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Shining Citi: Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat is basking in flattering coverage this morning after posting a 30% profit jump for the first quarter, a period when rivals' results suffered from refi droop. News accounts chalk it up to Corbat's cost cuts; the bank's international diversification; its gradual approach to releasing loan-loss reserves; and Citi's shrinkage of noncore businesses and deferred tax assets. Standing out among major media outlets, the Times homes in on sluggishness in consumer banking, particularly in the U.S., where "[b]orrowers are still unwilling to take on new loans, even with interest rates hovering at near-record lows."
Wall Street Journal
As the statute of limitations approaches to bring financial crisis-related cases, the Justice Department "is turning to obscure laws dating to the World War II era and to the savings-and-loan crisis to buy itself more time." Since the U.S. is at war in Afghanistan, the government argues, the 1948 Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act should allow it to pursue Wells Fargo even though the clock has run out on alleged defrauding of FHA. Wells has denied the charges and noted they have "nothing to do with wartime contracting," and the law signed by Truman appears to have been a response to war profiteering. But according to a Notre Dame Law Review article: "While it is generally agreed that [the law] was not intended to secure the prosecution of all frauds committed against the government during times of war, the 'legislative history offers no express affirmative indication of the purpose that Congress had in mind.'"
A preview of upcoming annual meetings at big banks declares, "The era of the 'imperial chief executive,' a domineering figure who ruled the company as if it was his own … has ended. The next few weeks will offer a glimpse of what is next: a corporate world in which chief executives are more executives and less chiefs." While JPMorgan and Goldman are unlikely to strip the current CEOs of their chairmanships, "even company insiders believe that whoever succeeds Mr. Dimon and Mr. Blankfein will have to make do with 'just' the CEO role."
Yes, there really is such a thing as a "dollar-sniffing dog," and we've got a picture to prove it. "As their government restricts access to foreign currencies, Argentines seeking hard-to-get dollars have been pushed into 'cuevas,' or 'caves'—clandestine operations where customers pay dearly to exchange pesos for greenbacks."