Monday, August 10, 2009

Is The FDIC Broke And Covering It Up?

From the Market Ticker
Posted by Karl Denninger

I have to wonder.

First, we have Corus, which reported a negative Tier 1 Ratio. That is, they are formally "in the hole" in terms of assets .vs. liabilities. This is never supposed to happen - but it did, "Prompt Corrective Action" be damned.

Next, we have Guaranty Bank, which also has a negative core capital ratio. They have been trying to sell themselves (gee, I wonder why?) for a while without success. Here's the relevant quote from their 8-K:

Based on these adjustments, the Bank’s core capital ratio stood at negative 5.78% as of March 31, 2009. The Bank’s total risk based capital ratio as of March 31, 2009 stood at negative 5.52%. Both of these ratios result in the Bank being considered critically under-capitalized under regulatory prompt corrective action standards.

Yet Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) - a law, by the way, not a suggestion - has once again not been followed.

Finally, we have Colonial. I made a nice chunk of coin shorting and PUTting that turkey last year, when their CEO (and a lot of other people) said they were "very conservative." Uh huh. My read of their balance sheet said they were (like many other regional banks) massively over-exposed to condo construction loans in..... you guessed it.... Florida (which incidentally is what killed Corus.) Oops. But here's the money quote on Colonial:

If the FDIC were to seize Colonial, it would be the sixth-largest seizure, by assets, in American history. Such a large failure could strain the bank safety net. Colonial has $20 billion in deposits, while the FDIC insurance fund has dropped below $15 billion. The FDIC wouldn't have to cover every dime, but when Florida's BankUnited, with $12.8 billion in assets, failed earlier this year, it cost regulators nearly $5 billion.

Add all three of these up and tell me what you think is going on?

These three are not small banks. They are significant regional institutions, unlike the tiny little banks that we hear about every Friday after the close of business.

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