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    20141008-price-fixing

    "Price fixing" or "fix" are Wall Street terms used to describe how benchmarks are priced on hundreds of instruments, from the Libor and other foreign currency exchange rates to gold, silver, and swaps.

    While the methodologies used to determine fixes are different, in all cases where benchmarks are fixed by panels, the input of the bankers is what results in the output.

    But here’s where things get a little… funny.

big banks

Here's What the Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes Really Mean (NYSE: GS)

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"The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra" was broadcast on NPR's "This American Life" on Sept. 26. Carmen Segarra, a former Fed examiner in the bowels of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), secretly recorded some of the goings-on there.

And what was revealed in those tapes speaks a lot to who's really running the show there - the Fed or the big banks.

We’re all screwed. Here’s why…

Don't Listen to the GAO – "Too Big to Fail" Is Bigger Than Ever

GAO

Last week the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled "Large Bank Holding Companies: Expectations of Government Support."

And wouldn't you know it - all the "Too Big to Fail" banks broke out their crack pipes.

The report didn’t surprise anybody. After all, we all already know that big banks are government bootlickers, when they need to be.

But there's a version of reality in here that only makes sense if you're smoking crack...

That Warm Air You're Feeling Is the Big Banks' Stinking Bad Breath

businessman mouth

I can't figure out where that warm breeze is coming from.

Oh, it's the air of confidence wafting over me knowing everything's as it should be with our too-big-to-fail banks, and that they're not going anywhere.

The big banks are safe, they have a handle on their assets and liabilities, and the Fed's stress tests are a warm blanket that lets us all sleep well at night.

What, you're still worried?

Feds Finally Put Their Scopes on the “Too Big to Jail”

bank jail

Late last month, depending on how you look at it, either something wonderful happened - or the feds continued their cowardly, conniving ways.

A group of federal prosecutors met in Washington and in New York with various financial regulators to discuss filing criminal charges against and coercing guilty pleas out of two giant banks. This looks to be a historic occurrence.

But two things say we shouldn’t pop open the champagne just yet...

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC): Someone from This Fraud Machine Needs to Go to Jail

BOFA check

Last week Bank of America (BofA) got slammed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for fraudulent marketing and sales of "add-on" products.

The CFPB found that they had ripped off credit card customers by selling them identity theft protection and credit protection programs, without ever actually providing much of anything.

Read all about BofA's shady marketing practices... the other banks that have also engaged in fraud...

and why someone needs to be locked up for it...

Don't Believe the Headlines – Big Banks Are Still Screwing You

When it comes to big banks' bad behavior and the fines they pay to settle "allegations" - which are actually civil charges and which would be criminal charges if applied to any other business or in any parallel universe - things aren't even close to what they seem.

Sure the headlines scream victory, at least monetary victory, for some ripped-off consumers, some hard-charging regulators, and our vaunted (NOT) Justice Department.

To continue reading, please click here...

The Shocking Deals Behind Banksters' Fines

Editor's Note: Yesterday Shah showed you the easiest way to make a fortune in the markets, as long as you're willing to break one of Wall Street's golden rules. Today, here's another reason Shah's so willing...
Headline news about banks settling charges for violating rules, regulations, and laws - and announcements of the fines they agree to pay - appears every day...
Rarely - if ever - do they reveal how much money is really being paid or where it's going...
They also seldom explain what kinds of settlements are reached...
Or how banks negotiate what they'll actually pay and to whom... or how they negotiate tax deductibility of fines... or how they get "credits" for fines they never pay... or how insurance covers some of it...
This is not one of those stories... this is about what really happens behind the banksters' doors.

Goldman Sachs' Most Dangerous Trade

Here's something you probably don't know, and it will really tick you off.

You probably do know the biggest banks in the world have commodities businesses.

Those lines of business might include trading desks (trading everything from gold and copper to kilowatts), transportation (pipelines, railcars and tankers) and storage (warehousing) operations, mining operations, as well as production, refining, and raw and finished commodity distribution operations.

What you probably don't know is that one of the "commodities" a few of these monster banks (Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank) trade is...are you ready?

Okay, I'll tell... but you won't believe it.

To continue reading, please click here...

CHART: The Ridiculous Amount of Money Big Banks Spend in Settlement Costs

Fight

The amount of money big banks have spent on settlements in just the last four years will blow your mind - and these totals are about to get higher.

In December, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told Reuters the Justice Department plans on bringing civil mortgage fraud cases against "several financial institutions" sometime in early 2014.

To continue reading, please click here...

The Staggering Numbers Your Bank Doesn't Want You to See

Many of us may have a small share of the country's largest banks in our wallet: a debit card, a credit card, or for the old-schoolers, a checkbook.

And each month we get a statement showing our account activity, not the banks'...

That's because there's a staggering number that the banks will never show you, or even reference, on the statement...

Yet it directly impacts what you're paying them... this month... and for years to come.

It's the staggering amount of fines that they've paid out for a litany of misdeeds.

They're all here, in one place. You'll be shocked to see how colossal they are...

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Inside the Bankster Settlements: Where All the Money Is Going

Everyone wants to know where the billions of dollars big banks have forked over to bank regulators, the SEC, the CFTC, the FERC, and the Department of Justice ends up.
But, before I can tell you who's paid out what, the infractions they committed, and where that money ends up, I want to give you information that's critical in assessing your bank and your investments...

Just who is it that's looking out for your money?

Big Bank Earnings Is One of the Most Significant Events of 2014 – And It Could Bring You a Fortune

Tall buildings

The Big Banks reporting earnings this week will be one of the most significant events of 2014. In the big picture, how the banks fare and what their future prospects are could single-handily determine the trajectory and breadth of the recovery we've been hoping for. Even more importantly,

their "financials" could have major implications for your money...