Merrill Lynch, as a revered investment bank, don’t know what the f*ck they are doing with mortgages, yet they go around advising clients and selling mortgage based securities. What chance do retail investors have when their trusted adviser is flying blind in its pursuit of profits? Read this excellent article by NY Times.
As subprime lenders began toppling after record waves of homeowners defaulted on their mortgages, Merrill was left with $71 billion of eroding mortgage exotica on its books and billions in losses.
On Sept. 15 this year — less than two years after posting a record-breaking performance for 2006 and following a weekend that saw the collapse of a storied investment bank, Lehman Brothers, and a huge federal bailout of the insurance giant American International Group — Merrill was forced into a merger with Bank of America.
It was an ignominious end to America’s most famous brokerage house, whose ubiquitous corporate logo was a hard-charging bull.
“The mortgage business at Merrill Lynch was an afterthought — they didn’t really have a strategy,” said William Dallas, the founder of Ownit Mortgage Solutions, a lending business in which Merrill bought a stake a few years ago. “They had found this huge profit potential, and everybody wanted a piece of it. But they were pigs about it.”
In another hard hitting article, read this blow by blow account of the revised bailout package for AIG which actually amounts to more looting for the bandits.
AIG is getting yet more money, now close to double the initial commitment, and the terms are being made more favorable. And not by a little.
Remember, AIG does NOT has any God-given right to existence. If every significant operation AIG has must be sold to repay the taxpayer, and AIG ceases to exist, that would be a perfectly fine outcome. A systemic collapse would have been avoided, taxpayers would have gotten as much as possible out of a bad situation, and AIG would be liquidated in an orderly fashion. What is wrong with that picture?
Instead, AIG is being coddled for no reason whatsoever.