Receiving Wide Coverage ... The Father of Bitcoin? Newsweek kicked a media-filled hornet's nest yesterday when reporter Leah McGrath Goodman purported to have found the creator of Bitcoin. The person in question? A 64-year-old Japanese engineer living in California named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, or, legally, Satoshi Nakamoto, the name that first appeared on a white paper introducing the cryptocurrency in 2008. Goodman's article, containing numerous details on Nakamoto's life and several interviews with family and friends,
Receiving Wide Coverage ... The Mercurial Subprime Market: New lenders, including Lending Club and Freedom Plus, are servicing the subprime sector, reports the Journal. These entrants are hoping to fill the void left by banks, reluctant to lend to the demographic following the financial crisis (and all the resulting regs.) The Journal notes these firms are lending at interest rates "approaching 10% and sometimes much more a premium above prime loans but less than
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Closer to Bitcoin Regulation: Japan is close to regulating cryptocurrency Bitcoin, following the collapse of Tokyo-based exchange Mt. Gox. Draft regulation, which includes a tax on Bitcoin transactions and prohibits banks and securities firms from handling the cryptocurrency, appears to treat Bitcoin more like a commodity than an actual currency, but a lawmaker, who opposes the plan, has asked for clarification. One look at this Journal quote from an anonymouse and you
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Exposed: Turmoil in the Ukraine roiled global markets on Monday, with European and Russian bank stocks taking a hit. The Times reports global markets had calmed on Tuesday (no specifics on bank stocks mentioned), after Russian President Vladimir Putin said via news conference that he saw no need to use military force at the moment. However, investors tell the paper "confidence remains fragile and the calm could quickly dissipate." The FT
Breaking News This Morning ... Subpoenaed: PNC Financial disclosed in a regulatory filing that it has received subpoenas from prosecutors over certain mortgage-lending practices. The bank has also received subpoenas from the Justice Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about the return rate for its payment-processor clients. Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Yellen on the Hill, Again: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appeared before the Senate Banking Committee Thursday. Here's what we learned from her second trip to the Hill as the central bank's leader: She watches the weather "I think it's clear the unseasonably cold weather has played some role in that," she told lawmakers when asked about a recent run of bad economic data and she's waiting to see what
Receiving Wide Coverage ... More RBS Woes: Royal Bank of Scotland has announced plans to cut around $8.34 billion in costs over the next four years, after posting a $15 billion loss for 2013. According to the FT, this is "the sixth consecutive time the lender has slumped into the red, taking its total cumulative deficit since 2008 to about £50 billon." Cost-cutting plans revolve around restructuring units and refocusing on its U.K. activities.
Receiving Wide Coverage ... On Mt. Gox: The apparent collapse of big Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has reignited concerns about the digital currency. Japan's government, for instance, is now looking into regulating Bitcoin, though officials are not offering any specifics as to how. Some pundits are arguing, amid crashing Bitcoin prices, that Gox has sounded the cryptocurrency's death knell given that the reported theft of 744,000 bitcoins is likely to preclude prospective and even current users
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Unmasked: Andrew Ross Sorkin has discovered the secret identity of the person behind @GSElevatorGossip, a popular Twitter handle that purportedly discloses comments overheard in Goldman Sachs' elevators and, surprise, surprise, the guy never worked at Goldman. Per Dealbook, the Twitter user is John Lefevre, a 34-year-old former bond trader now based out of Texas who did work at Citi for seven years. He also apparently was offered a job at Goldman at
Receiving Wide Coverage ... HSBC Earnings: HSBC's profit rose 9% last year to $22.6 billion, a sum that was short of analysts' $24.5 billion expectations. Per the Journal, "shutting businesses and the continuing runoff of its U.S. consumer finance business" hurt revenue. The bank addressed investor concerns over its exposure to emerging markets, particularly Asia, saying it was "optimistic about the longer-term prospects," but that it did "anticipate greater volatility in 2014." HSBC revealed it plans
Receiving Wide Coverage ... No Love for Fed: The Federal Reserve's decision to require foreign banks in the U.S. to hold more capital could pose a conflict for foreign policymakers in their efforts to end too-big-to-fail scenarios, the Journal reports. But that's not the only international conflict expected. The Journal says Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen could get "an earful" from foreign nations during the G-20 meeting this weekend about its tapering of asset purchases. Back
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Is it Time to Tighten Up? That is the question that some Fed officials apparently raised during the central bank's policy meeting last month. Some members showed support for raising interest rates. The Journal notes that, "The fact that the subject came up at all shows how the central bank's policy debate is slowly and subtly evolving." The New York Times discusses how the Fed's minutes portend a further reduction in
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Fed Reins in Foreign Banks: The Federal Reserve has finalized new rules for large foreign banks operating in the U.S. that will require many to hold more capital and conduct tougher stress tests. The rules will require about 100 foreign banks with at least $50 billion in assets to follow tighter capital and liquidity standards that also apply to 24 U.S. bank holding companies of that size, the Financial Times reports. Many
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Bitcoin Update: The Journal looks at the woes of Mt. Gox. "The travails of Mt. Gox illustrate the convulsions of the bitcoin market as the first generation of companies trading the virtual currency face growing technical and security challenges." Columnist Francesco Guerrera notes, "After weeks marked by technological breakdowns, regulatory issues and general questions over its viability, bitcoin is in the midst of the worst crisis since it was proposed in a
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Chilly Economy: The major papers celebrated Valentine's Day by focusing on love, the union of Comcast and Time Warner and Mother Nature's frosty gifts for all of us east of Pasadena. That said, after taking it all in, Scan is fretful about the economic picture. It would be nice to say cabin fever has put Scan and consumers in a funk, but retail sales fell more than expected in January after a
Morning Scan: First Volcker Reports Due in July. Scratch That, August. No, It's July, but with April Data
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Fed Watch: The media honeymoon is definitely over for new Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen. The Journal reports a potential conflict of interest created by her husband George Akerlof serving on the advisory board of an academic center funded by the Swiss bank UBS, which will soon come under closer Fed supervision. Meanwhile, the Post's Wonkblog says to watch Yellen's counterpart across the pond, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, for clues
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Spotlight on Yellen: Janet Yellen faced Congress Tuesday for the first time as Federal Reserve chairman. The marathon session lasting almost six hours yielded several takeaways pertaining to her forthcoming tenure. A few of the more notable ones circulating among the pundits: Yellen is a dove, which we all pretty much already knew; Yellen is an effective communicator; and Yellen may or may not be a high pressure Fed chair
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Barclays to Cut Jobs, Raise Bonuses: Barclays plans a massive round of layoffs after suffering a quarterly loss of about $845 million, or 514 million pounds. The British bank will slash up to 12,000 of its 140,000 workers in 2014, as it tries to bring down rising expenses which include a hefty charge for litigation and regulatory penalties and offset weaker revenue from its investment bank. Those who don't lose
Receiving Wide Coverage ... More Headaches for Barclays: British bank Barclays and its regulator are investigating the possible theft and sale of personal data affecting at least 2,000 customers. Barclays believes based on an initial investigation that the breach was limited to customers from its financial planning business, which it closed in 2011. Customers have begun to be notified that their information might have been stolen. The security breaches followed a less than lackluster earnings report
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Halted: Top New York regulator Benjamin Lawsky has stopped a deal that would have seen Wells Fargo sell the mortgage servicing rights on $39 billion in loans to Ocwen Financial Corp. The Times and the Journal both report that Lawsky halted the deal out of concerns about Ocwen's ability to handle more mortgages. Lawsky's Department of Financial Services has been investigating the servicer for alleged misdeeds toward homeowners since December 2012. Per
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Lawsky Probe: Benjamin Lawsky certainly stays busy. New York's top financial regulator who recently oversaw a few days of Bitcoin hearings has launched a probe into whether banks manipulated the foreign exchange market. The Department of Financial Services head has requested documentation from more than a dozen banks, including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds Banking Group and Standard Chartered, to investigate. Lawsky, of course, isn't the only one
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Farm Bill's Feast and Famine: In a rare bout of bipartisan unity, the U.S. Senate passed a farm bill that provides a cornucopia of goodies to the well-heeled and well-connectedincluding bankersbut a lump of coal for the poor. The long-stalled bill, which represents nearly $1 trillion in spending over the next decade, passed 68 to 32. At 949 pages, it expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over 10 years and
Receiving Wide Coverage ... To Bonus or Not to Bonus? For the second year in a row, Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins is turning down his cash bonus. Jenkins cited continuing restructuring and legal issues as the reason for his decision. He'll still receive a base salary of £1.1 million for the year. The Journal reports that Jenkins isn't alone in refusing a payout, citing Royal Bank of Scotland as another firm with executive bonus forfeitures. But
Receiving Wide Coverage ... European Bank Earnings: European stocks took a hit on Monday, thanks to "some lackluster" bank earnings. Most notably, Lloyds Banking Group reported higher than expected earnings for 2013 but wait for it said it was setting aside an additional $3.1 billion to cover potential claims related to the misselling of payment protection insurance and other products. FT Lombard columnist Jonathan Guthrie called the bank's full year update "akin to a
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Emerging Markets Strained: The papers continue to raise concerns about emerging markets and foreign currencies as investors have pulled billions of dollars out of emerging market stocks and bonds since last week. The Journal says the euro hit its weakest level in 10 days "as expectations mounted that the European Central Bank will have to introduce fresh easing measures to head off the threat of falling prices." The FT says it could
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Get a Life: Citigroup is encouraging junior investment bankers to take weekends off and mandating they take vacation time, joining other Wall Street firms that are trying to avoid burning out their young'uns. Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Dealbreaker SOTU, Day Two: Obama's brief mention of housing finance reform in Tuesday's State of the Union address "provided a glimmer of hope for those looking for action" on the Hill, the Times reports.
Receiving Wide Coverage ... The State of the Union: President Obama vowed to use his executive power to reduce the gap between the wealthiest and poorest Americans and jump start the economy. The president said he will sign an executive order in the coming weeks to raise the federal minimum wage for employees on new federal contracts. He also plans to create a new retirement savings program. Both the Wall Street Journal and the New York
Receiving Wide Coverage ... More Costs for RBS: What's another $5 billion or so for the British taxpayer? Royal Bank of Scotland will set aside £3 billion to cover potential claims related to mortgage-backed securities and other products it sold before the financial crisis, it announced after the bell Monday. These new charges could force RBS "every lawyer's favorite U.K. bank," according to the Journal to declare a loss of as much as £8
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Farewell, Ben: Ben Bernanke's final meeting as Fed chairman, set for Tuesday and Wednesday, is previewed, with the Wall Street Journal pointing out that Bernanke's detractors admit he's achieved the goals he set. The Journal asks four asset managers to assess Bernanke's tenure. Financial Times picks three of Janet Yellen's biggest challenges in her new job, including whether to continue Bernanke's efforts at providing more public disclosures and holding press conferences. The
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Teflon Jamie: Here's what the headlines are telling us about JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, who was out-and-about at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday. He's not a fan of Bitcoin. ("It's a terrible store of value," Dimon told CNBC. "It could be replicated over and over." Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, more or less, agrees.) He thinks the "sun, the moon and the stars" have lined up for the U.S. economy.
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