Financial news – Mar-04-2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009, AM | Leave Comment

Debt Collectors Now Coming After Dead People’s Next Of Kin
The banks need another bailout and countless homeowners cannot handle their mortgage payments, but one group is paying its bills: the dead. Dozens of specially trained agents work on the third floor of DCM Services here, calling up the dear departed’s next of kin and kindly asking if they want to settle the balance on a credit card or bank loan, or perhaps make that final utility bill or cellphone payment. New York Times

Exponential Volume Surge: Blockbuster (BBI)
It looks like there are reports showing that Blockbuster Inc. (NYSE: BBI) has hired a law firm to explore bankruptcy protection. This stock was lower on the day, but a few minutes ago this rolled over and died. Shares are down over 75% at $0.22 and we have seen more than 12 million shares trade hands. It usually sees only 1.3 million shares per day. Volume Spike Investor

Michael B. Laskoff: Bernanke is Testy: AIG is FUBAR
Let’s be honest, most of us have only a vague notion of what the Federal Reserve actually does. When Alan Greenspan started doing mea culpa’s on television, however, I got a stronger sensation that the Federal Reserve Chairman really is an important guy. Since then, I have greatly appreciated Ben Bernanke’s stoic anti-charisma. I can’t tell if what he’s saying makes any sense, but he seems so calm and competent when he speaks that I feel like a real adult is on the case. So I was a little taken aback today to watch him get testy with the Senate Budget Committee. The Huffington Post

Right Wing Claims Stock Market Declined Because Obama Was Nominated For President
Since the presidential election last November, the right wing has seized nearly every opportunity to link any sharp decline in the stock market (without any basis in fact ) to Barack Obama. Yesterday, losses on Wall Street forced the Dow Jones industrial average to close “below 7,000 for the … Think Progress

AIG still facing huge credit losses
AIG, the insurer controlled by the US government, still faces billions of dollars in potential losses on credit guarantees it provided for complex subprime mortgage securities, in spite of its $62bn fourth-quarter loss and regulatory efforts to unwind its holdings, company filings show. Financial Times

Brown defends handling of financial crisis
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Wednesday that Britain could have been stricter in its supervision of financial markets, but defended his response to the global financial crisis. “We should have been tougher in some areas,” Brown told the BBC in an interview during a trip to Washington. Reuters

Merrill’s $10 Million Men
As bad as 2008 was for Merrill Lynch & Co., it was very good for Andrea Orcel, the firm’s top investment banker. Although Merrill’s net loss ballooned to $27.6 billion last year, Mr. Orcel, 45 years old, was paid $33.8 million in cash and stock, just shy of his pay in 2007. Wall Street Journal

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