Merrill Lynch’s First Franklin – A Bad Idea

Merrill Lynch’s appetite for acquisition is one thing but proper research and due diligence is quite another. Amid all the uproar over at HSBC, Merrill Lynch decided to buy subprime lender First Franklin in September 2006. My goodness what a mistake. That purchase is now raising concerns that the troubled mortgage space could be the wrench that slows down Merrill’s momentum. HSBC set aside $10.6 billion (USD) in 2006 to cover defaults.

Only eleven months from decision to burn-out. We expect more from an institution like Merrill Lynch. I have a degree in business, not in finance, but I know how to read the pages and trend analysis going on over at Household – HSBC Watch. The watchdog organization has been monitoring HSBC ever since they bought predatory lender Household International. Case studies are there. Legal issues are there, and court documents are in the Household – HSBC Watch document library for everyone to see.

Perhaps it is time for financial analysts and board members to invite facts and opinions from those who specialize in watching specific subprime lenders on a daily basis. Merrill Lynch should have stayed away, instead of paying $1.3 billion for First Franklin and affiliates.