The Credit Crisis Enters the 3rd Inning

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted August 13, 2008




I’ve never been a big fan of the New York Yankees, but if there is one Bronx bomber you have got to love it’s Yogi Berra.  After all, Berra could do it all in his day and and he certainly had a way with words.

In fact, if he were asked about it today I’m sure he would have something funny to say about the absurdity our current economic mess.

But since he’s not taking my calls, I thought I would put a few of his famous words in the mouths of some other famous people. I hope he doesn’t mind.

Here they are:

Something Ben Bernanke would say:

“It’s tough making predictions, especially about the future”

Something Toll Brothers CEO Bob Toll would say:

“If they don’t want to come, you can’t stop them”

Something General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner would say:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else” 

Something former Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne would say:

“The future ain’t what it used to be”

Something short seller William Ackman would say:

“You can observe a lot by watching”

Something Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis will say to his shareholders one day:

“We make too many wrong mistakes”

A conversation between Richard  W. Fisher and Fed Chief Ben Bernanke:

Phil Rizzuto/Fisher: “I think we’re lost.”

Yogi/Bernanke: “Yeah, but we’re making great time.”

Something Economist Nouriel Roubini would say:

“It ain’t over til it’s over.”

Of course, there is just one more:

“This is like deja vu all over again.”  

That’s is what the rest of us say every three months when banks release their earnings.

By the way, according to an article in Bloomberg bank losses have now passed the $500 billion mark: 

“Banks’ losses from the U.S. subprime crisis and the ensuing credit crunch crossed the $500 billion mark as writedowns spread to more asset types.

The writedowns and credit losses at more than 100 of the world’s biggest banks and securities firms rose after UBS AG reported second-quarter earnings today, which included $6 billion of charges on subprime-related assets.

The International Monetary Fund in an April report estimated banks’ losses at $510 billion, about half its forecast of $1 trillion for all companies. Predictions have crept up since then, with New York University economist Nouriel Roubini predicting losses to reach $2 trillion.

“It just keeps spreading from one asset to another, so it’s hard to know when these writedowns will stop,” said Makeem Asif, an analyst at KBC Financial Products in London. ‘The U.S. economy needs to stabilize first. But even then, Europe could lag and recover later. There’s still a lot more downside.'”


I guess that makes it about the 3rd inning now. Let’s hope it doesn’t go extra innings.

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