Thursday, 19 January 2012

Top Failed Banks

Throughout U.S. history, bank failures have generally occured during economic downturns. Recently, the credit crisis has taken bank failures to a whole new level. Previously, the largest bank failure in terms of assets stood at $40 billion. Now, the largest bank to fail had assets of over $300 billion.I'll take a look at the seven largest bank failures in U.S. history, from the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s to the present day credit crisis.

Washington Mutual became the largest U.S. bank to go under in 2008, as it succumbed to a severe financial crisis. Washington Mutual is currently the largest bank failure in U.S. history, unceremoniously taking the crown from Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust. The FDIC seized Washington Mutual's assets and brokered a deal to have JPMorgan acquire the failed bank for $1.9 billion.At the time of seizure, Washington Mutual had total assets of $307 billion and total deposits of $188 billion.

IndyMac Bank, based in Pasadena, CA., was closed on July 11, 2008, as it was not able to withstand a bank run coupled with an eroding loan portfolio. IndyMac was one of 25 banks closed in 2008 due to problems stemming from the credit crisis. As of July 2008, IndyMac had total assets of $32.01 billion and total deposits of $19.06 billion. Interestingly, Fed authorities with the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) pointed the finger at Sen. Charles Schumer for sparking the bank run on IndyMac with his public comments on the company's viability.

In 1981, Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust was the 6th largest bank in the U.S. and had the country's largest commerical and industrial loan portfolio. The bank collapsed in 1984 due to a significant increase in losses stemming from its nonperforming loans, which it had acquired from Penn Square Bank. At that time, Continental had assets of $40 billion and the FDIC felt the bank was too large to be allowed to fail. In addition to giving guarantees to depositors, the FDIC infused billions of dollars to recapitalize the bank.

First Republic Bank was the largest bank to fail during the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s. The bank failed in 1988 with total assets of $33.4 billion. At that point, First Republic was the most costly failure in U.S. history as it cost the FDIC $3.9 billion.Deterioration in the Texas real estate market and significant increases in nonperforming loans caused depositor confidence to plummet, leading to a bank run on the company. This bank run was termed an "electronic run" on First Republic because many depositors were using wire transfers and automatic teller machines to withdraw their deposits.

Amid the massive number of failures during the 1980s savings and loan crisis was the failure of American Savings and Loan, one of the biggest savings and loan companies to go under at that time. Based out of Stockton, CA., American Savings and Loan had assets totaling $30.2 billion, and the significant cost to resolve the bank amounted to $5.7 billion for the FDIC.

The Bank of New England (BNE), along with its two sister banks, Maine National Bank and Connecticut Bank and Trust, failed on January 6, 1991. The failure was considered significant enough that the FDIC decided to insure all deposits even if they exceeded the $100,000 insurance limit.At the time, the BNE was the 33rd largest bank in the U.S., and including its sister banks, it had assets totaling $21.8 billion and deposits totaling $19 billion. As with most bank failures, a bad loan portfolio triggered BNE's downfall.

In March 1989, MCorp failed due to pressures from a falling real estate market and poor economic conditions. MCorp had a concentrated loan portfolio in energy and real estate, and losses from those loans pushed MCorp into insolvency. At the time of failure, MCorp had total assets of $18 billion, and the final cost for the FDIC to resolve this bank amounted to $2.8 billion. Notice that the cost is a large percentage of MCorps assets, which highlights the poor quality of those assets.

CAN SLIM Method: Stock Picking & 4 Solid Long-Term Companies

The CAN SLIM Method

Here are the basics of William O'Neil's CAN SLIM method . If you really want to cut to the chase, skip this and go straight to the CAN SLIM picks below:

C: Current earnings - Was the most recent quarter one where profits grew, ideally by 20% or more?

A: Annual earnings - Are earnings for the last twelve months at least 25% better than the prior twelve?

N: New - Is there new management, a new product or a new technology supporting growth?

S: Supply and demand - Are there persistently more buyers than sellers of the stock?

L: Leadership - Is this stock outperforming its peers, and at least in the top 20%?

I: Institutional sponsors - Have institutions like fund companies and pensions put a stamp of approval on the stock by owning it? A good stock needs at least three major institutional owners.
M: Market - Since most stocks move in tandem with the market, is the broad market at least modestly on the rise?

Current CAN SLIM Picks

Like I said, if you're a stickler on CAN SLIM's requirements, you're not going to find any stocks worth owning right now. If you're OK with just using the spirit of the criteria though (primarily the leadership and income growth requirements), and adjust for the current environment, you can indeed find some nice picks.

A.H. Belo Corp. (NYSE:AHC): This newspaper/television company hasn't been profitable on a trailing 12-month basis, a swing to a profit is anticipated for 2011.

Miller Industries (NYSE:MLR): Last quarter's revenue growth topped triple-digits despite a luke-warm rebound in auto sales (Miller makes car-haulers), and after four solid earnings beats, there's no reason not to expect more mega-growth.

Standex International Corp. (NYSE:SXI): This industrial machinery maker rebounded nicely following the recession. Oh, things weren't easy for Standex - the company lost 18 cents per share in fiscal 2009. That was book-ended, however, by income of $1.55 per share in 2008 and a profit of $2.25 per share in fiscal 2010. 2011 is looking even better.

Thermadyne Holdings (Nasdaq:THMD): Slice it however you want to - this welding-product maker more than quadrupled per-share earnings (year over year) in Q2, or is on pace for record-breaking earnings year in 2010.

Economic Conditions Snapshot, September 2010

Two years after the economic crisis, executives’ confidence has returned—albeit tenuously—suggesting a better ability to cope with and manage economic volatility.

Two years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, 51 percent of executives who responded to our most recent survey say the world economy is in recovery; 58 percent say so about their own countries. Most expect corporate profits to rise this year from their level in 2009, and 38 percent expect to hire by the end of the year—the greatest share expecting to hire in the near term since before the crisis.

Even if companies are coping with the new economy, the results also indicate that executives’ confidence is tenuous. For example, more expect economic conditions to improve than not, but fewer say so now than did earlier this year. Notably, the share of respondents expecting better conditions in six months is lower than it was a year ago: 55 percent now, compared with 61 percent in September 2009. Furthermore, optimism on the current state of the economy compared with six months earlier started to fall in June and has taken a sharp dive in the past month. Compared with August, 10 percentage points fewer say the economy is better now. The slide is particularly notable in North America, where the share of respondents who say conditions are better has fallen 16 percentage points.

Among the lasting changes that executives say the downturn has produced in their organization are greater attention to changes in markets, improved risk management, and much stronger consciousness of costs. More than half of respondents have changed the criteria they use to make capital-investment decisions, most by applying more rigorous due diligence. Notably, though, most respondents don’t expect permanent changes in their companies’ workforce size or geographic location.

Getting used to trouble?

Executives’ economic hopes rose consistently from the depth of the crisis in January 2009 through December of that year but began to falter in February 2010; now, just over half expect better conditions six months from now (Exhibit 1). From January of last year until this June, the share of survey respondents who said that current conditions were better than they were six months earlier continued to grow; that figure remained stable in August but has now fallen (Exhibit 2).

The biggest decline in the share saying current conditions are better is in North America, after a smaller drop between June and August. The sharp drops, largely in the United States, came as growth slowed and high levels of unemployment persisted.

Despite executives’ increasing unhappiness with current conditions over the past month, the share of survey respondents expecting economic improvement has remained stable, and 81 percent expect their countries’ GDP to improve this year compared with last year. Earlier this year, executives’ views on current conditions continued to improve even as their hope faltered. But that has switched; now circumstances are almost reversed. This may simply indicate that executives have grown somewhat used to a more volatile economy.

Companies coping

Executives’ expectations for their companies’ performance have remained fairly stable; the share expecting demand to increase is identical to that for August, and the share expecting increased profit is nearly the same. Further, that 70 percent expect higher profits now, compared with 42 percent a year ago, suggests that companies are learning to manage successfully in an uncertain economy.

One crucial element of adaptation for companies, it seems, is how they assess risk. Since September 2008, 57 percent of respondents say their companies have changed the criteria by which they make capital-investment decisions, and nearly 70 percent of those say the change has been more rigorous due diligence. Furthermore, although two-thirds of respondents say their companies are not postponing or failing to pursue capital invest-ments or M&A that they would normally consider to be good growth investments, among those that aren’t investing, 59 percent say the reason is that they’ve adopted a more conservative risk profile. Similarly, when asked about the downturn’s lasting effects, many respondents refer to risk management, cost management, or conservation of cash.

Another finding that suggests companies are coping, if cautiously, is that 38 percent expect to increase the size of their workforce by the end of this year. This is the highest share expecting to hire since before the crisis. Respondents across all regions expect hiring to be up; those in high tech, telecommunications, and manufacturing are the likeliest to say their companies will hire. In addition, respondents at small and large companies are equally likely to say their companies will hire, though 23 percent of those at large companies expect continued decreases in workforce size.

What’s holding companies back from hiring? Respondents at those companies cite uncertainty about the level of customer demand more often than any other reason, with 42 percent choosing it. Also, 35 percent say they’ve streamlined operations to cut positions. That choice is consistent with another finding: 39 percent of respondents say their companies’ response to the economic downturn was a permanent reduction in workforce size, and 32 percent say they’ve permanently reconfigured the geographic location of their workforces.

Finally, the results show that respondents can imagine circumstances in which their companies would significantly boost hiring or make a significant capital investment within the next year. In both cases, the most frequently chosen scenario is an unexpected opportunity to expand in a new market: 59 percent of respondents say this would prompt their companies to hire, and 49 percent say it would prompt capital investment.

Managing public-sector productivity

Governments around the world are running up huge national debts in response to the crisis, causing concern about expenditures; one result has been significant reductions in public-sector workforces. Our surveys have reflected that over the past year, though this survey’s results indicate some degree of stability: most public-sector respondents—60 percent—expect their department to remain the same size, up from half of them a year ago. Only 11 percent expect further decreases.

Nonetheless, public-sector executives responding to this survey overwhelmingly indicate that they have felt pressed to improve their personal productivity: 45 percent say they’ve felt significant pressure, and a further 35 percent report some pressure. They also indicate that their departments have taken certain helpful managerial steps, including managing performance more effectively (chosen by 44 percent), reorganizing people or structures (41 percent), and streamlining processes (40 percent). Only 10 percent say their departments have sought to increase productivity with outsourcing or utilizing public–private partnerships.

A final note

One respondent to this survey describes the downturn’s lasting effect on his company as providing “clarity . . . that even with an excellent business model, prudence is best.” That sums up many other executives’ comments and, indeed, many of the answers to this survey. After two years, it appears that at many companies, ongoing economic uncertainty is being balanced with more rigorous planning and execution of everything from daily operations to M&A. Many companies are smaller, and, at many, morale is damaged. Nonetheless, survey respondents seem to see better times—or at least stronger financial results—ahead.

Hardly Growing Earnings: Turkish Banks

2010 was a year when interest margins tightened sharply on the back of faster repricing of IEAs due to maturity imbalances between assets and liabilities which weigh on top line revenues. It was the significant improvement in asset quality trends that enabled Turkish banks compensate for the pressure at the NIM level and net earningshiked 10% y/y in the first ten months of the year. NIM tightened 119bps q/q and NII declined 11% as 26% y/y loan growth could not off-set the NIM shrinkage.

Heading into 2011, the banking environment could even be more challenging as; (1) NIM should tighten further in 2011; (2) cost of risk would normalize; and (3) trading gains will vanish. Put into other perspective, 2011 could a the year when efforts to generate credit volume expansion intensifies further so as to compansate for the pressure at the NIM level and could also be a year when policies to further improve cost efficiencies become even more evident.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Aflac to Present Live, Online at on May 5th

Company invites Main Street and Wall Street investors to attend interactive real-time virtual conference

NEW YORK May 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac Incorporated (NYSE: AFL) the insurance company that helps employers offer their workers a financial safety net at no direct cost to their businesses, has been declared a World's Most Ethical Company for a fifth consecutive year, today announced that Delia Moore, Investor Relations Manager, will present at

DATE: May 5th, 2011


LINK: > Click the red "register/ watch event now" button.

This will be a live, interactive online event where investors are invited to ask the company questions in real-time both in the presentation hall as well as the company's "virtual trade booth." If attendees are not able to join the event live in real-time, an on-demand archive will be available for 90 days.

It is recommended that investors pre-register to save time and receive event updates.

About Aflac Incorporated:

When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For more than 55 years, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance. In Japan, Aflac is the number one insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force. Aflac insurance products provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For five consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In addition, Forbes magazine has named Aflac as one of America's Best-Managed Companies in the Insurance category. In 2011, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the thirteenth consecutive year and included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the tenth time. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit

A copy of Aflac's Financial Analysts Briefing (FAB) supplement for the first quarter of 2011 can be found on the "Investors" page at, along with a complete listing of Aflac's investment holdings in the financial sector and a separate listing of the company's investments in perpetual securities.

About, created by BetterInvesting (NAIC), PR Newswire and MUNCmedia, is the first monthly virtual investor conference series that provides an interactive forum for presenting companies to meet directly with retail investors using a graphically-enhanced online platform.

Designed to replicate the look and feel of location-based investor conferences, Retail Investor Conferences unites PR Newswire's leading-edge online conferencing and investor communications capabilities with BetterInvesting's extensive retail investor audience network and MUNCmedia's sophisticated retail investor targeting.

Forward-Looking Statements

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" to encourage companies to provide prospective information, so long as those informational statements are identified as forward-looking and are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements. We desire to take advantage of these provisions. This document contains cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected herein, and in any other statements made by company officials in communications with the financial community and contained in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


Monday, 18 April 2011

Stocks coming off down week:

NEW YORK (AP) — It was a down week for stocks. Wall Street is hoping for better this week as earnings reports pick up.

In Friday trading, the Dow rose 57 points to close at 12,342. The S&P 500 index was up 5 points to 1,320. The NASDAQ composite added 4 points to 2,765.

For the week, the key averages were down between 0.3 and 0.6 percent.


Asia markets higher on US economic news

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly higher Monday, shrugging off yet another anti-inflation move by China after encouraging news about the U.S. economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index eked out a marginal gain of less than 0.1 percent after opening lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent, while South Korea's Kospi slid 0.5 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent.

Benchmarks in Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and New Zealand were also higher. Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent. Taiwan's TAIEX was down slightly.


Oil near $109 as US gasoline prices jump

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices fell to near $109 a barrel Monday in Asia as gasoline jumped to average $4 a gallon in six U.S. states and the District of Columbia, raising fears higher fuel costs will undermine crude demand.

Benchmark crude for May delivery was down 58 cents at $109.08 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.55 to settle at $109.66 on Friday.

In London, Brent crude for June delivery was down 33 cents to $123.12 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.


Reports on housing among those due

WASHINGTON (AP) — The week is fairly light for economic reports. A reading is due today from the National Association of Home Builders on builder sentiment. Tomorrow, the government weighs in with housing starts for March. Also due this week, existing home sales, new unemployment claims and the index of leading economic indicators.


Poll: US economy improving despite global events

WASHINGTON (AP) — Economists say the U.S. economy is gaining strength despite political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East and last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

A survey from the National Association for Business Economics finds that economists are hopeful that the broader economy is substantially improving, with rising employment reported for the fifth quarter in a row.

The outlook for employment rose slightly, reaching a 12-year high. No firms reported significant layoffs, with the only reductions coming from already planned cuts.

Sales increased for the third consecutive quarter, profit margins continued to improve and the number of economists whose firms increased spending over the previous quarter held steady. Nearly all of the 72 economists surveyed, about 94 percent, now expect the economy to grow at least 2 percent in 2011.


6 states and nation's capital now at $4 gas

WASHINGTON (AP) — Six states and Washington, D.C., now have gasoline prices averaging more than $4 per gallon.

Triple-A says New York State joined the list yesterday, which also includes Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii and Illinois.

The next states could be Michigan, which has gas for $3.95 per gallon on average, and Indiana, where the average price is $3.94. Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin are close behind.

Hawaii has the highest price in the U.S. at $4.48 per gallon. Wyoming has the lowest, at $3.54.

The national average for gas has increased for 26 straight days, and is now at $3.83 per gallon.

Read more Top

Monday, 28 February 2011

New Tool to Ease the Life of the Online Business Entrepreneur

Online Business entrepreneurs can now find the perfect or .com domain name – thanks to a new free tool from web development company, Bird and Co Creative. The new domain tool is the fastest way to check if a domain is available. With thousands of new businesses starting up in the UK every month, this tool will be vital to many business entrepreneurs.

A website’s domain name is recognised as an essential piece of a company’s branding. The best names can change hands for thousands or even millions. One of the most expensive transactions was in 2009 when the domain name changed hands for a staggering $16 million.

Many popular terms have already been registered as domain names. So people setting up a new business often find it difficult to find the name that they want. In the past, checking to see if domains were free was a frustrating and time-consuming process. But that has now changed. With Bird and Co Creative’s domain tool it is possible to check the availability of domains instantly. As fast as a person can type, it is checking to see if the domain name can be registered.

The tool can be accessed by visiting the following web page:

The tool was created by the web developers at Bird and Co Creative, Bromsgrove. As Online Marketing Manager Paul Ajao explains “We initially developed this tool to be used in-house, as we create many online campaigns for our clients. Everybody that used it thought it was outstanding, so we decided to make it generally available.”

In today’s economic climate, there are thousands of business entrepreneurs looking to set up an online business. Some people are taking their redundancy money and using it to invest in themselves - they start an online business rather than just wait for another job to become available. The domain tool will help them create a branded website that will give them the best chance of success.