Deutsche hires Cerberus to help fix it; D.C. targets cashless merchants

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'Skin in the game': Deutsche Bank has hired the private-equity giant Cerberus Capital Management, one of its largest shareholders, to try to "revive the German bank's fortunes." The advisory arrangement, which will be led by Cerberus President Matt Zames, a former chief operating officer of JPMorgan Chase, "makes Cerberus the only Deutsche Bank shareholder in a paid advisory role, formally bringing a firm with skin in the game inside the bank's operations." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Housing heights: Despite rising prices, Wall Street hasn't lost its appetite for buying homes, "betting that more well-off Americans will want to be renters." Institutional investors bought at least 29,000 single-family homes last year, up 60% from the previous year and the first year-over-year increase since 2013. The buyers are betting that "high prices, higher mortgage rates and skimpy inventory are making homeownership harder. Well-to-do families who might have bought a single-family home in another era are willing to rent a house now, especially if it means access to a good school system."

People who still own their homes are sitting pretty. U.S. home equity available to borrow against has risen to a record $5.8 trillion, 16% more than the last home price peak in 2006. Available equity grew by 7% in the first quarter, the largest single quarterly growth figure. The average homeowner with a mortgage now has $113,900 in home equity.

Wall Street Journal

Back for more: Citigroup has raided rival UBS again for two senior investment bankers in France. "The new additions come as Citigroup and its rivals are bolstering their investment-banking ranks in Europe to take advantage of the resurgence in activity across the region." Citi has hired at least five investment bankers away from UBS over the past year.

Financial Times

Stepping down: Makram Azar has retired from Barclays as its chairman of banking in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Azar will pursue new business opportunities but plans to return to the bank early next year as a senior adviser, Barclays said.

Family feud: April's botched account transfer at the U.K.'s TSB "has strained its relationship with owner Sabadell to such an extent that members of the bank's leadership are considering whether it has a future as part of the Spanish [banking] group." Apparently TSB is blaming Sabadell's IT systems for the debacle that ensued after TSB tried to absorb more than a million accounts from Lloyd's Banking Group.

Washington Post

Party poopers: A growing number of restaurants and other establishments in Washington are going cashless, accepting only credit and debit cards and mobile payments. But some district officials aren't happy about it and have introduced a bill requiring merchants to accept cash. "By denying the ability to use cash as a payment, businesses are effectively telling lower-income and younger patrons that they are not welcome," council member David Grosso said.


Bridging the gap: Berlin-based solarisBank has received licenses to offer business banking services to blockchain and cryptocurrency firms in the European Union. "The new service follows the unveiling of the solarisBank Blockchain Factory, which is aimed at providing a regulatory and technological bridge between the blockchain technology sector and the banking field."


"One of the mantras is 'an absurd show to match an absurd crisis.' A game show feels really apt because this is the state of things right now." — Comedian and actor Michael Torpey, who hosts a new game show that debuts Tuesday on TruTV in which winning contestants can have their student loans paid off.

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