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Archive for the ‘Sheila Bair’ Category

Sheila Bair Recommends Geithner’s Book, Warns of Future Bailouts. Instant Classic

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 20th, 2014 6:24 AM |

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Those watching the Wall Street-Washington regulatory battles over the years are well aware that there is no love lost between former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and former FDIC chair Sheila Bair. While Tim is now out making the rounds promoting his new book, Stress Test, Bair takes the opportunity to offer some faint praise but also some glancing and direct hits.

In what I would qualify as deftly slipping  a punch, Bair actually recommends Geithner’s book. In doing so, though, she then proceeds to lay Tim and his cohorts out with a serious warning we all should heed. (more…)

Book Review: Bull by The Horns by Sheila Bair

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 24th, 2013 7:55 AM |

I am a Sheila Bair fan.

Throughout our continuing economic crisis, I have found the former chair of the FDIC to be an individual who tried to do what was right on behalf of the American people while promoting the rule of law and principles of free market capitalism. I juxtapose those strengths with practices pursued and implemented by an array of government officials, financial regulators, and their financial consorts.

I recently completed Bair’s book, Bull By The Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself, and would give it a 4+ star rating. (more…)

Sheila Bair Rates Wall Street’s CEOs

Posted by Larry Doyle on September 25th, 2012 5:51 AM |

Few people had as much interaction in the heat of battle with financial CEOs than former FDIC chair Sheila Bair. What does Ms. Bair think of both past and current chief executives on Wall Street?

American Banker provides a riveting review of the good, the bad, and the ugly according to Ms. Bair in writing, What Sheila Bair Really Thinks of Big Bank Execs,

Former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair was always known for speaking her mind, even when she ran the agency from 2006 to 2011.  (more…)

Sheila Bair’s American Review and Recommendations

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 28th, 2011 7:17 AM |

Few people in our nation today have the perspective, the credibility, and the courage to expose the deep, systemic shortcomings within our national psyche and practices.

Sheila Bair possesses all of these traits.

Our soon to depart chair of the FDIC provided a ‘sense on cents’ classic last Friday in her farewell remarks at the National Press Club.

As  I read and reread her remarks I kept saying to myself, “give me more!!”  (more…)

Sheila Bair’s Final ‘Sense on Cents’

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 9th, 2011 1:37 PM |

Sheila Bair Sheila Bair, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), pauses as she speaks during a news briefing May 27, 2009 in Washington, DC. Bair announced the bank and thrift industry turned a profit in the first quarter of 2009.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sheila Bair

In one corner, we have Jamie Dimon who on behalf of his shareholders would seemingly like to maintain as much of the status quo for the powers that remain in the Wall Street oligopoly.

In another corner, we have Barack Obama grasping at straws that might breathe some lifeblood into the economy and support his prospects for reelection.

Who occupies the center of the ring and is neither compromised by the large money interests on Wall Street nor the pursuit of perpetuating a political career in Washington?

Sheila Bair.

The soon-to-retire head of the FDIC–she steps down in early July–provided perhaps her final dose of ‘sense on cents’ this morning. What did she have to say?  (more…)

Sheila Bair Trumps Tim Geithner

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 29th, 2009 9:52 AM |

FDIC Head Sheila Bair

“Too big to fail.”

Do you think the American public is sufficiently sickened by that phrase? No doubt.

How will our ‘wizards in Washington’ handle this monstrous issue going forward? Is there any doubt that the industry itself should be held accountable to provide the necessary capital to unwind firms deemed ‘too big to fail?’ Of course not. However, the execution of that policy is where the rubber meets the road and where we learn who in Washington is truly working for the American public and who is working for the financial industry. How so? Let’s navigate. (more…)

Sheila “Bair”s Her Mind

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 14th, 2009 12:43 PM |

Sheila Bair, Head of FDIC

Sheila Bair, Head of FDIC

I have always held Sheila Bair in high regard. Why? I believe she has no agenda other than what is best for our country. I find her to be tough, but fair. I think she prioritizes integrity, transparency, and reputation–all of which we badly need, but are in short supply.

Ms. Bair is currently engaged in an active debate about potential management changes at Citigroup. She is no shrinking violet in taking on any and all Wall Street heavyweights. I commend her for that. Additionally, she is giving “no quarter” in defending her positions on financial regulatory reform.

Ms. Bair recently spoke with Forbes, Bair Cautions Banking Crisis Is Not Over.  Ms. Bair does not pull any punches or play the pandering games regularly seen in Washington and on Wall Street. As such, I think it is prudent for all of us to listen closely to what she has to say. Forbes reports:

Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, said Friday that while the crisis that swept through the financial world last year has subsided somewhat, it was far from over and there would be “many more bank failures” ahead.

“I think there’s still some challenges, I think we need to be realistic. There are still some troubled assets on the books and we still have an economy that’s under significant stress.”

How many other government officials are equally as blunt? How many regulators will openly address the fact that the toxic assets are still very much an issue and that the economy is under ‘significant stress’? Our country is screaming for some good old-fashioned truth combined with straight talk. Ms. Bair provides it. Let’s go back for some more. What does Sheila Bair think about the economy? Green shoots? Turning the corner?  Bair provides sobering commentary: (more…)

All The King’s Horses and All The King’s Men . . .

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 6th, 2009 11:37 AM |

Can Barack Obama’s horses and men in the persons of Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Paul Volcker, Rham Emanuel, Sheila Bair, and their minions put Wall Street together again? The glue and putty in the form of trillions of dollars of taxpayer funds and commitments is still wet. Mr. “Humpty Dumpty” Wall Street is still on the ground.

Humpty’s most severe injury is the breakdown of the securitization process in which Wall Street promoted a pure “originate to distribute” model. Obama himself offered in the May 3rd Sunday New York Times Magazine:

. . . we’re going to have to figure out what we do with the nonbanking sector that was providing almost half of our credit out there. And we’re going to have to determine whether or not as a consequence of some of the steps that the Fed has been taking, the Treasury has been taking, that we see the market for securitized products restored.

I’m optimistic that ultimately we’re going to be able to get that part of the financial sector going again, but it could take some time to regain confidence and trust.

Time for the cement to harden and for Humpty to get back on his feet. Why will it take so much time? Very simply, Humpty was not an honest broker in the process of originating, securitizing, and distributing poorly written – if not fraudulently written – loans over the last 5 to 7 years. The Financial Times highlights this fact this morning in Securitization Is Crucial for Revitalizing Lending.” The FT reports:

Securitisation is a way to raise money by repackaging securities based upon underlying assets such as mortgages.

The US government is seeking to restart this market with up to $1,000bn of funding for purchases of securitised debt. But the complexity and risks involved mean it remains difficult to replicate the scale of the market that collapsed under the weight of losses and the departure of leveraged investors.

Meredith Whitney, of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group, says about $2,200bn less in funds has been raised by means of the US capital markets since the start of the credit crunch in July 2007, with $2,700bn less money raised globally.

She said: “With debt issuance to date seeing year-on-year gains, it is suggestive to say that things aren’t getting much worse. They just aren’t getting any better.”

The US government’s programme to revive securitisation – the Term asset-backed securities loan facility (Talf) – has made some funds available and it has also led spreads on some asset classes to narrow, reducing the potential funding costs. The programme works by lending money to hedge funds, which can increase the returns on triple A rated securities by means of the cheap loans.

In a sign of a big pick-up in demand, the Federal Reserve said late yesterday that investors requested $10.6bn worth of loans in its most recent round of the programme. This included $2.2bn worth of requests for auto loan bonds and $5.5bn for bonds backed by credit card loans.

If we review those statistics, the government’s TALF (Term Asset-Backed Lending Facility) has facilitated $18.5 billion in sales since its launch in March. While the Fed views the demand as picking up, be mindful that the $18.5 billion figure represents approximately .008 of the total credit that has evaporated from the economy via the shadow banking system. In layman’s terms, we just gave Humpty a swab with a warm cloth while his limb is holding on by a thread.

My concern with the TALF is that the buyers will cherry pick bank assets and simply purchase those which have the most rigorous underwriting. The dregs will be left for the banks and taxpayers to absorb.

If Uncle Sam does get Humpty somewhat propped back up against the wall (note that I’m not even hinting at Humpty getting “on the wall”), how do we make sure Humpty does not once again fall down and take us all with him?

We need to make sure Humpty plays by strict rules and regulations, both in terms of underwriting and business engagement. The FT addresses proposed underwriting rules in “Watchdog Proposes Strict Rules.”  The FT reports,

Yesterday’s Iosco (International Organization of Securities Commissions) report called for minimum levels of due diligence by the originators and suggested mandating far greater disclosure to investors of what checks had been carried out. It also called for ongoing disclosure to investors of the performance of the underlying assets and for originators to be forced to hold on to some tranches of each deal.

Other proposals included imposing standards forcing originators to check that products were suitable for each investor and looking into developing alternative measures of assessing risk other than the credit ratings agencies that were relied on by investors previously.

Wow, you mean Humpty actually has to display a measure of integrity in his operations?  What a novel idea!  Who may be keeping an eye on Humpty to make sure he plays by the rules going forward? The SEC and FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).

Hey, wait a second. When Humpty fell off the wall, we have very credible evidence that FINRA was actually one of his playmates. None other than Harry Markopolos said that FINRA was on the wall (“in bed”) with Humpty. I have highlighted issues within FINRA that still need to be addressed: FINRA Is Supposed To Police The Market.

President Obama, what do you prescribe for Humpty given his relationship with FINRA? Obama told the Times,

. . . the fact that we had such poor regulation means — in some of these markets, particularly around the securitized mortgages — means that the pain has been democratized as well. And that’s a problem. But I think that overall there are ways in which people have been able to participate in our stock markets and our financial markets that are potentially healthy. Again, what you have to have, though, is an updating of the regulatory regimes comparable to what we did in the 1930s, when there were rules that were put in place that gave investors a little more assurance that they knew what they were buying.

Putting Humpty back together is going to be very challenging. Sense on Cents will be monitoring the operation very closely.


For newer readers who may want to more fully understand how Humpty “had a great fall,” I strongly recommend The Wall Street Model Is Broken….and Won’t Soon Be Fixed.

Bank Stress Tests: Major Sham??

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 8th, 2009 11:35 AM |

failing-grade1Why is it urban school dropout rates are 50%? Well, I am sure there would be as many reasons for that horrendous statistic as there are dropouts. The fact of the matter is, though, the state of urban education has promoted a phenomena known as “social promotion.” If students aren’t qualified to do the work, testing has been gamed, standards have been lowered, and corners have been cut. As a result, urban education at this stage is an unmitigated disaster. What does this have to do with the current state of our economy and the world of finance? I am glad you asked.

If banks, much like students, are not required to pass rigorous testing, then “social promotion” in finance will produce results not unlike those in education–underperformance and ultimately an inability to compete on the global stage.

Against that backdrop, I personally looked forward to the results of the Bank Stress Tests. Let’s finally get an honest assessment of the “students.” Let’s see how they have performed and let’s project to see how they will perform!!

As with any test, the results are only meaningful if the process and proctor have unquestioned integrity. The proctors for the Bank Stress Test are none other than Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed chair Ben Bernanke. Why is a testing authority of the magnitude of FDIC, led by Sheila Bair, not more involved in the process? Ms. Bair is the one individual in our country with the greatest level of interaction with and understanding of the student body, that being the banking industry as a whole and individual banks specifically. (more…)

Bullish on Ms. Bair!!

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 28th, 2009 3:30 PM |

The Bull and the "Bair"

The Bull and the "Bair"

Is there anything worse than engaging a dishonest broker? Regrettably, our financial landscape (banking, investing, real estate, insurance, et al) is littered with shady brokers. How and why these people remain in business is another topic for another day. This piece is to highlight the integrity of an honest broker, Sheila Bair, and her involvement in the PPIP (Public-Private Investment Program) designed to handle toxic assets, both securities and loans.

For those unaware of the specifics of the PPIP, the toxic securitized assets will be sold via a facility known as the TALF (Term Asset Backed Lending Facility) and via partnerships with 5 large private money managers.

Toxic loans (unsecuritized) are the much more difficult part of the program. The bulk of these loans are likely still held on banks’ books at origination cost (not yet marked down) and pose a much greater disparity in perceived value and challenge in reaching agreeable prices. (more…)

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