The Fed Fears an Explosion on Wall Street: Here’s How JPMorgan Lit the Fuse

According to its SEC filings, JPMorgan Chase is partly using Federally insured deposits made by moms and pops across the country in its more than 5,000 branches to prop up its share price with buybacks.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade

JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States with $1.6 trillion in deposits from more than 5,000 retail bank branches spread across the country. When it withdraws liquidity from the U.S. financial system, that has a reverberating impact. 

According to the filings that JPMorgan Chase makes annually with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), since 2013 JPMorgan Chase has spent $77 billion buying back its own stock. That includes the whopping $17.01 billion it has spent in just the first nine months of this year buying back its stock.

But here’s the shocking news. According to its SEC filings, JPMorgan Chase is partly using Federally insured deposits made by moms and pops across the country in its more than 5,000 branches to prop up its share price with buybacks. The wording in the filing is as follows:

“In 2019, cash provided resulted from higher deposits and securities loaned or sold under repurchase agreements, partially offset by net payments on long-term borrowing…cash was used for repurchases of common stock and cash dividends on common and preferred stock.”

Had JPMorgan Chase not spent $77 billion propping up its share price with stock buybacks, it would have $77 billion more in cash to loan to businesses and consumers – the actual job of its commercial bank. Add in the tens of billions of dollars that other mega banks on Wall Street have used to buy back their own stock and it’s clear why there is a liquidity crisis on Wall Street that is forcing the Federal Reserve to hurl hundreds of billions of dollars a week at the problem.

On September 17, the overnight lending rate on repurchase agreements (repos) spiked from the typical 2 percent range to 10 percent, meaning some very big lenders such as JPMorgan Chase were backing away from lending. That forced the Federal Reserve to jump in as lender of last resort, the first time it has done that in any material way since the financial crisis

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