JPM takes stand against opiods; Deutsche board clings to seats

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Editor's note: Morning Scan will not publish on Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day. We’ll be back on Tuesday, May 28.

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Separate ways
JPMorgan Chase, which managed cash and bill payments for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, has cut ties with the company over its alleged role in the opioid crisis. “The move makes JPMorgan the most high-profile corporation known to have distanced itself from Purdue and its wealthy owners, the Sackler family, amid thousands of lawsuits alleging the company pushed addictive painkillers while downplaying their abuse and overdose risks. JPMorgan’s decision also underscores a drive among U.S. banks to reassess their relationships with clients and industries in response to controversy and political debates over matters such as immigration detention and mass shootings.”

JPM told Purdue in March that it had six months to find another bank and it quickly did so, hiring Comerica.

Signs of discontent
All of the members of Deutsche Bank’s management and supervisory boards were reelected by shareholders on Thursday, although by “markedly lower” margins than last year. Chairman Paul Achleitner, for example, received 71.6% approval, down from 84.4%, while a motion to remove him garnered nearly 10% of the vote. CEO Christian Sewing received 75% of the votes, down from 95% last year.

While Achleitner “avoided an embarrassing vote of no confidence, the margin signaled that a substantial number of shareholders are unhappy with his leadership. Mr. Achleitner benefited from the forbearance of large shareholders who are not happy with his performance but fear the impact of further management turmoil. There is also a dearth of credible successors in Germany.”

In addition to cutting costs, Deutsche must announce a “wholesale withdrawal from uneconomic business lines, such as equities and rates and large swaths of the U.S. operation, the Financial Times advises. “There will be a painful hit to revenues in the short term but if the execution of the plan is effective then the longer-term profit outlook should improve. Management should equally set out a far clearer vision for businesses in which Deutsche can excel — such as its corporate transaction banking franchise, certain corporate loan niches, key parts of European fixed-income investment banking and German asset management.”

Indicted for alleged bribe
Stephen M. Calk, the former CEO of Federal Savings Bank in Chicago, was indicted Thursday for allegedly granting $16 million in loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for Manafort’s help in getting him a high-level job in the Trump administration. Calk pleaded not guilty and was released on $5 million bond. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted. Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, American Banker

Wall Street Journal

Heading north
Two of Canada’s largest banks reported increased profits in their second fiscal quarter. Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s biggest bank, said earnings rose 5.7% on 14% higher revenue. Profit increased 8.8% at TD Bank on a 7.9% revenue rise.

Watch your manners
The quick rise of payment apps like Venmo, Zelle, PayPal and Cash App, “has taxed the skills of etiquette and money experts. It’s clear that social norms around all these new ways of forking over your fair share are still being defined.” The paper provides a guide on “how to navigate the social landscape of a paperless world.”


It’s shocking and sad what has become of Deutsche Bank.” —Alexandra Annecke, portfolio manager at German fund manager Union Investment, who voted to ratify the bank’s board members. “We want to give Mr. Sewing and Mr. Achleitner a chance.”

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