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Thursday, April 30, 2009

swine flu: coming soon to an investment bank near you!

So the boyfriend of a woman in my office works for one of our competitors. Today they received confirmation that someone in their office has swine flu and the office is being shutdown until Tuesday. Which if you know anything about working for an investment bank is just nuts. People in my office have come in with pneumonia before for goodness sake...

Anyway, apparently people in hazmat suits invaded our competitors office and everyone was evacuated and there was utter craziness going on over there. Which, I guess, means more business for us until Tuesday.

Unfortunately for my office (including me), the woman lives with her boyfriend and so you see where this is leading, don't you? Yes, we are all going to get swine flu and it is going to suck. And then I'll probably give it to Paul who will spread it to his office, and forget subprime mortgages, swine flu will end up being the downfall of Wall Street.

So I am dreading going to work tomorrow, which honestly doesn't make sense because, let's face it, we've all already been exposed considering that person was just a confirmed case of swine flu today but has presumably been going to work all the while and my coworker has been sharing an apartment with her contaminated boyfriend and coming to work and contaminating all of us...Oh God, I don't feel so good...

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wingless was still breathing at 8:40 PM - 0 comments

Friday, March 20, 2009

actually not a bad time to be a credit risk analyst

So you may have heard about all the financial-crisis-hoopla stuff going on recently. Just a bit. And yes, Paul lost his financial industry job last November. And nope, things haven't really improved much within the industry since then. So he was understandably surprised when he got a call. For an interview. In fact, he didn't even answer the phone, so convinced was he that the random 415 area code number was a telemarketer.

"Haven't you sent out some resumes recently?" I asked.

"Yeah," he replied.

"So, uh...?" I said.

And lo and behold his phone jingled that he had a voicemail. And someone wanted to interview him. So he interviewed. And this afternoon FedEx dropped off an offer later and as of March 30th we will officially once again be a two income household.

We both feel so blessed. Especially because we were able to arrange a last minute getaway to Hawaii for next week!

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wingless was still breathing at 7:46 PM - 1 comments

Thursday, September 18, 2008

one of those days that makes substance abuse seem really, really appealing

You know, I know every job has its off days, but seriously? I feel like I've just been punched in the head by a sumo wrestler. An extra big one.

You don't want to know what my day consisted of, but let's just say when you're dealing with crap that involves numbers with six to nine zeros after them...things can get Stressful. Or STRESSFUL!!! even. It doesn't help that tensions are high for everyone in the company, what with the feeling of impending doom floating around everywhere and everyone wondering if their jobs are the ones that are going to be identified as "overlap" (which is just a euphemism for, see you at the unemployment line!). Yeah, good times right?

So anyway, I am finally home. After only an eleven hour work day (and when I say eleven hours I mean eleven hours, like I got up to pee twice and that was pretty much it). It would have been a twelve hour day except I forgot to set my alarm last night and woke up to my cell phone vibrating next to my head and my coworker going "UH?" So yeah, even though I got to sleep for an extra hour, no my day did not start off well and it kind of just got worse from there.

Somehow I don't see things getting better anytime soon either. But luckily I am going on a two and a half week vacation next week! The only question is whether or not my key-card will still work when I get back. Or if the office will even still be there. You know, whateve's....

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wingless was still breathing at 5:21 PM - 0 comments

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

we laugh but we cry

LIBOR is up, the stock market is down, like what, 400 points, bills are trading at almost zero yield. Um yeah, is it too soon to call this an apocalypse? I laugh but I'm really crying inside.

Okay, okay, am I being overly dramatic? Maybe. Even if I lose my job, I'll find another one....right? Right?? The good news is I passed my Series 63 today so if I get to keep my job I am (almost) officially able to execute trades! Wahoo! If I have a job that is.


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wingless was still breathing at 4:15 PM - 0 comments

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the sky is falling

Holy cow, things seem to get more dire by the day. WAMU was trading at a 1 handle for awhile today and so was AIG for those of you following along at home. Fun stuff.

Turns out this whole credit crisis is about to hit a lot closer to home for yours truly as my job may now be in jeopardy thanks to the events that unfolded today. (People in the know might now very well know which company I'm working for but since I think mainly only friends read this anyway, I don't really care). Ah well, at least if things really go south it'll come with a severance package and an unemployment check. And I'll take it as a sign from God that yes, it is time to go and get that MBA after all.

There were lots of jokes flying around about our job security in the office today, we all laughed but I'm pretty sure everyone was crying a little bit inside.

Still, things could be worse. Of course, they'll probably get worse so I shouldn't be saying that. It still boggles my mind how most people don't get how serious things are, how it WILL affect EVERYONE and not just those big bad wall street banker types...

And while we're talking about all this, Hot Air has a great post entitled: Whose policies led to the credit crisis? which links to a 2003 NYT article with some awesome quotes from Democrats that make me wonder who re-elected these chumps?? And will they continue to be re-elected even now when it's become apparent how completely retarded and even dangerous they are when it comes to our economy?

"These two entities - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - are not facing any kind of financial crisis," said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. "The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

"I don’t see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing," Mr. Watt said.

Erm, yeah, as Bart Simpson would say, the ironing is delicious. If only it weren't so sad. Read the whole thing if you care to be well informed on the genesis of this entire crisis.

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wingless was still breathing at 3:34 PM - 0 comments

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's the end of the world as we know it....

Everyone take cover. It's so weird to me that people outside of the industry don't get that it's a big freaking deal when an investment bank like Lehman goes down. Hello? Do you not get that investment banks serve a purpose? They're not just big useless behemoths that make a ton of money....


wingless was still breathing at 4:37 PM - 4 comments

Sunday, August 10, 2008

cry me a river

This article is one of those where the SF Chron writers were clearly going for sympathetic sob story but have totally missed the mark.

It's got all the elements - family who has owned their home for 54 years, two elderly parents suffering from dementia, except oops, little details reveal some less than sympathetic details:

Most foreclosures nowadays are homes purchased just a year or two ago with no money down. But the Gardners' home is different. Joann's parents, Johnnie Gardner, 87, and Estelle, 88, bought the two-bedroom in the Sobrante Park neighborhood in 1954 for $11,500. His salary as an electrician at the Oakland naval shipyard allowed them to make the payments.

But in recent years, Joann and her brother refinanced it several times for increasingly larger amounts.

The final refinance at the end of 2006 left the family owing $454,000. The monthly payments of $3,362 exceeded the household income of $3,144.

What happened to the money from all the refinances?

Gardner can't quite say. Some went to paying off credit cards; some was eaten up in huge loan fees. What is clear is that the family has not made a mortgage payment since December 2006.

Sounds to me like they were using mom and dad's house as their own personal piggy bank. How do you lose track of $454,000? And how much of this money are we really supposed to believe went to fees? Even if they were charged a ridiculous rate like 20% that's still over $350,000...Not to mention they've been living there for free since 2006, pretty ironic that elsewhere in the story they mention how they're getting a $1,500 check for moving out "early."

Since it's SFGate.com there are always some really goofy comments like this one:

impeach_bush 8/10/2008 7:22:39 AM

There should be a law against evicting anyone from a home that has passed through one generation or more. There would also be safeguards in place with regard to using that home for financial gains to just to insure the home would never be repossessed.

Boys and girls, if "impeach_bush" had his way and such a law was indeed enacted, what do the laws of supply and demand say would happen?

Yup, you guessed it, no more loans for anyone who's home has passed through one generation more.

If I didn't know better I would have almost thought it was a sarcastic comment, but given the source, I'm guessing it's a completely serious statement...And that's pretty scary. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this guy is an Obama supporter.

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wingless was still breathing at 9:14 PM - 0 comments

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Quick thought on the financial crisis

So now that the credit/housing markets have blown up we're hearing a lot of the politicians lining up to criticize and screech, wondering, "Where were the regulators?"

It's odd though, because looking back it's clear what more regulation would have done - it would have led to a lot of minority applicants not receiving loans and not becoming homeowners (though only temporary homeowners since the numbers clearly show foreclosures are highest in minority areas). In the past politicians have not been shy about calling for increased numbers of minority homeowners, so I think it's fairly safe to say any "regulation" would have been met with calls of racism and/or discrimination.

The politicians got exactly what they called for and besides, where were they in all of this? Why weren't they paying attention to this stuff?


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wingless was still breathing at 9:07 AM - 0 comments

Saturday, July 12, 2008

the sky is falling

You know the market's not in good shape when you hear this at a fixed income sales desk: "Wait, that's the dollar price? I thought that was the yield!"


wingless was still breathing at 7:11 PM - 0 comments

Sunday, April 13, 2008

the year of the perpetual cold

I've been sick as a dog for two straight weeks now and I'm starting to wonder if my facial orifices will ever stop leaking mucus. It's as though my brain has liquefied and is slowly draining out through my nose and throat (and ocassionally eyes).

Because I am somewhat of a masochist (as are all people crazy enough to work in this industry) I only missed one day of work and left early another day (by "left early" I mean I only worked eight hours). It all makes sense to me why I do it during the week but the weekend comes and I'm like, man, I am an idiot. The combination of overworking myself and being on immuno-suppressants is not making this sinus infection/cold an easy thing to get over...and is probably why it became a sinus infection to begin with.

All this makes me really question my ability to stay in this industry long-term. It's tough being in a position where you are really sick and really need the rest and yet really can't be away from your desk for more than one day in a row. While it's nice to feel like a necessary and vital person at work, it would be nice to take a day off and not feel guilty when I come back because everyone is complaining about what a crappy day they had yesterday.

I don't really have a point in writing all this, just wanted to complain a bit since I am sick and feeling crappy. The antibiotics definitely seem to be helping but have side effects of their own that are making me feel less than 100%.

Oh, and the Rockets really need to rally and put the beat down on those Denver Nuggets in the second half.

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wingless was still breathing at 7:00 PM - 0 comments

Thursday, April 03, 2008

your tax dollars at work

Senate Foreclosure Relief Bill Advances

>A floor battle still looms over whether to change bankruptcy laws to help borrowers trapped in subprime mortgages keep their homes. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., is the top backer of the idea, which has drawn withering opposition from banks, Republicans and a few Democrats.

Durbin said more than 2 million homeowners face foreclosure by the end of 2009, many of whom were duped into signing mortgages with unfair terms. The Center for Responsible Lending, which combats predatory lending practices, estimates about 600,000 people would keep their homes under Durbin's plan instead of ending up before bankruptcy judges who aren't permitted to adjust mortgage terms, regardless of how onerous they are.

The hotly contested provision rewriting the bankruptcy code, opponents say, would allow borrowers to effectively rewrite their mortgage contracts and would prompt lenders to tighten their standards and raise interest rates.

Between this and the astonishingly stupid questions asked during the Bear Stearns bailout hearing, I'm pretty disgusted with how completely retarded the people who supposedly lead this country are.

Hm...volatility's a problem in the market right now?

Apparently a Democrat's solution to that is to introduce more risk.

Because, obviously, that's helpful.

As someone who someday hopes to be a homeowner I have no desire to allow my mortgage rates to be driven up just so some irresponsible person can stay in a home they could never afford in the first place. Because let's face it, a lot of these people knew their mortgages were going to go up, possibly to a point they couldn't afford but they ignored that risk and decided to bet that the housing market had no ceiling. It sucks and it's sad, but it's a risk THEY chose to take and I don't really feel like I need to be punished for their choices. Prices in SF are still high and if interest rates are 1-2% higher than they are now Paul and I will be renting forever.

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wingless was still breathing at 3:39 PM - 0 comments

Monday, February 25, 2008

seriously shocked

Obviously this is because I live in lalaland but I honestly didn't know we were still arguing about the benefits of NAFTA.

I mean, really?

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wingless was still breathing at 4:42 PM - 0 comments

Friday, January 18, 2008

Marcy Kaptur Gets Real Confused

Does anyone else think it might not be the best idea to let this woman have a say in our economic/fiscal policy? Why do politicians who don't know their head from their you-know-where when it comes to economics have the power to tax us?

(Anyone surprised she's a far left whack-job?)

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wingless was still breathing at 4:04 PM - 2 comments

Thursday, January 10, 2008

suck it up

Glad to see Michelle and I are on the same page when it comes to the subprime catastrophe.

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wingless was still breathing at 4:07 PM - 0 comments

Thursday, December 06, 2007

crunchy credit

As I've mentioned before, one of the main products I cover at work are mortgage/asset backed securities. Which puts me smack dab in the middle of all this sub-prime-credit-crunch-oh-my-god-the-sky-is-falling crisis. I'm like on the front lines yo.

I gotta tell you, I'm really not happy about the plan unveiled today. I never thought I would say this but I mostly agree with a SF Gate editorial writer...the Bush administration's plan really is the "methadone plan for the mortgage crisis."

This is one of the things I hate about politics. Since it's an election year all the politicians have to act like they care when people are losing their houses, but let's be honest with ourselves here: These sub-prime borrowers are not people you should feel sorry for. Why? Well, for the most part at least, these are the people who shouldn't have even been given loans in the first place! A lot of them put no money down on their homes, already had bad FICO scores and lose nothing except their mortgage payments (which you can look at as rent anyway) if they default. Why am I supposed to feel bad for them again? They got to live in houses they never should have been able to afford for two years. Sure the lenders and Wall Street and all those funds are to blame for this mess, but that doesn't mean sub-prime borrowers have necessarily been victimized in any way. In fact, they're kinda one of the winners in all of this. Because now the government is bailing them out so they can stay even longer in houses they can't afford. The real loser is your pension fund.

Also, from what I've heard around the office is that the issues having the most problems with defaults are from 2006 not 2005. This of course is significant because the 2006 rates haven't even reset yet. Which means the most problematic of the sub-prime loans are those that have been taken out by people who can't even afford the teaser rates. So really this "solution" isn't even going to do anything to alleviate the worst of the problems. The real problem here is that a lot of people took out loans they can't afford period. Not even at the teaser rates.

So let's be honest with ourselves, this mess is way too big to "fix" in any meaningful way. It's time to let the chips fall where they may.

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wingless was still breathing at 4:02 PM - 1 comments

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