Audit Notes: Cramer Creamed, Elizabeth Warren, BofA Mods

Reason No. 5 billion not to listen to Jim Cramer or other market snake-oil salesmen:

Jim Cramer said on CNBC’s Mad Money that he made a mistake when he recommended investors to sell their stocks ahead of voting for the health care bill.

That was a few days after he said the passage of health-care reform would crush the stock market. Since his call, markets have hit 18-month highs, naturally.

— Good for The New York Times for fronting a profile of consumer advocate and TARP cop (and my fellow Okie) Elizabeth Warren, although where was this a year ago?

The piece has some good background on what she’s done in academia:

Her research helped change the stereotype of bankrupt people as feckless deadbeats: many, she showed, are middle-class workers upended by divorce or illness.

Plus background that helps show why Warren gets this stuff:

While Ms. Warren was building her career, her father became a maintenance man and her three older brothers back in Oklahoma worked in construction, car repair and the oil fields. Among them, they have endured all manner of financial crisis, including foreclosure, according to Ms. Warren’s husband.

Nicely done.

American Banker’s story on Bank of America’s mortgage-modification plan has some good information some of the other papers don’t have. Namely, this will be good for BofA:

“B of A has already taken significant marks to these loans,” said Jefferson Harralson, a managing director at KBW Inc.’s Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

He noted that early last year B of A charged off $17 billion of a portfolio of option ARMs that Countrywide had originated, which had an unpaid principal balance of $22 billion.

“Because these loans are so far underwater and have been charged off, it’s a good deal for both the bank and the borrower,” Harralson said.

Jack Shackett, B of A’s head of credit-loss prevention, said as much.

“There is significant upside for us in this process,” he told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

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.