For many, alarm bells went off... when it was revealed that Bank of America has moved a big chunk of derivatives from its failing Merrill Lynch investment banking unit to its depository arm.
This means that the investment bank's European derivatives exposure is now backstopped by U.S. taxpayers.
Today, the notional value of all the derivatives held by Bank of America comes to approximately $75 trillion.
If you add up the value of every stock on the planet, the entire market capitalization would be about $36 trillion. If you do the same process for bonds, you’d get a market capitalization of roughly $72 trillion.
This occurred back in October - obviously pre gaming the Greek crisis. The intent, I guess, is to prevent a bank run in the event that BAC goes bankrupt because Merrill Lynch sold too many bets on European solvency.
The FDIC doesn't have 75 trillion dollars. Not even close. In the worst case scenario this could break the US dollar.
But, one can see that it might be stabilizing - in the event of a multi-billion dollar CDS event there would be no reason for depositors to run on the bank, and if they don't, BAC can probably cover that event with its own assets.
I guess we'll find out if Greece goes sideways and all the bets come due.