Talk about cultural vertigo. Thursday night: reception with derivatives dealers in the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Friday night: A Texas A&M ritual “ring dunk” and Bar-B-Q in College Station. Hard to imagine two more different social occasions, but both were very enjoyable in their very different ways.
And here’s an interesting contrast in perspectives on the same issue from those different parts of the country. In San Francisco, CDOs were of course a not uncommon subject of conversation and comment. In College Station, I was talking with my daughter Renee’s best friend’s father, Roy, a cattle rancher from Elmendorf, Texas. The subject turned to real estate. Roy mentioned a housing development near San Antonio that was largely vacant: the banks that financed the houses, “didn’t keep any skin in the game, but sent all the money up north.” That’s going to be my new catch phrase for structured finance: “Sending all the money up north.” Too true.
It is, as the Talking Heads sang, The Big Country, and a source of endless fascination to explore it. It is especially fascinating to have such a juxtaposition of experiences.