Voice of Cramerica

The Fortress Four Strike Again


Way back on July 21, a long, long time ago when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 11,467 and the S&P 500 at 1,260, we created the Fortress Four, a list of four banks that Jim believed were in good enough shape to acquire more troubled financial institutions at fire-sale prices. These banks, we said, had the opportunity of a lifetime to go on a takeover binge that would make them financial titans.

I've kept track of the Fortress Four on this blog, and until today, only three of the banks Jim named, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America had made major acquisitions. The fourth bank, US Bancorp, a much lower profile name than the other three, has yet to make any big purchases.

But today, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, USB's CFO has announced that his bank is open to making large acquisitions. If that happens, we'll be four for four. Since Jim picked these four fortress banks, we've seen Bank of America acquire Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan pick up Washington Mutual , and Wells Fargo buy Wachovia.

Cliff Mason is the Senior Writer of CNBC's Mad Money w/Jim Cramer, and has been that program's primary writer, in cooperation with and under the supervision of Jim Cramer, since he began at CNBC as an intern during the summer of 2005. Mason was the author of a column at TheStreet.com during 2007, which he describes as "hilarious, if short-lived." He graduated from Harvard College in 2007. It was at Harvard that Mason learned to multi-task, mastering the art of seeming to pay attention to professors while writing scripts for Mad Money. Mason has co-written two books with Jim Cramer: Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Richand Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer). He is 100% responsible for any parts of either book that you did not like. 

Mason has also had a fruitful relationship with Jim Cramer as his nephew for the last 23 years and will hopefully continue to hold that position for many more as long as he doesn't do anything to get himself kicked out of the family.

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