The fun in the financial sector and general economy took the proverbial quantum leap today with Bank of America's arranged marriage to Countrywide Mortgage. I say arranged because you can bet your bottom dollar that The Fed and/or The Treasury were pushing hard for this one since the CEO of BAC had long since been on record as saying that in order to make a deal in the mortgage industry he would have "to eat about seven years of my words." Let the eating begin. To paraphrase one financial analyst, the deal might not work out immediately, but could long term. And while the analyst didn't define long term, recall Keynes observation that in the long run we're all dead.
These sorts of deals are meant to inspire confidence-speaking of which, consumer confidence has, surprise, surprise, plummeted once again to new lows- but how much confidence can one feel when a virus spreads. That is essentially what happens when an outfit like Countrywide is taken on by a major bank, though the powers that be would like you to feel that this move represents a containment, or a save. But that remains to be seen. We are, after all, in the midst of the greatest housing bust since The Great Depression, and while there is always a bottom in crashes, there is no guarantee that there will be a rise of any consequence off the bottom (likely a number of years away) when it is reached. Thanks goodness the deal for Countrywide only cost Bank of America four billion dollars. Whew!