Why the Fed Can’t Get it Right

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Editor’s Analysis and Comments: Bloomberg reports this morning that “Fed Flummoxed by Mortgage Yield Gap Refusing to Shrink.” (see link below)

In normal times lowering the Fed Funds rate and providing other incentives to banks always produced more lending and more economic activity. Bernanke doesn’t seem to understand the answer: these are not normal times and the cancerous fake securitization scheme that served as the platform for the largest PONZI scheme in human history is still metastasizing.

Why wouldn’t banks take advantage of a larger spread in the Fed funds rate versus the mortgage lending rates. Under the old school times that would automatically go to the bottom line of lending banks as increased profits. If we put aside the conspiracy theories that the banks are attempting to take down the country we are left with one inevitable conclusion: in the “new financial system” (sounds like the “new economy” of the 1990’s) the banks have concluded there would be no increase in profit. In fact one would be left to the probable conclusion that somehow they would face a loss or risk of loss that wasn’t present in the good old days.

Using conventional economic theory Bernanke is arriving at the conclusion that the spread is not large enough for banks to take on the business of lending in a dubious economic environment. But that is the point — conventional economic theory doesn’t work in the current financial environment. With housing prices at very low levels and the probability that they probably won’t decline much more, conventional risk management would provide more than enough profit for lending to be robust.

When Bernanke takes off the blinders, he will see that the markets are so interwoven with the false assumptions that the mortgage loans were securitized, that there is nothing the Fed can do in terms of fiscal policy that would even make a dent in our problems. $700 trillion+ in nominal derivatives are “out there” probably having no value at all if one were the legally trace the transactions. The real money in the U.S. (as opposed to these “cash equivalent” derivatives) is less than 5% of the total nominal value of the shadow banking system which out of sheer apparent size dwarfs the world banks including  the Fed.

As early as October of 2007 I said on these pages that this was outside the control of Fed fiscal policy because the amount of money affected by the Fed is a tiny fraction of the amount of apparent money generated by shadow banking.

Oddly the only place where this is going to be addressed is in the court system where people bear down on Deny and Discover and demand an accounting from the Master Servicer, Trustee and all related parties for all transactions affecting the loan receivable due to the investors (pension funds). The banks know full well that many or most of the assets they are reporting for reserve and capital requirements or completely false.

Just look at any investor lawsuit that says you promised us a mortgage backed bond that was triple A rated and insured. What you have given us are lies. We have no bonds that are worth anything because the bonds are not truly mortgage backed. The insurance and hedges you purchased with our money were made payable to you, Mr. Wall Street banker, instead of us. The market values and loan viability were completely false as reported, and even if you gave us the mortgages they are unenforceable.

The Banks are responding with “we are enforcing them, what are you talking about.” But the lawyers for most of the investors and some of the borrowers are beginning to see through this morass of lies. They know the notes and mortgages are not enforceable except by brute force and intimidation in and out of the courtroom.

If the deals were done straight up, the investor would have received a mortgage backed bond. The bond, issued by a pool of assets usually organized into a “trust” would have been the payee on the notes at origination and the secured party in the mortgages and deeds of trust. If the loan was acquired after origination by a real lender (not a table funded loan) then an assignment would have been immediately recorded with notice to the borrower that the pool owned his loan.

In a real securitization deal, the transaction in which the pool funded the origination or purchase of the loan would be able to to show proof of payment very easily — but in court, we find that when the Judge enters an order requiring the Banks to open up their books the cases settle “confidentially” for pennies on the dollar.

The entire TBTF (Too Big to Fail) doctrine is a false doctrine but nonetheless driving fiscal and economic policy in this country. Those banks are only too big if they are continued to be allowed to falsely report their assets as if they owned the bonds or loans.

Reinstate generally accepted accounting principles and the shadow banking assets deflate like a balloon with the air let out of it. $700 trillion becomes more like $13 trillion — and then the crap hits the fan for the big banks who are inundated with claims. 7,000 community banks, savings banks and credit union with the same access to electronic funds transfer and internet banking as any other bank, large or small, stand ready to pick up the pieces.

Homeowner relief through reduction of household debt would provide a gigantic financial stimulus to the economy bring back tax revenue that would completely alter the landscape of the deficit debate. The financial markets would return to free trading markets freed from the corner on “money” and corner on banking that the mega banks achieved only through lies, smoke and mirrors.

The fallout from the great recession will be with us for years to come no matter what we do. But the recovery will be far more robust if we dealt with the truth about the shadow banking system created out of exotic instruments based upon consumer debt that was falsified, illegally closed, deftly covered up with false assignments and endorsements.

While we wait for the shoe to drop when Bernanke and his associates can no longer ignore the short plain facts of this monster storm, we have no choice but to save homes, one home at a time, still fighting a battle in which the borrower is more often the losing party because of bad pleading, bad lawyering and bad judging. If you admit the debt, the note and the mortgage and then admit the default, no  amount of crafty arguments are going to give you the relief you need and to which you are entitled.

Fed Confused by Lack of Response from Banks on Yield Spread Offered

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