Receiving Wide Coverage ...
An Actual Romney Reboot? The papers are awash with recaps of the first presidential debate, in which Obama and Romney argued over healthcare, taxes… and banks! Being who we are, we'll stick to the outlets that covered the banking news. Romney hit Obama on the slow pace of establishing a definition for a qualified residential mortgage (undeniable even if the immediately beneficial effect of having a rule in place is unclear) and Dodd-Frank, which the Republican described as "the biggest kiss that's been given to New York banks I've ever seen." (We can think of several executives of large banks who would disagree.) From across the pond, the Financial Times declares Romney the winner.
ReFi Time: Ocwen Financial has struck an agreement to buy Homeward Bound, a sizable non-bank mortgage servicer with a loan origination platform. The $750 million purchase is a big deal in the mortgage servicing market because it allows Ocwen to refinance the loans it services. (Ocwen has dabbled with origination in the past, but has been out of the game for quite a while.) The markets loved the purchase sending Ocwen's stock soaring 20%. The auction price of GMAC's ResCap, a massive servicing unit now being sold in bankruptcy, may have just gone up.
High Speed Trading: Still Embarrassing Itself: EBX, a company which owns a stock trading "dark pool" run by Citigroup, paid $800,000 to settle SEC allegations that the Citigroup-owned operator of the trading facility was given access to information about the supposedly "dark" trades. (Citigroup did not pay a fine.) EBX is partially owned by Credit Suisse and Bank of America, though there's nothing in the story suggesting they were in a position to benefit. In other bad electronic trading news (has there been any other kind recently?) NASDAQ cancelled a chunk of Kraft trades that were "erroneous." A market data analyst said the "problem appeared to be an algorithm that was trying to buy 30,000 shares in Kraft but did not want to skew the market by buying them all at once." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
New York Times
The magazine runs a lengthy profile of Ina Drew, the most prominent casualty of the London Whale debacle. Titled "The Woman Who Took the Fall for JPMorgan Chase," the story is well written and sympathetic: Behind that one corporate mug shot that got circulated, it turns out, is a smart trader with deeply loyal employees, an ability to stare down trading floor chauvinism, and a history of making JPMorgan Chase & Co. a lot of money. However, her unit did take a multi-billion dollar hit in a hugely embarrassing way, and she was forced to resign. Does knowing that she penned her resignation on Mother's Day really change anything? Perhaps a better question is where Jamie Dimon was in all of this. The profile suggests the buck stopped with Drew, and misses a chance to address why the Chief Investment Office was allowed to take the risks that it did.
Credit card delinquencies have fallen to new lows, with total delinquency at below 3% of all accounts.
Bloomberg runs a profile of Thomas Curry, the new OCC chief who's been spending a lot of time recently trying to convince the world that the regulator isn't — at least currently — captured by banks. There are some hiring challenges: "It's not like you can offer people huge signing bonuses and baseball-star salaries," Curry says.