Capital One hacker may've hit UniCredit; Equifax offer overwhelmed

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether the alleged Capital One hacker may have “successfully hit other targets,” including UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank. “In online chats on Slack reviewed by the Wall Street Journal,” the alleged hacker, Paige Thompson, “claimed to have access to a massive trove of data, including files that federal investigators had linked to the Capital One hack. The compressed UniCredit files were more than double the size of the Capital One files, according to the screenshots.”

If UniCredit was hacked, it wouldn’t be the first time. Two years ago the bank “revealed a data breach affecting 400,000 customers whose personal loan accounts were accessed without authorization. The Milan-based lender blamed a third-party provider for the two data breaches it discovered, which it said happened between September and October 2016 and June and July 2017.”

Don’t count your chickens
Meanwhile, consumers who were hoping to cash in on Equifax’s recent offer to settle its massive 2017 hack shouldn’t spend their money just yet. The Federal Trade Commission said about 4.5 million people have visited its website since the settlement was announced last week, meaning that they probably won’t get nearly the $125 each they were hoping for. More like $7 each, assuming no more people apply.

That’s because the $700 million settlement “includes at least $300 million, with potentially up to $425 million, available for consumers affected by the breach. This money is intended to provide consumers with free credit monitoring or, if they already have credit monitoring in place, $125 cash as compensation for their time and money lost during the hack. Since only $31 million was allocated for these cash payments, spreading the amount among a large number of consumers would lower the amount of money those people who file claims could potentially receive.” Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

Tough quarter
Barclays’ second quarter earnings dropped 19% in the second quarter, to £1.03 billion from £1.28 billion a year earlier. “Bad loans were up 70% in the quarter, at £480 million from £283 million, while operating costs rose 6% to £3.5 billion. Barclays said the rise in impaired loans was because there wasn’t a repeat of last year’s stronger conditions in the period, which included the release of earlier provisions.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Wall Street Journal

Curbing cash-outs
The Federal Housing Administration is tweaking its cash-out mortgage refinancing rules. Starting in September, FHA borrowers will only be able to take cash out when the new loan equals 80% of the value of the home or less, down from 85%. “The risk at 85% is more than what we think is appropriate to bear and more than what we think we should expose taxpayers to,” said Keith Becker, the FHA’s chief risk officer.

Financial Times

Nothing for money
UBS plans to charge a negative interest rate to wealthy clients who deposit more than two million Swiss francs, meaning they will pay the bank for holding their money instead of the other way around. “Several banks in Switzerland and the eurozone already pass on the cost of negative official rates to corporate depositors, although most large players have refrained from doing so with individual clients.” Not anymore. UBS Switzerland said it will charge 0.75% a year on cash balances above two million Swiss francs. “The move underscores how banks in Europe and the U.S. are scrambling to prepare for a protracted spell of lower rates that threatens their profitability, having previously wagered that central bankers would tighten monetary policy.”

Different stories
BBVA said “strong interest income growth and the sale of non-performing and written-off loans” helped the Spanish bank earn €1.28 billion in the second quarter, up 2.7% from the year earlier period and ahead of analysts’ expectations of €1.24 billion. Net interest income rose 6.1% to €4.57 billion.

It was a different story at its $93.5 billion asset BBVA USA unit, where “higher deposit costs and a greater provision for loan losses ate into second-quarter earnings.” Net income fell 13% to $160 million.


“There’s a downside to this unexpected number of claims. A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing: each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money. Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.” — Robert Schoshinski, the Federal Trade Commision’s assistant director of Privacy and Identity Protection, announcing that consumers probably won’t get the cash bounty they were hoping for from the Equifax settlement.

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Hacking Credit reporting Earnings Refinance Deposits UniCredit BBVA Equifax Barclays UBS FHA