Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Farewell, Ben: Ben Bernanke's final meeting as Fed chairman, set for Tuesday and Wednesday, is previewed, with the Wall Street Journal pointing out that Bernanke's detractors admit he's achieved the goals he set. The Journal asks four asset managers to assess Bernanke's tenure. Financial Times picks three of Janet Yellen's biggest challenges in her new job, including whether to continue Bernanke's efforts at providing more public disclosures and holding press conferences. The Washington Post ran a long Sunday profile of the woman behind those press conferences, Michelle Smith, the Fed's chief of staff, and says she was "instrumental in pushing the naturally reserved" Bernanke to become more open.
Credit Card Fraud, Vol. III: Michaels Stores, purveyors of make-your-own T-shirt kits and other arts-and-crafts supplies, became the latest big retailer to disclose a possible data breach, following Target and Neiman Marcus. Michaels, a 1,259 store chain, has not said when it thinks the hack occurred, but said it's working with law enforcement, the Journal reported. The Secret Service is among the agencies investigating the breach, the Times reported. Wall Street Journal, New York Times
Critics, Critics Everywhere....: UBS chief Sergio Ermotti tells his bank's critics, and critics of the Swiss banking world to back off. "This constant lecturing on ethics" is bumming out Ermotti, the Journal quotes him as saying at the Davos Economic Forum. The paper opines that bank-bashing is still alive and well in Europe, whereas it's "died down in the U.S.," and that "politicians and regulators regularly lambaste bankers for their rich pay packages." Um, so then what do you call the New York Daily News' rant against Jamie Dimon's pay package?
Wall Street Journal
The Journal reports that Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has reached a settlement with one of his former top deputies and the company that hired him away from Chase. Frank Bisignano, Chase's former co-chief operating officer and ex-head of mortgage banking, and First Data, the Atlanta payments processor he now heads, will pay millions to Chase, the Journal reports, citing anonymice. Another anonymouse says First Data will pay less than $10 million to Chase. In exchange, Chase agreed to not challenge Bisignano's swiping several executives away from Chase to join First Data. Chase's contract with Bisignano had banned him from luring former workers for one year.
ICAP is likely going to lose its central role in setting the ISDAfix interest-rate benchmark, anonymice say. It's seen as punishment tied to the ongoing probe of ICAP's alleged manipulation of market rates.
In the other ATM gaffe, Lloyds Banking Group said a failure with its technology systems prevented some of its customers from using ATMs and its debit cards. Thousands of customers weren't able to use debit cards for about three hours on Sunday; simultaneously, about half of its ATMs stopped working. Lloyds said it was "hard to quantify" exactly how many customers were affected.
New York Times
The Times weighs in on the Justice Department's probe into predatory lenders and online merchants, also known as Operation Choke Point. DOJ is weighing criminal and civil charges against dozens of banks and it has sent subpoenas to more than 50 payment processors and the banks that do business with them. Some banks have previously complained that Choke Point, as American Banker reported, is going to wrongly touch banks that follow the law.
The Times reports on one of two embarrassing episodes for British banks involving their ATMs over the weekend. HSBC apologized after some customers weren't able to withdraw large sums from some of its ATMs. The problem is results from a new HSBC policy related to preventing fraud tied to big cash withdrawals.