Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Fed Pressed Over Leak: The Justice Department doesn't just go after big banks it also pursues their regulators. The DOJ has joined the Federal Reserve's inspector general in investigating the Fed over a 2012 leak of its policy meeting minutes to a consulting firm. Fed chair Janet Yellen disclosed the news in a Monday letter to the House Financial Services Committee, which is conducting its own probe into the leak. Yellen promised to hand over the names of staffers who spoke with members of the consulting firm, Medley Global Advisors, in the months before it published confidential details of the Fed's September meeting in an October 2012 note to clients. Yellen herself will appear on the list, having met with a Medley representative in June. But she says it would have been impossible for her to slip the firm details of a policy meeting that was still months away. The Financial Times notes the hubbub over the leak is unlikely to do the Fed any favors amongst Republicans already eager to put the central bank under closer congressional supervision. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
B of A Bows to Investors: Bank of America is attempting to mollify disgruntled shareholders by giving them a chance to weigh in on Brian Moynihan's dual role as chief executive and board chair, but it may be an empty gesture. Last year, the bank's board angered investors by overriding a 2009 rule that kept the leadership roles separate. Now B of A says it will let investors vote on the issue, although it won't be on the ballot at the annual meeting Wednesday and it's unclear whether the bank will have to abide by the outcome. John Carney of "Heard on the Street" observes the bank's effort to appease investors may be related to its disappointing financial performance in recent months. But he adds the board's vacillations on the structure of corporate governance "risks creating the impression it regards the chairmanship as little more than an executive bonus." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Banks are preparing for a spike in energy-loan defaults since falling oil prices have shaken the oil and gas industries. A Fed survey of senior loan officers at commercial banks found lenders are working to mitigate the effect of a rise in delinquencies and loan charge-offs by "restructuring outstanding loans, reducing the size of existing credit lines, requiring additional collateral, tightening underwriting policies on new loans or lines of credit, and enforcing material adverse change clauses or other covenants."
A proposed rule requiring retirement advisors to follow heightened fiduciary standards may prompt more firms to go in for automated technology, according to an op-ed by executives at Wealthfront, which just so happens to be an automated investment service. The coincidence does not go unnoticed by commenters.
HSBC's quarterly results were buoyed by strong investment banking revenue, propelling it to a 4% increase in year-to-year profits, the paper reports.
"Global regulators, which have so far focused on repairing banks' balance sheets, are starting to look at conduct and risk-management issues as fears grow that recent scandals in the sector could create new 'systemic risks,'" according to the paper's Caroline Binham. Both the Financial Stability Board and the Basel Committee have pledged to bring a new level of focus to these areas. In a welcome piece of news for big banks, the FSB also plans to explore the need for regulators to coordinate on settlement penalties.
New York Times
Former president Andrew Jackson should share space on the $20 bill with Cherokee leader John Ross, according to an op-ed by NPR's Steve Inskeep. Inskeep suggests such a move would illuminate multiple perspectives on American history as well as "bring a measure of symbolic justice to a seminal episode of American history."
Americans in the Deep South have the toughest time accessing credit, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The article doesn't delve into the causes of the credit freeze in the area. But it does note that people who can't take out affordable loans will have more problems starting businesses, overcoming financial difficulties and pursuing other opportunities, thereby leading to further impoverishment in the economically troubled region.