The Big Banks made over a $1 Billion in overdraft fee’s last Quarter…

The Banks make huge amounts on what are in effect short term loans….

The dollars involved are huge in the aggregate: Three of the nation’s largest banks by assets—J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America BAC -1.02% and Wells Fargo WFC -0.44%—raked in a total of $1.14 billion from overdraft fees in the first quarter of this year, according to a recent report from SNL Financial, a financial-information firm based in Charlottesville, Va.

It was the first time banks with $1 billion or more in assets that offer consumer checking or savings accounts were required to report to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. the overdraft fees charged to consumers. Banks with fewer assets don’t have to report the data.

Overdraft fees can add up quickly for an individual bank customer. The median overdraft fee was $30 nationwide for both banks and credit unions last year, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm in Lake Forest, Ill. That was up from $29 in 2012 and $26 in 2009.

When consumers make a number of debit-card purchases or automated-teller-machine withdrawals in a single day that exceed their checking-account balance, they can incur multiple overdraft fees that day. Some banks increase the overdraft fees people incur in a single day by reordering their transactions, according to a report released earlier this month by Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit public-policy organization.

Consumers, however, have the ability to avoid many overdrafts by turning down banks’ invitations to opt in to a service that will allow them to overdraw when they use their debit card…..


Open Thread for May 31st, 2015…The NSA/Rand Paul show….

Rand P

aul got a chance to say he got rid of the Nation’s Patriot Act…..

A post 9/11 effort by the American Governmenet that records EVERY phone, fax, internet transmission’s to/from connection and how long it’s made….The agancy had be doing this and other things after 9/11 under ‘Secret’ provsisons of the patriot act that became un-secret when a NSA contract guy named Edward Snowden spilled the beans on the governments actions….

The program has to be oked by Congress every few years, which has been routine…

But the outrage from the media and others has led to a effort to stop the govwernment program….

Rand Paul, a Republican and Libertarian has led a cahrge against the law….

But , he has also been joined by some in Congress on BOTH sides of the aisle…

Some becuase they want the program done in…

Some because they want to stick it to President Obama , who WANTS the program to continue….

The House has passed the US Freedom Act , which isn’t all that it’s advertised….

Essentaill it just stops the Government from vacuuming up everything and orders the communications carriers to HOLD their records of the stuff the NSA might want longer so they can go back and access the stuff…

Since most of thes programs are ‘secret’?

WTF KNOWS what the government is actually doing?

But Rand Paul got his tonight…

The Senate vioted by a wide margin to bring up US Freedom Act for a vote Monday or Tuesday…

The votes are there to pass the Freedom Act , which will rearrange some things , but will essentially leave the programs of the Patriot act still running….

And give Senator Paul a VERY HOLLOW victory….


Sen Paul has been in the same situation more than once before….

The Islamic State starts to work on Saudia Arabia…

With two suicide bombings in that country….

The Islamic State will seek to use it’s asymetical warfare of terror, boosted by the media to turn Shia and Sunni against each other in another country, as it is doing across the Midddle East…

And Saudai Arabia IS the bedrock Sunni Country of the Middle East….

Two weeks. Two suicide bombings. Both targeting Shiites in a Sunni land. And both claimed by ISIS.

If this were Iraq or Syria, these attacks – sadly – wouldn’t be surprising. But it’s not. It’s Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s most precious sites and the region’s most powerful Sunni rulers — a relatively vast territory, kept remarkably stable by the ruthless application of authoritarian rule while its neighbors teeter under the destabilizing weight of popular revolution and terrorist intervention.

And that’s just the way the U.S. government likes its friend, Saudi Arabia. Because Washington needs stability there more than it needs to feel good about how the House of Saud achieves it.

But today, in Dammam, a city on the Saudi eastern coast, a man dressed as a woman blew himself up outside a Shiite mosque and killed three others. (The attack would have been far more devastating had guards not stopped the bomber from entering the mosque, forcing him back into a parking lot.) ISIS now is bragging that their man reached his target despite heightened security after the group’s first attack in the kingdom just eight days ago. That one, on another Shia mosque in a village called al Qadeeh, killed 21.

“They certainly are significant,” says Mike Singh, former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration. “These attacks seem designed to exacerbate sectarian divisions, precisely as ISIS has sought to do elsewhere.”

Singh’s right; ISIS wants to encourage Sunni-Shia hostility throughout the Muslim world (perhaps as much as it wants to encourage violence between Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide) because it fits its caliphatic goals.

But for the United States, there’s more significance to read into this emerging ISIS assault on Saudi Arabia…..


Lindsey Graham upsets the GOP South Carolina Primary Apple Cart…

…from one of our PDog regulars…

WSJ has pointed out that Lindsay Grahams entrance into the GOP presidential contest likely changes the calculation of the other candidates in the field for the SC Primary

Some may decide that contesting the state isn’t really worth it or, at the least, they may spend less time and resources here.

This may rebound against Graham. A lot of businesses make a lot of money off the primary. If his candidacy has the effect of reducing the significance of it , with kless attention and less spending?

Lindsay and his vanity candidacy is going to end up pissing off a lot of home staters….

More @ a paywalled WSJ piece….

FiveThirtyEight on Martin O’Malley…People just do NOT like the Guy

That IS what Harry Enten @ 538 has concluded looking the recent ex-Maryland Governor’s jump into the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination contest, that O’Mally has virtually NO chance of winning….Enten gives four reasons why O’Malley ain’t gonna win the nomination…Then he gets down to REAL reason he thinks the guy is spinning his wheels….

….there’s a far simpler reason for why I’ve doubted O’Malley’s ability to compete: The people who know him best don’t like him. O’Malley is starting way down in the polls, and he’s not well known. And we have evidence that more O’Malley exposure doesn’t equal more O’Malley support. He earned just 3 percent (compared to Clinton’s 63 percent) in a poll of Democratic voters in Maryland conducted in October by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland.

If this strikes you as a surprisingly low percentage for a two-term Maryland governor and former mayor of the state’s most populous city, it should. It speaks to the fact that O’Malley was unpopular enough in deep-blue Maryland that by the end of his second term, Republican Larry Hogan came out of nowhere to defeat O’Malley’s lieutenant governor in the 2014 governor’s race….



Kansas GOP Gov Brownback MUST raise some of the taxes he cut…..

So much for the NOT having small business pay taxes and selling people on lowering their taxes to get elected….

Brownbacks tax cut thing was just plain Bull Shit…..

And it worked for him last November….

But now the bill is due….

With the state facing a $400 million budget hole for the coming fiscal year, the conservatives who dominate the Legislature here say they are agonizing over the likelihood of doing something that did not seem to be in their DNA: raising taxes.

Just three years ago, many of these lawmakers passed the largest tax cuts in state history, saying they would lead to economic growth. But that growth did not appear, and after repeatedly trimming spending to close shortfalls, legislators again find themselves in a prolonged budget battle with no easy answers, where both houses of the Republican-controlled Legislature are proposing tax increases.

The reason: even anti-tax Republicans are acknowledging that there is not much more to cut without significantly hurting popular programs, including education.

The fault lines now seem to run along the question of which taxes to raise….


Sec of State Kerry breaks a leg bike riding….


The Secretatry is a daily bike rider wherever he goes….

Today while riding in Switzerland, he feel after hitting a curb while riding….

He was airlifted to a hospital for intial treatment and is flying back to Boston to recoup….

US Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a bicycle crash Sunday, apparently after hitting a curb, and scrapped the rest of a four-nation trip that included an international conference on combating the Islamic State group.

Kerry was in stable condition and in good spirits as he prepared to return to Boston for further treatment with the doctor who previously operated on his hip, USState Department spokesman John Kirby said. He said X-rays at a Swiss hospital confirmed that Kerry fractured his right femur.

‘‘The secretary is stable and never lost consciousness, his injury is not life-threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery,’’ Kirby said in a statement.

Kerry, 71, was taken by helicopter to Geneva’s main medical center, HUG, after apparently hitting a curb with his bike near Scionzier, France, about 40 kilometers southeast of the Swiss border….


Vice President Biden’s son has passed….


Vice President Joe Biden has announced that his son, former Deleware Atty Gen Joseph R .”Beau’ Biden, 46, has passed away due to cancer….

He served in the U.S. Army Reserve and planned to run for the Deleware Governors spot….

He had been in Walter Reed Medical Center earlier in the month for treatment…

More on this to come…

Martin O’Malley announces….

Ex-Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is running for President on the Democratic line…

He has a VERY little of a chance of winning….

Martin O’Malley’s presidential bid has always been a long-shot, but the odds looked even longer Saturday as he officially kicked off his campaign from Federal Hill Park.

The run-up to his launch here could hardly have been worse, complicated in recent weeks by unrest in the city where he served as mayor and the unexpected early momentum of another Hillary Clinton challenger: Bernie Sanders.

At one time, O’Malley figured to be Clinton’s default rival for the Democratic nomination. He won two terms as governor of Maryland, winning by wide margins, and honed his national fundraising chops as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. At 52, he was positioned to make the case that he represents a generational step forward. Yet it’s Sanders — a disheveled, 73-year-old socialist — who so far has captured the imagination of progressives looking for a Clinton alternative.

O’Malley’s camp maintains that the enthusiasm generated by the Vermont senator — who drew overflow crowds at campaign events in Iowa and New Hampshire this week after kicking off his campaign in front of 6,000 supporters in Burlington on Tuesday — is a sign that Democratic voters are hungry for excitement and augurs well for the former Maryland governor.


The Fed’s ready new gun regulations….

This IS gonna be interesting….

New Gun regulations mean that the GOP Congress will have to figure out ways to get around them…

The Justice Department plans to move forward this year with more than a dozen new gun-related regulations, according to list of rules the agency has proposed to enact before the end of the Obama administration.

The regulations range from new restrictions on high-powered pistols to gun storage requirements. Chief among them is a renewed effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable or have been convicted of domestic abuse.

Gun safety advocates have been calling for such reforms since the Sandy Hook school shooting nearly three years ago in Newtown, Conn. They say keeping guns away from dangerous people is of primary importance.

But the gun lobby contends that such a sweeping ban would unfairly root out a number of prospective gun owners who are not a danger to society…..


The President and GOPer’s seem to have the votes for US Freedom Act…

While Rand Paul and others look for a way to shut down the NSA bulk collection program….

And Mitch McConnell wants to keep things as they are…

The US Freedom Act , which keeps three the four controversial programs in tact and just moves things around on the other is probably gonna make it the next few hours….

The President is fine with the US Freedom Act since it really doesn’t change much…

When lawmakers meet on Sunday evening, they will have just hours to save expiring parts of the Patriot Act that many have said are crucial to defending national security.

That prospect may force a handful of Republicans to switch their votes and support the USA Freedom Act, if it’s the only way to preserve the three parts of the counterterrorism law.

“Hopefully they will be able to come back after eight or nine days of clearing their heads and put the best interest of our citizens, and our country, and our security first,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Friday. The White House has been a strong supporter of the USA Freedom Act and has been ratcheting up the rhetoric in recent days to get the Senate to pass it.

Passage appears more likely after a backup plan from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to extend current law for two months failed horribly last week, winning the support of just 45 lawmakers. McConnell — who staunchly opposes the USA Freedom Act — ended up voting against his own two-month extension in order to reserve the right to bring it back up for a vote this weekend….


Could the banks post finanacial crisis reluctance to make short term loans hurt the economy?

Brookings is out with a study about the large banks post 2007 financial crsis lending….

The cry by many and the Fed’s for the banks to stop making short term loans that might be risky has dried up the banks lending money….

Those banks have NOT been growing…

They ARE profitable because they have cut their risk…But they ain’t lending like they used to….

The Free – For – All days are over…..

And the Banks have changed ….


Is all of this good for the nation’s economy ?

During the crisis itself, federal banking and financial regulators and the Treasury encouraged three of the four large banks to take over other banks that were in financial trouble as a way of containing the effects of the crisis. JPMorgan took over Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual; Bank of America took over Countrywide and Merrill Lynch, and Wells Fargo took over Wachovia; Citibank did not make significant acquisitions. Given these sizable purchases one might reasonably expect that this meant the largest banks would grow even faster as a result of the crisis and they would hold a larger share of total bank assets. We set out to find if that did indeed happen – and it didn’t. The Big Four’s rate of growth dropped to 1.8 percent a year from 2009-2014 and their share of total assets actually declined slightly, from 52.5 percent in 2008 to 51.2 percent in 2014.

We also looked at changes in the composition of bank assets and liabilities. We found that the banks cut back on their reliance on short term wholesale funding, consistent with the direction of their regulators. And the banks experienced large increases in the volume of deposits they hold. Once the crisis occurred, though, the growth of loans dropped sharply relative to the amount of deposits. Because of a reluctance to lend, a lack of demand for loans, or some combination thereof, the intermediation process at banks – providing funding for investment and growth — has not been working in the same way as before the crisis….


The author of the piece….Martin Neil Baily