Saturday, February 12, 2011


Which one is it?

One view of executives at our largest banks in the run-up to the crisis of 2008 is that they were hapless fools. Unaware of how financial innovation had created toxic products and made the system fundamentally unstable, they blithely piled on more debt and inadvertently took on greater risks.

The alternative view is that these people were more knaves than fools. They understood to a large degree what they and their companies were doing, and they kept at it up until the last minute – and in some cases beyond – because of the incentives they might receive.

New Details Emerge About Morgan Stanley and Citi In the Crisis

Big banks like Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, which were battered by the 2008 financial crisis, are once again on solid ground.

But a set of documents, e-mail messages and minutes of crucial regulatory meetings released recently by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission provide fresh detail about just how close to the brink both firms came.

I haven't taken a penny from the government

(m)ost people don’t realize that they are beneficiaries of government social programs. For example, 60 percent of people who take the mortgage interest deduction say they “have not used a government social program.”

Another year of foreclosures

Foreclosures are speeding up again. For three straight months through December, foreclosure activity had declined as banks worked to refine their procedures and documentation. In January, however, foreclosure activity increased by 1.4%, according to foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac. The delays might not be completely over yet, but they may be starting to abate.

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