (24 November 2004). “Credit Raters’ Power Leads to Abuses, Some Borrowers Say”. The Washington Post.)
Credit rating agencies such as S&P have been subject to criticism in the wake of large losses beginning in 2007 in the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) market that occurred despite being assigned top ratings by the CRAs.
In 2003 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission submitted a report to the American Congress detailing plans to launch an investigation into the anti-competitive practices of credit rating agencies and issues including conflicts of interest, but not much happened yet.
People dressed in business suits is a well-known trademark of those in business. they are also pictured on the walls in the lobby of the Bank of America’s Corporate Center.The frescoes over there are filled with occult symbols and should get us to think in this special time of financial crisis and revolt.
References are made to Old Testament stories like the Burning Bush form the Book of Exodus (3:1-21) when Moses was given the task to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. The Burning Bush is of great importance in Masonic ritual, especially for the 33rd degree, whose members are considered to be “near the Burning Bush”. The piramides from Egypt are also in the background as one of the ultimate symbol of the Mysteries in occult teachings.
When we see a woman apparently trapped inside a transparent cube, hanging from threads coming from the sky, we can be reminded of the situation we are facing today. The Vigilant Citizen questions if the strange feature of the painting represent the common man, stuck in the confines of the material world (occultly represented by the cube) and manipulated by unseen forces from above.
The Banks have become the Temple of the Mass Media and preach on a daily basis extreme materialism, spiritual vacuosity and a self-centred, individualistic existence. This is exactly the opposite of the attributes required to become a truly free individual, as taught by all great philosophical schools of thought and contrary to the thinking of the Holy Scriptures which offer a methodology to become a good human in a good environment.
The Vigilant Citizen brings a few interesting articles worth considering how people are getting manipulated today. The “mass population” versus “ruling class” dichotomy described in many articles is not a “conspiracy theory” he says, but a reality that has been clearly stated in the works of some of the 20th century’s most influential men.
Dutch version / Nederlandstalige versie: Bank crisis en Occulte tekens
Find The Vigilant Citizen‘s idea on the Bank of America:
Update 2012 February: Moody’s downgraded Italy, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia, and put Britain, France and Austria on negative watch, warning that they may be stripped of their AAA ratings, citing Europe’s debt crisis. It suggested that any further abrupt economic or fiscal deterioration would put into question the UK government’s ability to reduce the debt burden.
Related articles (updated 2012/03/30)
- Louise Weiss builiding and towers after Ziggurat Babel (marcusampe.wordpress.com)
- Ecological economics in the stomach #3 Food and Populace (marcusampe.wordpress.com)
- Fed Watch: Europe Still Heading For Collapse (economistsview.typepad.com)
The long-term nature of reforms was no match for the pace of financial market developments, while the willingness of the population to accept externally-driven reforms is understandably lacking given the desire of the external agents to support ongoing recession. Without more direct transfers and debt relief, the IMF, ECB, and EU continue to use more stick than carrort.
- Downgrade Moody’s! (thedailybeast.com)
These rating agencies, these institutes whose triple-As make the planet of finance quake and the real planet tremble, these oracles, these modern gods didn’t see the 1997 crisis coming. They understood nothing of the subprime catastrophe. Four days before it went bankrupt, in 2001, they continued to give the energy broker Enron good marks. Up to the very last moment, they supported a Lehman Brothers that was circling the drain of bankruptcy. During the current euro-zone crisis, not content to have failed to see it coming, they aggravated the situation by keeping Greek securities in the basket of first class world bonds and, in so doing, contributed to the laxness of a government that preferred to sink deeper in debt rather than to review its accounts, clean up its public finances, and reform. In short, these agencies whose task it is to foresee have committed blunder after blunder.
- Big Banks Suffer Credit Downgrade (forbes.com)
If you’ve ever been turned down for a loan, or taken a hit to your credit score, you may get a kick out of this: seven of the eight largest banks in the U.S. had their credit ratings downgraded last week.
S&P applied new credit rating standards to 37 banks, resulting in downgrades of 15 of those banks. The victims included seven of the eight largest U.S. banks.The new standards take a broader view of the economic environment, in an attempt to identify the type of systematic risk that plagued the industry during the financial crisis. In any case, the downgraded banks will be just like anyone with a reduced credit rating–they can now expect borrowing money to be more expensive.
- National News: Rules ‘to help mortgage prisoners’ (coventrytelegraph.net)
The new legislation will mean “mortgage prisoners” – people locked in negative equity and unable to move house – will be able to get better loans.
- Moody’s downgrades 3 leading French banks (thestar.com)
Banks are at the front-line of the debt crisis raging across the 17-country eurozone that has threatened to drag the global economy back into recession.
- DealBook: Credit Agricole to Eliminate Up to 2,300 Jobs (dealbook.nytimes.com)
The bank plans to not pay a dividend to shareholders this year, and said the economic instability, particularly around the Europe’s debt crisis, made it difficult to outline the its future financial targets.“The lack of visibility on the economic and financial climate do not make it possible, at this point in time, to confirm its targets,” the bank said in a statement.
- Credit Ratings Agencies (thinkingbookworm.typepad.com)
The financial crisis due to credit bubbles and credit crunch have affected different companies and individuals not only in the US but also all over the world. In this regard, the authorities and different agencies are trying to find ways on how this can be solved.
According to some economists, it has been viewed that the rating agencies can be considered as one of the vital culprits for the financial crisis.
One reason why authorities are pointing at credit rating agencies to be the cause of the subprime crisis is because during the third quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2008, the rating agencies have lowered or reduced the credit ratings on $1.9 trillion in line with mortgaged securities. Such action is considered as an indicator why their initial ratings become incorrect.
- How credit ratings agencies rule the world (guardian.co.uk)
Britain’s credit rating took a knock this week, when Moody’s expressed a ‘negative outlook’ for the national economy. But who are the mysterious agencies who take it upon themselves to grade everything from countries to corporations – and how much power do they really wield?
By highlighting the seriousness of the situation, finance ministers argue the agencies are making things worse, because of the cooling effect their downgrades have on investment. “The rating agencies fuelled the crisis in 2008
- The Role Played By Credit Rating Agencies In The Financial Crisis (thinkingbookworm.typepad.com)
- The backlash to Credit Ratings Agencies gathers steam (liberalconspiracy.org)
The three credit ratings agencies were key enablers of the financial meltdown. The mortgage-related securities at the heart of the crisis could not have been marketed and sold without their seal of approval. Investors relied on them, often blindly
The Co-operative Party, which is campaigning for reforms to financial services, drew attention to the agencies’ conflict of interest
- The Role Played By Credit Rating Agencies In The Financial Crisis (ivythesis.typepad.com)
A credit rating agency is not a buy/sell recommendation agency. CRA are considered as powerful since both the governments and the markets view them as authoritative sources of judgment and they are also considered as major actors that controls access to capital market (Sinclair, 1994). Accordingly, Credit rating agencies have played a critical role at different paces of the subprime crisis.
Analysis also showed that credit ratings agencies have advised the issuers on how to prioritize and structure trenches of CDO or MBS. The main objective was to enable the issues to squeeze the maximum profit from a MBS or CDO by maximizing its size, specifically on the highest rated trenches. The main goal of trenching is to establish at least one area of assetswith a higher credit rating than those with the average rating of MBS or CDO’s underlying asset pool. The credit rate agencies have rated each trance based on the creditworthiness of their loans in such trance and its priority.
- Ratings agencies need better explanations of downgrades: EU watchdog (business.financialpost.com)
The “Big Three” credit rating agencies must improve their explanations of downgrades, the sector’s European Union regulator said in a report on Thursday, noting other shortcomings.The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), which became the main supervisor for ratings agencies in the EU last year, examined Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch in December.
The rating agencies were blamed by policymakers for helping to sow the seeds of the financial crisis by giving high ratings to mortgage-backed securities linked to U.S. home loans that defaulted.
- Kotok: Back from Paris (ritholtz.com)
the situation in Portugal is unraveling. This may be the second shoe to drop in the European sovereign debt saga. Now that Greece has paved the way, the speed of unwind with Portugal may be much faster.
Private holders of Greek debt had several years to get out before the eventual failure. Those that did not get out were crushed in the settlement. Greece is now a ward of governmental and global institutions like the ECB, IMF, and others. It is unlikely to have market access for years.
European debt-crisis issues are lessons for the US. They belong in the political debate. Both political parties are responsible for our growing debt issues.
- George Osborne tries to be positive on negative outlook for economy (guardian.co.uk)
Chancellor George Osborne said the shock warning of a downgrade of the UK credit rating by Moody’s demonstrated that the government “cannot waver” from its deficit reduction course – as the governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, warned that monetary policy has reached the limits of what it can do to promote growth.
In his letter to Osborne setting out why inflation was, although falling, still above target, King argued: “The unwelcome combination of sluggish growth and high inflation over the past two years is a reflection of the need for the economy to rebalance following the financial crisis. The process of rebalancing still has a long way to go. Growth remains weak and unemployment is high. While the Monetary Policy Committee can use bank rate or asset purchases to help ease the transition, there is a limit to what monetary policy can achieve when real adjustments are required.”
BCC chief economist David Kern said: “Since the fiscal mandate relates to ‘the cyclically adjusted, or structural, current balance’ and not to the total deficit, the chancellor can now consider spending measures that would not affect either the current budget or the structural deficit. This could mean more infrastructure investment, temporary reductions in the cost of employing people, or temporary increases in capital allowances.”
- Why You Still Can’t Trust Rating Agencies (bigthink.com)
Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, and others failed to appraise the real risks of billions of dollars in securities that eventually went bad. Now, they’re trying to act responsible by jumping on the fiscal woes of government borrowers. We still shouldn’t trust them.
First, they get paid by the very companies whose securities they rate.
Second, because they can’t offer the big bonuses and profits of banks and hedge funds, the agencies don’t necessarily have the brightest financial minds on their staff; the people who devise the securities being rated are probably cleverer.
Third, only the opinions of the three major rating agencies seem to matter, and they often engage in a kind of tit-for-tat competition when they should just be focusing on the fundamentals of the securities they’re rating.
the media are just playing into the rating agencies’ hands, helping a bunch of dinosaurs to maintain some semblance of importance when they should have been fossils long ago.
- For Dictators, Neither Carrots nor Sticks (bigthink.com)
Can economic relationships affect a dictator? Seven years ago, I wrote an article from Damascus about how the European Union was trying to cultivate economic ties with Syria, a country that the United States had labeled a state sponsor of terrorism. Today, those efforts seem to have been futile. But were they worth a try?
- E.T.’s Guide to the Global Economy (bigthink.com)
If you thought that the North-South politics of the United States, the struggles of the European financial stabilization mechanism, and the dithering of the World Trade Organization were unrelated, think again.
Beattie writes: Our political leaders, many of them with a faint understanding of economics, failed miserably to perceive and deal with the risks signaled by the global financial crisis. Sometimes their errors were deliberate, the result of political expediency; other times, they were just incompetence.
Our political systems, as I wrote in my most recent book, just aren’t up to the job of addressing the global economy’s biggest challenges. They are weak at forming coalitions, and they rarely make the big upfront sacrifices that pay off later in reduced risks.
there is only one global economy.
- Markets Unfazed by Moody’s Six European Downgrades (usnews.com)
In a statement about the downgrades, Moody’s cited “uncertainty” over the euro zone’s prospects for fiscal and economic reform, as well as “Europe’s increasingly weak macroeconomic prospects.” However, borrowing costs remained largely unchanged for the downgraded countries. In addition, Italy was still able to auction off nearly $8 billion in debt Tuesday, showing that there is still plenty of demand for Italian bonds.
for highly-rated countries, a downgrade can be particularly harmful. Valeri points to Germany, which still retains top-notch credit ratings from S&P and Moody’s alike, and France, which lost its S&P triple-A rating last month when it was downgraded to AA+. Moody’s also has now changed the outlook on France’s triple-A rating to negative. A downgrade for countries that look risk-free can be a major blow to outside investment.
- Moody’s bank downgrade threat: Yawn! (cbsnews.com)
As a barometer of the financial markets, it is no secret that the credit rating agencies are a key lagging indicator. Moody’s (MCO) has proved that again by threatening to downgrade the ratings of Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), and more than 100 other U.S. and European financial institutions.