Thursday, September 09, 2010

Bad Loans In Bad Banks

Watch the cognitive dissonance at work as someone at Moody's who should know better tries to explain why bad loans are now just a bad memory:

"It is clear to us that bank asset quality issues are past the peak," said Moody's Senior Vice President Craig Emrick. "However, charge-offs and non-performers remain near historic highs."

I can't make this stuff up.  Bad loan writedowns cannot by definition be finished if non-performing loans are at all-time highs.  No wonder Moody's wouldn't look at my resume.  I would have posed a threat to their resident experts.

Once the non-performing loans go far enough down the drain we ought to treat our banks the way Ireland is treating Anglo-Irish Bank by splitting it into good and bad parts.  Will it actually happen?  Don't count on it.  Failing to take prompt corrective action against systemic fraud is one of the reasons the U.S. is slowly losing its competitive preeminence.  Businesses don't like operating in banana republics.