Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Rate-Hike Watch: The Federal Reserve still plans to raise rates later this year. But much like an overbooked friend, it prefers to keep its level of commitment to that plan soft. Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal emphasize that the pace of the eventual rate hike is likely to be even slower than expected. The central bank may increase rates just once in 2015, by a quarter percentage point, as it wants to ensure that inflation is trending upward and give employment a little more room to grow. The Journal's Greg Ip recommends that the central bank keep its fingers on the trigger for even longer than absolutely necessary. "An overheating economy right now would be welcome: It would help nudge inflation back to more normal levels, restore some of the long-term growth potential lost since the financial crisis, and boost ordinary workers' wages more effectively than remedies such as big increase in the minimum wage, which can reduce employment for the low-skilled," he writes. Meanwhile, the Times' Neil Irwin ponders the question of whether the timing of the rate hike matters that much. (Fed chair Janet Yellen says no, but the markets disagree.)
Banks' Servicing Problems Linger: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency says six banks have failed to clean up their mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices as required under settlements reached in 2011. JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, EverBank, HSBC Holdings, Banco Santander and U.S. Bancorp face restrictions on their mortgage servicing operations because they neglected to comply with OCC recommendations. The agency came down hardest on HSBC and Wells Fargo, according to the Journal; both are banned from buying servicing rights, taking on new servicing contracts for other parties or outsourcing further mortgage servicing activity. The Financial Times suggests the restrictions may hinder the growth of the banks' mortgage businesses at a time when the housing market seems to be on the upswing. The New York Times also notes that the OCC is passing on $280 million of settlement funds reserved for affected homeowners to the states in the hope that they will be more effective in finding people eligible for aid.
Remembering JPMorgan's Jimmy Lee: JPMorgan vice chairman Jimmy Lee died unexpectedly Wednesday at age 62. The Journal calls Lee "a 1980s-style swashbuckling deal maker" "who for four decades weathered booms, busts and changes in regulations by harnessing the art of deal making, networking with corporate chieftains and promoting his successes." A few of Lee's most notable deals included Facebook's initial public offering and General Electric's current sale of its $200 billion-asset financing arm, according to the FT. The paper also highlights Lee's strong sense of loyalty to JPMorgan; he agreed to make the leap to Blackstone in 2000 but found he couldn't break ties with the institution where he spent a total of 40 years. The Times praises Lee's "keen intellect" and memorable business tactics: "he bought a Corvette ZR1 to demonstrate his dedication to G.M. during its initial public offering and had hoodies made for Facebook's I.P.O. as a sartorial homage to its founder, Mark Zuckerberg."
A Modern Move for Currency: Which woman should be featured on the $10 bill? The Treasury Department announced Wednesday that notes to be unveiled in 2020 will bear the visage of a woman from American history. The new figure will be announced following a public nomination process. Calls to replace president Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman, women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony and other figures have grown stronger this year, but apparently the Treasury has opted to have its own founder Alexander Hamilton make some room instead. (Hamilton will either share space on the bill or appear on an alternate version, according to The Guardian.) Washington Post, The Guardian.
The Great Ex-Im Debate: The fight over the fate of the Export-Import Bank continues to polarize politicians and business leaders. General Electric head Jeff Immelt warned that his company will move jobs offshore if Congress fails to reauthorize the bank, according to the FT. The Times looks at how the battle over Ex-Im has divided Republicans in Congress, "reflecting the national party's deepening divide over the role of government in the economy."
Wall Street Journal
Expect a new round of rate-rigging settlements soon, this time with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over banks' alleged efforts to manipulate the ISDAfix swap rate. The London-based broker ICAP, which is accused of colluding with banks in the attempted manipulation, may also be a part of the settlements.
In related news, four banks have agreed to pay a total of almost $2 billion to settle a civil lawsuit over alleged rate-rigging, according to anonymice.
The global markets regulatory body IOSCO said Wednesday that large funds do not pose a systemic risk to the financial system, thereby reaching consensus with the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council.
Goldman Sachs' decision to start making online consumer loans suggests that the original goal of marketplace lendingto expand everyday working folks' access to credithas gone by the wayside, according to John Gapper. "Instead, this is starting to look like a branch of the shadow banking system," he writes. "Money is cheap, banks are flush with deposits (except in Greece), and everyone seeks higher yields."
New York Times
A federal court ruling on the government's 2008 rescue of AIG is unlikely to discourage future bailouts, according to Peter J. Hennings and Steven Davidoff Solomon. Contrary to the claims of the paper's Andrew Ross Sorkin, Hennings and Solomon say the government won't hesitate to intervene for the sake of expediency in a future crisis. "If push comes to shove, it will again maneuver with any legal tool it can to save the economy and institutions, just as it did so in the 2008 crisis," they write.
Goldman Sachs' new guidelines for interns require young workers to be out of the office by midnight and arrive no earlier than 7 a.m. While the policy may stop interns from attempting the tried-and-true "sleeping under the desk" routine, it's worth asking whether-once you add on the commute time-they'll really get more sleep this way.