Report from Maine

My good friend David Kotok has a :

TAG – An Interim Report from Maine
August 1, 2012


What will banks do when they get $1.3 trillion in free money? Sometimes, they misbehave.


That’s the point made by Chris Whalen in his latest post at Zero Hedge. Thank you, Chris, for permission to put the piece on our website for others to see. Here is the link:


We are in Maine. By tonight, about 30 people will gather in the dining room. The early birds are already in discussion about banks, Europe, and the FDIC TAG program, which expires on December 31, 2012. We will debate this tonight with Whalen and others.


Whalen makes a very important point. The big banks funded over a trillion dollars of zero-cost money. If you read his piece carefully, you can see the degree to which it encourages speculative activity. What happens on December 31, when this program expires?


Will depositors, in US dollar terms, worry about safety and return to other forms of placement? Without the FDIC’s (read: federal government’s) guarantee of unlimited amounts of non-interest-bearing deposits, will deposits reflow elsewhere? Will this interfere with the pricing in the repo market? Is this distracting the Federal Reserve from policymaking? There are more questions than answers when it comes to this program.


So far, officialdom at the FDIC in Washington DC, the Fed, and elsewhere has been silent. There will be lively discussions of this and other topics in Maine.



David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer


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