Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Financial Crisis is over? Think again!

Banking analyst Richard Bove proclaimed in a report today that the "The Financial Crisis Is Over." He stated that last week’s rescue of Bear Stearns that marked the end – all the upcoming failures are meaningless in comparison.

Many people, including financial specialists, think that Bove has drank too much kool-aid. "I admire a courageous call by Dick Bove," Art Cashin, director of floor operations for UBS Financial Services, told CNBC, but "I’m not sure we’re totally out of the woods."

Maybe Bove missed today’s developments, CIT Group drew down every last dime in available credit ($7.3B) today as it struggles to remain solvent. Shares of the financial mammoth plunged 44%, as the company drew down the bank line as it contends with a floundering $90B portfolio. The company has some $15 billion of debt to pay back in 2008, and nobody is willing to step up to the table and provide re-financing; especially since $9.2 billion of the overall portfolio is subprime mortgages and $11.5 billion is student loans – items that currently make most investors run for the nearest exit.

Both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's cut CIT’s long and short term debt ratings this week. The cost to insure CIT debt with credit default swaps is also trading at distressed levels, showing that most institutions expect the financial firm to not be able to meet its obligations.

Every day brings new stories of calamity at major financial institutions; it appears that the credit crisis is far from over for the banking industry.