US Banks Understating Debt

11 Apr

From AFP:

Major US banks have been masking the size of their debt, and thereby their risk levels, by temporarily lowering it just before reporting it to the public, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The newspaper, citing data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said 18 banks have understated the debt used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42 percent at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods.

The banks included Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase and Co, Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc, the Journal said.

It said the practice was legal but gave investors a skewed impression of the level of risk that financial firms are taking the vast majority of the time.

It noted that overborrowing by banks was one of the causes of the financial crisis.

Barnaby Joyce has been warning about the dangers of rising US debt since October last year.

Now we see that not only is the US Government going deeper into debt by the month.  We also learn that the Wall Street banks are fiddling the books to mask their true debt and risk levels.

Barnaby is right.

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