Audit Notes: Bloomberg on the Fed, OCC Meddles for Banks, Who Runs the World

Bloomberg News is flooding the zone on the Fed’s discount-window document dump, which the central bank had to disclose after Bloomberg sued it and won.

Here are a few of its stories so far:

Goldman Sachs Borrowed From Fed Window Five Times

That contradicts testimony from CFO Gary Cohn, who also borrowed out of patriotic duty (emphasis mine):

Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary D. Cohn told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission June 30 that “we used it one night at the request of the Fed to make sure our systems were linked with their systems, and it was for a de minimis amount of money.” Peter J. Wallison, a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, then asked, “you never had to use it after that?”

“No, and as I said, we used it on the Fed’s request,” Cohn replied.

And another:

JPMorgan Borrowed at Least $5.9 Billion From Fed Window

Jamie Dimon only borrowed the money out of solidarity, of course, “to display the effectiveness of the facility.”

Fed Accepted More Defaulted Debt Than Treasuries as Rescue-Loan Collateral

Ken Lewis and Bank of America also:

BofA Kept Tapping Fed Facility After 2007 Show of ‘Leadership’

And the Fed bailed out foreign banks, too, with loans:

Belgium’s Dexia Drew Most From Discount Window During Record Week in 2008

Even Muammar Qaddafi was at the window:

Libya-Owned Bank Drew at Least $5 Billion From Fed

Great breaking news coverage by Bloomberg, which is wiping the floor with all its competitors on this story.

— Matt Stoller at New Deal 2.0 flags some very interesting testimony by a Maryland bank regulator on how federal bank regulators meddled with their foreclosure investigation:

Together with banking commissioners in four other states, our Office of Financial Regulation joined twelve state Attorneys General in the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group launched under the leadership of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller in 2007. This group sought to work collaboratively with the mortgage servicing industry and other parties to identify solutions to the myriad of problems we were seeing in addressing the crisis. The group gathered data submitted voluntarily from the largest subprime servicers and published five reports during 2008 to 2010 providing analysis on foreclosure issues and the servicing response. Unfortunately, this data and the related dialogue fell short of its potential as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency forbade national banks from providing loss mitigation data to the states.


Subprime servicers were willing to hand over data. But national banks were ordered not to provide data on loss mitigation to investigators. It gets worse. Kaufman notes that in Maryland, loan modifications often led to homeowners paying a higher monthly amount after getting their loan modified. When a homeowner asked for help, they got a higher bill. In essence, this is the financial equivalent of having the fire department try to put out a blazing inferno with gasoline.

That’s surely worth some mainstream media coverage.

— The Quote of the Day goes to Kevin Drum, talking about how Wall Street has escaped penalty despite blowing up the world economy:

Years ago I remember a lot of moderate liberals talking about how the Bush era radicalized them. For me, it was the economic collapse of 2008 that did it. The financial industry almost literally came within a hair’s breadth of destroying the world, but even so it took only a few short months for them to close ranks with Republicans and the rich to prevent anything serious being done to rein them in. Profits are back up, new regulations are barely more than window dressing, nothing was done to help underwater homeowners, bonuses are as obscene as ever, unemployment remains sky high, and the public has somehow been convinced that this was all their own fault — or perhaps the fault of big government, or big deficits, or something. But the finance industry has escaped almost entirely unscathed. It’s mind boggling. If this doesn’t change your view of who really runs the world, I don’t know what would.

It is indeed truly mind boggling.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,