Sunday, December 23, 2007

Crisis may make 1929 look like a 'walk in the park'

From the UK Telegraph:

As central banks continue to splash their cash over the system, so far to little effect, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard argues things are rapidly spiralling out of their control.

Twenty billion dollars here, $20bn there, and a lush half-trillion from the European Central Bank at give-away rates for Christmas. Buckets of liquidity are being splashed over the North Atlantic banking system, so far with meagre or fleeting effects.

As the credit paralysis stretches through its fifth month, a chorus of economists has begun to warn that the world's central banks are fighting the wrong war, and perhaps risk a policy error of epochal proportions.

‘Liquidity doesn't do anything in this situation," says Anna Schwartz, the doyenne of US monetarism and life-time student (with Milton Friedman) of the Great Depression.’

‘It cannot deal with the underlying fear that lots of firms are going bankrupt. The banks and the hedge funds have not fully acknowledged who is in trouble. That is the critical issue," she adds.’
Lenders are hoarding the cash, shunning peers as if all were sub-prime lepers. Spreads on three-month Euribor and Libor - the interbank rates used to price contracts and Club Med mortgages - are stuck at 80 basis points even after the latest blitz. The monetary screw has tightened by default.

read full article >>


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter reaches 200!

200 Major U.S. Lenders Have ‘Imploded’

From Implode-O-Meter (A popular web site that tracks failing or "imploded" lenders):
"Imploded" lenders: The "imploded" status is somewhat subjective and does not necessarily mean operations are ceased permanently: it can mean bankruptcy filing, temporary but open-ended halting of major operations, or a "firesale" acquisition. The Companies include all types (prime, subprime, or a mix of both; retail or wholesale; subsidiaries and entire companies). Note: Companies listed here may still be operating in some capacity; check with them before making assumptions.

Ailing lenders haven't shut down, but they're significantly scaling back or are (or recently have been) in manifest financial, legal, or operational distress. Unfortunately, most of the industry now falls under this description, so we are forced to reserve this list for the more glaring cases or those which we happen to have more specific info about.

Click here for the whole list of imploded lenders and for the latest news and commentary on the mortgage industry.