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When we held our preparing for the "Bankruptcy Cycle" conference call on July 16th, 2008, I took plenty of heat from those who couldnt afford for us to be right. Facts are stubborn little critters, in the end.

Here is our US Bank Failure Chart (1), updated for Wamu...

This bank failure chart includes Washington Mutual transaction. The JPM purchase was "facilitated" by the FDIC, which acted as receiver after the bank was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision yesterday. The FDIC press release explicitly states “FDIC Facilitates Transaction that Protects All Depositors and Comes at No Cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund” in its headline.

By comparison, the last similar purchases brokered by the FDIC were the acquisitions of First National bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank by Mutual of Omaha in late July. In those transactions Mutual of Omaha assumed all deposits –both insured and uninsured, and purchased the majority of the two failed bank’s assets. The FDIC did commit capital in those instances however, purchasing $862 million of the combined $3.6 billion held by the acquired banks outright, whereas the entire purchase cost of Washington Mutual fell on JP Morgan. As such, the WAMU may not end up officially listed by the FDIC in their closing and assistance transaction list, the list that all other data points on this chart were drawn from -but it’s inclusion here still serves to illustrate the scope of the crises facing the US banking system currently.

Keith McCullough and Andrew Barber
Research Edge LLC