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Standard & Poor’s U.S. Downgrade Response on 9-17-2012
Standard & Poor’s U.S. Downgrade Response on 8-6-2012
Standard & Poor’s U.S. Downgrade Response on 12-05-2011
Standard & Poor’s U.S. Downgrade Response on 8-26-2011
Job Comments on 2-6-2010
This for profit web site is not dealing with any toxic assets of the bank, and it is not in any way affiliate with the government. Yet, it can help remove the underlying house collaterals of the toxic assets if the loans go default. The purpose is somewhat in alignment with the government's objectives. Because of that, ListARealestate.com would like to express its opinion toward the government program.
According to Public-Private Investment Program, the financial system is still working against economic recovery. The excessive discounts embedded in some legacy asset prices are now straining the capital of U.S. financial institutions, limiting their ability to lend and increasing the cost of credit throughout the financial system. The lack of clarity about the value of these legacy assets has also made it difficult for some financial institutions to raise new private capital on their own.
The Treasury has put forward the Legacy Loans Program (LLP) to clean the market of "toxic assets." For the toxic asset, they may be cash flowing at the present time but the held-to-maturity performance is unknown. From PBS Charlie Rose, a commentator said some financial institutions had sold those assets in 2008 but the price was just around 20 cents on a dollar. Another commentator said the bank was looking at 60 cents on a dollar for those assets in general. There was a big price difference on valuation those assets between those hedge funds and the banks.
The LLP allows leveraged purchase the asset and therefore it increases the return. Also, in finance, high risk will expected high return. Assets under LLP back by guarantee, the risk of the investment will be significantly reduced and therefore the same return will be more attractive to the investors. With LLP, the investor will be able to place a higher bid, and it may close the gap for the price difference between the investor's and the bank's expectation. Yet, there are a lot of toxic asset out there. According PBS, there are some 14 trillion assets: 11 trillion are residential and 3 trillion are commercial, although not all of them are toxic. It is unlikely that the number of bidders will be large enough to place competitive bids. Some of the comments put on the FDIC web site said that they were interested in the program and they asked for the requirements but their bids would be 20 cent on a dollar. The question is that if the buyer can buy 30 cent on a dollar, why will the buyer pay 35 cents on a dollar to assets? Yet,
state, "A third party valuation firm ("Third Party Valuation Firm") selected by the FDIC will provide independent valuation advice to the FDIC on each Eligible Asset Pool. " and "Once a bid(s) is selected, the Participant Bank will have the option of accepting or rejecting the bid within a pre-established timeframe." If the assets is only determined A third party valuation firm, not by competitive bidding, it simply asks the bank to accept that third party's opinions. There may be no deal.
If the banks are forced to accept whatever the highest bid is, is it really satisfied the objectives? In 2008, Citibank, with request for government funding, tried to buy Wachovia for 2 billion and assumed 46 billion of its liabilities. Later Wachovia was sold to Well Fargo, without government funding, for 16 billion and assumed the same liabilities. Banks are highly leveraged companies. The question is that what will be left after all their toxic assets have been sold. Maybe it is just an empty building. How much tax payer money will be required to pump up the bank so as to restore credit flow the way the government wanted in the financial system?
Of the 419 comments on FDIC web site with regards to LLP, many of them expressed anger toward Treasury and the Fed, and they believed that it was transferring bad debt onto the tax-payer and helping those who didn't deserved to be helped, some comments suggested that Investors' identities should remain anomalous because of what they heard from AIG employees, a comment suggested that FDIC can use market forces to determine the valuation of assets without building a huge administrative infrastructure, a comment suggested that with his experience of FSLIC in 1972, the discount on loans was about 10% from book value and 30% of book value on the REO Portfolio, some comments suggested that bids shouldn't be rejected by bank after the investors/bidders spend the time and money required for the due diligence, a comment stated that an investor's desired rate of return should be above 15% annually, a comment said "toxic" loans should already be in the foreclosure pipeline and the FDIC should look at providing financing options for the investor (small or large) to keep these properties marketable, many banks comments showed they supported the program, and some comments were as complex as LLP itself. With different views and interests, it is going to be difficult to implement LLP. The program is genius in that it allows the federal government to commit as much as a trillion dollars without Congress approval. You may be disagreed with the program, yet, you probably agree that it is a competent administration, and it is possible that this administration may be able to introduce other programs to fix the economy even under restriction. If the public believe that, it may translate such belief to confidence.
Easing the credit flow will help fix the economy. Is it the only way to fix the economy? A New York Time columnist thought that we didn't know. Many people compared US with Japan and suggested that US would face the same situation as Japan in the 90s. Yet, US and Japan have different cultures and different spending behaviors. There is a large portion of GDP come from consumer spending in US. Consumer spending will depend on confidence, and that will depend on the state of their minds. So, if the public want to help the economy, they can simply make big smiles in front of the mirrors everyday they wake up. A big smile may be priceless but the alternative is a trillion dollar. A happier person will spend more. American will beat Japanese in that we are happier people. Please note that it is not to suggest people should spend more during recession. In a large scale, some of the people spend more will affect the economy and the business managers may have better forecasts in term of economic condition and it may help them not contracting their businesses.
Yet, if the crude oil rises to the same level as in 2008, it will hurt the retail sector and it probably wipe out any gain in the GDP. Trading crude oil will be a lot more profitable than participating in any LLP program. American may find we aren't as happy as we thought we were. Fortunately, during recession, the crude oil price usually is low. Still happy.
According to the LLP Fact Sheet, the problem started with bursting of the housing bubble in 2007. Therefore the heart of problem is the decline of the housing price, and the price is driven by supply and demand. Currently, there are a lot of foreclosed houses and vacant houses and plenty of supply. If the supply is reduced or demand is increased, the house price will go up, and any toxic assets will become less toxic, especially for those assets' toxins were due to negative equity. Currently, there are some 7000 banks with some 90,000 branches that are eligible to register as Foreclosure Members in ListARealestate.com. If each branch chooses to put one foreclosed property on auction in this web site, there will be some 90,000 properties. If there is demand, it will certainly have an impact to the housing market.
Opinion on 7-6-2009
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