Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Happened to M&I?

Until.....oh.....90 days ago, the M&I Bank was regarded as the paragon of sound-lending practices. In fact, the only time M&I had hit the newspapers for a serious loan-loss was back in the 1970's (??) when they called Francis Schroedel's loans connected to his resort development--which remains controversial.

The joke was that M&I would lend you any amount you wanted, so long as you collateralized 100% with gold bars, placed in THEIR vault, thankyouverymuch.

Now we read this:

The debt ratings for Marshall & Ilsley Corp. have been placed under review for a possible downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service.

New York City-based Moody’s said Nov. 24 that it will focus on “ongoing weakness” in the Milwaukee bank holding company’s real estate portfolio. Moody’s said M&I’s risk concentration has worsened by a combination of acquisitions and organic growth the past few years.

In the event Moody’s decides to lower Marshall & Ilsley’s ratings, a one-notch downgrade is the most likely, Moody’s said. The ratings are for the Milwaukee financial firm’s bonds, securited stock and financial strength. The bank’s financial strength rating, is currently “B,” which is a high-yield rating

Maybe the Metavante earnings were shining so brightly in the M&I Boardroom that nobody noticed the large pile of pre-Milorganite raw materials in the corner...

And then they sold Metavante.

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