Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Credit Markets need help but it is still a scam

The latest issue is said to be that mark to market accounting is the cause of this financial freeze up. The assets held by one company have to be marked to the current market price. All this means is that if you sold 10 apples at the market for 10$ because you had to get to a wedding and needed a quick sale, you set the price for everyone else also selling apples. They would have to show on their books that all the apples they had were $1 each regardless of the fact that maybe next month they apples you have stored away may be worth $2 or even $10 a piece. In a very liquid market assets that are marked to market will adjust quickly to the market price if there is a demandfor the product. The next day someone may "bid" for your apples at $5 a piece which might be a better fair market price. Problems arise if no one wants any apples at all. I you try to sell your apples and no one makes an offer to you then, in theory, your mark to market would essentially be zero. If this was just an off day at the market, but if your books were being audited the next day, the value of your all of your apples would be worth zero. You could have thousands of apples that are likely to be worth a substantial amount of money but with the accounting rules of mark to market you would be insolvent. Your shareholders would panic and your stock would likely drop off a cliff. This is what has happened at wall street because the market to sell mortgage backed securities disappeared and therefore it become impossible to put a price on the assets or mark them to market. Another wrench in the works is that these securities have nothing really to do with the actual real estate value of the collateralizing real estate itself, but they are collateralized by mortgages that have the actual real estate as its collateral. If it was one for one and each mortgage was still tied to its original piece of property the value of the underlying asset could be assessed by comparing it to houses sold in the market. Wall street begin selling and selling these mbs based on the potential cash flow from principal and interest over the course of the loan. They took a big cut of the pie for commissions and loaded quality mortgages with poor mortgages but still priced them all as if they would preform to full term. An investment was made in this paper and it could be sold or traded again and each time a commission or fee was charged. There has been billions of dollars made on mortgages from main street just for trading such instruments. Now many banks and mortgage companies are getting stung because once defaults started on these packages of loans not one was willing to pay full price. The market collapsed and this mess started. Now those with the money are waiting for Washington to ride in to the rescue and allow the bigger and better banks to swallow up the written down assets for pennies on the dollar. However, the people on main street are expected and have been expected to pay the full dollar amount of their current loan with out any term changes or reductions even though billions have been made from the mortgages and the new buyers are going to make billions more because they now have the right to collect 100 cents on the dollar for assets they purchased for a song. The home owner has just become a pawn in the game. This wall street/government allowed mess is going to make billions more for banks and wall street but it has already destroyed trillions in wealth that belonged to main street homeowners. The system was manipulated and not regulated property by the government and now the banks hold everyone hostage as they wait for everything to hit bottom dollar and then they move in usually with government assistance to quadrupole profits again. There is no excuse for what has happened to those who have worked hard and done the right things and held their financial worth in real estate. Now the big idea is to get the prices stabilized after people of in many cases lost their equity completely and the banks again have put the sleeper hold on the credit markets and they are cleaning up.

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