$2.7 Billion in Credit Default Swaps Blew Up One Day Before the Fed Launched Its Repo Loan Bailouts in 2019

by Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade

On September 16, 2019, exactly one day before the Federal Reserve would embark on its first emergency repo loan operations since the financial crisis of 2008, $2.7 billion in credit default swaps (CDS) on a single name blew up. The dealers in those credit default swaps were the very same trading houses on Wall Street that sought, and received, tens of billions of dollars in repo loans from the Fed in an operation that grew to a cumulative $11.23 trillion before its conclusion on July 2, 2020. (In just the last quarter of 2019, the Fed pumped a cumulative $4.5 trillion in repo loans into Wall Street’s trading houses, according to the transaction data it released on December 30 of last year. That was before even one case of COVID-19 had been reported in the U.S.)

On September 16, 2019 the U.K. tour operator, Thomas Cook, filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York – Wall Street’s stomping ground. We know that because the Credit Default Swaps Determinations Committee, that would render the ultimate decision on who got paid on the Credit Default Swaps and who didn’t, places that fact in the first paragraph of its final determination decision.

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