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Pam and Russ Martens: The repo loan crisis, dead bankers, and Deutsche Bank

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Pam and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade
Monday, September 1, 2019

Last week, as the Fed was carrying out hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loan operations on Wall Street for the second week in a row -- the first such operations since the financial crisis -- Deutsche Bank's headquarters office in Frankfurt, Germany was being raided by police for the second time in less than a year. That's not the sort of thing that inspires confidence among depositors to keep their money in your bank.

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Deutsche Bank has been a constant headache for the U.S. financial system because it is heavily intertwined via derivatives with the big banks on Wall Street, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. It has become the dark cloud on the horizon in the same way Citigroup cast a negative pall in the early days of the financial crisis of 2008. (It's not a good omen that Citigroup's stock eventually went to 99 cents and the bank received the largest taxpayer and Federal Reserve bailout in U.S. history. The Fed alone secretly pumped $2.5 trillion in revolving loans into Citigroup from December 2007 to the middle of 2010.)

The latest raid at Deutsche Bank occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, September 24 and 25, and was related to the $220 billion money laundering probe of Danske Bank, Denmark's largest lender. Deutsche Bank served as correspondent bank to Danske's Estonia branch where the laundering is alleged to have occurred. On Wednesday, as the raid was proceeding, the body of Aivar Rehe who previously ran the Estonia business of Danske Bank, was discovered by police in Estonia. Rehe had been questioned by prosecutors and was considered a key witness in the probe. His death is being called an apparent suicide by European media.

On the day the police raid started at Deutsche Bank, Tuesday, September 24, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York offered $30 billion in 14-day emergency term loans and had demand for more than twice that amount. That led the New York Fed to increase its subsequent 14-day term loans from $30 billion to $60 billion later in the week. The Fed's overnight repo loans that were offered every day last week were also increased from $75 billion per day to $100 billion per day.

As the timeline below illustrates, Deutsche Bank has been in a slow motion collapse as a result of its serial crime charges while international regulators have failed to address the fact that it is a counterparty to $49 trillion notional (face amount) in derivatives according to its 2018 annual report and thus presents systemic risk throughout the global financial system.

Wall Street On Parade believes that the repo crisis on Wall Street may, at least in part, relate to big Wall Street banks backing away from lending to Deutsche Bank. You can read the timeline below and make up your own mind. ...

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