Editor's note: Morning Scan will not publish on Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We'll be back on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Breaking News This Morning ...
Receiving Wide Coverage ...
It ain't over: Looking beyond last year's earnings, the Wall Street Journal's Ahead of the Tape column says "even more important will be the banks' forecasts for 2017 and their commentary on the many trends expected to benefit them under a Trump administration." And those "are likely to support bank valuations for the foreseeable future."
The Financial Times agrees. Even after last year's big run-up in bank stocks, "many say there is more room to run." Citing a survey by Morgan Stanley early last month, the FT says "40% of respondents said they expected financials to be the best performing sector in 2017."
Wall Street Journal
Carson speaks: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development-designate Ben Carson said it would be possible to preserve the nearly sacrosanct 30-year mortgage even without a government guarantee.
While offering few details on housing policy during his confirmation hearing on Thursday, "he signaled a desire to overhaul the mortgage market by scaling back the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make way for the private sector," the Journal reports. But "we can't do it in a haphazard way and we can't do it in an ideological way," the former neurosurgeon said.
Diversification: If you're a Japanese banker, it's tough to make money on, well, banking, when interest rates are so low. So Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank has branched out into other businesses, like rice farming, chocolate, pinball and broadcasting. "With these interest rates," says the bank's owner, "you might make more money selling 10 OKB chocolates instead of managing a million yen in deposits." He does have to abide by Japanese laws that prohibit banks from running other businesses, so the bank's chocolate business, for example, is run by a partner of the bank.
Fined: New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said a Citigroup unit will pay a $1 million fine to settle charges that it overcharged 47,000 customers more than $22.5 million in account management fees. In addition to the fine, the unit, Citigroup Global Markets, will have to report "fee overcharge issues" to the AG's office for the next three years.
Ka-ching!: Seven Morgan Stanley executives made about $17 million selling their shares into the big bank rally following Donald Trump's election. The biggest sellers: Chairman and CEO James Gorman netted $7.1 million, president Colm Kelleher made $3.3 million, and investment head Daniel Simkowitz made $3.7 million.
New challenger: Nick Ogden, who founded payments group Worldpay and sold it to Royal Bank of Scotland in 2002, is launching a "challenger" bank in the U.K. called ClearBank. The bank will focus on financial technology and "intelligent accounts." Ogden will serve as chairman while former RBS senior manager Charles McManus will be CEO.
New York Times
Is it the water?: Financial columnist James B. Stewart looks into why such a disproportionate number of senior government financial officials regularly come from Goldman Sachs. "After all, Goldman is hardly the only large bank, and it is also far from the biggest," he says, noting JPMorgan Chase employs way more people. One reason is the "unique Goldman culture that has long encouraged public service and philanthropy as integral to its business model."
"When I became a partner in 1988, you were expected to manage your career so that when they wrote your obituary, no more than three paragraphs would be about Goldman Sachs," Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein told Stewart.
"Whatever you may think of them individually, you can't get to be a Goldman partner and survive if you're stupid, lazy or unprofessional." — Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg