Wall Street Journal
The shareholder vote on Tuesday whether to let Brian Moynihan retain both titles — chairman and chief executive — is about far more than just Moynihan. To get a sense of the sprawling back story, consider the first person depicted in a photo on the Journal story “5 Questions About Bank of America's Shareholder Vote.” You guessed it, Kenneth Lewis. B of A shareholders approved the binding resolution to keep the CEO and chairman roles separate back in 2009, in retribution for Lewis' decision to buy Merrill Lynch.
As for what happens if shareholders vote again today to separate chairman from CEO, B of A is expected to name a new chairman and the company itself says it will do so “promptly.” But the paper suggests “promptly” may not necessarily mean today, or even tomorrow. If the B of A shareholder vote were listed on the Las Vegas sports book, the oddsmakers would probably call it a toss-up. The two largest U.S. pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, are voting against Moynihan. But B of A has aggressively lobbied shareholders to keep things as they are, and many shareholders tend to vote with management because it's seen as the best thing for the stock price.
Bitcoin wallet provider Circle Internet Financial has received a New York state digital currency license, the first company to get one. The BitLicense, designed by the New York Department of Financial Services, is intended to both protect consumers and allow digital-currency companies to build services. A total of 22 firms have applied for a BitLicense, according to the NYDFS, and the agency expects to issue more licenses soon.
New York Times
A decline in trading revenue is hitting investment banks hard, with banks shifting to a cheaper workforce or eliminating jobs altogether. The situation is illustrated by an entire floor at Goldman Sachs' Manhattan headquarters, which is almost empty. New regulations and rapidly changing technology are the culprits (of course), as traders are being made obsolete. Wall Street banks at an industry conference last week projected trading revenue would fall about 5% in the third quarter on a yearly basis. Goldman, for the record, said it moved employees from the sixth floor to the fourth and fifth floors to have traders work in closer proximity to promote collaboration.
The Atlantic: Those who rent instead of own may find it increasingly difficult to afford basic needs. That's the conclusion of a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and Enterprise Community Partners. The problem is a double-whammy of rapidly rising costs of renting and stagnant wage growth. As a result, more renters are being priced out of their current housing and finding a comparable replacement is more difficult.
Throw into the equation a lack of affordable housing, and the researchers say the situation is dire. The researchers estimate the number of Americans who spend at least 50% of their income on housing is likely to rise 11% over the next decade, to about 13 million people.
Krebs on Security: An internal investigation at Target into the December 2013 cyberattack revealed that once hackers breached the network, “there was nothing to stop attackers from gaining direct and complete access to every single cash register in every Target store,” according to the blog, which obtained a copy of the confidential report. Target commissioned Verizon to conduct the study, as the retailer suspected banks would sue it to recoup the costs of reissuing credit and debit cards. That did, in fact, happen and a federal judge last week allowed plaintiffs to pursue a class-action lawsuit against Target.
Target's lack of defense mechanisms against a cyberattack is startling, if the report is accurate. “In one instance, they were able to communicate directly with cash registers in checkout lanes after compromising a deli meat scale located in a different store,” KrebsonSecurity wrote. A Target spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the authenticity of the report.
Buffalo Business First: The organizers of a credit union are trying to raise capital through a crowdfunding campaign. Good Neighbors Federal Credit Union wants to raise the modest sum of $7,500 through the crowdfunding site GiveGab.com. The CU will use the proceeds to hire a consulting firm, who will try to help the nascent CU obtain a $150,000 grant.
Bloomberg: The National Community Reinvestment Coalition wants to tap the brakes on Goldman Sachs' attempt to acquire General Electric's online banking unit. The NCRC has called for the Federal Reserve to hold hearings on the deal, arguing that the acquisition is unlikely to create a public benefi. The nonprofit group also wants Goldman to release more information on how it will comply with the Community Reinvestment Act. Also, Goldman's legal fines and potential conflict of interest from its ties to the Fed are additional concerns.