Wall Street Journal
Bank of America is one of more than a dozen companies expected to sign an agreement Monday at the White House to address climate change. B of A and others will invest more than $140 billion to reduce carbon emissions. B of A specifically will commit $75 billion through lending and other financing by 2025; it's on top of a previous commitment of $50 billion by B of A. None of the companies scheduled to sign the pledge produce oil or gas. Alcoa, Cargill, Goldman Sachs, Google and Walmart are also set to sign the pledge.
The "Heard on the Street" column observes that shares of neither Bank of America nor Citigroup have traded above book value for almost seven years. The "dubious milestone" means investors believe the assets on the books of each bank are not worth their stated value, or their liabilities are larger than what's stated, or they believe the banks will destroy value. There's also the possibility that investors believe the two banks are overstating the value of goodwill on their books.
Symphony Communications Services, which is developing an instant-messaging service for investment banks, is looking to start a new investment round that could value it at $1 billion or more. The acting head of New York's financial regulator last week asked for details on the messaging service, on concern that some of Symphony's backers are being investigated for rate-rigging and that the messaging service could be used to conduct further mischief. Symphony is looking for new investors who weren't part of its initial funding round, including banks and other financial firms.
The Senate appears to have the votes to extend the charter of the Export-Import Bank and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has scheduled a vote for Monday night, although House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said the measure won't pass the House. Complicating matters somewhat is McConnell has linked a vote on the Ex-Im Bank to a vote on the federal highway budget. The process has led presidential candidate Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to voice his displeasure with McConnell over how the process has played out; Cruz last week on the Senate floor called McConnell a "liar," alleging McConnell earlier in the summer told Republicans in a private meeting that there would not be a vote on the Ex-Im Bank.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is looking to spend at least $2.5 billion to acquire a wealth-management firm in the U.S. The parent company of MUFG Union Bank says a wealth manager is the "missing piece" of its U.S. banking operations. Mitsubishi already owns a 21% stake in Morgan Stanley, as well as Union Bank's private banking operations.
New York Times
McGraw-Hill will buy financial-data provider SNL Financial for $2.23 billion in cash. SNL provides data and news for the banking industry, as well as real estate, energy and other industries. Private equity firm New Mountain Capital owns about 60% of SNL. The deal was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday about how Dodd-Frank has undermined the American economy and put an especially tough burden on community banks. Gramm will also tell lawmakers that Dodd-Frank has created a situation where the government is much less accountable for its actions, and also the new rules it imposes on banks are confusing and hard to follow. Gramm, who's now a vice chairman at UBS, is partly responsible for the financial crisis because of the industry deregulation he championed while in the Senate, a Duke University law professor told the paper.
Charlotte Observer: Bank of America has had yet another shakeup in the top ranks of management. Gary Lynch will not retain his role as general counsel after he moves to the position of vice chairman. B of A earlier said Lynch would remain general counsel. Unnamed sources told the Charlotte Observer Lynch is being moved to vice chairman and that B of A is looking for someone to replace Lynch as the company's top legal officer.