The international experts who are in charge of monitoring the solvency of major banks published a list of the 29 most important banks. If one of them goes down, the report said, this could threaten the international financial structure.
Unfortunately for the experts, by the time the report was published, one of them had gone belly-up. It was bailed out by the Belgian government. The bank: Dexia.
This bank was one of 20 major banks, called Primary Dealers, that the New York Federal Reserve Bank used to carry out its operations in the capital markets. (Until October 31 — Halloween — so was MF Global.) The experts at the FED had no clue. As usual.
As recently as July, this bank had been given a clean bill of health by Europe’s bank-rating agency.
This caught the credit-ratings agencies flat-footed. As always. These agencies have shown repeatedly that they are close to useless as far as early warnings are concerned.
On the list of 29 crucial banks, 7 U.S. banks appear.
Of course, today there are only 28 crucial banks.
The entire banking structure is at risk, according to the experts. But they have proven to be blind men leading the blind. Their promise of a way to monitor and intervene a domino effect is a case of blind man’s bluff.
There will be no warning.
You have been warned.