Let’s give (Recession) a bad name…


Now that some economists are saying our almost 2-year-old recession is over, I think it’s time we name it something. You know, like we name hurricanes…Katrina, Andrew…Rita.


Maybe we should even have a national center that names them – like the National Hurricane Center names hurricanes — we could have a National Recession Center to do the job.


Each year, the center could put out a list of names in alphabetical order. If that year has a recession, we just check a name off that list.


Students reading about economic history would have an easy way to remember the worst recession since the Great Depression. Government leaders, policy makers and businesses would have a ready made reference point to separate all the recessions we’ve had.

Psychologically, by putting a name on it, maybe it would be easier to box up and leave behind.


Turns out, there may be some value in that.


“(A name) would have a different meaning for each person,” said Joann Moran, a cinical psychologist who teaches a class in San Marino with her husband on coping with the financial crisis.

People would rename it to be “less overwelming, where they can frame it in the context of something they have some power over.”

And maybe the name could even have some accountability built into it, she said.


Some ideas come to mind.

Howabout Subprime Recession , after institutions that ran wild with adjustable rate and low-documentation loans that led to the housing meltdown, which in turn led to the fall of the financial system?


Howabout Recession Lehman – for the fall of Lehman Bros., the biggest bank failure in history?


Recession Greenspan?


I don’t know. I guess the name depends on who you are talking to.

What we do know is that this is the worst recession since the Great Depression.

That’s why a lot of people are calling it the Great Recession, said Jack Kyser, founding economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

It’s not quite a depression, but it’s the worst of the recessions, he said.


That works for me. Only one problem…Nothing about 12.7 percent unemployment – over 15 percent in some valley areas – is particularly great…not great at all.

But anything, anything to look back during better times and to give the last two years a name.

It’s not so much so that we can remember it. It’s more about putting a name on something that has harmed us, so we can beat it back, punch it, beat it and hope to God we learn from it and never see anything like it again.


By the way, if you’ve got any ideas for a name, feel free to pass them along…just make sure they are something that we can publish in a family paper.

Some trickles of job hope…

If you’re looking for hope in dismal job numbers, here’s a trickle of it, mixed in with unsettling numbers:

From the Associated Press:

“There are about 6.1 unemployed workers, on average, competing for each job opening, a Labor Department report shows. That’s down slightly from 6.2 last month, the most since the department began tracking job openings nine years ago.
It’s a sharp increase from only 1.7 workers per opening when the recession began in December 2007.
The department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey said employers advertised about 2.5 million job openings at the end of September, up slightly from the previous month. That’s down from a peak of 4.8 million openings in June 2007.”

I realize that’s not the greatest news. But it’s on the right track.

The hope is that businesses will have no choice but to start hiring again, once they’ve trimmed production and labor to the point that they can’t be trimmed any more.






East West acquires the banking operations of San Francisco-based United Commercial Bank

Here’s some news we came across late Friday:

PASADENA – East West Bancorp Inc, parent company of East West Bank, announced Friday that it has acquired the banking operations of San Francisco-based United Commercial Bank in a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-assisted transaction.

Under the terms of the transaction, Pasadena-based East West will receive $10.4 billion in assets, including $7.7 billion in loans, and assume $9.2 billion in liabilities, including $6.5 billion in deposits of UCB. The FDIC and East West have entered into a loss sharing agreement covering substantially all acquired loans.

The attractive transaction creates the second largest independent bank headquartered in California and the largest bank in the nation focused on serving the Asian American community. East West, with more than $19 billion in assets, operates 137 branches worldwide, including 112 branches in California and 21 branches in key markets across the country, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, and Seattle.

East West operates four full-service branches in Greater China, including two branches in Hong Kong, and branches in Shanghai and Shantou. The bank also has representative offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China, and Taipei, Taiwan.

The Shanghai, China, subsidiary of United Commercial, was also part of the transaction. The agreement between the FDIC and East West Bank will not affect the normal business operation of UCB-China. East West Bank will extend support to UCB-China where necessary.

“This is a transformational event for both institutions and represents an exciting growth opportunity for East West,” East West President and CEO Dominic Ng said. “East West and UCB share a rich cultural heritage. For East West, the transaction strengthens our presence in key markets throughout the U.S. and Asia and is another important milestone in realizing our vision to be recognized as the premier bridge between east and west.”