Receiving Wide Coverage ...
More phonies: Eleven current and former branch employees of Citizens Financial Group say they fabricated scheduling meetings with customers in order to meet goals set by the bank. According to the Wall Street Journal, the former bank employees "said they falsified information because of pressure to meet expectations related to the program and time constraints from other banking responsibilities. They also said they believed that doing so wouldn't hurt customers." The bank had said that 400,000 such meetings were scheduled last year, but it's not clear how many were made up. Brad Conner, Citizens' head of consumer banking, said in a statement, "We take every allegation seriously, and our chief conduct officer will lead a thorough review." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, American Banker
Kicking the tires: A group of 75 JPMorgan employees is scouting out as many as eight cities as the bank evaluates leaving London in response to the U.K. exiting the European Union. JPM is Europe's largest investment bank and employs 16,000 people in the U.K. The bank's staffers have spent the last few months evaluating the cities on a variety of factors ranging from employment law to flight delays at local airports. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Another shot: American Express is upping the ante yet again in its Platinum rewards card war against JPMorgan Chase's Sapphire Reserve card. Amex may announce as early as Thursday that it is raising the introductory points bonus on its card to 60,000, from 40,000, although customers will need to spend $5,000 in the first three months, up from $3,000, to get it. This is the third time since October that Amex has beefed up its offer. Meanwhile, JPM recently lowered its original 100,000 points bonus to 50,000 points, for which customers need to spend $4,000 in the first three months.
To the rescue: Synovus Financial is in talks to buy the $4.5 billion financial services unit of Cabela's, the outdoor goods retailer that is slated to be acquired by rival Bass Pro Shops. Capital One had originally agreed to buy the banking unit last October but that deal was hampered by a regulatory probe into CapOne's anti-money-laundering controls. According to the paper, Synovus would now resell Cabela's retail credit card portfolio to Capital One and keep about $1 billion in deposits held by Cabela's bank.
Ticketed: Santander Consumer USA has agreed to pay $26 million in fines and consumer relief to settle charges by the attorneys general of Delaware and Massachusetts that it knowingly gave auto loans to subprime customers who could not afford them. According to the paper, "Santander relied on information from car dealerships about borrowers' income that it should have known was inflated in certain cases, resulting in some borrowers taking on loans they could ill afford. Despite knowing that some dealerships had a high default rate for past loans due to inaccurate or inflated borrower information, Santander continued to buy loans from them, and in some cases sold those on to third parties."
New York Times
Narrow victory: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of five small New York businesses that want to inform customers of a surcharge for using credit cards. The court ruled the First Amendment applies to a state law concerning those fees, which credit card companies want to keep invisible to consumers. "What the law does regulate is how sellers may communicate their prices," Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. The decision was a very narrow one, however. According to the paper, "the court decided only that the law regulated their speech rather than their conduct, and it left it to an appeals court to determine whether the law violated the First Amendment."
Big tech deal?: In an article it bills as an "exclusive," the U.K. Register is reporting that Oracle has hired consultants to explore the feasibility of its buying Accenture, the big consulting firm. It says Oracle wants to "explore the synergies that could be created if they bought Accenture lock stock and barrel," one source said. "While these things have a habit of fizzling out there are some fairly serious players around the table," a source added. The website said Oracle and Accenture "have a long history of working together, and almost two years ago launched a business group with the aim of converting more customers from old world technology to web services."
"For a week or so, I had my bankers [try to make] real appointments. No one was picking up the phone. So we put random people's names down and said, 'We have an appointment.'" — A former Citizens Financial branch manager in Massachusetts