Update: The Dow ended up closing down 504 points for the day
The past 24 hours have been about as chaotic a time as Wall Street has seen since Black Monday or possibly the Great Depression. Here are a few highlights:
- We’ve seen one of the top investment banks fail to secure a bidder and file for bankruptcy
- We’ve seen Merrill Lynch essentially forced to be acquired by Bank of America for $50 billion in stock
- We’ve seen shares of AIG fall 80% today (World’s Largest Insurer)
- We’ve seen WaMu shares fall down 25% to a market cap close to $3 billion
- With 40 minutes left in trading, the DOW Industrials are down 399 points or 3.5%
- Alan Greenspan called this a once in a century crisis.
With all that going on, what else could be happening?
A Consortium of 10 Banks Has Established a $70 Billion Loan Program to Protect Liquidity
According to the AP:
The ten banks, which include JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said they were committing $7 billion each for the pool. The pool would act as a signal to the marketplace that banks, brokerages, and other financial companies can lean on the fund to take care of borrowing needs.
The banks said the program will be available to participating banks which can get a cash infusion up to a maximum of one-third of the total size of the pool. The size of the loan program might increase as “other banks are permitted to join.” All participating banks intend to use this facility beginning this week, the statement said.
The banks also include Bank of America Corp., Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank AG, Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley and UBS.
Could this action from the banks help preserve their own future and that of other banks?
Personally, I think it is a great idea and hope that other major banks jump in and help pool funds to build the loan program. It is forward thinking like that which has been absent from the financial institutions for some time. Perhaps the banks can save themselves — we see that Washington failed to save Lehman — seems that there are few other options left.