If you’ve been following the news recently, you’ve seen some wild activity in the financial markets. According to Wallace Witkowski and Greg Morcroft of the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch: ” U.S. financial stocks fell Monday led by chronic weakness in shares of Bank of America Corp. and a sharp drop in shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. right before the closing bell.”
However, maybe B of A has a silver lining shining in the clouds. As Ronald Orol of MarketWatch reported:
The Securities and Exchange Commission may have destroyed documents and compromised enforcement cases involving activity at large banks and hedge funds during the height of the financial crisis in 2008, according to allegations made by a lawmaker on Wednesday. “From what I’ve seen, it looks as if the SEC might have sanctioned some level of case-related document destruction,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, in a letter to the agency’s chairman, Mary Schapiro. . . . The allegations were made by SEC enforcement attorney, Darcy Flynn, in a letter to Grassley. Flynn is a current employee, and according to the letter, received a bonus for his past year’s work. Flynn alleges the SEC destroyed files related to matters being examined in important cases such as Bernard Madoff and a $50 billion Ponzi scheme he operated as well as an investigation involving Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trading in American International Group credit-default swaps in 2009. Flynn also alleged that the agency destroyed documents and information collected for preliminary investigations at Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, and the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers.
As for the rest of us, we’ve seen our 401(k)’s take a beating, while prices at the supermarket rise at an alarming rate. So the bad guys get away with all kinds of malfeasance (Bernie Madoff is the exception that proves the rule) and the average consumer debtor gets hit in the pocket book and then stuck with harassment by the wolves at B of A and the rest of the folks under investigation.
It doesn’t help that unemployment in California is 12%, so that the large pool of unemployed who need to tap into their 401(k)’s to survive a seeing those funds hammered at just the time they need the money.
The benefit of bankruptcy in this situation is that getting rid of unsecured debts frees up scarce money to cover living expenses during lean times. Thus, while B of A’s silver lining might be SEC corruption, the honest debtor’s silver lining can be a fresh financial start.