One can argue that the headline of the article — “The Great Depression” — is over-the-top, since we’re not in an economic depression and our situation is not nearly as dire as the real Great Depression. Yet. Also, the accompanying photo is more than two years old. You can count on righties to pick the headline and photo apart and ignore the article, which presents a sobering picture of economic life in America. If the data presented are true, we should be concerned.
UBS, the largest Swiss bank, said on Tuesday that it would write down another $19 billion related to “U.S. real estate and related structured credit positions” and said Marcel Ospel, its chairman, would step down.
UBS said the write-down would result in a first-quarter loss of about 12 billion Swiss francs, or $12 billion, and that it would seek new capital of about $15 billion, in the second time it has announced plans to raise new funds since the credit crisis began. The bank’s board proposed that Peter Kurer, currently general counsel for the bank, take over as chairman, pending shareholders’ approval at a meeting on April 23.
The news came as Deutsche Bank, the biggest German lender, said Tuesday that it expected a first-quarter loss of about $3.9 billion on write-downs of United States real estate loans and assets. Global banks have now written down more than $200 billion of soured loans in the market debacle that began last summer with the implosion of the American subprime mortgage market.
On the plus side, Bush’s chief of Housing and Urban Development, Alphonso Jackson, resigned yesterday. Jackson is under investigation for allegedly giving lucrative housing contracts to friends.