Breaking News This Morning ...
Deal near: Citigroup is getting out of the residential mortgage servicing business. The Wall Street Journal is reporting Monday morning that the bank is close to a deal to sell the servicing rights to about 780,000 mortgages of non-bank customers to a unit of New Residential Investment Corp., which is managed by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group. Citi is also set to announce that it is outsourcing the servicing of customer mortgages to Cenlar FSB
Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Cleaning up: Tracey McDermott, the former acting head of the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority, is joining Standard Chartered as head of corporate, public and regulatory affairs, where she will advise CEO Bill Winters on bank rules and policy. McDermott, who "oversaw some of the biggest financial enforcement cases of recent years in Britain, including interest-rate and foreign exchange benchmark rigging," has a "tough mandate" at Standard Chartered, the Wall Street Journal said. "Hiring Ms. McDermott is the latest signal of Mr. Winters's wish to clean up Standard Chartered, which has been probed or penalized in the U.S., Asia and elsewhere for a variety of alleged wrongdoing," the Journal noted. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Muffler: Wells Fargo is trying to squelch a growing number of proposals from shareholders demanding more information about the bank's policies in the wake of the phony accounts scandal. Resolutions submitted for the bank's annual meeting in the spring include demands for more information about risk management, suitability of directors for the board, and employees' bonus payments. In response, bank directors and executives are meeting directly with shareholders to discuss these matters, but it has also submitted a record number of requests with the Securities and Exchange Commission to keep the proposals off its proxy statement.
No more cash: Christopher Mims, the Journal's technology columnist, makes what he calls "an obvious but important prediction: The decline of hard currency and the rise of alternate payments are now self-reinforcing phenomena that will, sooner than anticipated, lead to the end of cash for legitimate businesses." On one hand, he notes, "the U.S. has been slowly moving toward becoming a cashless society ever since the introduction of the first general-purpose credit cards in the 1950s." More recently, mobile payment technology has made it possible for "everyone from farmers-market vendors to home inspectors" to accept credit cards anywhere, while Americans "of a certain demographic are simply falling out of the habit of using cash." As a result, "it's only now possible to ditch it altogether."
Sticking with Mexico: Large global banks with substantial interests in Mexico remain committed to their plans for further investment in the country despite the increasing tension with the U.S. over trade and illegal immigration. Citigroup, Banco Santander and BBVA, which control the country's top three banks, remain confident in their businesses in Mexico. "While a trade war could hurt Mexico's economy, further peso weakness could make the country even more competitive globally," bank executives told the Journal.
Whither London?: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has reportedly warned U.K. prime minister Theresa May that London may lose its role as a global financial center to other European cities "unless her government gives more priority to the City in Brexit negotiations," the FT reports. Goldman, employs 6,000 people in the U.K., its main European operations center, and was one of the biggest donors to the "Remain" side in last June's Brexit referendum.
New York Times
Accused: An American is charged with aiding ISIS after giving a friend $245 worth of Google Play gift cards.
Artist or counterfeiter: Stephen Boggs, whose "artwork" was reproductions of currency, died last week at age 62. "Mr. Boggs never sold his bills. He only spent them," the paper reports. Although he considered his pieces works of art, "Law enforcement agencies in several countries took a different view. They regarded Mr. Boggs as a forger."
"Mexico does have a lot of advantages, and those advantages as an economy would continue no matter what would happen between trade with the U.S." — Citigroup finance chief John Gerspach on the bank's Mexico business.