Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Deutsche Downer: Deutsche Bank's quarterly results beat analysts' expectations, but the bar was pretty low to begin with given that analysts had forecast a loss. "A single quarter aside, the performance of the stock and of the company has simply been poor," writes the Financial Times' Lex team. The column recommends Deutsche consider spinning off "some or all" of its retail banking units and consider boosting returns by growing its asset management business. The Wall Street Journal's "Heard on the Street" offers a similar diagnosis. Deutsche probably can't get returns on its retail business where they need to be without shutting down branches and major layoffs, writes Paul J. Davies. "Fear of the political backlash over this in Germany might make a full or partial sale easier for Deutsche executives to stomach," he concludes. Davies also suggests Deutsche's position illustrates the wisdom of separating investment and retail banking in Europe.
Blues Skies for Visa: Visa posted an 11% increase in profits for the quarter thanks to growth in the volume of debit and credit card transactions. The company also announced plans for a four-for-one stock split, the first such split since it went public in 2008. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
How's Ally Financial doing with the news that its former parent General Motors plans to exclusively finance leases for Buick and other big vehicle brands through a new in-house lending unit? Not so hot, according to the paper. "What pisses us off is when we don't get the chance to compete," Ally chief Michael Carpenter said during an analyst call. But it sounds like Ally is taking a cue from Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and steadying itself to overcome the loss. "It's not real hard to believe that we can replace that [lost] business with other business," Carpenter tells the paper. (Analysts are a little more worried about how Ally will fare, as American Banker's Kevin Wack reports.)
Big-bank lobbyists succeeded in their efforts to repeal the Dodd-Frank swaps pushout rule late last year, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn't letting this one go quietly. Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings "sent letters to four top Wall Street banks Thursday asking for details about how the firms will alter their derivatives trading operations in the wake of the change," Victoria McGrane reports.
Apple Pay will cause a ripple effect likely to lead to a string of new mobile payments deals, according to the paper. PayPal may be on the block soon; the paper also identifies Softcard, Dwolla and Paydiant as potential acquisition targets.
New York Times
Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign against the nomination of Antonio Weiss for a top Treasury post "highlights a lingering animosity toward bankers that risks becoming counterproductive," writes former M&A banker William D. Cohan. Cohan's core argument is Warren and other Wall Street critics take too black-and-white a view of bankers, thereby stifling the efforts of people who could do some good. "Some Wall Street types serving in government want to protect their friends and the status quo; others, like Mr. Weiss, want to actually try to reform the bad behavior they have been seeing for years," he writes. Multiple readers in the comments section argue the public's continued anger with Wall Street stems from the fact that prosecutors failed to hold senior bankers accountable for actions that shaped the financial crisis.
The Federal Trade Commission is expected on Friday to announced a settlement with two car title lenders "on suspicions that they misled borrowers by failing to accurately disclose the terms and costs of the loans," the paper reports. First American Title Lending and Finance Select, both based in Georgia, will be required to clarify their disclosures and change their advertising practices, according to anonymice.