Kamis, 22 Maret 2012

Gangster Banksters....


Taibbi: Gangster Banks Keep Winning Public Debt Business

Matt Taibbi is out with a double barrel critique of Bank of America and JP Morgan.

It is a very important issue, vital to the public good, and it receives almost no attention from the mainstream media or the political candidates.

Why are a few large financial institutions, the recipients of enormous amounts of public monies, able to maintain an active hand in the public debt markets after multiple violations of the law, punished only by a slap on the wrist, with a promise 'not to do it again.'

Matt asks why they are able to do it. I think that is a good question.

Mackie Messer was able to get away with a life of crime in the Three Penny Opera because one of his best friends and silent accomplices was 'Tiger' Brown, the Chief of Police.

Maybe life imitates art?

Rolling Stone
Gangster Banks Keep Winning Public Business. Why?

By Matt Taibbi 
March 22, 9:40 AM ET

A friend of mine sent this article from Bloomberg, along with the simple comment: "Perfect." What's perfect? That the banks that have been caught repeatedly ripping off communities and munipalities -- banks that have paid hefty settlements for rigging bids, bribery and other sordid misdeeds -- keep winning the most public business. Apparently, our public officials aren't concerned about whom they hire to serve as the people's investment bankers.
From the piece, entitled "JPMorgan Claims No. 1 for Government Debt After Jefferson County":

JPMorgan, which emerged from the worst financial crisis since the 1930s as the most profitable U.S. bank, has parlayed crisis-era loans to cities and states and a willingness to outbid other firms in local government bond auctions into becoming the top underwriter of municipal debt last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was the first time the firm held that rank.

The turnaround was a milestone for JPMorgan’s municipal- bond department, which has been marred by its involvement in two of the biggest scandals in the history of U.S. public finance: a so-called pay-to-play scheme in Jefferson County, Alabama, that contributed to the biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy, and a federal probe that uncovered bid rigging of municipal-bond investment products.
This story dovetails with the larger story I have out in the magazine now about Bank of America, another Too-Big-To-Fail behemoth that placed a very close second in the area of municipal bond business, according to the Bloomberg survey. Chase managed $35.7 billion in long-term bond sales, while BOA/Merrill Lynch came in at about $200 million less.

Why does this matter? Because both banks, Chase and Bank of America, have been repeatedly tied to scandals involving the issuance of public debt. Bank of America paid a $137 million settlement for rigging the bids of bond issues in numerous communities (including places as far away as Guam), while Chase also paid a big settlement of $211 million last year for more or less exactly similar offenses involving localities in 25 different states....

Read the rest here.

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