FDIC: The paper tiger is going to need more paper

Discussion in 'Economics' started by wildfirepow, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. “We've all seen the good news that has come out on the economy in the past few weeks. While challenges remain, evidence is building that the American economy is starting to grow again. But no matter how challenging the environment ... the FDIC has ample resources to continue protecting insured depositors as we have for the last 75 years. No insured depositor has ever lost a penny of insured deposits ... and no one ever will.”

    The above statement, made by FDIC boss Sheila Bair is overflowing with inaccuracies, but for the purposes of this article, I want to focus on the last sentence. The FDIC’s ‘trust fund’ is dry. At the beginning of 2008, the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) had a balance of approximately $52.8 Billion. By the end of 2008, the DIF had been drained to around $17.3 Billion on the back of just 25 bank failures. To date in 2009, there have been 81 failures, with the two largest failures of the recession coming in the last month. At the end of Q1 2009, the DIF balance had already been reduced to $13.1 Billion. In addition, the list of ‘troubled’ (read: dead) banks now stands at 416 as of the FDIC’s latest quarterly report.

    Ms. Bair, in her statement alluded to the notion that the FDIC sets aside reserves for anticipated failures. The problem is that their estimates of the total impact of failures have been categorically low during the recent run of bank failures. In fact the actual losses have been nearly twice (1.94X) the estimates by FDIC. In the following graphic, used in Ms. Bair’s presentation, the FDIC has estimated the cost of failures to be $32 Billion. If recent history is any guide, the real cost is likely to be a tick over $62 Billion. Given that the balance of the DIF is now at $10.4 Billion, I’d say they have more than a small problem.

    What is even more interesting is that Ms. Bair considers money borrowed from the Treasury (taxpayers) and thrown into a black hole to be an asset and her chart above fails to recognize that such a loan creates a liability as well. However, this is indicative of our new accounting paradigm. In addition, she asserts that the FDIC is entirely ‘industry-funded’. Not so when they’re tapping a Treasury credit line. While most folks are sniffing a bailout of FDIC, I wouldn’t count on it. So far, the vast majority of the bailout money has found its way to Wall Street, not Main Street.

    So while the FDIC is bragging that no insured depositor has ever lost a penny and never will, it must be noted that it is incorrect to assume that Congress is under any type of mandate to bailout FDIC. When the DIF requires massive borrowing from the Treasury, bank premiums will be increased in a vain attempt cover the cost, which will mean higher borrowing costs for the real economy. And if Congress does step in and bailout FDIC, the amount will just get tacked onto the national debt. So while large banks gobble up smaller ones and consolidate on the back of TARP, TALF, TSLF and a dozen other ‘emergency’ Fed lending programs, everyday Americans will foot the bill in its entirety. How’s that for a guarantee?

    Complete article-: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article13239.html
  2. iow, the Big Picture shows a steaming pile, and we're in the middle of it.