Receiving Wide Coverage ...
B of A is the New JPM: So, Bank of America really is the new JPMorgan Chase, at least when it comes to legal settlements. Federal prosecutors want to extract several pounds of flesh from B of A, namely several billion dollars to settle an investigation into mortgage-backed securities, Bloomberg and the New York Times report. The two reports vary wildly in terms of how much B of A would have to fork over. Bloomberg says "more than $13 billion" would be paid to settle both federal and state claims related to bonds backed by home loans. The Times throws out several numbers $6.3 billion in cash; $16 billion; $20 billion depending where in the negotiations the opposing sides are sitting, which investigations are included, etc. As if that wasn't enough, Joe Price, a former CFO at Bank of America, reached a $7.5 million settlement with New York AG Eric Schneiderman related to B of A's deal for Merrill Lynch. Bloomberg, New York Times, Wall Street Journal
Errors Abound: Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wants to know why the consulting firm Promontory Financial Group found errors in banks' foreclosure files at far higher rates than regulators, the Journal and Washington Post reported. After all, isn't that what the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve were supposed to do, be an effective overseer of the banking industry? Wall Street Journal, Washington Post
Bonuses Bounced: Royal Bank of Scotland's plan to pay bankers a bonus of twice their yearly salaries was scrapped after a British agency that oversees the British public's ownership stake in the bank said it wouldn't support the plan, the NYT and Financial Times report. RBS is trying to bring its compensation packages up to scale with competing banks, the NYT said. New York Times, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
The news keeps getting worse on the mortgage front. Mortgage lending in the first quarter fell to its lowest rate since 2000, the Journal reported, citing an industry newsletter. It's mostly the collapse of the refinance market, but there has been virtually no uptick in demand for new mortgage loans to offset the lack of a refi market.
A British asset management firm Marshall Wace is buying a majority stake in Eaglewood Capital Management, a New York company that invests in peer-to-peer loans. The deal is seen as further validation of the peer-to-peer market.
Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat backed out of a May investment summit in St. Petersburg hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as U.S. business leaders are trying to avoid any connection to Russia amid the Ukraine conflict. Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein and others are also expected to bow out.