Posts

Showing posts from November, 2008

TARP Oversight Hearing 11/18 (Tian Weng)

The Bush administration last week announced its plan to abandon the original $700 billion economic rescue plan (Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)) and launched a new initiative to inject $250 billion directly into financial institutions. This is to be accomplished by buying bank stock. The thinking is that this will help thaw frozen credit markets and get skittish banks lending again.

On Tuesday November 18th, Members of Congress held a hearing titled “Oversight of Implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and of Government Lending and Insurance Facilities” in 2128 Rayburn House Office Building. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair testified before the House Financial Services Committee. Our overall opinion: the hearing led to plenty of blame being passed around concerning this unanticipated policy shift.

In his statement, Treasury Secretary Paulson defended his decision to change the focus of…

Minority Banks participating in the U.S. government's capital purchase program

"Company: Broadway Financial Corp. (BYFC) (Black owned)
Participation: Broadway received a $9 million investment and issued warrants to buy 183,175 common shares at $7.37 each. Date of disclosure: Nov. 14. Notes: Broadway's risk-based capital ratio was 11% and its tangible capital ratio was 7.65% at Sept. 30."

"Company: East West Bancorp Inc. (EWBC) (Asian owned)
Participation: East West received preliminary approval for $316 million of additional capital Date of disclosure: Nov. 14. Notes: East West's total risk-based capital would increase to 16.20% from 13.12%, and tangible equity to tangible assets ratio would increase to 10.73% from 7.95% as of Sept. 30."
(See: http://www.creativeinvest.com/research/AsianBanks.html)

"Company: UCBH Holdings Inc. (UCBH) (Asian owned)
Participation: UCBH issued $298.7 million in preferred shares and warrants to buy up to 7.84 million common shares at an exercise price of $5.71 a share. Date of disclosure: Nov. 14. Notes:…

Hedge Funds and the Financial Marketplace (E.M. Chang)

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the US House of Representatives held a hearing titled, “Hedge Funds and the Financial Market” on Thursday, November 13, 2008. The hearing examined systemic risks to financial markets posed by hedge funds and considered regulatory and tax reform proposals. Among the topics, the panels discussed three major issues:
1. What role have hedge funds played in our current financial crisis?
2. Do hedge funds pose a systemic risk to the financial system?
3. What level of government oversight and regulation is appropriate?

Over the last decade, hedge fund holdings reportedly increased five-fold, to more than $2 trillion. The role of the hedge fund industry in the current financial system is becoming more important given this dramatic growth trend. However, hedge funds are virtually unregulated, and not required to report any information on their holdings, their leverage, or their strategies to any government agency. The opacity and non-transparen…

What we said...

Someone recently asked about our track record with respect to the market crisis. Here, from 2003 and 2006, are a few of our comments:

SEC Comments. Page 6: "Envy, hatred, and greed have flourished in certain capital market institutions, propelling ethical standards of behavior downward. Without meaningful reform, there is a small (but significant and growing) risk that our economic system will simply cease functioning."

http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/s71903/wmccir122203.pdf December 22, 2003.

and:

SEC Comments. Page 2: "Together these practices threaten the integrity of securities markets. Individuals and market institutions with the power to safeguard the system, including investment analysts and rating agencies, have been compromised. Few efficient, effective and just safeguards are in place. Statistical models created by the firm show the probability of system-wide market failure has increased over the past eight years.

Investors and the public are at risk."

http…