The Fourteenth Banker Blog

April 9, 2010

This embarrasses me. Some ask why the blog…..?

Filed under: Running Commentary — thefourteenthbanker @ 6:59 PM

News Alert
from The Wall Street Journal

Major banks masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the New York Fed.
A group of 18 banks—which includes Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup —understated the debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42% at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods, the data show. The banks, which publicly release debt data each quarter, then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters.



  1. And how should we know it really embarrasses you? Do you have a name?

    Comment by Per Kurowski — April 9, 2010 @ 8:43 PM | Reply

  2. What a great slap on the face for “questioners”!!!!!

    May God bless you for starting this and giving us all a voice. At least now people can know that not all of us that are employed by this industry are greedy and selfish. In fact, some like the ones that have posted comments obviously left because they couldn’t take the burden on their souls.
    I wish I could do the same, but not only do I need a job, I actually love what I do. I love helping people. I love the endless courage of every small business owner I work with, their ability to always bounce back with a smile and their beleif in themselves. It inspires me to wake up in the morning and go to work. Now do my employers care about that passion….. Heck no!! In fact I can’t meet my ” cross-sell” goals…. Why because I refuse to swindle my customers into buying products that they either don’t need or can’t afford.
    Two reasons why I don’t quit 1) I refuse to give up on my business owners and leave them in the hands of the next brainwashed unscrupulous loan officer and 2) Every other bank in town is exctly the same
    Outsiders, understand the corruption is industry wide, it is not just few bad apples. There are certainly some bad leaders and the rest are just bad copycats.

    Comment by Vocalbanker — April 9, 2010 @ 8:52 PM | Reply

    • There are also good leaders and good people that just need someone to follow or need to have an open work environment that allows discussion and debate about what the right thing to do is, not dictated by their incentive compensation.

      Comment by thefourteenthbanker — April 9, 2010 @ 11:32 PM | Reply

  3. I have nothing against anyone posting something anonymously, there might be many good reasons for it but… to anonymously express embarrassment is sort of going overboard… don’t you think?

    Comment by Per Kurowski — April 9, 2010 @ 9:02 PM | Reply

  4. Constructive change requires a degree of subversion from within. Anonymity is an essential tool of subversion. There should be a time for stepping out from the shadows, but it’s after developing a plan and allies and when the time is ripe to win. As I see it, this blog is about building the plan and the alliance.

    Comment by Curious — April 9, 2010 @ 9:05 PM | Reply

  5. Anonymous subversion from within the banks? You’ve got to be kidding me!

    Here you have a subversion from outside the banks!

    Comment by Per Kurowski — April 9, 2010 @ 9:11 PM | Reply

  6. This level of anonymity is certainly not enough for real subversion, it would need to be something at least at the level of wikileaks.
    If any of the powerful would feel threatened in the least, both the host and the posters would be immediately found. Remember Spitzer?

    Comment by justKidding — April 9, 2010 @ 9:28 PM | Reply

    • Let’s dispense with the notion of a blog subverting a bank. This is discussion of a system and the variety of opinions that exist and have validity in regard to that system. If anyone wants to leak a document the FCIC or other venues are appropriate.

      Comment by thefourteenthbanker — April 9, 2010 @ 10:20 PM | Reply

    • This is not about subversion but I will allow the comment because there needs to be clarity about this. Having a viewpoint that is not in keeping with your CEO or the various industry chieftains should not be considered subversion. In fact, given their popularity, they should be looking for and embracing those viewpoints. Maybe they are, but the pleasers between them and the bankers are the obstacle. I would love to see the banks self police, structure themselves to be constructive in the economy, and have happy customers and employees. I still think there should not be TBTF institutions and there needs to be real reform not just on size but also on activities. The big banks are with us and always will be in some form or fashion. Let’s make them better and let’s introduce healthy competition in the marketplace.

      Comment by thefourteenthbanker — April 9, 2010 @ 11:58 PM | Reply

  7. I’m not sure why you are embarassed. Moving things on and off your balance sheet is creative accounting. What I’m not sure folks understand in all of the discussions is that all we have here is human nature and playing with a system of rules. It is kind of like the Matrix. Banking is like the Matrix–it has a system of rules. Some can be bent, some broken. Sometimes there are consequences and sometimes not. But with *any* system, you will have people looking at the system and pushing the rules. No?

    Comment by ACE — April 13, 2010 @ 10:54 PM | Reply

  8. Can you be more specific as to where you are obtaining such data? The actual reports that is. Thank you.

    Comment by Aria — April 14, 2010 @ 12:40 AM | Reply

  9. GE was “famous” for reducing their debt levels prior to quarter’s end via their once-lucrative GMAC sub. Is this gaming the system, lying or smart accounting?

    Comment by Ron Griffin — April 14, 2010 @ 8:44 AM | Reply

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