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April 16, 2009

It’s Squilicious!

Carlyle Group will keep its pace of spending in China and India, taking equity investments in companies linked to basic consumer products, education, medical services and energy to grow amid a global slowdown.

Carlyle Asian Growth Partners aims to keep spending on average between $200 million and $300 million a year in China, said Wayne Tsou, managing director and head of the fund. He didn’t give an investment target for India.

“These companies are the most enterprising and they are most attuned to opportunities in the market,” Tsou said in an interview in Beijing yesterday. “More than 80 percent of the energies of my fund and team are spent looking at China and India opportunities.”

Sign of the times. It ain’t here. It’s over there, where the sun also rises. ..

Remember good ol Weyerhauser? Fucking fucks.

Apparently they are eating it. HAH HAH! They tried to scam Snoqualomie and the Waterfalls won.

Dirt plots marked with blue and orange stakes outnumber finished homes in a Snoqualmie, Washington, neighborhood where Weyerhaeuser carved subdivisions out of a hillside. Record profits from real estate in 2005 turned to $847 million in losses for the company last year. So much residential property is for sale in Snoqualmie that there’s a three-year backlog, said George Isaacs, a local real-estate agent.

“Remember the movie ‘The Perfect Storm?’ We’re in that boat right now,” Isaacs said.

The misadventure in Snoqualmie helps explain why the largest U.S. lumber producer is in a financial crisis so deep it turns down the heat in its offices to save money and is contemplating upending its corporate structure after 109 years to become a real estate investment trust.

I can’t help but smile at this company’s misfortune. I hope they crash and burn.

and La piece de la piece, tres artistique, n’est ce pas?

Ruminations on banking from Willem Buiter

There is no real money left in the original $700 bn TARP facility – somewhere between $ 100 bn and 150 bn – to do more than stabilise a couple of pawn shops. The Treasury has been playing for time by raiding the resources of the FDIC (which, apart from the meagre insurance premiums it collects, has no resources other than what the Treasury grants it) and of the Fed. The Fed has taken an open position in private credit risk to the tune of many hundreds of billions of dollars. Before this crisis is over, its exposure to private sector default risk could be counted in trillions of dollars.

In addition to looking for money in off-budget and off-balance sheet places (and out of sight of Congress), the US Treasury has also tried to hide true extent of the problems of the US banks. I addition to supporting the FASB’s recent proposals for increasing managerial discretion as to the way illiquid assets are accounted for (that is, condoning the issuance of another license to lie), the Treasury appears to be using the ‘Stress Tests’ announced as part of the Financial Stability Plan, as a mechanism to play for time and gamble for resurrection.[1] I base this on what I have been picking up about the reality of these Stress Tests.

Wheee!

Here’s yer Friday thread.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    April 16, 2009 10:29 pm

    Some cephalopod news: I wanna be sedated – by an octopus!

    Once thought to be only the realm of the blue-ringed octopus, researchers have now shown that all octopuses and cuttlefish, and some squid are venomous. The work indicates that they all share a common, ancient venomous ancestor and highlights new avenues for drug discovery.

    Conducted by scientists from the University of Melbourne, University of Brussels and Museum Victoria, the study was published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution.

    Dr Bryan Fry from the Department of Biochemistry at the Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne said that while the blue-ringed octopus species remain the only group that aredangerous to humans, the other species have been quietly using their venom for predation, such as paralysing a clam into opening its shell.

    “Venoms are toxic proteins with specialised functions such as paralysing the nervous system” he said.

    “We hope that by understanding the structure and mode of action of venom proteins we can benefit drug design for a range of conditions such as pain management, allergies and cancer.”

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 16, 2009 10:38 pm

      Soma de pulpa? I hope for the cepholos’ sake that the high isn’t very good. Though the bufo and cane frogs might wish otherwise.

  2. Stemella permalink*
    April 17, 2009 6:23 am

    Stiglitz joins Black in condemning Wall St. ties to the White House dooming the bank rescue system. And just this morning ShittyGroup crows that its quarterly losses were less than analysts predicted. Any sign that any of these profiteering Mega Banx are going to pay back their bailouts with interest?

    Here’s some of the Stiglitz article.

    “All the ingredients they have so far are weak, and there are several missing ingredients,” Stiglitz said in an interview yesterday. The people who designed the plans are “either in the pocket of the banks or they’re incompetent.”

    The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, isn’t large enough to recapitalize the banking system, and the administration hasn’t been direct in addressing that shortfall, he said. Stiglitz said there are conflicts of interest at the White House because some of Obama’s advisers have close ties to Wall Street.

    “We don’t have enough money, they don’t want to go back to Congress, and they don’t want to do it in an open way and they don’t want to get control” of the banks, a set of constraints that will guarantee failure, Stiglitz said.

    The return to taxpayers from the TARP is as low as 25 cents on the dollar, he said. “The bank restructuring has been an absolute mess.”

    Rather than continually buying small stakes in banks, weaker banks should be put through a receivership where the shareholders of the banks are wiped out and the bondholders become the shareholders, using taxpayer money to keep the institutions functioning, he said.

  3. Stemella permalink*
    April 17, 2009 6:46 am

    Another subject popping up on my not nearly caffeinated enough radar: Pension Funds.

    I’ve seen mention of problems with some of the State Pension funds, such as New Jersey’s being majorly in debt and there was something about the Carlyle Group involved in kickback payments regarding New York’s pensions. And there was something about Kally-fornya’s Pension plan CalPERS and how it was one of only two institutions (as opposed to individuals) to buy into Carlyle. Here’s a blurb from wiki

    Carlyle has only allowed two outsiders to buy into its partnership. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is the only US institution which owns a stake in the partnership, holding 5.5% of Carlyle for which it paid $175 million in 2001 and which was worth about $1 billion by 2007.[7] In September 2007, Mubadala Development Company, an investment vehicle for the government of Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates, purchased a 7.5% stake for $1.35 billion

    Googling around provided this article from way back in 2001 CalPERS, Carlyle profit from Afghan war Interesting tidbits aplenty in that article.

    Anyway, back to pensions in general. There’s this:

    Vampire pensions could be a corporate nightmare

    While economists worry about “zombie” banks holding back lending, vampire pension plans may soon be stalking a company near you. The underfunding of America’s corporate defined benefit pensions poses a daunting challenge, threatening not only their 40m beneficiaries but the entire US economy.

    Recently enacted funding rules require underfunded pension plans, and that’s most of the big ones, to suck needed cash from salaries and jobs just when suffering companies need scarce resources to survive. Under 2006 legislation, companies that have underfunded pensions must put extra funds into their pension plan to close the gap within seven years. After precipitous drops in assets, most plans now have serious funding gaps.

    And then this whole blog: Pension Pulse

    and this piece within: Should Governments Stop Meddling in Pensions?, which discusses how CalPERS has been buying Citigroup toxic assets through the TARP program.

    A pension fund, you know, working people’s retirement money, is buying toxic assets very likely to be worth absolutely nothing? Anyone else smell something really really rotten here? And this connection to Carlyle Group? And bad things happening to the pension programs of Jersey and NY?

    I don’t think this is going to end well. I sense Enron happening all over again.

    Where is the oversight? Obama? Bueller?

    • cometman permalink*
      April 17, 2009 5:01 pm

      That’s what I read a week or two ago, that investors were going to use pension fund money for the “private” part of the PIPP. Really twisted.

      And then there’s this interesting tidbit from the link you posted:

      Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman said the elder Bush does little more than give speeches on Carlyle’s behalf when abroad and does not call up his son to lobby for Carlyle’s business interests.

      Riiiiiight. I’m sure he’s had no influence whatsoever.

      • Stemella permalink*
        April 17, 2009 9:07 pm

        More on NY Pension fund kickback scam involving Obama Auto Czar, Rattner…

        Rats! Dirty Rats!

        Obama Expresses Confidence in Rattner as Probe Touches Old Firm

        The federal probe is focused in part on whether Quadrangle, Carlyle Group and other investment managers knowingly made illegal payments, a person familiar with the matter said. The Securities and Exchange Commission, investigating with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, is collecting information and hasn’t reached a conclusion about how much private equity firms and hedge funds knew and whether they were duped, the person said, declining to be identified because the probe isn’t public.

        The SEC hasn’t given Rattner, 56, any indication that he faces enforcement action, the person said. John Nester, a spokesman for the SEC, and Cuomo spokeswoman Emily Browne declined to comment.

        Millions of Dollars

        New York-based Quadrangle and Washington-based Carlyle are among companies that paid millions of dollars in sham commissions to people claiming to have helped them win business from the $122 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, the nation’s third-largest, according to an SEC lawsuit against other people and firms in the case. Payments were made between 2003 to 2007, the regulator said.

        Allegations of wrongdoing involving the New York pension fund began emerging last month when Cuomo and the SEC filed lawsuits and criminal charges against former New York State Deputy Comptroller David Loglisci and political adviser Hank Morris. Earlier this week, the probe yielded a guilty plea from a Dallas hedge-fund manager and charges against a former New York political party boss.

        Cuomo said at least $30 million in kickbacks were paid. A 123-count indictment filed last month in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan named Morris, who advised ex-New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi, and Loglisci as key figures in a “web of corrupt actions for both political and personal gain,” Cuomo said at the time. The defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

        ‘Senior Executive’

        Rattner, who the Wall Street Journal reported is an unidentified “senior executive” at Quadrangle mentioned in the SEC complaint, left the firm earlier this year to join the Treasury and become the chief adviser on the restructuring of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    April 17, 2009 7:49 am

    Having an OMFG moment

    Watching CNBC and Howard Dean, a new contributor on the network (wtf???) is arguing with Larry Kudlow over the $250 K cutoff for higher tax rates.

    I think Jon Stewart may have had an impact when he nailed Cramer, and now they’ve hired Howard. This is beyond the beyond. Too fucking funny.

    I really wish Dean was Health & Human Services Secretary instead. This is a waste of his talent and ability.

    • cometman permalink*
      April 17, 2009 9:45 am

      Dean doesn’t equivocate as much as the average politician so he obviously can’t be allowed anywhere near a position where he might have some authority. His 50 state strategy as DNC chair seems to have actually worked, and the oligarchs can’t allow people to become informed and politically active, so he had to be replaced.

      I will never ever forget how the corporate media and members of his own party kneecapped him in 2004 when people started to appreciate his honesty and candor and it looked like he would be the nominee for a while. He would have been much more outspoken than Kerry, and you can’t have people getting to uppity. So turn down the crowd noise, turn up his mike and play the doctored clip a million times and all of a sudden he’s crazy and unhinged.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    April 17, 2009 8:46 am

    A few days back I linked to a blogger who goes by the name Tyler Durden at his place ZeroHedge. He is also now part of the regular team at Nouriel Roubini’s Econo-Monitor.

    I found this piece, Bail Out for Dummies Part I by Tyler posted a couple of weeks ago to be very helpful, especially the first chart that gives a combined definition of acronyms and a timeline for the bailouts as a reference.

    • cometman permalink*
      April 17, 2009 4:55 pm

      Nice article. That guy is really making the rounds lately. And he’s saying that he thinks even Roubini’s estimate for how bad things will get is on the low side. Lots of financialese, but the way I read that it sounds like they plan to keep printing money until the point were at that wheelbarrow-of-dollars-for-a-loaf-of-bread stage. People are not spending right now but if this scenario plays out they might as well go out and party like there’s no tomorrow because the money they are trying to save will be worthless anyway.

  6. cometman permalink*
    April 17, 2009 9:36 am

    That’s just too bad about Weyerhauser. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch!

    There has been a trend for a while with these ‘timber’ companies turning to real estate instead. Fewer and fewer actually cut timber or make paper anymore but they are holding all this wilderness real estate they picked up a long time ago on the cheap. So now they are selling it off to developers because until recently there has been a lot more money doing that. In my state, one of the big Pacific NW companies has been trying to shove a new development down people’s throat despite a tremendous amount of opposition. However guess who the state board in charge of the decision making chooses to listen to – the people who actually live here or the out of state corporation with the deep pockets? I went to a public hearing about the latest boondoggle here and lots of people spoke out against the development, but the company had its representatives there too, skulking around in the corner. They had managed to convince some of the locals that they needed the development for JOBS. of course it’s never clear ahead of time just what these JOBS are going to be, but the rubes always assume that they are going to be the CFO or something when often what happens is the corporations bring in their own team from out of state for the few well paying jobs that the service industry offers. That excuse pisses me off more than anything. All the decent jobs which used to be the backbone of the state’s economy are gone so now people look to tourist dollars instead. Amazing to me how these corporations can convince people to give up their dignity because of the promise of JOBS. As if everybody’s dream were to grow up to clean toilets at a resort for some rich people. Once the development comes in, they may get a crappy job at the resort, but then the resort being nearby raises their property value and suddenly they can’t afford the taxes they have to pay anymore. So the natives sell out to some rich guy and have to move away and they’re right back to square one again – living in some crappy town with crappier scenery than they used to have and still with no money.

  7. Stemella permalink*
    April 17, 2009 11:52 am

    Have you ever read the Milagro Beanfield War? It is one of three in a novel series by John Nichols. If not, I highly recommend it. It is about that very thing you describe in humorous novel form, but set in New Mexico. I hope that whole trend of privatizing public land for the bulldozers has come to an end. It is time to end voracious exploitive capitalism and impose some real restrictions again to protect the commons.

    • cometman permalink*
      April 17, 2009 12:30 pm

      Never read it but I did see the movie which I liked a lot.

      This stuff hits close to home for me having grown up in a rural area. Not far from where I grew up there is one stretch a road with beautiful scenic vistas and it used to be mostly farmland. But in the last few decades the rich people have been moving in from out of state. Can’t fault the rich people completely, because there has to be a local willing to sell out to them at least in the beginning, but once it gets started and property suddenly becomes more desirable it’s hard to stop and people do get forced out. Recently some Palm Beach denizen bought a house in the area for the most money ever paid in the state by a pretty large margin, just to use it as a vacation home. I think he bought it from some other out of stater and probably grossly overpaid. The funny thing is home purchases are all on the public record so some local paper started writing about it and the guy got pretty pissed. He fired back a letter to the editor saying he bought his little getaway house thinking that people there were ‘different’ than where he was trying to get away from and they didn’t care about such gross things as money. This coming from a guy who was worth in the hundreds of million IIRC. I guess he thought all the yokels just grew money on their farms or something and didn’t have to worry about their taxes rising because of people like him. We’ll see how long he sticks around.

      • triv33 permalink
        April 17, 2009 3:20 pm

        Yeah, it’s kind of like that where I live. Used to be lots of farms and small diaries all around. Now a whole lot of developments and “communities”. Last year a kid with a 22 was hunting near his family farm, which just happened to be within a mile of a school. He took to walking along the road to get back to his lane and somebody from one of the new developments saw him and called the cops. Schools went into lockdown, it made the news, and all this poor kid was doing was what he had been doing since before that little community got planted there, hunting wabbits. It used to be a pretty common sight around here. Now, not so much.

        • cometman permalink*
          April 17, 2009 4:46 pm

          A lot of those prefabbed communities with their overpriced poorly built houses that sprung up aren’t doing so well after this economic meltdown. The problem is that even if nobody lives in them, they’re still there mucking up the scenery. The people who build these strip malls and mcmansions are never required to clean up their mess once it’s no longer useful.

          I wonder how long it will be before my own relatives have a similar problem to the one the kid you mentioned had. Every couple years I see some new multimillion dollar house spring up in the hills around my family’s farm.

          • Stemella permalink*
            April 17, 2009 5:34 pm

            I’ve seen this guy, Jim the Realtor from the San Diego area, linked at a few econ blogs I read and I’ve checked out some of his you tubes about the outrageous real estate situation down there. Here’s one of my favorites, Moldy Mansion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9OgvChGj4U

            He specializes in selling foreclosures and tells hard truths, often with incredibly funny sarcasm, with his vids. The prices of some of these hideous monstrosities, even after foreclosure are outrageous. At a certain point it seems like they should be bulldozed and returned to nature.

          • Stemella permalink*
            April 17, 2009 5:51 pm

            Here’s another one, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUJ_Aj2ZF18, a McMansion that is for sale for $1,100,000 cash. “The former owner paid $1,800,000 in 2005, then refinanced with WaMu, who gave him two loans for $1,800,000. What do you think happens when people have no skin in the game!!! Previous sale was $525,000 in 1998. ”

            and one he calls the abomination: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJtD20ewkvk for $540,000

            • cometman permalink*
              April 17, 2009 10:01 pm

              That is some funny stuff.

  8. cometman permalink*
    April 17, 2009 1:31 pm

    OK this post is going to be confusing because the subject makes my head hurt. Ran across this post from the physics arXiv blog about the Anthropic principle. Here’s how the post describes it:

    The anthropic principle is the idea that the physical laws that govern our Universe are precisely those that allow complex life like ours to emerge. Many scientists have wondered at the balance of these laws, arguing that any small change would alter the universe so radically that life would be impossible. Why is the Universe so finely tuned for life, they ask.

    The article goes on to discuss how scientists have theorized that even if the strong nuclear force were changed, the chemistry we are familiar with would still be possible and hydrogen which permeates the universe would still be able to form.

    Now I read this book by Leonard Susskind a couple years ago and if you look at the title it says that it is arguing against Intelligent Design. And yet as the review notes:

    Like most of his fellow theorists, he is a card-carrying atheist. Nevertheless, in The Cosmic Landscape he expresses sympathy for the intelligent-design view when applied to physics and cosmology rather than biology.

    Susskind believes that it is more than dumb luck that the universe is so accommodating to human beings. “Can science explain the extraordinary fact that the universe appears to be uncannily, nay, spectacularly, well designed for our own existence?” he asks.

    The book explains that according to string theory, ours may be but one of billions of other universes that do have different physical laws and constants and that somehow that debunks Intelligent Design. We observe this universe because it is suited to life like ours, but there may be others that are different.

    But my question is, even if there are multiple universes, how the hell does Susskind or anybody else know that ours is the only kind of life in this universe? Science has only explored our world so far, and in recent decades deep ocean life has already turned the notion that sunlight is necessary for life on its head. And we’ve only explored a fraction of that. We only have a couple probes scratching around on Mars and a few probes in orbit around other bodies in the solar system and that’s it. If astrophysics and cosmology teach us anything, it’s that the conditions vary enormously in different parts of this universe and not every place is like our solar system. So even if there are other universes, still how do we know that ours is the only type of life existing in this one, which Susskind seems to argue.

    His book left me very confused. However after checkingthe wikipedia entry I guess it isn’t just me:

    The anthropic principle has given rise to some confusion and controversy, partly because the phrase has been applied to several distinct ideas. All versions of the principle have been accused of undermining the search for a deeper physical understanding of the universe. Those who invoke the anthropic principle often invoke multiple universes or an intelligent designer, both controversial and criticised for being untestable and therefore outside the purview of accepted science.

    What I don’t get is why real scientists even bother with this Anthropic Principle at all. Isn’t there a better argument they could use to get their point across?

    And can anybody tell me what I’m talking about??

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 17, 2009 2:23 pm

      The Anthropic Principle seems inherently limited and therefore probably useless. Anthropomorphism implanted on the cosmos. As you raise the excellent point that life exists in the absence of sunlight, that life in all probability exists in other billions and billions of universes (hat tip carl sagan) it seems this principle is the result of some misguided egos. Considering the Homo is only known to have existed with any evidence of sapience for a brief flash in the scope of the Earth’s existence, it seems really silly to even have this principle, unless you’re trying to push Intelligent Design in school textbooks or something equally foolish.

      • cometman permalink*
        April 17, 2009 4:40 pm

        That’s the confusing part for me – the ID people and scientists both refer to the Anthropic Principle and mean different things, but both use it to bolster their own arguments. But even the scientists who reject ID seem to use it to say that this universe is still specially designed for life like us, which like you said is projecting anthropomorphism on the cosmos. Maybe that explains better what my problem with this line of reasoning is. That’s why I liked the new theory – maybe it will eventually lead people to drop this Anthropic Priciple line of reasoning and I won’t waste my time reading confusing books. Thanks for helping me figure out what I was talking about :)

  9. cometman permalink*
    April 17, 2009 5:29 pm

    Wish I could say this is unbelievable, but at this point it’s pretty much par for the course. The NYT reports the very large personal stake that AIG CEO Edward liddy has in, guess whooo-oooo, Goldman Sachs.

    Edward M. Liddy, the dollar-a-year chief executive leading the American International Group since its bailout last fall, still owns a significant stake in Goldman Sachs, one of the insurer’s trading partners that was made whole by the government bailout of A.I.G.

    Mr. Liddy earned most of his holdings in Goldman, worth more than $3 million total, as compensation for serving on the bank’s board and its audit committee until he stepped down in September to take the job at A.I.G. He moved to A.I.G. at the request of Henry M. Paulson Jr., then the Treasury secretary and a former Goldman director.

    Details about his holdings were disclosed in Goldman’s proxy statement and confirmed by an A.I.G. spokeswoman, who said they constituted “a small percentage of his total net worth.” Mr. Liddy had already owned some stock in Goldman Sachs before joining its board in 2003.

    He has said that he considers his work at A.I.G. to be a public service, performed on behalf of the taxpayers, who ended up with nearly 80 percent of the insurance company.

    A public service?????!?!?! Are you fucking kidding me??? Simon Johnson at The Baseline Scenario isn’t buying it either:

    I don’t generally overreact to news (from the NYT this morning, on the AIG-Goldman connection that runs through Edward Liddy’s stock ownership), but this has gone far enough.

    Have we completely lost of sense of what is and is not a conflict of interest? Have we really built a system in which greed fully overshadows responsibility? Is it not time for a complete rethink of what constitutes acceptable executive behavior?

    One of our country’s leading corporate attorneys made a telling point to me on Wednesday night, “the only way to control executive behavior is to criminalize it,” i.e., civil penalties do not change behavior – the prospect of jail time has to be on the table. His broader point was that antitrust action can make a difference in today’s world, but only if this includes potential criminal charges.

    Throwing these clowns in the slammer cannot come soon enough.

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 17, 2009 9:34 pm

      When someone of Johnson’s background is flummuxed to the extent he says this: “Have we completely lost of sense of what is and is not a conflict of interest? Have we really built a system in which greed fully overshadows responsibility? Is it not time for a complete rethink of what constitutes acceptable executive behavior?” it seems we are having one of those McCarthy era, “Have you. Sir, no sense of Decency?” moments. I don’t think anyone who should be listening to him really is listening, certainly not in Congress or Treasury, but we are listening and it makes me feel better for having my hair on fire all the time when I read this stuff.

      Having watched some of the so called Congressional hearings on economic matters since Obama has taken office, I’ve totally given up on getting any decent questions and investigation let alone justice out of them. It’s going to have to come from whistle blowers and decent investigative journalists if such things exist anymore.

      Yes, there should be a steady stream of indictments and prosecutions. I keep meaning to write up something on Stanford. I’ve saved bunches of articles. It’s too depressing. Nothing seems to be happening to that thief and his accomplices. I think he’s too well connected to too many prominent Texans.

      grrrrrrrrr

      • cometman permalink*
        April 17, 2009 9:41 pm

        Speaking of Congress and their overall uselessness, this made me laugh.

  10. Stemella permalink*
    April 17, 2009 10:08 pm

    That site is high-larious! I also loved the front page post about the dwarf pie. Looks like a lot of low brow tasteless cynical humor in the blogroll too. Excellent!

    • cometman permalink*
      April 17, 2009 10:20 pm

      I check that one from time to time. And also this one that was on the blogroll. Can’t remember how I ran across either of them in the first place but there is some really funny stuff about academia and clueless college kids on both of them.

  11. cometman permalink*
    April 17, 2009 10:37 pm

    Some interesting figures from Bailout Sleuth:Lending Down Among Bailed-Out Banks.

    In another sign that liquidity has not yet returned to financial markets, bank lending decreased in February among banks that have received bailout money,

    The Treasury Department reported that overall lending among the 21 largest banks to receive money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program declined by a median percentage of 2.2 percent, or $16 billion, from the month before.

    Nine banks posted gains in loan activities, while twelve banks posted declines.

    The biggest declines were in commercial real estate lending, where originations were down 23 percent, and commercial and industrial lending – typically used to pay for equipment and meet payroll – where originations were down 13 percent.

    Hearing a lot lately about how commercial real estate is going to be the next shoe to drop. The article goes on to mention pretty big increases in refinancing but that isn’t really new lending – it’s just shifting already borrowed money around. May make people less likely to be foreclosed upon though, depending on how all the refis break down. Straight refis might make things better – cash out refis because people are broke just add fuel to the fire.

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