How you finance Goldman Sach’s profits

Mother Jones
by Nomi Prins

07/28/09

Bank holding companies (which all the biggest financial firms now are) come under the regulatory purview of the Fed, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the FDIC. The capital they keep in reserve in case of emergency (like, say, toxic assets hemorrhaging on their books, or credit derivatives trades not being paid) is supposed to be greater than investment banks’. That’s the trade-off. You get access to federal assistance, you pony up more capital, and you take less risk. Goldman didn’t like the last part. It makes most of its money speculating, or trading. So it asked the Fed to be exempt from what’s called the Market Risk Rules that bank holding companies adhere to when computing their risk. Keep in mind that by virtue of becoming a bank holding company, Goldman received a total of $63.6 billion in federal subsidies (that we know about — probably more if the Fed were ever forced to disclose its $7.6 trillion of borrower details)...

//tinyurl.com/lpa59f


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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