Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Gary's going: Gary Cohn said he will resign as President Trump’s top economic adviser after the president announced steel and aluminum tariffs, which Cohn opposes. “During his time at the White House, Mr. Cohn oversaw a major revamp of the U.S. tax code and pushed a significant rewrite of financial rules,” the Wall Street Journal says, although he failed to prevail on other issues, including tariffs.
Cohn’s departure is expected to unsettle the financial markets. “Though not universally well liked on Wall Street, Mr. Cohn was widely admired for his market savvy and his pro-trade world view, which many traders and executives share,” the Journal adds. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, American Banker
Getting closer: The Senate voted 67 to 32 to begin debating the bill sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, that would roll back parts of the Dodd-Frank Act. The vote was a key element in moving the legislation toward passage, which is expected to occur later this week.
The Washington Post discusses the five most significant aspects of the legislation.
The Financial Times asked its readers their opinions on whether the U.S. should loosen banking regulations. Among those who responded by email, those opposed to deregulation outnumbered those in favor by more than three to one.
Mike Konczal, a fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, can’t understand why so many Senate Democrats are helping President Trump dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act by voting for the Crapo bill.
The bill “removes protections for 25 of the top 38 banks; weakens regulations on the biggest players and encourages them to manipulate regulations for their benefit; and saps consumer protections,” he argues in an op-ed. And what do the Democrats get in return? “Nothing substantive that they should want. They could demand better funding for regulators or an appointment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — or a vote on gun control.”
Moving to closure: Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to settle for $500 million charges by the state of New York that it sold residential mortgage-backed securities that did not “materially comply with underwriting guidelines” and which harmed New York homeowners “by contributing to the crash in home values during the financial crisis.”
But the bank still faces an even bigger settlement, costing billions of dollars, with the U.S. Department of Justice. Ian Gordon, an analyst at Investec, called the New York deal “a disturbingly large single-state settlement ahead of the main event.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, American Banker
Pulling the plug: The investment group headed by former banker Maria Contreras-Sweet and backed by investor Ron Burkle pulled out of a deal to buy Weinstein Co. after receiving what it said was “disappointing information about the viability of completing this transaction.” The group said it found about $65 million of additional liabilities and backed out. Wall Street Journal, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Ghosts in the machine: One of the fastest growing forms of identity crimes isn’t stealing someone else’s ID and taking out loans in their name, it’s creating fictional customers out of thin air. Synthetic identity fraud, as it’s called, is also among the hardest forms of identity theft to combat. “Because the person taking out cards or loans isn’t real, there are no consumer victims to alert lenders. When companies and law enforcement discover something amiss, they often wind up chasing ghosts,” the paper reports.
The amount of money stolen is “soaring.” According to TransUnion, a record $355 million in outstanding credit-card balances last year “was owed by people who it suspects didn’t exist,” up more than eightfold from 2012. It estimates lenders have issued credit cards or loans to millions of made-up people.
Raising the bar: Thomas M. Boyd, an assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration, urges CFPB acting director Mick Mulvaney to follow the Principles of Federal Prosecution in enforcing his agency’s rules. “No criminal indictment should issue, nor any civil suit be filed, unless the available evidence is sufficient to ‘obtain and sustain’ a judgment in favor of the government — a higher standard than is legally required,” Boyd writes in an op-ed. “While he’s at it, Mr. Mulvaney might also ask Congress to repeal the CFPB’s independent litigation authority and return to the Justice Department its rightful role in guaranteeing the consistent and balanced application of law.”
Place your bets: Coinbase, the cryptocurrency wallet company, plans to start a fund that will let investors bet on four top digital coins. The Coinbase Index Fund will only be open to accredited investors with annual salaries above $200,000, or a net worth of at least $1 million.
“It has been an honor to serve my country and enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform. I am grateful to the president for giving me this opportunity and wish him and the administration great success in the future.” — Gary Cohn, President Trump’s chief economic adviser, announcing his resignation.