Opposed: Top executives of Wall Street's biggest banks joined the chorus of criticism against President Trump's ban on immigration from predominately Muslim nations. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein – "a well-known Democrat who endorsed Hillary Clinton for president," as the Wall Street Journal pointed out – said in a voicemail to the company's employees the ban causes "disruption to the firm, and especially to some of our people and their families. This is not a policy we support. Being diverse is not optional; it is what we must be."
Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, a naturalized citizen who emigrated from Australia, said in an email to employees, "Continuing to draw on talent from across the globe is a key element of Morgan Stanley's culture." JPMorgan executives told the bank's employees, "We understand that our country, economy and wellbeing are strengthened by the rich diversity of the world around us." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, American Banker
Dodd-Frank next: Calling it a "disaster," President Trump promised to do "a big number" on the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Trump made the comments to reporters after signing an executive order that requires federal agencies to cut two regulations for every new one they propose. Wall Street Journal, New York Times, American Banker
AML fines: Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a $425 million fine to the New York State Department of Financial Services to settle charges that it helped Russian investors launder as much as $10 billion. The state's top regulator said a group of the bank's executives helped wealthy Russians send money overseas by arranging stock trades "that had no economic purpose other than disguising what the client was doing," the New York Times reports. The bank also agreed to pay $204 million to the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority, which the Financial Times described as "the largest financial penalty it or its predecessor agency has ever handed out for anti-money-laundering controls failings." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Whew!: Twenty U.S. banks with less than $250 billion in assets have been exempted from the "qualitative" portion of the Federal Reserve's annual stress tests. To gain an exemption, a bank must have assets between $50 billion and $250 billion and not be "systemically important." Last year, 33 banks were required to participate in the stress tests. The Fed also reduced some capital and reporting requirements for firms that fall under the exemption. The Fed is expected to release more details on the new stress test requirements later this week.
Mastercard wins one: A U.K. judge ruled in favor of Mastercard in its fight with a group of British retailers, who claim the company's interchange fees for credit and debit card transactions are anti-competitive and violate British and European Union law. In Monday's ruling, the judge found that the historic rates charged by the card issuer "were necessary for it to function," according to the FT. Mastercard is fighting at least 10 separate lawsuits from British merchants, who are seeking more than £1.2 billion in damages.
New York Times
Turn them over: A federal appeals court Monday ruled the government must turn over documents relating to the 2012 decision by the U.S. Treasury to seize the profits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fairholme Funds, a mutual fund that owns shares of the two mortgage agencies, sued the government in 2013 arguing the Treasury's move was an illegal seizure of private property. In October, a federal claims court judge ruled in Fairholme's favor, a decision the government appealed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the October ruling on Monday.
Joining blockchain: American Express is joining the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger blockchain project as a contributing member. Sastry Durvasula, a senior vice president and enterprise head of the company's data and digital tech division, will join the project's governing board. AmEx said it believes Hyperledger could help it provide new services to its customers.
"We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank. The American dream is back." – President Donald Trump