So who are the largest investment banks in the world?
1. Bank of America
3. JP Morgan
5. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
6. Royal Bank of Scotland Group
7. ING Group
8. Credit Agricole
10. BNP Paribus SA
How about the top brokers in the world?
1. JP Morgan Chase & Co.
2. Goldman, Sachs & Co.
5. Bank of America
6. Lehman Brothers
7. Merrill Lynch
8. Morgan Stanley
9. Bear Stearns
10. Credit Suisse
Finally who are the largest banks in the world?
1. UBS AG - Switzerland
2. Barclays - UK
3. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group - UK
4. Deutsche Bank AG - Germany
5. BNP Paribus SA - France
6. The Bank of Toyko Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. - Japan
7. ABN AMPRO Holding NV - Netherlands
8. Societe Generale - France
9. Credit Agricole SA - France
10. Bank of America NA - USA
11. JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association - USA
12. Banco Santander Central Hispano SA - Spain
13. Unicredito Italiano SpA - Italy
14. Credit Suisse Group - Switzerland
15. Citibank NA - USA
16. ING Bank NV - Netherlands
17. Bank of Scotland - UK
18. Fortis Bank NV/SA - Belgium
19. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation - Japan
20. HSBC Bank plc - UK
Notice the names appearing on all three lists? How about the fact that four of the top 20 banks in the world are UK, three from France, two from Switzerland, two from the Netherlands, and one each from Germany, Spain, Italy and Belgium. Hummm, 15 of the 20 largest banks in the world are from Europe.
So there is a concentration of wealth but also a concentration of credit exposure. So far these banks have lost billions of dollars from investing in the US sub-prime mortgage market and the credit crisis but do we really know the scope of the crisis?
Losses of nearly $400 billion have already been written off from sub-prime mortgages. A confidential study by Bridgewater Associates, the second largest hedge fund in the world expects total losses from the credit crisis to reach $1.6 trillion, yes trillion. That is four times the current staggering losses.
One of these major players has already gone under (Bear Stearns) and more can be expected if the credit losses approach that level. In fact one of the major players, Fortis Bank, expects a collapse of the US financial markets with 6,000 US banks filing bankruptcy and major corporations like General Motors and Citigroup becoming victims to the US financial meltdown.
Very quietly 7 US banks have already gone bankrupt this year but are we prepared for a massive meltdown? Today the Bush administration announced we face the largest budget deficit in history. Oil prices are out of sight and housing prices are collapsing. Perhaps the meltdown is already well underway.
Of course many of these institutions are on the earlier list I published of the financial institutions that have paid billions of dollars in fines for fraud, price fixing and other economic high jinks that used to land you in jail but now just get you a slap on the wrist and a tax deduction.
Many of these banks already recovered billions of dollars of losses with their manipulation of the oil futures market so maybe the projections of Fortis have to be updated by adjusting them for the billions of dollars already stolen from the citizens of the world at the gas pumps.
Will we ever reach the point where our financial institutions won't have to steal, manipulate and defraud the public in order to cover their losses from creative stock frauds which should never have happened in the first place if the government regulators were doing their job? Stay tuned for Armageddon.