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Friday, August 28, 2009

Misc: Cerberus, Flippers and Market

by Calculated Risk on 8/28/2009 04:00:00 PM

While we wait for the first bank failure of the day, here is the Problem Bank List (Unofficial) Aug 28, 2009 .

And a few interesting notes ...

From the WSJ: Cerberus Holders Elect to Leave Core Funds

Cerberus Capital Management's investors overwhelmingly want out of the firm's core hedge funds, asking for the return of more than $5.5 billion, or almost 71% of the fund assets, according to people familiar with the matter.

"We have been surprised by this response," Cerberus chief Stephen Feinberg and co-founder William Richter wrote in a letter delivered to clients late Thursday.
And see Tanta's first post on CR in 2006: Tanta: Let Slip the Dogs of Hell (T wrote under her own byline soon after).
I still haven’t gotten over the fact that there’s a “capital management” group out there having named itself “Cerberus”. Those of you who were not asleep in Miss Buttkicker’s Intro to Western Civ will recognize Cerberus; the rest of you may have picked up the mythological fix from its reprise as “Fluffy” in the first Harry Potter novel. Wherever you get your culture, Cerberus is the three-headed dog who guards the gates of Hell. It takes three heads to do that, of course, because it’s never clear, in theology or finance, whether the idea is to keep the righteous from falling into the pit or the demons from escaping out of it (the third head is busy meeting with the regulators). Cerberus is relevant not just because it supplies me with today’s metaphor, but because it was the Biggest Dog of three (including Citigroup and Aozora, a Japanese bank) who in April bought a 51% stake in GMAC’s mega-mortgage operation, GM having, of course, once been renowned as one of the Big Three Automakers until it became one of the Big Three Financing Outfits With A Sideline In Cars. I tried to find a link for you to Aozora Bank’s announcement of the purchase, but the only press release I could find for that day involved the loss of customer data. They must have been so busy letting GMAC into the underworld that the dog head keeping the deposit tickets from getting out got distracted.
I bring all this up not just to stick it to Citicorp, but because we’ve all been asking the question lately of who will be the bagholder when the exotic/subprime mortgage problem finds a home. We have noted in our discussions that credit risk can move in two directions: the wholesaler takes it off the originator and the bond investor takes it off the wholesaler/issuer with the helpful assistance of protection sellers in the hedge fund credit-swap market, but when the “DETOUR” signs pop up, the bond investor can work really hard on forcing it back to the wholesaler/issuer, who can try to put it back to the originator, who gets to try to recover something in a foreclosure sale. If the originator has any financial strength left to buy loans back with, that is; see the sad stories of Ownit, Option One, Fremont, New Century, etc.
[CR: remember T wrote this in 2006]
If you thought the only thing that would stop the circle jerk of risk was putting some credit and pricing discipline into the game, I guess you’re just a weenie like me. Anyone who can make sense of this is free to set me straight. And if the answer has “sorting socks” in it, don’t bother. I’ve tried that.
Read the entire post ... Tanta wouldn't have been "surprised" by the "response" of Cerberus' investors. BTW, Tanta and I first started talking about bagholders in early 2005 - and we both agreed it would largely be the U.S. taxpayer.

Stock Market CrashesClick on graph for larger image in new window.

And a market graph from Doug Short.

This matches up the market bottoms for four crashes (with an interim bottom for the Great Depression).

Note that the Great Depression crash is based on the DOW; the three others are for the S&P 500.

And a flipper in 2006 (ht Yal). I believe this is her house today on Zillow, around $650K: