I keep hearing the so-called experts say how much better shape the banks are in now than in the last financial meltdown of 2008. To that, I say horse hooey! Any expert worth his salt knows that nothing has been fixed in the financial system. The problems were papered over with fiat currency and the proverbial can kicked down the road—ting ting ting. You will know things are truly getting better when the banks start valuing the assets on their books at what they can be sold for today, not for what they hope to get for them a couple of decades in the future.
Even with what I call government sanctioned accounting fraud, the banks are still in just as much trouble as they were in 2008, and probably more.
Lost in the cliff dive the markets took last week were the downgrades of three very big U.S. banks. There was zero talk of downgrades in 2008, and now Moody’s has cut the debt rating of Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. Last week, Reuters reported, “The government is “more likely now than during the financial crisis to allow a large bank to fail should it become financially troubled,” said the rating agency, a unit of Moody’s Corp (MCO.N). ‘This is crystallizing the fact we’re in a new political reality,’ said Jason Ware, equity analyst with Salt Lake City-based Albion Financial Group.” (Click here for the complete Reuters story.)
The U.S. downgrades go nicely with the widely reported bank insolvency in Europe. One big banker there recently said “numerous European banks would not survive” if they had to value their assets at what they could get for them today. In other words, European banks are also being kept alive with phony accounting. That was not the case in 2008. So, now we have insolvent banks AND phony bookkeeping to make them appear solvent. EU finance ministers are taking criticism from around the globe because they are not printing enough money to bail out their banks. Yesterday, Reuters reported, “After a weekend of being told by the United States, China and other countries that they must get more aggressive in their crisis response, European officials focused on ways to beef up their existing 440 billion-euro rescue fund. Deep differences remained over whether the European Central Bank should commit more of its massive resources to shoring up Europe’s banks and help struggling euro zone member countries.” (Click here for more on this story.) Please keep in mind, the “440 billion-euro rescue fund” is more than $600 billion, and world powers way want more money printed!