Impact of Serial Asset Sales on Investors and Borrowers

The real parties in interest are trying to make money, not recover it.

The Wilmington Trust case illustrates why borrower defenses and investor claims are closely aligned and raises some interesting questions. The big question is what do you do with an empty box at the bottom of an organizational chart or worse an empty box existing off the organizational chart and off balance sheet?

At the base of this is one simple notion. The creation and execution of articles of incorporation does not create the corporation until they are submitted to a regulatory authority that in turn can vouch for the fact that the corporation has in fact been created. But even then that doesn’t mean that the corporation is anything more than a shell. That is why we call them shell corporations.

The same holds true for trusts which must have beneficiaries, a trustor, a trust instrument, and a trustee that is actively engaged in managing the assets of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Without the elements being satisfied in real life, the trust does not exist and should not be treated as though it did exist.

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About Neil F Garfield, M.B.A., J.D.

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The banks have been pulling the wool over our eyes for two decades, pretending that the name of a REMIC Trust invokes and creates its existence. They have done the same with named Trustees and asserted “Master Servicers” of the asserted trust. Without a Trustor passing title to money or property to the named Trustee, there is nothing in trust.

Therefore whatever duties, obligations, powers or restrictions that exist under the asserted trust instrument do not apply to assets that have not been entrusted to the trustee to administer for the benefit of named beneficiaries.

The named Trustee or Servicer has nothing to claim if their claim derives from the existence of a trust. And of course a nonexistent trust has no claim against borrowers in which the beneficiaries of the trust, if they exist, have disclaimed any interest in the debt, note or mortgage.

The serial nature of asserted transfers in which servicing rights, claims for recovery of servicer advances, and purported ownership of note and mortgage is well known and leaves most people, including judges and regulators scratching their heads.

An assignment of mortgage without a a transfer of the indebtedness that is claimed to be secured by a mortgage or deed of trust means nothing. It is a statement by one party, lacking in any authority to another party. It says I hereby transfer to you the power to enforce the mortgage or deed of trust. It does not say you can keep the proceeds of enforcement and it does not identify the party to whom the debt will be paid as proceeds of liquidation of the home at or after the foreclosure sale.

As it turns out, many times the liquidation results in surplus funds — i.e., proceeds in excess of the asserted debt. That should be turned over to the borrower, but it isn’t; and that has spawned a whole new cottage industry of services offering to reclaim the surplus proceeds.

In most cases the proceeds are less than the amount demanded. But there are proceeds. Those are frequently swallowed whole by the real party in interest in the foreclosure — the asserted Master Servicer who claims the proceeds as recovery of servicer advances without the slightest evidence that the asserted Master Servicer ever paid anything nor that the asserted Master Servicer would be out of pocket in the event the “recovery” of “servicer advances” failed.

The foreclosure of the property proceeds with full knowledge that whatever the result, there are no creditors who will receive any money or benefit. The real parties are trying to make money, not recover it. And whatever proceeds or benefits might arise from the foreclosure action are grabbed by a party in a self-proclaimed assertion that while the foreclosure was brought in the name of a trust, the proceeds go to a different third party in derogation of the interests of the asserted trusts and the alleged investors in those trusts who are somehow not beneficiaries.

So investors purchase certificates in which the fine print usually says that for their own protection they disclaim any interest in the underlying debt, note or mortgages. Accordingly we have a trust without beneficiaries.

The existence of those debts, notes or mortgages becomes irrelevant to the investors because they have a promise from a trustee who is indemnified on behalf of a trust that owns nothing. The certificates are backed by assets of any kind. Even if they were “backed” by assets, the supposed beneficiaries have disclaimed such interests.

Thus not only does the trust own nothing even the prospect of security has been traded off to other investors who paid money on the expectation of revenue from the notes and mortgages claimed by the asserted trust through its named trustee.

In the end you have a name of a trust that is unregistered and never asserted to be organized and existing under the laws of any jurisdiction, trustee who has no duties and even if such duties were present the asserted trust instrument strips away all trustee functions, no beneficiaries, and no res, and no active business requiring administration nor any business record of such activity.

Yet the trust is the entity that  is chosen as the named Plaintiff in foreclosures. But the way it reads one is bound to believe that assumption that is not and never was true or even asserted: that the case involves the trustee bank for anything more than window dressing.

It is the serial nature of the falsely asserted transfers that obscures the real parties in interest in both securities transactions with investors and loans with borrowers. The unavoidable conclusion is that nothing asserted by the banks (players in  falsely claimed securitization schemes) is real.

Wells Fargo “Lending” Securities It Didn’t Own

Translation: WFB was the “custodian” of alleged “mortgage-backed” certificates issued for the benefit of investors who paid billions of dollars for ownership of the certificates. WFB “Loaned” those alleged securities to brokers. The brokers in exchange provided “collateral” the proceeds of which were reinvested by WFB. In short, WFB was laundering the investors money for the sole benefit of WFB and not for the investors who owned the certificates and certainly to the detriment of the brokers and their buyers of derivative instruments based upon the loan of the securities.

This case reveals the flowering of multiple levels arising from false claims of securitization. First WFB issues certificates from a fictitious trust that owns nothing. Then it keeps both the money paid for those certificates and it keeps the certificates as well. On Wall Street this practice is called holding securities in “street name.” Then WFB engages in trading on securities it doesn’t own, but which are worthless anyway because the certificates only represent a promise from the REMIC trusts that exists only on paper.

It is all based upon outright lies. And that is why the banks get nervous when the issue of ownership of a debt, security or derivative becomes an issue in litigation. In this case the bank represented the trades as ownership or derivative ownership of “high grade money market instruments” such as “commercial paper or bank time deposits and CDs.”

None of it was true. WFB simply says that it thought that the “instruments” were safe. The lawsuit referred to in the linked article says they knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t care whether the instruments were safe or not. If the attorneys dig deeper they will find that the certificates’ promise to pay was not issued by an actual entity, that certificates were never mortgage-backed, and that WFB set it up so when there were losses it would not fall on WFB even though WFB was using the named trust basically as a fictitious name under which it operated.

So I continue to inquire: why does any court accept any document from WFB as presumptively valid? Why not require the actual proof?

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Hat Tip Bill Paatalo

see  WFB Securities Lending Scheme

The investments by WFB went into “mortgage backed assets.” Really? So let’s see how that works. First they create the certificates and sell them to investors even though neither the investors nor the trust have any interest in mortgage assets. Then they “loan” the same certificates to brokers, who provide collateral to WFB so that WFB can “reinvest” investor money using commingled investor money from a variety of sources.

Then derivatives on derivatives are sold as private contracts or insurance policies in which when the nonexistent trust assets are declared by WFB to have failed, in which WFB collects all the proceeds. The investors from all layers are screwed. And borrowers, as was originally planned, are screwed.

The lender to the borrower in the real world (where money is exchanged) are be the investors whose money was in the dynamic dark pool when the loan of money occurred. But the investors have no proof of ownership of the debt because of the false documents created by the “underwriter” bank.  The money from the second tier of investors is used to “purchase” the certificates WFB is “printing”. And then derivatives and hybrid derivatives and synthetic derivatives are sold multiplying the effect of every certificate issued. Such has the control over currency shifted from central banks who control around $8 trillion of fiat currency to the TBTF banks who boast a shadow banking market of $1 quadrillion ($1,000,000,000,000,000.00).

This every loan and every certificate is multiplied in the shadow banking market and converted into real money in the real world. Based upon prior securities analysis and review of disclosures from the publicly held banks it thus became possible for a “bank” to receive as much as $4.2 million on a $0.1 Million loan (i..e, $100,000). But in order to maintain the farce they must foreclose and not settle which will devalue the derivatives.

Then having done all that through control of a dynamic dark pool of investor money they must of course create the illusion of a robust lending market. True this particular case involves a business acquired when WFB acquired Wachovia. But WFB acquired Wachovia because it was the actual party in control of a false securitization scheme in which Wachovia acted primarily as originator and not lender.

WFB barely cares about the interest rate because they know the loans that are being approved won’t last anyway. But its trading desk secures extra profits by selling loans with a high interest rate, as though the loans had a low interest rate thereby guaranteeing two things: (1) guaranteed defaults that WFB can insure and (2) buying low (with investor money) and selling high (to investors).

All of which brings us back to the same point I raised when I first wrote (circa 2007) about the systemic fraud in securitization not as an idea, but in the way it had been put into practice. Using established doctrines in tax litigation there are two doctrines that easily clear up the intentional obfuscation by the banks: (1) The single transaction doctrine and (2) the step transaction doctrine. Yes it is that simple. If the investors didn’t part with their money then the loan of money would have never reached the desk of the closing agent. If the homeowners had not been similarly duped as to who and what was being done, they would never have signed on the dotted line.

To assume otherwise would be the same as assuming that borrowers were looking for a way to waste money on non-deductible down payments, improvements and furniture in exchange for a monthly payment that everyone knew they couldn’t afford.

 

Glaski Decision in California Appellate Court Turns the Corner on “Getting It”

8/8/13 NOTE: This decision was approved for publication and therefore applies to all cases within the district of the appellate court.

On the other hand we should not assume that they have arrived nor that this decision will have pervasive effects throughout California or elsewhere in the United States or other countries.

J.P. Morgan did suffer a crushing defeat in this decision. And the borrower definitely receive the benefits of a judicial decision that will allow the borrower to sue for wrongful foreclosure including equitable and legal relief which in plain language means reversing the foreclosure and getting damages. Probably one of the most damaging conclusions by the appellate court is that an examination of whether the loan ever made it into the asset pool is proper in determining the proper party to initiate a foreclosure or to offer a credit bid at a foreclosure auction.  The court said that alleged transfers into the trust after the cutoff date are void under New York State law which is the law that governs the common-law trusts created by the banks as part of the fraudulent securitization scheme.

Before you give them a standing ovation remember that it is possible for additional documentation to be created, fabricated and forged showing that despite the apparent violation of the cutoff date, the trustee has accepted the loan into the trust. This will most likely be a lie. I don’t think there is any entity acting as trustee of a trust that doesn’t know that it is under intense scrutiny and doesn’t want to be subject to liability that could amount to trillions of dollars advanced by investors with the purchase of bogus mortgage-backed bonds that were presumably managed by the trustee but in reality not managed at all  because the bonds were worthless. This gave the banks the opportunity to claim that they owned the bonds and therefore had an insurable interest which gave rise to the whole problem with AIG and AMBAC and other insurers or parties who had guaranteed the bond, the loan or any loss (credit default swaps).

The fact that the loan in this case was definitely securitized is also interesting. Of course Washington Mutual was stating to everyone that it was not involved in the securitization of mortgage loans when in fact nearly all of the loans originated became subject to claims of securitization. This case explains why I never say that the loan was securitized or that the loan was in any particular trust, to wit: I don’t believe that a funded trust exists with the ability to purchase loans and therefore I don’t believe the loans are in any of the asset pools. So when people ask me how they can prove which trust their loan is actually in, I reply that they are asking the wrong question.

What is being played out here in this case and hundreds of thousands of other cases is a representation by the foreclosing entity that the trust owns the loan when in fact it never owned the loan nor could it because the money that was advanced by investors was never deposited into the trust. We have the same banks representing to regulatory authorities and insurers that it is the bank and not the trust that owns the loan even though the bank merely made the loan using money advanced by investors who believed that they were buying mortgage-backed bonds. The truth is they were merely making a deposit into an account maintained by the investment bank. The resulting transactions do not qualify for exemption as securities or insurance under the 1998 law. Nor do they qualify for REMIC treatment under the Internal Revenue Code.

In other words if you take a close look and actually follow the path of the money and the path of the paper you will find that despite the pronouncements from the Department of Justice and other agencies, this is a simple fraud case using a Ponzi model. The hallmark of a Ponzi model is that it collapses as soon as the investors stop buying the bogus securities. If the government cares to do so it can freely prosecute the individuals and companies involved without any air of exemption under the 1998 law because none of the parties followed the securitization path presumed by the 1998 law. So we are back to this, to wit: a security is a security and subject to SEC regulations and insurance is an insurance contract subject to insurance regulators, and fraud is fraud subject to recovery of restitution, compensatory damages, punitive damages, treble damages etc.

You should remember when reading this decision that the appellate court was not ruling in favor of the borrower granting the substantive relief the borrower  was seeking. The appellate court merely reversed the trial court decision to dismiss the borrower’s claims. That only means that the borrower now as an opportunity to prove the elements of quiet title, wrongful foreclosure, slander of title, cancellation of instruments and relief under California’s version of unfair business practices. But the devil is in the details and proving the case requires aggressive discovery and aggressive preparation for trial. It is highly probable that the case will settle. The bank will probably be willing to pay almost any amount of money to avoid a judgment setting forth the elements of a wrongful foreclosure and how the bank violated the law.

The Bank will attempt to avoid any final order that undermines the value of loans that are subject to claims of securitization, because those loans supposedly support the value of the bogus mortgage-backed bonds sold to investors.  Any such final order would also undermine the balance sheet of J.P. Morgan and any other major bank carrying the mortgage bonds as assets on their balance sheet. If those assets are diminished, then the bank is not as well funded as it has been reporting. In fact, those assets might well vanish completely from the balance sheet of those banks, causing the banks to be seized by the FDIC and broken up into smaller pieces for regional and community banks to pick up. Hence this decision represents a risk factor that could eliminate the legal fiction created by smoke and mirrors from Wall Street banks, to wit: it is not the borrowers who are deadbeats, it is the banks who are broke and whose management has run off with billions and perhaps trillions of dollars that should be in the United States economy. The absence of that money lies at the root of our unemployment and low economic activity.

This Glaski case has many of the elements that we have been discussing for years. Fabricated documents, forgeries, perjury, false affidavits and no money trail to backup the story painted by the fabricated documents. And of course it has our old friend Washington Mutual Bank And the supposed take over by Chase Bank that never actually happened.

And it involves the issue of assignments and the fact that the assignment is not the transaction itself but only a report of a transaction. If the borrower proves that the transaction reported in the assignment or other instrument of conveyance never occurred, or if the borrower is successful in shifting the burden of proof to the bank to show that it did occur, the assignment will have no value whatsoever unless the transaction is present, to wit: that someone actually purchased the loan through the payment of money or other valuable consideration that was received by a party who actually owned the loan.

Thus even if Chase Bank were able to show that it entered into a transaction in which the loans were transferred (something we can find no evidence of which the FDIC receiver says never occurred) that would only be the equivalent of a quit claim deed, to wit: whoever received the consideration for the transfer of the loans was merely conveying any interest they had even if they had no interest at all. Hence the transactions by which Washington Mutual allegedly came to be the owner of the loan must be examined in the same way as the transaction between the Washington Mutual bankruptcy estate and chase bank.

You should also take note that the decision was published with the admonition that it is  “not to be published in the official reports.”  this is further indication that the court is concerned about the far-reaching effects of the decision and essentially tells trial judges that they do not have to follow it. So for those who wish to point to this decision and say “game over” we are not there yet. But I do think that we passed the halfway point and we are probably in the fifth or sixth inning of a nine inning game. Translating that to time, I would estimate that it’s going to take another three or four years to clean up this mess and that it might take several decades to clean up the title corruption that was created by the banks.

http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2013/08/01/glaski-v-bank-of-america-ca5-5th-appellate-district-securitization-failed-ny-trust-law-applied-ruling-to-protect-remic-status-non-judicial-foreclosure-statutes-irrelevant-because-sa/

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Bully Bonus: $11.7 Billion JPM

“Each year they will launder more money back into the system and back onto the books so it becomes “on balance sheet” but the explanation of where the profits came from will be double-talk. But as long as we let them do it, they will be using the proceeds of purse snatching from the little people and wholesale robbery from the the taxpayers to pretend that they have higher and higher earnings, make their stock more and more valuable.

QUESTION FOR THE INVESTORS HOLDING CERTIFICATES OF MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITIES: HOW MUCH OF THIS DECLARED PROFIT AND THE BONUSES ACTUALLY SHOULD HAVE GONE TO YOU AS THE CREDITOR WHOSE INVESTMENT WENT SOUR? IS THERE A CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST HERE CREATED BY LAW? COULD IT BE THAT THE BENEFICIARIES INCLUDE YOURSELF, THE HOMEOWNERS AND THE TAXPAYERS THROUGH THEIR GOVERNMENT. ISN’T IT POSSIBLE THAT THESE ALLEGED PROFITS AND BONUSES WOULD COVER MUCH OF YOUR LOSSES?

  1. ISN’T IT POSSIBLE THAT THE INVESTORS CONTINUE TO BE PLAYED AS FOOLS AS THESE BANKS AND OTHER INTERMEDIARIES SPLIT UP THE MONEY YOU INVESTED?
  2. ISN’T IT POSSIBLE THAT THE SERVICERS AND OTHER INTERMEDIARIES ARE ACTING IN THEIR OWN INTERESTS AND NOT THE INTERESTS OF THE INVESTORS.?
  3. ISN’T IT POSSIBLE THAT YOU HAVE THE RIGHTS OF A MINORITY SHAREHOLDER OR MINORITY PARTNER FOR ACCESS TO THE REAL INFORMATION ON WHAT IS BEING COLLECTED AND WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING?

This is the start of the REST of the scheme. Gradually repatriating income that was previously undeclared. $23.7 trillion was skimmed largely by the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. All that taxpayer money, in cash, obligations and guarantees went out because these banks were “too big to fail” and we accepted the proposition that they were failing when in fact they were sitting on more money than the government had. The “loss” was an accounting loss allowable by changes to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), deregulation and failure of the SEC to enforce the most basic elements of disclosure. They called it “off-balance sheet” transactions.

Now they they are laundering the money back in and giving themselves bonuses out of the taxpayer money they obtained through misrepresentation of their REAL financial status.

Each year they will launder more money back into the system and back on the books so it becomes “on balance sheet” but the explanation of where the profits came from will be double-talk. But as long as we let them do it, they will be using the proceeds of purse snatching from the little people and wholesale robbery from the the taxpayers to pretend that they have higher and higher earnings, make their stock more and more valuable.

They have no trouble taking their bonuses in stock. They know the stock will be ever higher and higher and the price earnings ratios will go up, multiplying the effect of the higher earnings. They know it just as surely as they knew the loans would fail, that their influence in Washington was strong enough with the Bush administration to get free money for fake losses, and that their tacit agreement to let non-creditors sue on defective loans as hush money would keep the cycle going.

President Obama told the big four that the only thing between them and pitchforks from the populace was him and he was doing his best to maintain order. But they don’t get it and they won’t get it because they think, perhaps correctly, that they will get away with the multiple phase scheme to drain America dry. Get out the pitchforks or watch your country dry up into a memory.

What does this mean for litigation and discovery. Plenty. The offshore SIV’s are the vehicle through which this money was sequestered and they are the vehicles through which the money is being laundered back in. That is why you must emphasize that you want the WHOLE accounting and not just the part about the records of the servicer, master servicer or some other intermediary in the securitization chain. They will try to keep the court’s attention on the non-payment of the borrower while you are trying to get a full accounting of the money from the start of the transaction all the way from debtor through creditor.

To use a simple analogy, suppose you had a five year loan and you prepaid the principal at the rate of $1,000 per month for the first three years.

Now they come in and want the court only to look at the total obligation and the fact that you missed the last three payments but they refuse to allow you access to an accounting that would prove the total principal has been reduced by your previous prepayments of $36,00 in addition to the regular amortization contained in your regular monthly payments.

Now add the fact that after the closing they realized that they had overcharged you on points for the loan and other charges, and they sent you a letter to that effect but the credit doesn’t show up in the demand, their notice of default of their foreclosure.

You have a right to demand discovery based upon your allegation that there were was money paid and that there are adjustments due in the accounting and that they have only offered a partial accounting, their demand letter was incorrect and so was their notice of default. What I am suggesting is that all of the above may be true PLUS there may have been debits and credits arising from third party transactions with participants in the securitization chain that you are only just learning about and you have a  right to discovery about that too.

REMEMBER: At this stage you are RAISING the question of fact, not proving it. You don’t have to be right to be entitled to discovery. You only have to make an allegation and it helps to have an expert declaration to go with it. Your goal is not to get the Judge to agree that these people can’t foreclose. Your goal is to get to the truth about your loan, the parties and all the money that exchanged hands. At the conclusion of discovery, properly conducted, and with the help of an expert, the case could very well be over.

New York Times

January 16, 2010

JPMorgan Chase Earns $11.7 Billion

JPMorgan Chase kicked off what is expected to be a robust — and controversial — reporting season for the nation’s banks on Friday with news that its profit and pay for 2009 soared.

In a remarkable rebound from the depths of the financial crisis, JPMorgan earned $11.7 billion last year, more than double its profit in 2008, and generated record revenue. The bank earned $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter alone.

Those cheery figures were accompanied by news that JPMorgan had earmarked $26.9 billion to compensate its workers, much of which will be paid out as bonuses. That is up about 18 percent, with employees, on average, earning about $129,000.

Workers in JPMorgan’s investment bank, on average, earned roughly $380,000 each. Top producers, however, expect to collect multimillion-dollar paychecks.

The strong results — coming a day after the Obama administration, to howls from Wall Street, announced plans to tax big banks to recoup some of the money the government expects to lose from bailing out the financial system — underscored the gaping divide between the financial industry and the many ordinary Americans who are still waiting for an economic recovery.

Over the next week or so, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are expected to report similar surges in pay when they release their year-end numbers.

But not all the news from JPMorgan Chase was good. Signs of lingering weakness in its consumer banking business unnerved Wall Street and drove down its share price along with those of other banks.

Chase’s consumer businesses are still hemorrhaging money. Chase Card Services, its big credit card unit, lost $2.23 billion in 2009 and is unlikely to turn a profit this year. Chase retail services eked out a $97 million profit for 2009, though it posted a $399 million loss in the fourth quarter. To try to stop the bleeding, the bank agreed to temporarily modify about 600,000 mortgages. Only about 89,000 of those adjustments have been made permanent. In a statementon Friday, Jamie Dimon, the chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan, said that bank “fell short” of its earnings potential and remained cautious about 2010 considering that the job and housing markets continued to be weak.

“We don’t have visibility much beyond the middle of this year and much will depend on how the economy behaves,” Michael J. Cavanagh, the bank’s finance chief, said in a conference call with journalists. Across the industry, analysts expect investment banking revenue to moderate this year and tighter regulations to dampen profit. As consumers and businesses continue to hunker down, lending has also fallen.

Just as it did throughout 2009, JPMorgan Chase pulled off a quarterly profit after the strong performance of its investment bank helped offset large losses on mortgages and credit cards. The bank set aside another $1.9 billion for its consumer loan loss reserves — a hefty sum, but less than in previous periods.

That could be a sign that bank executives are more comfortable that the economy may be turning a corner. The bank has now stockpiled more than $32.5 billion to cover future losses. Still, Mr. Dimon warned that the economy was still too fragile to declare that the worst was over, though he hinted that things might stabilize toward the middle of the year. “We want to see a real recovery, just in case you have another dip down,” he said in a conference call with investors. Earlier, Mr. Cavanagh said that the bank hoped to restore the dividend to 75 cents or $1 by the middle of 2010, from 20 cents at present.

Over all, JPMorgan said 2009 net income rose to $11.7 billion, or $2.26 a share. That compares with a profit of $5.6 billion, or $1.35 a share, during 2008, when panic gripped the industry. Revenue grew to a record $108.6 billion, up 49 percent.

JPMorgan has emerged from the financial crisis with renewed swagger. Unlike several other banking chiefs, Mr. Dimon has entered 2010 with his reputation relatively unscathed. Indeed, he is regarded on Wall Street and in Washington as a pillar of the industry. On Wednesday on Capitol Hill, during a hearing of the government panel charged with examining the causes of the financial crisis, Mr. Dimon avoided the grilling given to Lloyd C. Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs. Mr. Dimon was also the only banker to publicly oppose the administration’s proposed tax on the largest financial companies.

Moreover, JPMorgan appears have taken advantage of the financial crisis to expand its consumer lending business and vault to the top of the investment banking charts, including a top-flight ranking as a fee-earner. Over all, the investment bank posted a $6.9 billion profit for 2009 after a $1.2 billion loss in 2008 when the bank took huge charges on soured mortgage investments and buyout loans.

The division posted strong trading revenue, though well short of the blow-out profits during the first half of the year when the markets were in constant flux. The business of arranging financing for corporations and advising on deals fell off in the last part of the year, though Mr. Cavanagh said there were signs of a rebound in the first two weeks of January.

As the investment bank’s income surged, the amount of money set aside for compensation in that division rose by almost one-third, to about $9.3 billion for 2009. But JPMorgan officials cut the portion of revenue they put in the bonus pool by almost half from last year.

The division, which employs about 25,000 people, reduced the share of revenue going to the compensation pool, to 37 percent by midyear, from 40 percent in the first quarter. The share fell to 11 percent in the fourth quarter because of the impact of the British bonus tax and the greater use of stock awards.

Bank officials have said that they needed to reward the firm’s standout performance, but to show restraint before a public outraged over banker pay. Other Wall Street firms may make similarly large adjustments.

Chase’s corporate bank, meanwhile, booked a $1.3 billion profit this year, even as it recorded losses on commercial real estate loans. Still, that represents a smaller portion of the bank’s overall balance sheet compared with many regional and community lenders. JPMorgan’s asset management business and treasury services units each booked similar profits for 2009.

Mortgage Meltdown: Investor Alert: Fasten Your Seatbelt

Events today lead me to say that the risk in holding “safe” AAA government or corporate bonds is far higher than they are priced. This does not mean that there will actually be defaults. But my analysis indicates that, at a minimum, several municipalities and corporations will default on their bonds this year and next year. How bad the situation will actually get is really anyone’s guess, but the comments released today from Dodd, Paulson and Bernanke are blunt admissions of the risk of something much worse than anyone is actually saying out loud.
Even if the situation does not get as bad as it looks to me now, it is going to at least look far worse and that will have its own repercussions. Times like these are not necessarily buying opportunities.
The bottom line is that the dollar continues to be at risk, corporate earnings are at far greater risk than one might suppose, price-earnings ratios are almost certainly going to decline on average on U.S. based companies and probably all companies, and bond and loan defaults of all types and sizes are going to rise for sure. The outlook, in terms of risk, is basically red alert for any U.S.  Security or any account held in U.S. dollars. I would say that at a minimum this outlook cannot change for at least 2 years. I am suggesting that you consider this in making your investment decisions.
In my opinion, any (and all) investment in a dollar denominated account holding any security or “money” should be migrated to a non-dollar denominated account (even if the investment vehicle remains the same), and any “safe” (almost cash) investment vehicle should be closely examined even if maintained in another currency. Any reliable insurance or hedge vehicles that are available should be considered as options as well. Buffet’s offer to provide insurance on municipal bonds is expensive, but worth it.
I am deeply concerned for family and friends, that their “nest eggs” might be more at risk than they know. Risk is a relative term. But when it is on the rise, you have to be able to say to yourself, as my wife says, “what is the worst thing that could happen?” and if you can’t deal with that, then do something else.
If you choose not to migrate and you are depending upon your investments to cover your debt (mortgage, car etc), then I suggest you hedge the problem by liquidating investments to pay off debt. If you are going to migrate, then you should not pay down debt, as you might be able to do so later with much cheaper dollars arising from a gain in foreign exchange.
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