Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Is it Time to Tighten Up? That is the question that some Fed officials apparently raised during the central bank's policy meeting last month. Some members showed support for raising interest rates. The Journal notes that, "The fact that the subject came up at all … shows how the central bank's policy debate is slowly and subtly evolving." The New York Times discusses how the Fed's minutes portend a further reduction in stimulus efforts.
Capital Rules for Foreign Banks: The Fed also finalized rules designed to force foreign banks to hold more capital. The rules include minimum leverage ratio requirements for large foreign banks. The rules were altered from earlier drafts to include fewer banks. Heard on the Street notes that the rules could have been a lot harsher. The Financial Times observes that foreign banks are looking to boost capital by booking more loans and converting intercompany loans.
More Moola for Moynihan: Brian Moynihan is the latest big-bank CEO to get a pay raise. Bank of America disclosed that Moynihan's salary and bonus spiked 17% in 2013 compared to a year earlier, to $14 million. Then again, the company did have its best year since the financial crisis. The New York Times also covered the increase.
Wall Street Journal
A bankruptcy judge has approved a nearly $770 million payout from Lehman Brothers to settle claims by Freddie Mac over loans the government-sponsored enterprise made to Lehman before its 2008 implosion.
Call it another sign that things are improving in the corporate world. The General Aviation Manufacturer's Association reported that global deliveries of business jets rose 1% last year, marking the first annual increase since the financial crisis.
Rep. Maxine Waters submitted a letter to the OCC urging the regulator to examine the growth of mortgage servicers. "Consumer advocates, housing counsellors and other stakeholders have raised concerns about the transfer of MSRs to nonbank servicers from the banks that are subject to the national mortgage settlement," she wrote.
Standard Chartered is looking to sell PrimeCredit, its consumer finance business in Hong Kong. The U.K. bank reportedly hopes to raise $700 million from the sale.
Royal Bank of Scotland will pay $275 million to settle claims that the U.K. bank misrepresented the quality of loans it packaged and sold as mortgage-backed securities prior to the financial crisis. The bank had already set funds aside to cover the settlement.
New York Times
We had to slip a Bitcoin story in here. The Winklevoss twins, well-known for their legal brouhaha with Facebook's founder, are creating a financial index for the virtual currency. They might want to work on the name of the index: Winkdex.
James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley's CEO, gifted nearly $1 million worth of the company's stock last week to an undisclosed recipient. The 30,000 shares represented less than 3% of his total holdings in the investment bank.
Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to sell its structured retail investor products and equity derivatives business to BNP Paribas for an undisclosed amount.