Banks Want a Piece of Fannie & Freddie?


Bank of America Reports 2nd Straight Quarterly Loss on Mortgage Writedowns [CNBC] "In the fourth quarter, the bank recognized a $2 billion writedown in value of its mortgage business, and a $4.1 billion provision for future mortgage repurchase claims."

State Bankruptcy Options Discussed in Congress [NY Times] "Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers. Unlike cities, the states are barred from seeking protection in federal bankruptcy court. Any effort to change that status would have to clear high constitutional hurdles because the states are considered sovereign."

New Model for Morgan Stanley? [Wall Street Journal] "Morgan Stanley reported a 35% earnings jump fueled by a surprisingly strong revenue jolt from its army of brokers. But another poor performance by the securities firm's bond traders left analysts wanting more proof that turnaround efforts are gaining traction.

The results showed how much the 75-year-old New York company is trying to forge a new identity in the wake of the financial crisis that nearly destroyed it. Risk-taking has been reduced, some high-rolling traders have left and the firm is increasing its focus on lower-octane businesses like advising individual investors."

Hashing out the Volcker Rule [NY Times] "The hurdle they face is simple: there is no easy way to tell a proprietary trade from another kind of trade, particularly given the exemptions worked into the law."

Banks Want a Piece of Fannie & Freddie? [NY Times] "The banks have presented their ideas publicly through trade groups. Housing industry consultants and people familiar with recent meetings at the Treasury Department say these banks view the government’s overhaul of the mortgage market as a potential profit opportunity. "

Putting Google on the Couch: What Does the CEO Change Mean? [NY Times] "Google made the biggest management shake-up in a decade on Thursday, handing the reins of the company to one of its co-founders in an effort to rediscover its start-up roots."

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, to Head Economic Advisory Council [CNN] " The White House will announce a new economic advisory council on Friday, one that will be headed by Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO and chairman of General Electric."

Krugman on China Troubles [NY Times] "How bad will it get? Warnings from some analysts that China could trigger a global crisis seem overblown. But the fact that people are saying such things is an indication of how out of control the situation looks right now."

Spain Announces Partial Nationalization of S&L's [Reuters] "Spain plans a partial state takeover of its weakest savings banks as it seeks to reassure investors a rescue will not weigh on its deficit, sources and reports said on Friday."