Financial reports out of Europe are grim: besides Bradford & Bingley's woes, Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch financial services firm, was bailed out by a massive infusion of cash from the central banks of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, and Iceland's third largest bank, Glitnir, was nationalized. A group of German banks pledged about $51.21 billion to back real estate financier, Hypo Real Estate.
American markets remain extremely vulnerable, teetering on the brink of total disruption: Citigroup, whose own financial status has been questioned by some experts, purchased the once conservative North Carolina-based Wachovia Corporation for $2.2 billion or about $1 per share. Wachovia's acquisition marks the reduction of big banks in the United States to just three: Bank of America, Citigroup, and JP Morgan Chase.
That concentration of US banking deposits in so few hands raises troubling economic questions concerning competition, credit, liquidity, monopoly, and stability.
As lawmakers rallied to vote on the Wall Street bailout, the face of global financing continued to change at lightening speed.