Out of Control Policy Blog

Wall Street's Realignment

In 2002, the NFL realigned its league from six divisions to eight divisions. In the late 90s, Major League Baseball changed its playoff structure, added new teams, realigned divisions, and sent the Milwaukee Brewers from the American League to the National League (also the last time the Yankee's would win a World Series). Major sports franchises are somewhat used to shake-ups in their industry from time to time.

Wall Street is not.

While the dust has yet to settle and the outcome of The Bailout still not written in stone, the Congressional plan to spend $700 billion could mark the end of Wall Street's realignment. In the past week Washington Mutual declared bankruptcy–the largest bank failure in history, and yet it's still been just a blip on the screen–and was taken over by the FDIC. They quickly sold it off to JP Morgan Chase who has been quite the buyer in this bear market. Wachovia has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and last night decided to sell to Citigroup before it went under.

All this has created a virtual "Big Three" for the financial community:

Bank of America: acquired Countrywide & Merrill Lynch and is the largest commercial bank in terms of market capitalization
JP Morgan Chase & Co.: acquired Bear Sterns and Washington Mutual to add to its already wide sweeping financial empire which already included Chase Bank and BankOne
Citigroup Inc.: acquired Wachovia, adding to its array of divisions including Citibank, Smith Barney; survived a potential bankruptcy by reaching out to Saudi and Emiratie investors earlier this year

All and all, here is the bulk of major transactions over the past few weeks...

Federal bailouts:

  • AIG ($85 billion with 80% share)
  • Fannie & Freddie (take over, $200 to $500 billion)
  • FSOB: Financial Stability Oversight Board ($700 billion, the new agency created for buying up mortgage backed securities)
  • Bear Stearns ($29 billion, later to JPMC)
  • Banking industry through Fed cash infusion ($70 million)
  • Auto Industry ($25 billion)
  • Players to be named later
  • Other financial institutions to change hands:

  • Merrill Lynch (bought by BOA)
  • Lehman Bros (bankrupt, bought mainly by Barclays)
  • Wachovia (bought by Citigroup)
  • Washington Mutual (FDIC take over, bought by JP Morgan)
  • 13 bank failures in 10 states in 2008 (takeover by FDIC)
  • Financial institutions that are still "ok" (not comprehensive):

  • Morgan Stanley ($9B from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group)
  • Goldman Sachs ($5B from Warren Buffett)
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Wells Fargo
  • Commerce Bank (my bank, yippee!)
  • Anthony Randazzo is Director of Economic Research


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