Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Housing: Sales of previously owned homes rose in April for the first time this year, and per "Heard on the Street," new home sales data due out Friday is expected to show a rebound from March's anemic figure. Affordability remains a challenge, though, this Journal column notes, and according to the Times, in pricier markets "buying a home again looks like a perilous investment, based on the relationship between their prices and rents or incomes."
Financial Crisis Retrospection: Times columnist Floyd Norris says opponents of branding the scarlet "SIFI" on nonbanks like money managers and insurance companies must suffer from "amnesia," having forgotten about Long-Term Capital and AIG. The Post's Allan Sloan offers an empathetic take on Geithner's memoir.
Pawns in the Game: In our favorite read this morning, the Journal reports on the increasing difficulties Somali immigrants face sending money home as tightening AML regulation frightens banks away from serving this niche. The money transmitters that have lost bank accounts are "collateral damage in a U.S. crackdown on money laundering," the paper notes, putting the story in a wider context: Broadly speaking, "banks are distancing themselves from cash-heavy businesses that may not be illegal but could nonetheless single them out for tougher scrutiny" and "try[ing] to avoid drawing additional regulatory attention by ending relationships that carry a heightened risk of scrutiny related to money laundering and criminal activity." In this case, it's not payday lenders, pot sellers or porn stars paying the price (not that there's anything inherently wrong with those businesses your Morning Scan doesn't like to judge). Rather, it is people who came to the U.S. seeking a better livelihood for their families living in a war-torn, impoverished nation. Per the Journal: "The crackdown is raising questions among some lawmakers about whether the push is undermining another public policy goal: Fostering stability in a nation where pirates and terrorists have found a haven to disrupt U.S. interests." Feel safer? In other geopolitical-fallout news, Visa and MasterCard have reached a deal with Russia to continue operating there after sanctions against the country disrupted bank card payments.
Wall Street Journal
"JP Morgan Chase (Hearts) Detroit" A skeptical editorial-page take on the bank's $100 million "donation, er, 'investment' in Motown."
New York Times
Should you be wondering why it's the Eastern District of Virginia office that's been prosecuting so many of the DOJ's financial cases: The team has been using "unconventional, and what some defense lawyers call flimsy, techniques to draw financial investigations to their district." e.g. a Credit Suisse client takes a plane out of Dulles; a bank sends a wire transfer through the Richmond Fed; etc.
"Getting Your Wages, Before Payday" A look at emerging alternatives to the disappearing deposit advance product.
Editor's note: Morning Scan will not publish on Monday, May 26 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. We'll be back on Tuesday, May 27.