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Forex Probe Update: U.S. prosecutors have stepped up their probe into Barclays' alleged foreign exchange manipulation, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Financial Times all report. The London bank said the U.S. extended a pact known as a "nonprosecution agreement" in the investigation. The new pact gives the Justice Department more time to decide if Barclays breached the 2012 nonprosecution agreement it had previously signed not to commit crimes in the U.S. The 2012 agreement had been set to expire this year, but now has been extended until June 27, 2015.

Wall Street Journal

In another aspect of the Libor probes, New York Financial Services chief Benjamin Lawsky said Tuesday he wants government monitors posted inside Barclays and Deutsche Bank. Based on the records Lawsky has collected thus far from more than a dozen banks, the paper says, the biggest potential problems appear to be at these two banks.

The Hamp backlog has gotten worse. The number of Home Affordable Modification Program applications waiting to be processed by mortgage servicers jumped to 221,000 at the end of May from 133,649 at the end of November. Christy Romero, the TARP special inspector general who prepared the report, said the delays "could have a disastrous impact on homeowners who are not able to keep up with their payments during this delay and lose their homes." Ocwen has the biggest backlog, followed by Select Portfolio Servicing, then Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Nationstar and Wells Fargo. The backlog may be due to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's recent changes that require servicers to consider other options before processing the Hamp applications.

So much for prepaid cards. A growing number of celebrities have decided to get out of the business of endorsing prepaid cards, including rapper Lil Wayne, basketball legend Magic Johnson and personal-finance guru Suze Orman. The Kardashians also left the business after being criticized for the $99.95 purchase price. The trend shows that it's difficult for cards endorsed by a single celebrity to compete with the basic cards big banks like American Express and JPMorgan Chase issue that are marketed to large groups of consumers. OneWest Bank issued the Magic Johnson card and recently posted an online statement that the card was discontinued on June 30. Oh by the way, the CFPB plans to issue new rules for prepaid cards by the end of this year, or early next year.

New York Times

The repeated scandals and ethical breaches at banks have deeper roots than just the financial crisis; instead, the "problems go deeper than a few executives in a few banks who push boundaries, and involve something fundamental about how the industry is organized," Neil Irwin writes.

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