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Citi Rescue Talks Underway
MortgageAuditor | November 22, 2008 at 12:30 pmby
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The market shrugged off the prospect of a Citigroup meltdown and focused instead on the leak that Timothy Geithner was Obama's pick for Treasury Secretary. Citi fell another 20%, its shares dropping below $4. Have banking catastrophes become so routine that it is now assumed that the officialdom will clean up the broken china and put the bill in the post? I recall when Citi nearly failed in the early 1990s (the big culprit then was junior loans on a lot of commercial development in Texas that wound up being see-throughs) and it was white-knuckle time.
However, there is a big difference between this and other financial firm meltdown episodes. Despite the near vertical descent of the stock, there appears to be no run on the bank. And if there is no run on the bank, or flight of counterparties, there is no need for a rescue.
But as we have pointed out, the Fed is acutely sensitive to the needs of banks, so it would be highly unwise to bet against official intervention before the markets open on Sunday in Asia.