Breaking News

Hired: Deutsche Bank plans to name Citigroup treasurer James von Moltke as its chief financial officer, replacing Marcus Schenck, who was recently named a deputy chief executive officer and will co-head the investment banking division. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Receiving Wide Coverage ...

Just hold on: Institutional Shareholder Services, the proxy advisor firm that recently recommended shareholders vote against several incumbent Wells Fargo directors, is now advising investors in Barclays to abstain from re-electing CEO Jes Staley at that bank's May 10 annual meeting. Staley is being investigated by the U.K.'s Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority after he tried to uncover the identity of a whistleblower who complained about one of his top hires.

A proxy advisor firm wants shareholders to abstain in a vote on Barclays CEO Jes Staley. Bloomberg News

"Given his personal involvement and accountability in this matter, and given the importance of his role as the group CEO, an abstention on his re-election is considered appropriate," ISS said. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Barclays reported profits plunged in the first quarter. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Wall Street Journal

A welcome mat: An increase in the U.S. homeownership rate may be on the horizon after all. Although it dipped to 63.6% in the first quarter from 63.7% in the fourth quarter, more new American households bought homes rather rented in the first quarter, the first time that has happened since the third quarter of 2006. More than 850,000 new homeowner households were formed during the quarter, more than double the 365,000 new renter households, the Census Bureau reported.

"The fact that many new owner-occupied households are forming is really our first sign that the homeownership rate is on the rise," said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia.

Who's paying the tab?: The paper looks at the economics of credit and debit card rewards, which the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston estimates total $100 billion a year. Namely, who exactly pays for all those rewards?

Clueless: It turns out that investment professionals aren't very good at spotting financial fraud. According to a recent test of 154 randomly selected financial professionals, the finance pros were "so poor at distinguishing truth-tellers from liars that they might as well flip a coin." Neither age nor experience improved their performance.

What's next?: PayPal's strategy of growing the number and type of transactions it handles, while earning less on each, is succeeding brilliantly so far, the Heard on the Street column says, noting the company's strong first-quarter results. "But there are hurdles ahead," it warned.

For example, "the company can't go on forever making zero revenue from Venmo," its P-2-P money transfer business. "The plan is to get people to use Venmo for shopping rather than just sending cash to friends. But for this to work on a large scale, the ease of paying with Venmo, which is generally linked to bank accounts, will have to trump the rewards that consumers get using their credit cards."

Financial Times

Don't be fooled: Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Ross McEwan warned bank customers about taking advantage of long-term zero-percent interest credit cards British banks have been offering lately. Speaking at the FT's Banking Standards conference on Thursday, McEwan said the offers, which can least nearly four years in some cases, threaten to trap customers in a cycle of debt because they lull borrowers into delaying paying down their debt.

Making better bankers: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is endorsing a British banking protocol to improve ethical standards at U.S. financial institutions. The FT said there are "growing calls" from American banks to adopt their own version of the Banking Standards Board.

"Of particular interest to the New York Fed is the BSB's industry-wide annual survey," the paper said, which "revealed that despite tougher regulation, improved whistleblowing procedures and a statutory accountability regime, one in eight bankers say it is difficult to progress in their careers without 'flexing ethical standards.'"


And so it goes: The latest lawsuit against Wells Fargo alleges bank employees targeted undocumented immigrants as customers in order to meet sales goals for opening new accounts.

Unraveling: JPMorgan Chase is quitting the R3 CEV blockchain consortium, joining three other banks that dropped out late last year.

Quotable ...

"Call me old fashioned, but I want customers to pay us back." – Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Ross McEwan

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