Against Monopoly: Most of the big banks are insolvent

via Against Monopoly.

The steady drip of details about the financial crisis continues. PBS News Hour has Paul Solman interviewing an ex-bank regulator, William Black who now teaches at the University of Missouri link here. Points Black makes that are worth thinking about:

  • Following the S & L collapse, more than 1000 executive insiders were convicted and jailed for fraud. No one has been charged in the current mess, much less convicted or jailed.
  • The financial system began to crumble in 2007, when the FBI was already aware that mortgage fraud was rampant and was perpetrated because it was in the interest of the banks to make more and more loans.
  • The banks got out of having to mark their bad loans to market by pressuring the Congress to tell the Financial Accounting Standards Board to change the rules or it would be put out of business. Currently, the do not have to recognize losses until the loans are taken off the bank’s books.
  • Fitch, the accounting firm, did a study of mortgage loans which concluded that the vast bulk of the mortgages were fraudulent, and was easily detected.
  • The 19 largest banks are insolvent if their assets were marked to market. They can get away with it and pay enormous salaries and bonuses for now–but that will end with the next