Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Credit-Reporting Shakeup: Three credit-reporting giants have agreed to change the way they handle errors and unpaid medical bills in a deal with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will carry out most of the changes on a nationwide scale in what the Wall Street Journal calls "the biggest reform for the credit-reporting industry since 2003." The settlement includes two big changes, according to the paper, which got the jump on the story. First, the firms "will be required to use trained employees to review the documentation consumers submit when they believe there is an error in their files," even if the creditor says the information is accurate. Up until now, credit-reporting agencies have typically dealt with disputes by converting the consumer's claim into a three-digit code and sending it to creditors to confirm or deny the accuracy of the information. The agencies have further agreed to wait 180 days before putting past-due medical bills on credit reports and to remove medical debts from reports when insurance companies' payments come through. Reuters also has a brief report on the deal.
Stress-Test Soothsayers: Trying to predict the results of the Fed's second round of stress tests is like looking into a grimy crystal ball, but that doesn't stop the papers from exploring some possible outcomes. The mystery stems from the fact the Fed incorporates qualitative analysis into its decisions about whether to approve banks' capital-payout plans, weighing factors kept secret from banks helps keep them on their game. John Carney of "Heard on the Street" notes that UBS analyst Brennan Hawken has identified Bank of America as a possibly shaky player. The New York Times suggests Goldman Sachs' plan may be the most vulnerable to a Fed veto, since it teetered closer to the brink of minimum capital requirements than its competitors in the Fed's first round of stress tests. The Financial Times' rundown of the forthcoming results, which will be announced Wednesday, focuses largely on the Fed's rejection of Citigroup's capital plan last year and its efforts to nail the tests this time around.
Wall Street Journal
If Americans won't disclose their Swiss bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS will make Swiss banks do it for them. The paper takes a look at how this dilemma is playing out in a standoff between a Swiss bank and an 81-year-old customer named Micheline Fournie. Swiss banks are required to give the IRS information on unreported U.S. accounts by the end of the month under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
Bank of America is following the lead of tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon in its attempt to shift to "software-defined infrastructure," according to the paper.
New York Times
Newly released transcripts of 2009 Fed meetings illustrate an internal rift between regional bank presidents hailing from areas with a big financial firm presence and those from "more diverse economies," according to the latest column by Gretchen Morgenson. The former group "wanted to throw anything and everything at the crisis," she writes, while the latter preferred to proceed with caution. The column uses the board's discussions about the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility program as a case study.
The Times examines the evolving business model of payments startup Square, which has branched out in the last year to offer small-business loans as well as a money-transfer app, Square Cash. "Acknowledging that people don't really have a payments problem," claims chief financial officer Sarah Friar, the company is backing away from "consumer-facing" products and instead focusing on data-driven products for merchants.