Just starting to parse through the Fed audit data. Looks like the Primary Dealer Credit Facility is predominantly a bailout for Citigroup and Bank of America. More to come . . .
Looks like in the early days the Primary Dealer Credit Facility was almost exclusively used by Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Barclays and Cantor Fitzgerald. At this point, Bear and Countrywide were JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, respectively. From April 16, 2008 through July 30, 2008, these four firms were the only ones to access the PDCF, and they did it every day the facility was open.
Until September 15, 2008, the collateral accepted by the Fed at the Primary Dealer Credit Facility remained relatively robust, in terms of credit ratings.
On September 15, as Lehman Brothers and everything else hit the fan, the Fed began accepting total garbage as collateral. Including CCC-rated (beyond junk bond status) collateral from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
The Fed accepted CCC-or-lower collateral under the Primary Dealer Credit Facility from September 15, 2008 until May 12, 2009. A total of $490.9576 billion in such collateral was accepted. That's billion, with a "b." And you thought TARP was a bailout.
The Fed began accepting a wide variety of junk bonds-- securities rated BB and below-- as collateral beginning September 15, 2008. Totals to come.
The Fed accepted a total of $1.31 trillion in junk-rated collateral between Sept. 15, 2008 and May 12, 2009 through the Primary Dealer Credit Facility. TARP was nothing compared to this.
Anyone suggesting that the Fed's "emergency lending" facilities are just part of macro or monetary policy is kidding themselves. The Fed refused to accept junk-rated collateral until Sept. 15, 2008. When it became clear that Lehman was going off the rails, they started accepting junk-rated collateral-- even from Lehman Brothers itself!
That makes it very clear that the Fed was bailing out these firms in the midst of a crisis. They made a conscious decision to lower their lending standards in order to save big Wall Street firms with no strings attached.
February 24, 2009 March 4, 2009 through May 12, 2009, Citigroup and Bank of America were the sole companies to borrow through the Fed's Primary Dealer Credit Facility, and they used it every single day. A total of 16 firms were eligible for the facility.
This Fed Audit data should shame all of the conventional-wisdom Democrats out there declaring TARP a success because of the recent CBO score. To put it mildly, these folks are totally missing the point. TARP was a "success" in large part because of the Fed's no-strings-attached efforts. And we now know that the Fed was willing to accept junk-- literally junk bonds-- as collateral for its no-strings-attached loans.
TARP and the stress tests only "worked" insofar as they convinced banks that the government would shoulder infinite future losses from the banking sector. We're now paying the price for that commitment in the form of massive foreclosure fraud, in which untold numbers of borrowers are being improperly kicked out of their homes in the name of bank profits.
TARP failed. Its losses are so low because the Fed stood behind the banks, allowing them to play one arm of the government against the other. Even if we had "turned a profit" on TARP at its formal interest rate without Fed malfeasance, look what we got in return. In the Depression, FDR secured massive national foreclosure relief and still turned a profit. Today, we have a predatory program called HAM
When crisis goes nova in Sept. 2008, two Merrill Lynch facilities start borrowing everything they can from the Fed. They're called "Merrill Lynch Government Securities Inc." and "Merrill Lynch Government Securities Inc. -- London"
So far as I can tell, the distinction between London and the U.S. is just an excuse for Merrill to take double advantage of the Fed's bailout facilities. Both borrow every single day once the crisis sets in, and both pledge loads of junk bonds as collateral.
Goldman Sachs also used foreign subsidiaries to double-down on Fed bailout facilities. Just like Merrill, they hae a U.S. unit taking out loans, and a London unit.
Morgan Stanley also opened a London subsidiary to double-down on Fed bailout facilities, although it appears they caught onto the scam later than Goldman and Merrill.
Nope, my mistake. Morgan, Merrill and Goldman all came to the foreign sub conclusion at about the same time. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs began simultaneously begging from the Fed from New York and London on Sept. 22, 2008, while Merrill Lynch got the idea on Sept. 23, 2008.
Moderately funny. Citigroup, home of Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, didn't figure out the foreign subsidiary scam until Nov. 24, 2008, a month after its competitors.
By Nov. 28, 2008, only Citi, BofA/Merrill and Morgan Stanley/Mizuho were accessing the Fed's Primary Dealer Credit Facility. By March 4, Morgan/Mizuho had bowed out, and the bailout program was used exclusively by Citi and BofA.
BofA and its predecessors Countrywide and Merrill Lynch accessed the Fed's Primary Dealer Credit Facility 416 times, for a total of $2.783 trillion. A full $476 billion in junk bonds were pledged as collateral for the loans, or roughly 17 percent. The PDCF is an overnight facility, so a lot of these loans are simply being rolled over day-to-day. Nevertheless, it's a staggering amount of money, with an enormous degree of totally worthless collateral being pledged to justify it.
The Fed and Treasury had to do something in 2008 to keep the financial system from falling off a cliff. But by treating the problem as a liquidity issue with no strings attached, they didn't solve the underlying problem: lots of very big banks were simply insolvent.
Now, over two years after TARP, it's clear that many of our largest banks are only "solvent" due to accounting irregularities being approved by regulators that are terrified of letting big banks go under. As a result of this fear, we aren't really regulating our banks.
So Paul Krugman's prediction of zombie banks creating a drag on the economy has not come true. The reality is, in fact, much worse. Krugman foresaw zombie banks that didn't lend due to capital concerns, preventing the recovery from getting off the ground. We're seeing plenty of that, but we're also seeing zombie banks actively prey on the economy through the foreclosure process in an effort to repair their balance sheets. The zombie banks aren't just failing to boost the economy, they're actively sabotaging it.
I need to eat.
Mike Konczal deserves a citation here. Everything I said above about liquidity vs. solvency comes straight out of his financial analysis playbook.