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So what happens if we get the deal? What occurs? Will we see immediate deals? I think it depends on the accounting.

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If an acquiring bank were to buy

Washington Mutual

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, say, without any assurances that those mortgages can be written down to where they can be flipped, the acquirer would be committing suicide.

That makes Washington Mutual just a so-so bet, although its $300 billion in deposits make it a terrific target. Put it this way, the FDIC will own WaMu in a week without the plan, and that will be mighty ugly for the FDIC. But it could happen anyway, given how bad the WaMu loan process was.

Instead, I think the focus will be on


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because I believe Bob Steel has the best handle on what the process will look like. I think he is ready to dump his bad bank on the government in return for a stake by the government in it and then his good bank can thrive. I think that Wachovia goes from a dicey situation to one of the best ones.

The most attractive name, obviously, is the one that will actually profit from the plan early:

Bank of America

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. The bank has written down


and it will be writing down the

Merrill Lynch



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It is, by the way, Bank of America that will be the political hot button because it has done things very right here and it could benefit quickly from the plan.

The wild card is


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. We really don't know what it owns, but you have to believe that if it can somehow get the bad loans it has in its various difficult-to-understand instruments of destruction on its balance sheet off that balance sheet, you will begin to see the value, at last, of its huge deposit base.

Of course, if the plan fails, only Bank of America makes much sense going forward.

Random musings

: How good an operator is


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? Wow, they are defying a lot of expectations. Remember them when the market takes a header again.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Nike.

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