Breaking News This Morning ...
JPMorgan Potpourri: CEO Jamie Dimon's compensation has been cut, as expected. The company also released management and board reports on the London Whale trading loss. "This incident teaches a number of important lessons that the Firm is taking very seriously," the report says.
Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Mortgages in Flux: Bank of America is seeking a mortgage comeback, according to a feature article in the Journal. The bank, whose home loan market share dwindled to 4.2% last year from 22% in 2009, aims to sell more to customers in its branches, having learned a hard lesson about originating mortgages through intermediaries. It's well known that the 2007 acquisition of home loan leader Countrywide was a bust; B of A's subsequent retreat from this business line in 2010 to 2011 was similarly ill-timed, given the profitable refinancing boom that followed. Three times a charm? (Fun little nugget at the end of the article: B of A has been looking at selling Countrywide's palatial headquarters in Calabasas, Calif. Are those beautiful Hudson River School paintings still in the lobby?) Meanwhile, the FT's "Lex" column says nonbank specialty servicers like Ocwen and Nationstar are gaining share in the servicing market, whose increasing complexity and cost has caused banks to scale back. Speaking of servicing, we missed Joe Nocera's Times column yesterday, which construed the recent OCC settlement with 10 banks as a microcosm of government mishandling of the foreclosure crisis (window dressing with little benefit for homeowners, no accountability for misdeeds, etc.).
Morgan Stanley Defers Bigwigs' Bonuses: The cash portions, for instance, will be paid in four equal installments each quarter, rather than all upfront. Historically, "bonuses were used to buy houses and cars," notes an observer quoted in the Journal. Now, maybe iPads? Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
The FASB has proposed to tighten accounting rules for repo financing transactions to prevent the kind of abuses that played a large role in the collapses of Lehman and MF Global.
PNC, BB&T, SunTrust and other banks are asking Washington for help protecting against the recent cyberattacks attributed to the Iranian government. "The outcry is particularly significant from an industry that usually seeks to keep the government at arm's length. Financial-services groups opposed a legislative effort last year to establish cybersecurity standards for key private-sector businesses."
An editorial says the recent regulatory orders against JPMorgan over the Whale mess and anti-money laundering deficiencies "fall short of what the public expects" (monetary penalties and "a final finding for or against guilty conduct"). And since this is a British paper, there's also some sensitivity to our government's harsh treatment (relatively speaking) of HSBC and Standard Chartered. "Compared with US authorities' stance against non-US banks," the FT says, "the OCC and the Fed's kid-gloves approach smells of protectionism."
New York Times
This story's complicated, but the gist is basically an old TV trope: "If you want to sue securities dealers for selling you radioactive mortgage bonds, AIG, you'll have to go through the New York Fed first."