S&P Downgrades BofA, Chris Whalen's Views ($BAC Closed At 5.08)

Yesterday, Standard & Poor's, using its new ratings criteria, downgraded 15 big banks including BAC, C, JPM, WFC, MS, GS and BK. BAC closed at $5.08 before the announcement. U.S. index futures are currently down overnight (Emini S&P -0.86%), so we'll see if BAC trades in the $4s tomorrow.


Image: FreeStockCharts.com

From S&P's research update:
"Following a review of Bank of America Corp. (BofA) under Standard & Poor's revised bank criteria (released on Nov. 9, 2011), we have lowered our issuer credit rating (ICR) on BofA to 'A-/A-2' from 'A/A-1'. We also have lowered our long-term ICR on its operating subsidiary Bank of America N.A. to 'A' from 'A+'. The short-term rating on the operating subsidiary remains 'A-1'."

"The negative outlook reflects our view that there are significant earnings headwinds and potentially material legal uncertainties, specifically within BofA's mortgage business, and our negative outlook on the U.S. sovereign."

On CNBC's Fast Money yesterday, Chris Whalen, Managing Director at Institutional Risk Analytics, said BofA should have the "courts appoint an equitable receiver" (read his 11/28 comment at IRA) and then break-up into five or six banks. He said he'd rather buy BAC's bonds than the stock, and his favorite big bank is U.S. Bancorp (USB). Watch the video after the jump.
"The question is what are the parents' cash needs? Does anybody want to put more capital into the parent company? No. No sane person would do that. See, I think, ultimately, that a lot of investors in our community who have big claims pending against this company -- we put out a comment yesterday that says we need an equitable receiver, we don't need bankruptcy, because the investors get stuffed, and there won't be any third-party claims. We need a receiver to sort this out, just the way we had with Stanford Group. No Bankruptcy. But we need to get this organized, get these claims dealt with, and then this company is fine. I would break it up. You could sell five, six banks out of Bank of America. They're the biggest IPOs in history." (via CNBC transcript)

In addition, this is the line in BAC's most recent 10Q (ending 9/30/2011) that everyone is talking about. Does it still apply?
"In addition, if at September 30, 2011, the ratings agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for the Corporation by one incremental notch, the amount of additional collateral and termination payments contractually required by such derivative contracts and other trading agreements would have been up to approximately $5.1 billion comprised of $3.4 billion for BANA and $1.7 billion for Merrill Lynch. If the agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for the Corporation by a second incremental notch, approximately $1.5 billion comprised of approximately $1.0 billion for BANA and $500 million for Merrill Lynch, in additional collateral and termination payments would have been required."

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