IEHI Feed: The Bank Implode-o-Meter http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-64603 Sun, 24 Feb 2019 00:39:36 GMT Buffett's Berkshire, hurt by Kraft Heinz, posts massive quarterly loss (+FINDS NO FAIR-PRICED BUYOUT TARGETS) http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-23_BuffettsBerkshirehurtbyKraftHeinzpostsmassivequarterlylossFINDSN.html A rough ride for the stock markets at the end of last year battered Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway: It posted a rare net loss of $25 billion for the fourth quarter.

Troubles at Kraft Heinz also cut deeply into the investing giant's bottom line. In his annual letter to investors posted Saturday, Buffett said the company took a $3 billion write down last year "arising almost entirely from our equity interest in Kraft Heinz.

The loss was driven by big price declines in Berkshire's investment portfolio, including Apple, which remains its largest holding.

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Buffett said Berkshire does not see any potential takeover targets in the coming year -- but the firm is hungry to make an "elephant-sized acquisition."

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iehi-feed-64602 Sun, 24 Feb 2019 00:07:09 GMT American Workers -- Even Well-To-Do Ones -- Increasingly Miserable http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-23_AmericanWorkersEvenWellToDoOnesIncreasinglyMiserable.html even in a boom economy, a surprising portion of Americans are professionally miserable right now. In the mid-1980s, roughly 61 percent of workers told pollsters they were satisfied with their jobs. Since then, that number has declined substantially, hovering around half; the low point was in 2010, when only 43 percent of workers were satisfied, according to data collected by the Conference Board, a nonprofit research organization. The rest said they were unhappy, or at best neutral, about how they spent the bulk of their days. Even among professionals given to lofty self-images, like those in medicine and law, other studies have noted a rise in discontent. Why? Based on my own conversations with classmates and the research I began reviewing, the answer comes down to oppressive hours, political infighting, increased competition sparked by globalization, an "always-on culture" bred by the internet -- but also something that's hard for these professionals to put their finger on, an underlying sense that their work isn't worth the grueling effort they're putting into it.

This wave of dissatisfaction is especially perverse because corporations now have access to decades of scientific research about how to make jobs better. "We have so much evidence about what people need," says Adam Grant, a professor of management and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania (and a contributing opinion writer at The Times). Basic financial security, of course, is critical -- as is a sense that your job won't disappear unexpectedly. What's interesting, however, is that once you can provide financially for yourself and your family, according to studies, additional salary and benefits don't reliably contribute to worker satisfaction. Much more important are things like whether a job provides a sense of autonomy -- the ability to control your time and the authority to act on your unique expertise. People want to work alongside others whom they respect (and, optimally, enjoy spending time with) and who seem to respect them in return.

And finally, workers want to feel that their labors are meaningful. "You don't have to be curing cancer," says Barry Schwartz, a visiting professor of management at the University of California, Berkeley. We want to feel that we're making the world better, even if it's as small a matter as helping a shopper find the right product at the grocery store. "You can be a salesperson, or a toll collector, but if you see your goal as solving people's problems, then each day presents 100 opportunities to improve someone's life, and your satisfaction increases dramatically," Schwartz says.

This was a predictable consequence of an increasingly unstable, insecure economy. There is really no refuge from it; even the rich know they have to always be searching for the next "score" (the middle class and below obviously have it even worse -- but with the meso-rich feeling the pain, at least the problem is becoming impossible to ignore). At this site, this is the sort of thing we've expected as a consequence of the long-run gutting of the financial economy, with low interest rates and disincentives to save and invest in long-term, stable enterprises (VC money and credit cards are NOT a suitable substitute for traditional commercial and merchant banking).

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iehi-feed-64601 Sat, 23 Feb 2019 23:57:37 GMT Inside Elizabeth Holmes' Chilling Final Days at Theranos http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-23_InsideElizabethHolmesChillingFinalDaysatTheranos.html Yet through [the collapse of Theranos], former employees of the company have told me, Holmes had a bizarre way of acting like nothing was wrong. Even more peculiarly, she appeared happy."The company is falling apart, there are countless indictments piling up, employees are leaving in droves, and Elizabeth is just weirdly chipper," a former senior executive told me. One former board member also noted that Holmes would come to board meetings "chirpy"; and acting as if everything was "great." She would walk up to people in the office who could have just testified in front of the S.E.C., or been questioned by lawyers at the F.D.A., and she would give them a hug and ask how they were doing.

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Was she just a young person who got in over her head? Or, more dramatically, is something more serious afoot. Is she a sociopath? "I'll leave it to the psychologists to decide whether Holmes fits the clinical profile," he writes, "but there's no question that her moral compass was badly askew." Former employees raise this question with frequency. One pointed to a formative experience: Holmes's father, Christian, was an executive at Enron, and the family's finances were affected by its collapse. Did Holmes, scarred by this experience, vow to revive the family's fortunes at all cost? Was she a hustler or a con artist, or merely a staggering Mr. Ripley?

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iehi-feed-64600 Sat, 23 Feb 2019 16:19:52 GMT Pennsylvania Couple Accused Of Stealing $1.2M From Church http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-23_PennsylvaniaCoupleAccusedOfStealing12MFromChurch.html iehi-feed-64599 Fri, 22 Feb 2019 18:24:30 GMT Manafort Is Expected to Face Charges in New York, Even if Trump Pardons Him http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-22_ManafortIsExpectedtoFaceChargesinNewYorkEvenifTrumpPardonsHim.html The Manhattan district attorney's office is preparing state criminal charges against Paul J. Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, in an effort to ensure he will still face prison time even if the president pardons him for his federal crimes, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.

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The office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., first began investigating Mr. Manafort in 2017 in connection with loans he received from two banks. Those loans were also the subject of some of the counts in the federal indictment that led to his conviction last year. But the state prosecutors deferred their inquiry in order not to interfere with Mr. Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

They resumed their investigation in recent months, and a state grand jury began hearing evidence in the case, several people with knowledge of the matter said. The panel is expected to wrap up its work in the coming weeks,

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In the Manhattan case, the evidence presented to a grand jury appears to be connected to loans issued by Citizens Bank in Rhode Island and Federal Savings Bank in Chicago.

The banks have received grand jury subpoenas for records relating to the loans they issued to Mr. Manafort, which were worth millions of dollars, people with knowledge of the matter said. The grand jury also has been hearing testimony about the loans. Citizens Bank has been cooperating with the investigation, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. A spokeswoman for Federal Savings Bank did not respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear precisely what charges Mr. Manafort would face, but they could include two state felonies: falsifying business records, if the evidence shows Mr. Manafort used the loan money for an unauthorized purpose, and grand larceny.

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iehi-feed-64597 Thu, 21 Feb 2019 04:03:04 GMT Sellers are taking huge losses on Billionaires' Row. These are some of the biggest http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-20_SellersaretakinghugelossesonBillionairesRowThesearesomeofthebigg.html Whereas just 7.7 percent of the 16,000 apartments resold in New York from 2014 to 2018 sold for an outright loss, that percentage rose to 39 percent -- 26 out of 66 -- for luxury apartment resales in Midtown.

"One of the things that I struggle to wrap my head around is why people continue to park money in high-end New York real estate when it's not a very lucrative asset class," StreetEasy senior economist Grant Long told the New York Post.

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iehi-feed-64596 Wed, 20 Feb 2019 21:13:05 GMT Fed loses last shreds of credibility as it throws in towel on balance sheet reduction http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-20_Fedloseslastshredsofcredibilityasitthrowsintowelonbalancesheetre.html Federal Reserve officials discussed at their meeting three weeks ago ending the reduction of bonds on the central bank's balance sheet before the end of 2019, according to minutes released Wednesday.

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The minutes showed extensive discussion of market conditions, particularly on the emphasis that Fed actions were having on prices of risky assets like stocks and corporate bonds.

"Bottom line, while the Fed I believe clearly had room for the current pause because of the economic slowdown going on overseas, it should also be clear to everyone that they are mostly beholden to asset prices, both the stock market and credit spreads with that driving policy," Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said in a note.''

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iehi-feed-64594 Wed, 20 Feb 2019 15:00:40 GMT Illegal SCRA Foreclosure Alert: Combat Vet Gets $125,000 In Damages http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-20_IllegalSCRAForeclosureAlertCombatVetGets125000InDamages.html iehi-feed-64592 Tue, 19 Feb 2019 14:48:21 GMT FHFA Inspector General Says Mel Watt Sexually Harassed A Woman http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-19_FHFAInspectorGeneralSaysMelWattSexuallyHarassedAWoman.html iehi-feed-64591 Mon, 18 Feb 2019 14:20:43 GMT Chrysler Building Goes On The Market For Undisclosed Figure http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-18_ChryslerBuildingGoesOnTheMarketForUndisclosedFigure.html iehi-feed-64589 Sun, 17 Feb 2019 20:10:28 GMT This Retailer Bankruptcy Will Lead to the Largest Liquidation by Store Count in the US. | Wolf Street http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-17_ThisRetailerBankruptcyWillLeadtotheLargestLiquidationbyStoreCoun.html By store count, this is likely the largest retailer liquidation in the US: Payless ShoeSource is planning to file for bankruptcy again later in this month -- just 18 months after having emerged from its first bankruptcy. And this time, it will shutter all its remaining 2,300 or so stores in the US and Puerto Rico, let everyone go at those stores, and be done with it in the US.

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The specialty shoe retailer has been trying to sell itself in recent months, with the help of financial advisory firm PJ Solomon. But there have been no takers, the people said. And so now, the company moved on to Plan B, a second bankruptcy filing in the US and liquidation. The sources said the going-out-of-business sales would start early next week.

And so this would be it for another huge US retailer that had been bought by private equity firms, had then been gutted and stripped off assets, which left the debt-burdened retailer no means to invest in and build a vibrant online business and a functional fulfillment infrastructure, and so it totally missed the transition of shoe sales to e-commerce.

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iehi-feed-64588 Sun, 17 Feb 2019 19:07:37 GMT JPMorgan Has Its Own Cryptocurrency http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-17_JPMorganHasItsOwnCryptocurrency.html JPMorgan Chase this morning announced the first cryptocurrency to be rolled out by a major U.S. bank. How will it be used? The new tokens, each of which represents a U.S. dollar, will help settle some payments between the bank's clients. CNBC reports that the new digital coin will enter testing "in a few months." It will facilitate a "tiny fraction" of its wholesale payments business.

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The bank has come a long way on crypto. Its C.E.O., Jamie Dimon, famously declared Bitcoin a "fraud" in 2017 and said he would fire any employee caught trading it. (He later regretted his comments and added that he believed in the value of blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies.)

Some 17 days before this news came out, JP Morgan was saying that cryptocurrencies would only be useful in a "dystopia" outcome (we wonder if it occurred to them that we may already be in a sufficiently-dystopic scenario...)

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iehi-feed-64587 Sun, 17 Feb 2019 19:05:40 GMT Amazon Not Paying Federal Income Taxes on $11.2 Billion Profits -- Trump Tax Cuts Largely to Thank http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-17_AmazonNotPayingFederalIncomeTaxeson112BillionProfitsTrumpTaxCuts.html This tax-free break comes even though Amazon almost doubled its U.S. profits from $5.6 billion to $11.2 billion between 2017 and 2018. To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate--making its tax rate -1%.

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ITEP notes that its non-existent federal tax payment is a result of the Trump Administration's corporation-friendly tax cuts. The think tank writes that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act not only decreased corporate tax rates from 35% to 21%, but it also didn't close "a slew of tax loopholes that allow profitable companies to routinely avoid paying federal and state income taxes on almost half of their profits."

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iehi-feed-64586 Sat, 16 Feb 2019 18:43:27 GMT Former Fannie Mae Employee Found Guilty In REO Foreclosure Scam http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-16_FormerFannieMaeEmployeeFoundGuiltyInREOForeclosureScam.html iehi-feed-64585 Fri, 15 Feb 2019 21:18:10 GMT Former LandCastle Title CEO Gets 15 Years In Prison http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-15_FormerLandCastleTitleCEOGets15YearsInPrison.html iehi-feed-64584 Thu, 14 Feb 2019 16:48:52 GMT Sierra Pacific Mortgage Fined $3.67 Million For FHA Lending Violations http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-14_SierraPacificMortgageFined367MillionForFHALendingViolations.html iehi-feed-64583 Wed, 13 Feb 2019 00:05:58 GMT A record number of Americans are 90 days behind on their car payments http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-12_ArecordnumberofAmericansare90daysbehindontheircarpayments.html iehi-feed-64582 Wed, 13 Feb 2019 00:03:52 GMT Bill Gates: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wealth tax idea misses the point (+SICK MMT BURN) http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-12_BillGatesAlexandriaOcasioCortezwealthtaxideamissesthepointSICKMM.html Instead, he said, lawmakers should focus on things like the estate tax, taxes on capital and Social Security. His view may be more closely aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposed tax policy that focuses on taxing net worth on households worth more than $50 million.

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Gates.. also ripped the increasingly popular modern monetary theory... The theory, also known as MMT, dismisses concerns about sovereign debt since countries that print their own currency can't really run out of money. "That is some crazy talk," Gates told The Verge.

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iehi-feed-64580 Tue, 12 Feb 2019 20:04:38 GMT Ditech Files Bankruptcy For The 2nd Time In 14 Months. Is This The End? http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-12_DitechFilesBankruptcyForThe2ndTimeIn14MonthsIsThisTheEnd.html iehi-feed-64579 Tue, 12 Feb 2019 09:28:22 GMT Reason #437 to own gold: The Fed wants Negative Interest Rates http://bankimplode.com/viewnews/2019-02-12_Reason437toowngoldTheFedwantsNegativeInterestRates.html ... after a 20% drop in US stocks, the Fed has taken its foot off the pedal. But the people still want more... Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan were supposed to start tightening policy and raising rates... now, they are both considering cutting interest rates even deeper into negative territory.

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The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis thinks current interest rates are "too restrictive." He too wants lower rates.

The San Francisco Fed agrees -- they were singing the praises of negative interest rates in a recent research paper, saying they would have helped the economy recover even faster after 2008.

And SocGen economist Albert Edwards thinks the US will see negative interest rates and helicopter money (meaning central banks will print money and give it directly to the people) during the next recession.

Now that the public is once again being reminded that the Fed and its cohorts have no credibility, let's see if hard assets come back, as they should...

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