Blackstone, the massive private-equity firm, just wants to be your friendly, neighborhood lender
Hey there! Dan DeFrancesco in NYC, but I'm on vacation starting today so please hold off on any critiques of the newsletter until I'm back. (Don't worry, you've still got the reader mailbag coming tomorrow, and you're in good hands for Monday's and Tuesday's editions.)
Today, we've got stories on Ray Dalio beefing with his neighbor, why I'm never going to be able to buy a house, and the best stuff to make for your Memorial Day party.
But first, the unexpected local lender.
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1. Your friendly neighborhood lender, Blackstone
What's the first thing that pops into your head when you think of a regional bank?
A friendly banker who you recognize from around town. A warm batch of cookies to welcome you when you arrive. The sheer power that comes from working with the largest private-equity firm in the world.
Yes, it seems our friends in regional banking aren't out of the woods just yet, and Blackstone is more then happy to step up to the plate.
Nouriel Roubini, the famed economist known as "Dr. Doom" isn't too optimistic about the future of regional banks. (With a name like that, who could have seen that coming!) Roubini said Wednesday that smaller banks will "certainly" face a credit crunch.
Which brings us to Blackstone. Never one to miss a chance to make money, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman said his firm can "fill the void" left by regional banks tightening up their lending activity. The billionaire, who was speaking at the same Bloomberg conference as Roubini, said Blackstone is already in talks with regional banks about purchasing their assets and loans they originate.
When I joked earlier this month that this was the banking crisis that would never end, I mentioned there was a cyclical nature to these bank failures that pushes money to the biggest banks. What I didn't have on my "Bank Crisis Bingo Card" — you can pick them up on Amazon — was Blackstone entering the fray.
From a financial perspective, it makes perfect sense. Blackstone is one of the leaders in the booming private credit space. With plenty of cash on hand, why not lend it to households and SMBs?
Of course, there's some interesting underlying context to Blackstone's strategy. Regional banks happen to be one of the biggest lenders in commercial real estate. And, wouldn't you know it, Blackstone also happens to have a massive footprint in CRE.
Add in the fact that Blackstone's real-estate business has been facing plenty of headwinds, and you start to see why it wouldn't mind owning some of those loans.
Here's why famous economist 'Dr. Doom' is feeling bearish on regional banks.
In other news:
2. Ray Dalio is pissing off his neighbors. The billionaire founder of the world's largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, has drawn the ire of his millionaire neighbor over the renovation of his family's SoHo apartment. Here's the beef.
3. Citigroup says adiós to its plans to sell Banamex. The bank is pivoting on its strategy to sell the Mexican bank, instead choosing to take it public, The Wall Street Journal reports. This is what led to the audible.
4. Good luck trying to buy a house. We've reached the "Ice Age" of the housing market. As someone who doesn't own a home but would like to someday, I'm not enjoying writing this blurb. Why everything stinks in the housing market.
5. The cuts have come to Morgan Stanley and SVB. EFinancialCareers has some details on the layoffs taking place at Morgan Stanley. Check them out here. Meanwhile, Axios reports that First Citizens is cleaning house in one particular division at SVB.
6. The $450 whiskey shot. Julie Macklowe is unapologetic about the type of people she's targeting with her American single-malt whiskey that costs as much as $1,500 a bottle: Her ideal customer, she says, owns a Lamborghini or a Rolex. More on the Wall Streeter-turned-whiskey-entrepreneur.
7. Airbnb is not passing the vibe check. The company is rolling out an "anti-party crackdown" and asking people to report parties being held at properties on their platform, Bloomberg reports. More on Airbnbummers plans.
8. JPMorgan is pointing the finger back at the US Virgin Islands over Jeffrey Epstein. The bank claimed in a new filing that former US Virgin Islands First Lady Cecile de Jongh needs to shoulder some of the blame for allowing Epstein to "remain unchecked." Here are the details.
9. How to read more books. Admit it. You've said you want to read more, but you keep falling short. Take some tips from an expert who has already read almost 50 books this year. Here's how to do it.
10. Be the star of your Memorial Day BBQ party. We've got 14 easy recipes for cookout foods you can make in a slow cooker. Check them out here.
Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email email@example.com, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.
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