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Team Biden slings bank BS — but you can’t spin this debacle



#Staff #Biden #slings #financial institution #spin #debacle

It’s a humorous however unhappy spectacle that Joe Biden & Co. try to show the mess at Silicon Valley Financial institution — and the disaster engulfing the banking system — right into a political win.

Humorous as a result of the BS is working about in addition to their spinning of the transitory nature of inflation, or how nicely they dealt with the alarmingly chaotic pullout from Afghanistan.

Unhappy as a result of it underscores the downright stupidity of our political class as they face very serious issues about the banking system and the economy that can’t be spun away.

In fact, the ultimate phrase has but to be written on the collapse of SVB, Signature Financial institution, the near-collapse of First Republic Financial institution, and no matter else implodes by the point this column is within the ­paper.

However one factor I do know for positive is that banking crises demand leadership from Washington — stuff that’s so clearly missing at a time when it’s so desperately wanted.

Again in 2008 we had Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson working day and evening placing out a number of fires and leveling with Congress and the American individuals concerning the severity of the scenario. As we speak now we have Sleepy Joe Biden, his equally asleep Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announcing that bank bailouts aren’t really bailouts as a result of taxpayers aren’t concerned.


Janet Yellen
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reportedly mentioned that financial institution bailouts aren’t actually bailouts as a result of taxpayers aren’t concerned.
AFP by way of Getty Photographs

The federal government simply handed SVB a clean verify to cowl all its depositors, primarily lefty Bay Space enterprise capitalists. Meaning all accounts are lined with FDIC insurance coverage, even these above the restrict of $250,000.

He says with a straight face the cash is coming from the large banks who contribute to the FDIC insurance coverage pool. OK, but when the banks are financing the fund, they’ll cross on these prices to depositors. Meaning everybody with a checking account, which implies nearly each American taxpayer, can be making complete these rich VC dudes.


Not very ‘stress’ful

Biden and Yellen then say the watering down of the banking law known as Dodd-Frank meant that midsized banks like SVB have been spared the so-called stress exams that may have uncovered its weaknesses. They seem to disregard (or more than likely don’t have any clue) the soiled little secret that such exams are recognized derisively in banking circles as “feather exams” as a result of even huge risk-management-challenged basket circumstances like Citigroup appear to cross them.

One other whopper: Biden and Yellen need us to imagine that the San Francisco Fed had no idea what was happening in its backyard with a financial institution that grew exponentially in three years earlier than it sank.

 Once more, don’t imagine it. SVB’s CEO was on the board of his native Fed financial institution. Everybody who ought to have recognized what SVB was as much as did. And by many accounts they have been too busy ensuring the banks they regulated lived as much as ESG requirements and embraced so-called social-justice treatments to care about SVB’s apparent threat taking. One among my sources labored at SVB till a couple of yr in the past, and right here’s how he described the financial institution’s enterprise mannequin: “Loans to VC-backed firms that made no cash, asset-based credit score strains to PE funds and little else. It ought to by no means have been given FDIC insurance coverage. This wasn’t a place that made loans to building firms and took deposits out of your aunt.”

Joe Biden
Biden mentioned the watering down of Dodd-Frank meant that SVB have been spared the so-called stress exams that may have uncovered its weaknesses.
Bloomberg by way of Getty Photographs

Sure, FDIC insurance coverage was supposed to guard smallish depositors like your aunt, not dice-rolling tech millionaires who banked at SVB and knew it was a dangerous enterprise. These tech millionaires (just like the SF Fed) both knew or ought to have recognized {that a} hiccup within the economic system like rising charges may doom this financial institution and perhaps others.

As I first reported final week, the large banks are actually freaking out about one other midsized financial institution additionally in San Francisco about to succumb to market forces named First Republic. (See a sample right here?) They chipped in with $30 billion to stabilize the financial institution at least for the time ­being.

That’s as a result of I additionally hear the financial institution might be offered within the coming days to one of many bailout contributors. The rationale they’re doing this isn’t essentially as a result of they suppose First Republic is a superb enterprise — quite they’re significantly anxious about financial contagion that coverage makers don’t have any clue find out how to deal with.

Bear in mind 2008?

The invoice is coming due for the unserious financial insurance policies of the previous two-plus years: The wildly unprecedented spending by the Biden administration to show the US right into a quasi-socialist European welfare state and cash printing by the Fed to make that occur.

Each prime financial institution government I communicate to says the present troubles within the monetary system may result in something on the scale of what went down in 2008. They’re additionally significantly anxious the banking tumult is one more instance of Sleepy Joe & Co. not being up for the job.

Or as one remarked to me: “The place’s Hank Paulson whenever you want him?”