Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FDIC Giving Distressed Real Estate Away and Other Distressing News

The FDIC conducted the second bulk sale of its sizable commercial real estate portfolio, which it inherited from all of the bankrupt banks deemed too small to survive. As a taxpayer, you'll be happy to hear it went off without the hitch and we get to keep much of the upside to boot! Wouldn't want to miss out on any of the upside, considering all the downside that's been shoveled down our throats in the past few years. Colony Capital and a minority owned investment firm named Cogsville LLC are proud owners of $1.85 billion (notional) in distressed assets. The investors paid 59 cents on the dollar, or $445 million for a 40% equity stake, with the FDIC retaining 60%, and (this is my favorite part) they get a seven-year, zero-interest loan, to reduce the upfront cash to $218 million. Let me repeat my favorite part: seven-year, zero-interest financing. I know I've been grousing for awhile now how all that zero interest financing is only benefitting the banks and they aren't passing the savings on to consumers and small businesses. Turns out I was wrong. All that zero percent money is helping large private equity funds goose their returns too!

Let's see, how else are we boosting the economy? Oh, according to the latest Fed lending survey, hedge funds, in addition to private equity funds, are getting better terms from their lenders. Consumers? Not so much. Dealers reported that funding markets for key consumer loans remained under stress, with a quarter of dealers reporting that liquidity and functioning of the consumer loan market had deteriorated in recent months. So what to do if you are a small business or consumer that needs a loan and you can't get one because your bank is too busy offering good deals to hedge funds? Quit complaining and start your own fund! Better yet, find the nearest woman or minority, call them CEO, and give the FDIC to call. You'll get all sorts of zero-percent financing, provided you take a few Las Vegas condos off their hands.

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