Tag Archives: Steve Eisman

Steve Eisman Is Shorting Canadian Banks

Over at bnn.ca they kept the video link front and centre for three days. The fellow gained notoriety for correctly calling and profiting from the U.S. financial meltdown in 2008 having suspected issues with collateralized debt obligations. Now, he is shorting Canadian banks.

It’s no secret. Housing prices are under pressure. Mortgage qualifying criteria has contributed along with weakness in the oil and gas sector arising from distribution bottlenecks. Oh yes, there’s also the carbon tax, socialist policy, and higher taxes all tempering business investment. Governments of today don’t quite understand the fuel feeding their public sector pension plans. So, why is it then that a banking official in response to Steve Eisman’s rationale for shorting three Canadian banks makes the claim that he has “no basis in fact”? Mr. Eisman simply purports that loan loss provisions in the face of economic headwinds have been underrepresented in bank’s quarterly earnings. On an accrual basis, it seems fair that record profits under our current circumstances seem circumspect. After all, if you can under report your loan loss provision, you can keep that dividend in tact thereby satisfying institutional investors. 

Somebody has just specifically called out the Canadian banking sector and he’s done it with his trades.  Who am I to question his analysis especially in the context of political intransigence in facilitating industrial development inter-provincially?

We have weak leadership in Canada right now. We are also confronted by massive public debt which must be serviced. Then there’s the material increase in social programs which must be financed, namely the new generous “child care benefit”. Baby boomers are now tapping into CPP and OAS. The U.S. in recent years has become much more capable of supplying its own energy needs and may not be needing Alberta’s oil in the volumes of yesteryear. The Canadian lumber industry is weakened by trade sanctions. Out east, there are the new tariffs on rolled aluminum. Southern Ontario car plants are faced with unaccustomed competitive, political, and innovative pressure. The City of Calgary is raising property taxes due to mismanaged downtown core land use. 

I’m thinking Mr. Eisman has got it right. Canadian banks are going to pay the price for loan losses associated with home equity devaluations and the consequential inability of consumers to manage unsecured debt. I’m thinking that the culture of entitlement is going to have a reckoning.