Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Efforts to Cool Bitcoin Fever: The European Banking Authority, which has previously raised concerns with risks tied to virtual currencies such as Bicoin, issued a statement on Friday warning of the possibility of "violent fluctuations in electronic currencies" value and the danger of "digital wallets" being hacked. European authorities argue that consumers should be aware the industry is unregulated and will not be protected. The warning comes after the Bank of China last week restricted its own financial institutions from using Bitcoin as a currency. Financial Times, New York Times
Mortgages Settlements: Bank of America agreed to pay $131.8 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission in civil charges against its Merrill Lynch unit for misleading investors in two separate mortgage bond deals. The charges are tied to alleged misconduct tied to the 2008 meltodown to more than $3 billion. Wall Street Journal, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
The European Union laid out its plan to help protect the bloc's taxpayers in the event of a bank failure. After 18 months of tough negotiations, European leaders demonstrated a reversal from past practices where they had been willing to use public funds to save a failing institution. Instead, they signaled plans to collect money from banks that would be put toward an insurance fund to support failed lenders.
A clash between the management of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA and its own largest shareholders is threatening to disrupt a plan to raise cash to forego a full nationalization plan. The bank's shareholders who own a 34% stake in the firm says it will vote against $4.1 billion capital infusion unless the deal is delayed. The ramifications could be very serious for the world's oldest bank.
Stanley Fisher, a former Bank of Israel chief who is likely to become the next Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, may be well-suited to handle the delicate balance of financial and political challenges, according to a profile by the WSJ. He would replace Janet Yellen, who has been tapped by the Obama administration to become the next Fed chair. In the profile, WSJ says as Fischer, 70, served as governor from 2005 until June, he has had to confront to two crisis: a global meltdown seeping onto its shore and ongoing tensions with Palestian authorities.
A fund has been set up for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme that will allow them to recover nearly three-quarters of the $17.5 billion losses. Part of that is due to the fact that JPMorgan Chase is said to be close to agreeing to a settlement for $2.5 billion over its alleged role in failing to alert authorities of its suspicions.
New York Times
The Treasury Department is calling for a broader federal role in the regulation of insurance firms, a $7 trillion industry, especially in areas like mortgage insurance, the collection of personal data to set up prices, and using captives to keep risks off the book of insurers. The agency released a report which had been called for under the regulatory reform law.
Kenneth Bentsen has been named the new CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, replacing former Republican senator Judd Gregg. Bentsen, 54, is a former investment banker in municipal and mortgage finance with Drexel Burnham Lambert and George K. Baum & Company.