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The Trade

Hold Companies, Executives and Government Officials Accountable

In this column, co-published with New York Times’ DealBook, Jesse Eisinger monitors the financial markets to hold companies, executives and government officials accountable for their actions.

Bank of America’s Legal Gambit: Keeping Reserves Low

A lawsuit over Bank of America's mortgage portfolio could cost the bank tens of billions more than it had planned, prompting critics to say the bank has not set aside enough for a settlement.

Friends in Low Places: Where The Real Lobbying Happens

To advise him on tax policy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hires from a corporation infamous for avoiding taxes, while a bank regulator and a Beltway consulting firm swap top officials.

The .03% Solution

How a tiny tax on financial transactions could raise revenue and help the capital markets.

Explosive Charge: Morgan Stanley Peddled Security Its Own Employee Called ‘Nuclear Holocaust’

Lawsuit suggests employees across Morgan Stanley understood the housing market was in trouble and exploited that knowledge to bet against securities and unload garbage investments on the unsuspecting. The bank denies wrongdoing.

The Latest Myth About the Government’s Mishandling of the Housing Market

The same critics who assailed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now attacking the Federal Housing Administration. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.

From Bernie Madoff to Steven Cohen, Enabling Suspiciously High Returns

It looks more and more as if Steve Cohen's returns at the hedge fund SAC have been generated not only through his trading brilliance but also through a culture of cutting corners. So why do major institutional investors still have any money with him?

New Financial Overseer Looks for Advice in All the Wrong Places

The new Office of Financial Research was created to conduct independent analysis of systemic risks to the financial system, but so far it suffers from poor design and too many ties to big finance.

No, Obama Isn’t About to Crack Down on Wall Street

Obama sweeps into his second term with real advantages, including stronger appointees and more senators on his side. But the problems run so deep that he is unlikely to solve them.

Mortgage Price-Gouging Courtesy of the Bailout

While interest rates are low, margins on mortgages are high, giving banks a bonanza. Competition should lower rates, but the bank bailout fostered a cartel.

Tax Moochers: Banks

Tax code favors debt over equity, fattening bank profits and weakening the financial system.

Ad Wars: The SEC Is Turning Hedge Funds Into the New Ginsu Knife

Aided and abetted by Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission deregulates as if the financial crisis never happened.

Small Banks Get Theirs Too: Treasury's Quiet Bailout

In an effort to wind down the bank bailout program, the government is trying to sell its preferred stock holdings of the remaining smaller banks, but the potential losses from the auctions could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Why Do We Keep Swooning Over Failed Bankers?

Sandy Weill and others are being celebrated for now calling for breaking up megabanks. The many debacles on their watch seem to have cost them absolutely nothing in fashionable society.

Like Rate-Fixing Scandals? You’ll Love the Credit Default Swap Market

A proper market would want an organization that was impartial, regulated, transparent and open to appeal, but with credit default swaps, there is no such luck.

How Shareholders Are Hurting America

Corporations don't plan for the long-term. Blame economists, business professors and corporate governance do-gooders, says a professor.

Incoming Regulator Promises No More Coddling of Banks

In his first interview, new O.C.C. head John Curry shows he knows what's wrong with the agency. But can he fix it?

What Did JPMorgan Execs Know and When Did They Know It?

When banks are in trouble, they often mislead the world about their financials. Maybe JPMorgan disclosed everything properly about its $2 billion loss, but that's what we need to determine.

SEC Keeps Ratings Game Rigged

The SEC hammers a tiny ratings agency for petty infractions but does nothing against the big agencies that helped cripple the global economy.

Whale of a Problem: Regulators Subvert Will of Congress

Congress wrote in protections to prevent banks from disguising proprietary trading. But regulators are weakening the law.

From Big State a Call for Small Banks

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas issues a blistering indictment of our financial system and calls for breaking up the Too Big To Fail banks.

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