Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Exposed: Turmoil in the Ukraine roiled global markets on Monday, with European and Russian bank stocks taking a hit. The Times reports global markets had calmed on Tuesday (no specifics on bank stocks mentioned), after Russian President Vladimir Putin said via news conference that he saw no need to use military force at the moment. However, investors tell the paper "confidence remains fragile and the calm could quickly dissipate." The FT reports the situation also has Western banks on high alert, as financial firms like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs could be affected by a deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and Russia.
More Bad News for Citi: Has JPMorgan Chase unofficially passed the "bad press" baton over to Citi? Just days after the bank disclosed it had discovered evidence of fraud in its Mexican unit, a regulatory filing has revealed a Citi affiliate received subpoenas from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and U.S. prosecutors related to anti-money-laundering requirements. The affiliate, Banamex USA, provides banking services in the U.S. and Mexico. Anonymice tell Dealbook the two issues are unrelated, "but together they show the perils of building a large banking business in and around a country that has wrestled with drug trafficking and corruption." The bank's stock was also hit on Monday by the ongoing turmoil in the Ukraine (see above). One analyst summarizes Citi's position for the Journal: "Citigroup executives are fond of saying their 'large global footprint is an asset, but it's looking like a liability.' The FT puts it bluntly: "The [fraud] discovery raised broader questions over the bank's ability to monitor its sprawling global banking operations."
On Regulating Bitcoin: Apologies if this Scan is giving you déjà vu, but the other topic papers are talking about this news cycle is Bitcoin. Times columnist Peter J. Hennings speculates regulation is forthcoming for the crytocurrency, following the collapse of Mt. Gox, but acknowledges any law-making in this space will be tricky. One suggestion: "To protect customers from a total loss, the government can require an insurance program along the lines provided for bank and brokerage customers. Firms that hold virtual currency on behalf of customers could be required to pay into a fund to be used to reimburse at least part of the loss if another situation like the theft at Mt. Gox were to happen." Meanwhile, British authorities have abandoned a plan that would have imposed a 20% tax on trading of the virtual currency.
Wall Street Journal
Standard Chartered is nearing deals to sell "roughly a half-dozen units in Europe, Asia and the Middle East." No names associated with the buyers yet. "The sales are the latest in an abrupt turn in fortunes for Standard Chartered," the paper notes, after its formerly beneficial focus on emerging markets led its stock to tumble.
Goldman Sachs has appointed Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer to its board.
Computers are killing the forex trader: Investment banks, prompted by the troubles associated with colluding foreign exchange traders, "are accelerating longstanding efforts to save costs and become technology leaders by replacing humans with" electronic trading platforms that are compliant by nature.
New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin's latest Dealbook article profiles Maury Rosenberg, a small-business owner from Philadelphia, who has been battling U.S. Bancorp for the last six years after it allegedly forced him and his radiology screening business into involuntary bankruptcy in order to collect debts. U.S. Bancorp is currently contesting a Florida ruling that "found the bank acted in 'bad faith' and awarded $6.1 million to Mr. Rosenberg." A bank spokesperson tells Sorkin: "It is our right on behalf of our shareholders and the millions of customers who pay their obligations to pursue a just settlement."