(It is comforting to know that there are at least a few that the media provides a microphone to that both know and will tell the truth. Too bad more don't live on his block. -AM)
Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:53pm EST
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jim Rogers, one of the world's most prominent international investors, on Thursday called most of the largest U.S. banks "totally bankrupt," and said government efforts to fix the sector are wrongheaded.
"Without giving specific names, most of the significant American banks, the larger banks, are bankrupt, totally bankrupt," said Rogers.
"What is outrageous economically and is outrageous morally is that normally in times like this, people who are competent and who saw it coming and who kept their powder dry go and take over the assets from the incompetent," he said. "What's happening this time is that the government is taking the assets from the competent people and giving them to the incompetent people and saying, now you can compete with the competent people. It is horrible economics."
Rogers said sound U.S. lenders remain. He said these could include banks that don't make or hold subprime mortgages, or which have high ratios of deposits to equity, "all the classic old ratios that most banks in America forgot or started ignoring because they were too old-fashioned."
"Governments are making mistakes," he said. "They're saying to all the banks, you don't have to tell us your situation. You can continue to use your balance sheet that is phony.... All these guys are bankrupt, they're still worrying about their bonuses, they're still trying to pay their dividends, and the whole system is weakened."