Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The bank "stress test"

Now we hear that the administration is going to put a stress test on the 20 largest banks to make sure they have sufficient capital. The stress test is a farce, but to sell it, they have the best capitalized bank, JP Morgan, slash their dividend, as an example of a bank being precautionary about the current banking environment.

Thus, the liars at the FDIC, Treasury, OCC, OTS and the liar in chief, Ben Bernanke seem to think that their statements can sell the public, especially when Sheila Bair comes out today and says the banks are "well capitalized!"

Do you really need a stress test to see if the banks have adequate capital? Use the $1 test. Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citigroup is taking a salary of $1. He probably thinks this will allow shareholders to forget that he sold his now defunct hedge fund to Citigroup for $800 million!

And that Citigroup is essentially still insolvent!

Today the Chinese market lost over 4%. China also has a severe real estate bust. The buildings for the Bejing Olympics in China are now empty:

By Rodman's calculations, 500 million square feet of commercial real estate has been developed in Beijing since 2006, more than all the office space in Manhattan. And that doesn't include huge projects developed by the government. He says 100 million square feet of office space is vacant -- a 14-year supply if it filled up at the same rate as in the best years, 2004 through '06, when about 7 million square feet a year was leased.

But don't worry. China's second largest insurance company, Ping An, who lost $2.3 billion in Fortis, has decided to follow Vikram Pandit's lead of Citigroup and take a $1 salary also:

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., China’s second-largest insurer, said Chief Executive Officer Peter Ma will forgo his salary for 2008 after the company lost $2.3 billion on its investment in Fortis. Ma, who earned 66.16 million yuan ($9.7 million) in 2007, made the decision after the financial crisis “affected company performance,” Ping An’s Shenzhen-based spokesman Sheng Ruisheng said in a telephone interview today.

Stress test? How about the Chinese real estate that is on Ping An's books with a 14 year supply? But Ma was one-upped by China's Liang Wengen, who is chairman of Sany Heavy, China's biggest supplier of concrete-making equipment. (With a 14 year supply of commercial real-estate who needs concrete equipment?)

He cut his salary to 15 cents!

Who needs a bank stress test?

Just check out who's paying their CEO's a dollar!

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