The drenching Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Hilary is forecast to leave a destructive swath up the western U.S. this week as relief workers in Maui continue their search for any signs of life among the 850 missing residents of Lahaina over 3,000 miles away.
Meanwhile, economic prognosticators are wondering what’s in store this weekend at the Kansas City Fed’s symposium in Jackson Hole, WY.
The annual summer conference, which will be held Thursday through Saturday, features a slew of speakers who will largely be preaching to a pre-occupied choir.
They will mostly pontificate their profligate theories (or, if you prefer, officiously wax poetic) about this year’s theme – “Structural Shifts in the Global Economy.”
Dispassionate and Fedspeak enough to escape the attention of most common Americans? You betcha!
Although the stream of papers slated to be delivered and discussed at the event have yet to be released, one thing is clear:
Perhaps the most compelling mantras underlying the Structural Shifts theme should be focusing on the storm debt – public and private – brewing in the U.S.
As Jennifer Sor suggests in a recent Business Insider article, troubles are already bubbling up to the surface “as loans pile up and borrower confidence falters.”
Banks Were an Early Sign
Once again, Pam and Russ Martens have grabbed our attention with another zinger.
In today’s Wall Street on Parade newsletter, they feature Michael Hsu, the acting director of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises national banks, federally chartered savings associations and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the U.S.
They stand beside the Federal Reserve as a major regulator of banking institutions.
Specifically, the Martens write about how Hsu “undermined [already declining] public trust in the U.S. banking system” when he approved JPMorgan Chase’s acquisition of failed First Republic Bank in May.
(By now, readers know that JPMorgan Chase is America’s largest – and, by some measures, the riskiest – bank in the nation.)
The Martens go on to note that Hsu’s response to that “collapse in public trust” was to, yes, issue a survey measuring public trust in, yes (again), banks.
The Martens tie much of Americans’ lack of trust to the number of unlawful acts committed by the largest of the too big to fail banks over the last 23 years.