Receiving Wide Coverage ...
JPM Hearing Previews: Today the Senate Banking Committee will question regulators about JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion trading loss. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry says in prepared remarks that his office is looking at whether the bank provided examiners with sufficient information about its trades before they went south, the papers report. The OCC is also looking at potential clawbacks of pay from traders and managers responsible for the blunder, and at what the regulator itself could have done differently, Curry is expected to say. We'd love to link to the actual testimony, but as we type at 7:19 a.m. Eastern, the actual testimony isn't up on the OCC or Senate Banking websites, so for now you'll have to get it filtered through the media outlets that received advance copies. The Morning Scan can vouch that at least one of these publications is reliable: American Banker, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times.
Congratulations, We're Cutting Your Pay: Fannie Mae promoted Timothy Mayopoulos, its general counsel, to chief executive. The government-sponsored enterprise will keep paying him under his contracted rate of $3 million this year, but the pay will drop to $600,000 next year, per the Federal Housing Finance Agency's pledge to trim GSE chiefs' compensation. Mayopoulos was dismissed as general counsel of Bank of America in 2008, and the papers say he was ousted so Brian Moynihan (now the bank's CEO) could take his job. Mayopoulos' ties to B of A could make things awkward in the Fannie CEO job: As the GSE's general counsel, he had to recuse himself from any matters concerning the bank, which must have been tricky given the billions of dollars of mortgage repurchase requests the two companies have been wrangling over. It won't be practical for him to continue the recusal as CEO, he tells the Journal, but the paper paraphrases him as saying he "won't personally get involved with making decisions relating to issues on which he had special knowledge about Bank of America." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post
Speaking of Banker Pay: Today’s FT has a package of content on this ever-popular topic. One story analyzes data on banks across the globe and finds that compensation expenses relative to profits have risen since the financial crisis, while dividends’ share has shrunk. A second article focuses on investor dissatisfaction with this state of affairs. There’s a neat interactive graphic that lets you see the relative portions of the “spoils” (defined as profits plus staff costs) allocated to pay, dividends and retained earnings at a dozen or so international banks. And an editorial declares that with regard to executive pay, the big banks “have not been bashed enough.”
Wall Street Journal
The FDIC ordered Fidelity National Information Services, a major banking technology vendor that uses the brand name FIS, to beef up its data security after an interagency examination found weaknesses. The missive was supposed to be confidential, but the National Credit Union Administration got ahold of the letter and forwarded it to the credit unions it regulates for “consideration in managing your vendor relationship with FIS.”
Legendary economist Henry Kaufman argues in an op-ed that despite their apparent dominance in the wake of the financial crisis, the big banks are too conflicted and too bureaucratic to function or compete in a fast-changing world. Rather than have regulators try to micromanage these giants, Kaufman says, shareholders should press managements to shrink or break up the conglomerates into nimbler, more focused, manageable operations.