Dunno about you (and by "you" I mean, say, the chief risk officer of Bank of Kokomo who'll also have to cover the teller window today on the eve of a holiday) but email traffic to my inbox slumped off last night a sure sign people may be starting vacation early. However, the news kept churning yesterday and overnight, and if you are reading this you thirst for news, so here we go ...
Receiving Wide Coverage ...
We've Only Just Begun: The Federal Reserve's approval of the Basel capital rules for U.S. banks drew the most attention from the major dailies. The upshot of the coverage is that the rules generally turned out as expected, though small and midsize institutions dodged some bullets. Perhaps most importantly, major fights lie ahead for big banks over several additional rules in the works such as efforts to toughen the leverage ratio.
"This is really the beginning, or the framework, in which more will be done to strengthen our largest and most internationally active banks," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was quoted as saying in the lead Journal story.
The rules "represented a win for regional and community banks," the Post story said, echoing other reports. For example, smaller institutions may continue to keep certain current risk weights for residential mortgage loans while other mortgage-related rules are pending.
The Times' Dealbook column examined whether risk weightings give bankers too much leeway in calculating capital and whether its capital ratios are still too low. "They are certainly going in the right direction, but there's still more to be done," former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair was quoted as saying.
The Journal's "Heard on the Street" column argued that the 3% leverage ratio is still too low and should be raised to 6% to 8%
The FT report stressed that the Fed's action helps "to neutralize complaints from European regulators and politicians about slow adoption of the rules."
Looking ahead ... the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency plans to act on the rules by the end of this week. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it would meet July 9 to consider the final package along with a separate plan to raise the leverage ratio on the largest institutions, American Banker reported.
Big Deal in Asia: Several of the dailies reported on a $5.6 billion bid by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group for a 75% chunk of Bank of Ayudhya in Thailand. It would be the biggest acquisition in Asia by a Japanese bank and demonstrates in a big way the efforts by Japanese banks to diversify off their shores, the FT said.
Mitsubishi is a major player in the United States, owning UnionBanCal in San Francisco and having bought a 20% stake in Morgan Stanley in 2008, the Journal story noted.
GE Capital, which will sell its 25% stake in the bank as part of the process, endorses the deal, the Times story pointed out.
Wall Street Journal
Reality Check: Just because the Fed is planning to tap the breaks on its stimulus program does not mean it is poised to raise short-term interest rates, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said Tuesday.
May I Have Another? National Australia Bank has filed a $230 million arbitration claim against Goldman Sachs, claiming the investment bank violated industry sales practices tied to mortgage-related securities, the Journal reports. It's one of the largest arbitration cases in years, the story says.
We'll Take That ... An opinion piece by former Rep. Brad Miller, now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, strongly defends the effort by municipal governments to use eminent domain to buy up troubled mortgages in their communities to stem the tide of foreclosures.
Sleuth Time: Following on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission complaint against former MF Global chief Jon Corzine this week, "Business World" columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. suggests that the real mystery of the infamous brokerage scandal is being overlooked: why customer accounts were not shielded against a crash, and how the funds were suddenly recovered anyway?
Don't Mess with the Rock: Unlike AIG and GE Capital, Prudential Financial is fighting the Financial Stability Oversight Council's branding it a "systemically important" financial institution that must meet additional capital requirements, the FT reports. Prudential has argued it is not as risky as Wall Street banks, the story says.
Let's Take a Look at This: Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed Sir Andrew Large, former deputy governor of the Bank of England, to review complaints that it is turning down loans to small and midsize businesses.
Screeching Halt: The second half has started unusually quietly for U.S. corporate debt, says an FT story, citing Dealogic and others. Corporate borrowers are said to be spooked by the sell-off in bonds and other conditions.
New York Times
Fee-for-All: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating large employers' use of payroll cards, including the fees they charge such as 50 cents for a balance inquiry and $2.25 for use of an out-of-network A.T.M., the Times reports, following up its story on the problems associated with the surge in such cards.
Happy Birthday Dodd-Frank, But ... : Dodd-Frank is turning three years old, but regulators' progress on its implementing rules gives more reason to pause than celebrate. About 70% of the act's 398 deadlines have passed, and 62.7% have been missed, a Post article says, citing a Davis-Polk study.
Yesterday's Scan overstated the amount Citigroup agreed to pay to settle claims it sold bad mortgages to Fannie Mae. It was $968 million, not billion.