Tag Archives: bailout

How to know if (when) your bank is insolvent

Analysing a bank’s financial statements is a bit like suing your family lawyer for malpractice; the jury may be on your side but the evidence is invariably circumstantial.  However, in times such as these  when even charities are screwed by their bankers – it is best not to trust anyone. Worry not, we at Kafila are not just concerned with playing theory-theory and pseudo-secular Hindu-bashing, we are also deeply concerned about the financial crisis – it has a direct impact on the bonuses taken home by our CEO and board-members. Accordingly, I offer you a simple step by step way to figure out when your bank will go under.Written in an easy conversational style, this post is an invaluable tool pedagogic for Kafila readers both young and old. Stay with me guys, this is going to be fun.

First a bit of background: In May 2008, Vikram Pandit finally stamped his authority on the behemoth company that he had been chosen to lead. Signalling a bold break from the past, he replaced Citigroup’s 2007 slogan “Let’s get it done” by reviving Citigroup’s 1970s slogan “The Citi Never Sleeps”.   While the new/old ad campaign is sure to bring back memories of more profitable times, the firm’s precarious financial situation suggests that The Citi apart, Pandit won’t be getting much rest either. Mystery Question: What will it take to wipe Citi out?

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Bailout or Bankruptcy?

With the economy in the doldrums, Barack Obama in the White House, and Elton John releasing a line of crystal encrusted Ipods for charity, it’s suddenly fashionable to talk about “Sacrifice” once more; a trend that senior management at General Motors seems to have picked up on.  Their December 2, 2008 proposal to the Senate Banking Committee calls for sacrifices no less than nine times in twenty four pages from everyone including stake holders, share holders, bond holders, management, senior executives and in one instance, even the GM balance sheet (it has been asked to sacrifice leverage).   That the Company wrangled out $13.4 billion from the TARP suggests an era in which nothing succeeds like sacrifice, but the accompanying term sheet suggests that the time for martyrdom has just begun.

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Why Mulally can af-Ford to dilly dally

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You know it’s been a bad season for auto sales when the Chief Executive of Ford personally calls you up when you buy a car. Michael Snapper, a lawyer from Grand Rapids Michigan, received such a call from Ford Chief Exec Alan Mulally to thank him for choosing a 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid over rival Toyota Motor Corp.’s wildly popular Prius. Snapper was quoted as saying that Mulally’s actions “reflect a new attitude and a real commitment” to improving the company. Given that US auto sales plunged 38 % in January and Ford’s sales fell 39 %, Mulally is going to have to make a lot more calls if he hopes to save the company.

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Generally Motored! Why GM has the Government by the Gonads

Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next…” As General Motors representatives prepare for the February 17 discussion with the Treasury Department on viability plans, they shall be under some pressure to illustrate how they plan to pull the company of its $44 billion dollar rabbit-hole of debt and re-emerge into the sunny wonderland where selling cars actually generates profit. The company is expected to show progress on negotiations with its creditors and must have firm commitments by end-March, else it could be forced to pay back the $13.5 billion loaned by the Treasury thus far.  Given GM’s current liquidity crisis, a misstep on February 17 could plunge it into bankruptcy.

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