The BAN Report: BB&T & SunTrust Merger Approved / Paulson Sounds Alarm on US & China Relations / 98% Decline! / Is the Wealth Tax Constitutional? / The 30MM RV Loan Portfolio 11/19/19
BB&T & SunTrust Merger Approved
This week, the Federal Reserve and FDIC have approved the merger between BB&T & SunTrust, the biggest bank merger in at least 15 years. The American Banker had an outstanding analysis of its implications, arguing that the limited resistance to the merger will encourage more consolidation between large banks.
While some conditions were imposed, including a consent order tied to deceptive practices at SunTrust, regulators were far from overbearing during the approval process. And there was minimal resistance from outsiders; 90% of the comment letters about the merger were supportive of it.
The speculation about what happens next will heat up. The relatively smooth approval process could embolden other deal-minded banks, though their window of opportunity may close quickly depending on the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections next year.
The article identified three important takeaways. One, the process could encourage other mergers. Two, the 2020 election could become a deadline for dealmakers. Finally, the “too big to fail” discussion will intensify.
We concur that further combinations of already large banks are likely. If two enormous banks (the combined bank will be $450 billion in assets) believe they need more scale to compete on technology with the Big 4 (Citi, Chase, Wells, and B of A) and others, it must create pressure from others. It is inarguable that the technology gap between the largest banks and others is shifting the competitive landscape in the favor of the largest banks. Smaller banks must be better at finding retail deposits from consumers under the age of 50.
On a side note, Jamie Dimon’s interview on 60 Minutes earlier this month shows a confident CEO, looking to expand and grow his bank.
Paulson Sounds Alarm on US & China Relations
Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is warning that, while the trade dispute is likely to be settled, US and China relations are likely to get worse. Mr. Paulson is a China expert.
The United States and China will eventually settle their differences over tariffs — maybe even reach a deal that allows both sides to say they won.
But don’t be fooled. Even if the world’s two biggest economies reach a truce, their relationship is likely to get worse.
That’s the bold warning that Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary, plans to make to many of the world’s top business and political leaders on Thursday at a Bloomberg L.P. event on the economy in Beijing. During an interview with me this week, he shared a copy of the speech, previewing some of what he will say.
Mr. Paulson has spent a career trying to work with China, starting as a banker at Goldman Sachs, where China represented an enormous business opportunity, and later as Treasury secretary. His think tank, the Paulson Institute, focuses on China. He has close ties to senior officials in both countries and is often consulted by both sides — so the alarm bells he is ringing are likely to sound loudly in corner offices around the globe.
The danger, Mr. Paulson said, is that the animosity between the two countries has merged “military prisms and ideas into economic policies.”
“It should concern every one of us who cares about the state of the global economy that the positive-sum metaphors of healthy economic competition are giving way to the zero-sum metaphors of military competition,” he is planning to say.
Then, he addressed what virtually no United States policymaker has been willing to acknowledge aloud: If the relationship between the countries deteriorates further, China could decide to sell — or at least not buy — as many Treasury bonds, potentially sending their value down and pushing interest rates much higher. That would undoubtedly hurt China, but it could be tremendously damaging to us, an idea this column raised last year.
Opposition to China is bipartisan and virtually every Democratic Presidential candidate is hostile to China. Moreover, China is becoming even more autocratic, as evidenced by the current crackdown in Hong Kong. We would like to see a “soft landing” in the trade dispute, but it seems increasingly likely that Mr. Paulson is on to something.
In perhaps one of the worst trading days in the history of a singular stock, ArtGo Holdings Limited, which trades on the Hong Kong stock exchange, lost a whopping 98% yesterday.
ArtGo Holdings Ltd., which had soared almost 3,800% this year for the world’s biggest gain among companies with a market capitalization of at least $1 billion, erased nearly all of that advance within minutes on Thursday as investors reacted to MSCI’s decision. The stock wiped out more than $5.7 billion of value before trading was suspended.
MSCI, which had announced its intention to include ArtGo just two weeks ago, said in statement on Wednesday that it would no longer do so after “further analysis and feedback from market participants on investability.” An ArtGo representative said the company, a marble producer that has been expanding into other businesses like real estate, couldn’t immediately comment.
ArtGo’s rally had flummoxed local market veterans, with prominent activist investor David Webb warning in September that the stock was a “bubble.” Its surge was the latest in series of extreme, unexplained swings in Hong Kong that have cast the city’s financial markets in an unflattering light and led some observers to argue that MSCI and its peers should prevent such stocks from entering indexes that guide investments worth trillions of dollars.
There’s been some good research on how including a stock in an index or removing it can be directly correlated to its performance. This is a stunning example of what can happen if a stock is removed from an index.
Is the Wealth Tax Constitutional?
Earlier this month, two tax law professors, who identify as liberal Democrats, questioned whether the wealth tax is constitutional in a New York Times Op-Ed.
The constitutional objection to wealth taxation is based on two clauses that require any “direct tax” to be apportioned among the states based on population. So, since 12 percent of the population lives in California, Californians must pay 12 percent of any direct tax.
For the Warren and Sanders wealth taxes, that would be a deal breaker. To match revenue fractions to population percentages, as the Constitution’s direct tax clauses demand, we estimate that the wealth tax rate in West Virginia — the poorest state per capita — would need to be roughly 10 times the rate in more affluent California and more than 20 times the rate in prosperous Connecticut.
The Warren and Sanders wealth taxes would very likely be classified by courts as “direct taxes.” Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist No. 36 that taxes on “houses and lands” were direct taxes. Supreme Court majorities have said on at least seven occasions that federal taxes on real property (land and buildings) are “direct taxes.” Congress enacted at least five federal property taxes in the 18th and 19th centuries and apportioned them based on state population each time.
The proposed wealth taxes would apply to real property, which would seem to make them “direct taxes.” Both plans would also tax personal property, which encompasses all assets other than land and buildings, like securities and art. Some wealth tax defenders argue that even if a tax on real property is “direct,” a tax on real plus personal property is not. The idea is that — by some feat of constitutional alchemy — combining the concededly unconstitutional tax on real property with the purportedly less problematic tax on personal property erases the flaw with the former.
The authors were sympathetic to the idea behind the wealth tax (i.e. reducing inequality) but questioned whether it would pass constitutional muster. While there are arguments to the contrary, it does raise a question on whether this proposed source of revenue is achievable. A few presidential candidates have been advocating the tax in order to pay for other initiatives, so this is obviously an important question.
The $30MM RV Loan Portfolio
|Clark Street Capital’s Bank Asset Network (“BAN”) proudly presents: “The $30MM RV Loan Portfolio.” This exclusively-offered portfolio is offered for sale by one institution (“Seller”). Highlights include:|
- A total unpaid principal balance of $30,031,420, comprised of 1,421 loans
- All loans are secured by first liens on Recreational Vehicles (RVs)
- All loans are purchase transactions (71% new) by consumers
- 2 separate pools, a Minnesota pool ($13,960,131) and a Midwest pool
- Midwest pool ($16,071,288) is predominantly NE, IA, SD, ND, and WI
- All loans originated in the first half of 2019
- Portfolio has a weighted average coupon of 7.07%
- Fixed-rate loans with a weighted average maturity of 12 years (144 months)
- Strong credit metrics, including a weighted average FICO score of 747 (none below 680) and an average DTI of 32
- No loans with 30-day delinquencies or forced-place insurance
- Servicing-retained or released
- All pools will trade for a premium to par and any bids below par will not be entertained
A sample of the loan files are scanned and available in a secure deal room for review. Based on the information presented, a buyer should be able to complete their due diligence remotely.
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- A total unpaid principal balance of $8,235,158, comprised of 6 loans in one relationship
- 100% of the loans are in Wisconsin
- All loans are personally guaranteed
- Loans are secured by a crop and cattle farm which includes the real estate, crops, livestock and equipment
- 100% of the loans are performing
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Due Diligence Materials Available Online
Monday, November 11, 2019
Indicative Bid Date
Monday, November 25, 2019
Friday, December 20, 2019