Changes coming to Wells; Barclaycard’s new chief

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Changes at the top: Wells Fargo’s board of directors, amid a recent flurry of scandals unrelated to last year’s huge phony accounts debacle, is planning a major shake-up that will likely lead to Stephen Sanger leaving as nonexecutive chairman. Vice Chair Elizabeth Duke, a former Federal Reserve governor, is said to be in line to take his place. The changes are expected by Labor Day.

“The bank has come in for repeated criticism over its decision to replace former chairman John Stumpf with Mr. Sanger, a longstanding corporate insider who was formerly lead director and has sat on the board for 14 years,” the Financial Times says. “Since his appointment in October 2016, he has encountered a series of setbacks in getting the bank back on track. He received backing from only 56% of votes cast at the bank’s stormy annual meeting this year.”

Home, sweet home: Two of the country’s largest rental-home owners, Blackstone Group’s Invitation Homes and Starwood Waypoint Homes, announced plans to merge in a deal that would create the largest private owner of single-family homes. The two combined own about 82,000 homes in 17 metro areas. The merged company will be known as Invitation Homes but will be led by Starwood CEO Fred Tuomi.

“This turned out to be a business,” Starwood chairman Barry Sternlicht said. “When we started out I think there were a lot of people who didn’t think it was a business. They thought it was a trade.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times

Wall Street Journal
New deal: Barclaycard International hired Barry Rodrigues, recently head of digital payments in Citigroup’s global consumer bank, to run its international credit card operations. He replaces Amer Sajed, who retired last month. Rodrigues, who will join Barclaycard in November, spent more than 20 years at American Express before joining Citi in 2011.

Terror money: The FBI says an Islamic State operative in the U.S. ran money through PayPal using fake eBay transactions. According to a recently unsealed FBI affidavit, the American suspect pretended to sell computer printers on the internet site as a cover to funnel money to ISIS through PayPal.

New York Times
Mmmmm, money: Despite complaints from vegetarians, the Bank of England announced Thursday that it will continue to use polymer to print its bank notes, including the £10 bill that debuts next month and the £20 note that rolls out by 2020. The five-pound note was introduced last year. Polymer notes are harder to counterfeit and more durable than cotton-based paper currencies, but polymer is made from rendered meat, and vegetarians object to its use.

“This decision reflects multiple considerations including the concerns raised by the public, the availability of environmentally sustainable alternatives, positions of our central bank peers, value for money, as well as the widespread use of animal-derived additives in everyday products, including alternative payment methods,” the BOE said.

“This is internet 3.0. I missed internet 2.0. I don’t want to miss this.” — Richard Brownstein, a 60-year-old financial adviser who is selling his business to get involved in digital currencies, at a recent rooftop party in Manhattan to celebrate Ethereum, “the latest cryptocurrency to soar and capture speculators’ imaginations.”

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