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Sunday, December 26, 2010 8:42 PM

98 TARP Recipients Close To Failure; Citigroup's Chairman Gives Reasons Citigroup Should Be Broken Up

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The Wall Street Journal reports 98 shaky TARP recipients are on the verge of failure as bad loans pile up. Please consider Bailed-Out Banks Slip Toward Failure

Nearly 100 U.S. banks that got bailout funds from the federal government show signs they are in jeopardy of failing.

The troubled banks identified by the Journal all have either a Tier 1 capital ratio under the "well-capitalized" 6% level; both a total risk-based capital ratio of under the "well-capitalized" 10% threshold and nonperforming loans of over 10% of their portfolio; or a regulatory order requiring the bank to monitor or boost its capital.

A Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. spokesman declined to comment on the Journal's analysis, which also calculated that 814 of the nation's 7,760 banks and savings institutions are troubled according to these standards, up from 729 at the end of the second quarter. The FDIC's official list of problem banks, which uses different criteria from the Journal's analysis, includes 860 financial institutions. The banks aren't publicly identified.

One example of a TARP recipient in deep trouble: closely held Legacy Bank of Milwaukee. José Mantilla, Legacy's president and chief executive, said the bank lends to an underserved, lower-income customer base.
As Legacy Bank careens towards failure, it appears its customer base was not "underserved" but rather "overserved".

Most of these failures will be relatively small ones. The median TARP infusion for the 98 banks was $10 million. The grand total of the 98 banks was about $4.2 billion. In contrast the first 8 large recipients received a total of $125 billion, now repaid.

Commercial real estate loans gone sour are at the heart of many small bank failures. One consequence of these failures is the too big to fail banks keep getting bigger.

Citigroup Too Interwoven to Fail, Chairman Says

As proof that Citigroup is one gigantic tangled mess, Citi Chairman Richard Parsons boasts Citigroup Too Interwoven to Fail
Citigroup remains too "interwoven" to fail even after the government has plowed billions into rescuing the banking titan and Congress has passed laws taking aim at financial behemoths, Citi Chairman Richard Parsons told CNBC.

"It's not a question of too big to fail," Parsons said in a live interview. "It's a question of too interwoven in the fabric of the global financial life to fail."

Parsons said allowing Citi to fail previously or in the future would be akin to having "the heart, the pump of the economic system fail because then everybody else dies."

"It's probably the most important private financial institution for maintaining our economic strength and presence around the world. You can't let an institution like that go down," he said.
Do these clowns even realize what they are saying? Parsons just gave a superb reason Citigroup needs to be broken up.

I suggest Citigroup should be forced to sell itself off piece by piece by piece, until it is not "too interwoven to fail". The same applies to Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

Anything too big or too interwoven to fail, is simply too big.

In a free market with adequate fraud-prevention controls between various operations, these banks would likely not have gotten so big in the first place. They certainly would not have survived this global financial crisis if they did.

These gargantuan banks only exist intact because of Fed and taxpayer sponsored bailouts. Adding insult to injury, these banks pose the same systemic risk as before. Topping it off, Citigroup has the gall to brag about it.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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