Sunday, July 18, 2010

bank earnings and your safety


Earnings for the previous quarter revealed something very interesting and transparent about the big banks and how they continue to make their money. It is primarily through trading and not through banking activities such as lending. Overall, loan losses were down this quarter at the major banks which should provide a boost to their stocks. But the banks' slowdown in trading and other activities had them lowering earnings levels for the quarter.

The New York Times came out with an article stating how banks such as Citigroup and Bank of America took big hits because their trading desks made less money than desired. JP Morgan Chase released good earnings because they released funds meant for possible loan losses. And anyone who thinks Goldman Sachs is a retail bank needs to explain it to me. They are an Investment Bank that had to switch to retail when the crash occured.

As mentioned before, all of these banks were able to pad earnings this quarter with money previously designated for loan losses that didn't occur. This is not a good development. Why didn't they loan the money out instead? This type of action either shows a lack of confidence in the US economy and you as a possible loanee or they are worried about their stock price and put that above helping to drive the needed growth in the U. S. economy. Son't be surprised if it is the latter.

Where are the loans? We gave these firms 700 billion dollars not just to trade and make money for their shareholders but to be a partner in bringing the economy back by making loans to deserving Americans and their businesses that create jobs. The interest received from those loans is a mere pittance for the government and the country as a whole compared to the long term earnings the government would receive in payroll and other taxes had the banks loaned that money out to deserving businesses instead of trading it.

These activities by the mega banks has brought on a movement of going to local banks because people (myself partially included) know they will see their money in work in their communities creating jobs and revenue. This movement needs to continue to grow until the big banks get the message that not loaning money out to deserving businesses is not acceptable. You will hear the banks say their clients are afraid to expand and at the same time hear those same clients complain about a restiction in credit from banks. I believe the businesses, not the banks.

This post is not a desire to eliminate the big banks. They have some great financial products and an important role in the U.S. economy. It is to get them to realize that there is a public needing its partnership to expand our economy.

No comments: