Tuesday, May 26

Doggie And The Banks

Madeleine and Doggie, who has been with us for as long as I can remember. Madeleine too.

Tonight Sonnet and I prepare dinner, which the kids reject. In fairness, it is mostly for adults: my tabouli (sans bulgar), flava beans, mozerella and tomatoes and avocado+olive oil. Wine. It is nice not to work tomorrow, and especially in New York which was always a hard Monday when I was here. Sometimes in those early days I awoke at 3AM concerned about some client or unpleasant Managing Director .. or worse, anal freaked out Associate .. ah, those horrors of the first job with little training yet deals appearing in the Wall Street Journal. No shit - I modelled the merger of C&S Sovran and NCNB creating NationsBank (now BankAmerica) the largest US banking deal of the time. I had no idea what I was doing. Today I look at the banking sector and wonder how it all went wrong. 

 From '89-93 when I covered the sector there were over 10,000 banks consolidating to about 7,000; we had to watch deposit-concentration which prevented certain mergers - nobody wished to see a dominant player in a city or region+regulators aware of product lines and overlapping sales, concerned about conflicts, all monitored closely it seemed by the state. The bankers I worked for intense, motivated and professional. They were also honest. 

 The taste of the S&L meltdown still with us and lessons learned, though perhaps not by Republicans who begged for more deregulation (thank you, Phil Gramm, you fuck) supported by Clinton and voila - a repeat of the Garn-St Germain Depository Act which cost us, the tax-payer, some $200 billion in the late '80s. This now seems like peanuts. By the mid-1990s the temptation for packaged mortgages, off-balance sheet transactions, securitisation and FDIC insurance (all buzzy words, I admit) led to temptations beyond belief. And today beggers belief. These guys from back then laughing on the golf course. Retired, of course, every one of them.

Sonnet reminds me that cousin Kelley originally gave Doggie to Eitan, who did not take to the, er, personality. This was 2000. Madeleine eventually discovered the unloved stuffed animal and the rest, as they say, is history.