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« Lloyd Blankfein Testimony - What Most People Missed | Main | Who Told Tim Geithner To Go F*CK Himself? »

FLASHBACK - Financial Crisis Hearings - Testimony From Ex-Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne

Awesome quote from Cayne on Geithner.

Though he recklessly ran his firm into the ground (with leverage in excess of 40:1 on junk RMBS), forcing taxpayers to guarantee $29 billion of his shit paper in order to smooth the JPMorgan takeover, I will forever admire Jimmy Cayne for having said the following about Tim Geithner:

The audacity of that punk in front of the American people announcing he was deciding whether or not a firm of this stature and this whatever was good enough to get a loan.  Like he was the determining factor, and it’s like a flea on his back, floating down underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, getting a hard-on, saying, ‘Raise the bridge.’  This guy thinks he’s got a big dick. 

He’s got nothing, except maybe a boyfriend.  I’m not a good enemy.  I’m a very bad enemy.  But certain things really—that bothered me plenty.  It’s just that for some clerk to make a decision based on what, your own personal feeling about whether or not they’re a good credit?  Who the fuck asked you?  You’re not an elected officer.  You’re a clerk.  Believe me, you’re a clerk.  I want to open up on this fucker, that’s all I can tell you.

Source: WSJ


Some reaction to his testimony:

Jimmy Cayne Is Apparently Still Stoned (Henry Blodget)

And from Bess Levin at Dealbreaker

Jimmy Cayne:

“My office door was always open to any employee who had concerns about violations of our risk or compliance policies, or any other inappropriate conduct.”

Except when I was hot-boxing it. You know how that goes, Mr. Chairman. You really need the area completely sealed off. I find using a towel helps. Anywhoooo….so, other than those times– always open! For example, one time a guy came in and wanted to know why my office smelled like pot, which I explained to him had nothing to do with me getting high at work, but rather the fact that I’d just gotten a new leather couch, and as everyone knows, new leather couches often reek of weed.


Testimony of James E. Cayne

Before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

Chairman Angelides, Vice-Chairman Thomas, and Members of the Commission, my name is James E. Cayne. I was the CEO of Bear Stearns from 1993 until January 8, 2008, and I remained non-executive Chairman until the firm was acquired by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in June 2008. I appreciate the invitation to appear before you today. Bear Stearns was a remarkable company and I am proud to have spent my career there. I joined the firm in 1969, when it was a partnership with about thirty partners, and I worked there for almost forty years. Even after it became a public company, a large part of the firm— about one-third—was owned by its employees. To align the long-term interests of employees and shareholders, a significant part of its senior employees’ compensation (typically around one-half or more for the most senior members of management) consisted of restricted stock units and stock options. Like many employees I rarely sold a share of the firm’s stock except as needed to pay my taxes.

Bear Stearns had a strong culture of risk management. The head of the firm’s risk management reported to the firm’s Executive Committee. My office door was always open to any employee who had concerns about violations of our risk or compliance policies, or any other inappropriate conduct.

Beginning in early 2007, the market for subprime mortgages and securities backed by those mortgages began to experience severe dislocations. Although Bear Stearns had limited involvement in the subprime sector, the subprime crisis resulted in losses in two hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns Asset Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bear Stearns. Although we attempted to preserve the stronger of the two funds by extending $1.6 billion in secured financing to that fund, both funds ultimately failed.

I do not believe that the collapse of these funds was a significant cause of the later collapse of Bear Stearns itself. While Bear Stearns took some of the funds’ assets onto its balance sheet in connection with the funds’ bankruptcies, those assets represented less than one-half of one percent of the firm’s total assets.

Over the course of 2007, the market for subprime and, increasingly, other mortgages continued to decline. In view of Bear Stearns’ leading role in the mortgage industry, these developments gave rise to market uncertainty about the firm.

We believed that this concern was unjustified and that the firm had ample capital and liquidity. Nevertheless, we worked aggressively to address the market’s concerns. During the fall of 2007, the firm raised an additional $2.5 billion in long term debt. We also entered into an agreement in principle for a joint venture with a major Chinese securities firm that would have increased Bear Stearns’ marketing strength in Asia.

As I mentioned, I stepped down as CEO in early January 2008, and was not involved in the day-to-day management of the firm following my departure. Nevertheless, I would like to offer my opinions about the reasons for Bear Stearns’ collapse.

Despite the efforts we made prior to 2007 to reduce our exposure to the subprime sector, the scale of our activities in other sectors of the mortgage market caused widespread concerns about Bear Stearns’ solvency. These concerns were unfounded. Our capital ratios and liquidity pool remained high by historical standards. Nevertheless, as a result of these rumors, during the week of March 10, 2008, brokerage customers withdrew assets and counterparties refused to roll over repo facilities. These events resulted in a dramatic loss of liquidity. The market’s loss of confidence, even though it was unjustified and irrational, became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Subsequent events show that Bear Stearns’ collapse was not the result of any actions or decisions unique to Bear Stearns. Instead, it was due to overwhelming market forces that Bear Stearns, as the smallest of the independent investment banks, could not resist. Only a few months after Bear Stearns collapsed, the same market forces caused the collapse and near collapse of much larger institutions, such as Lehman Brothers.

The efforts we made to strengthen the firm were reasonable and prudent, although in hindsight they proved inadequate. Considering the severity and unprecedented nature of the turmoil in the market, I do not believe there were any reasonable steps we could have taken, short of selling the firm, to prevent the collapse that ultimately occurred.

I look forward to answering your questions.



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Reader Comments (16)

Bear Stearns’ Jimmy Cayne’s Profane Tirade Against Treasury’s Geithner

May 5, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
A year after the death of Bear Stearns, former CEO Jimmy Cayne—still playing bridge!—talks to Charlie Gasparino about why he went down with his ship, where to invest now (gold?), and why other CEOs did a worse job.

May 5, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
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May 5, 2010 at 3:01 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Yes, predicted by Jim Rogers over a year ago (riots).
May 5, 2010 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterZarathustra
If you're watching the Hank and Timmy show, Hank was asked why no restrictions were put on the banks who took TARP. Brilliant -- Hank blames the *critics* of TARP for its failure to spur lending, because the critics "stigmatized" it. Wow, that's a new one. For such a big, stuttering oaf, he's pretty slick.
May 6, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
General Election 2010: Britain's finances 'worse than Greece'

According to the Brussels economic forecasts, Britain will have the highest budget deficit — defined as the annual rate of borrowing — in the EU, at 12 per cent of gross domestic product this year.

May 6, 2010 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterZarathustra
Prosecuting all these douchebags & their minions would help SOLVE the unemployment crisis.

Just think; if JUSTICE, RULE of LAW and ACCOUNTABILITY ever returned to the U.S., there'd be a SHITLOAD of job openings for hangman & executioners.
May 10, 2010 at 3:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterRecoverylessRecovery
"I want to open up on this fucker, that’s all I can tell you."

But Cayne never did. And that's actually a really good snapshot of what's going on here.

Cayne visual frame--Geithner as the sniveling grocery clerk--is correct. But Cayne's older eyes, filled with gelatinous goo that drys unevenly, failed to observe the nametag: "President Snivels."

Our historical GPS coordinates strongly indicate that we are in a very fucked location. I mean, you basically have to go back to like pre-1454 to find case law allowing grocery clerks to openly piss on people without retribution. Because it was right around then that the English Parliament invented impeachment proceedings, which correctly understood is a court of "who the fuck do you think you are, fuckhead?"

So Parliament couldn't get to the King, but they sure as shit could get to the worst of his minion overlords.

We can't say that. Ours is a parliament of thoughtless whores* that have no idea what a set of balls looks like. Our fucking SENATORS are drooling idiots. The odds of getting hit by lightning during the Super Bowl halftime are way higher than their odds of composing a coherent statute, even one for a no-littering zone. To call them shitheads is to degrade the meaning of "head."

It's a bad day when you can trick people into voting for rodents--vermin. The House and Senate are largely comprised of woodchucks. It's an infestation that mysteriously keeps voting itself into control.

1774 is where I'd like to think the country is now, but that's... a figure that's been adjusted for reasons as clear as the BLS's seasonal adjustments. The sober figure is A.D. 1400.

That's an impressive reversion, unprecedented in recorded times in fact. We should all pat ourselves on the back.

* As opposed to thoughtful whores, which comprise most of the trade and are generally delightful as both host and guest.
Feb 4, 2012 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
I worked at Bear Steans and I can tell you that if the guy stated he had an open door then he was a fool to think that one would not have their legs cut off walking towards that door. The employees would form into clicks and I saw several people let go just on comments of "fear" from a couple workers about another employee they did not like. The guy made a very usual comment which the employees ran to personnel and stated they believed him to be unstable. No one worked for Bear Stearn who did not believe that they were working their last day. It was a terrible place to work and the sharks of bear stearns just sharpened their teeth on employees.
Feb 5, 2012 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered Commentertom dee

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