Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Fed Watch: The media honeymoon is definitely over for new Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen. The Journal reports a potential conflict of interest created by her husband George Akerlof serving on the advisory board of an academic center funded by the Swiss bank UBS, which will soon come under closer Fed supervision. Meanwhile, the Post's Wonkblog says to watch Yellen's counterpart across the pond, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, for clues on when the Fed will decide it's finally time to raise short-term interest rates.
Sanctions Slip-Up: The U.S. may fine BNP Paribas for Office of Foreign Assets Control violations, the French bank warned, provisioning $1.1 billion for possible penalties. "BNP Paribas is one of several banks that over the past year have disclosed talks with regulators about potential sanctions breaches," the Journal notes. "Many such investigations have involved alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran," but BNP hasn't identified the countries involved in its potential sanctions violations. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Eye on Volcker: The American Bankers Association dropped its lawsuit to block the Volcker Rule after regulators made modifications to soften the blow to community banks that hold CDOs of trust-preferred securities. But the big banks still have a big problem, the FT reports, citing anonymice. The rule requires them to start reporting information on their trading activities to regulators in July, but "the banks cannot yet put together the reports and are unsure of what to do because the regulators have been disagreeing for weeks over what they want." For instance, "some regulators have taken the date to mean reporting June metrics in July," while "others interpret it as reporting July information in August, and a small number see it as needing April numbers in July because that is the beginning of the last quarter before July. Banks could be left with little time to put together the reports by the time regulators settle on a common answer." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
As part of an effort to rebuild its reputation following LIBOR and other scandals, Barclays has introduced an unusual new compensation plan for its U.S. financial advisors. They "will no longer get paid solely on how much money they bring in. Going forward, their compensation could be docked for misconduct" or customer complaints. Some of those advisers are looking to jump ship, and the new policy could complicate recruitment efforts for Barclays, the Journal reports.
Following his move to halt Ocwen's purchase of a mortgage servicing portfolio from Wells Fargo, New York financial regulator Benjamin Lawsky warned that nonbank servicers may be "getting too big, too fast. When we see such rapid growth, and when we see regulated institutions boasting that they can perform services at a fraction of their prior cost, it raises red flags." Of course, the expansion at these companies may be partly attributable to regulation, as Basel III rules requiring banks to hold more capital against servicing rights have spurred many to sell these assets to specialist firms. Then again, that's not the fault of state regulators who in this case are trying to make sure distressed homeowners aren't abused by servicers cutting corners.
Another industry has come into the sights of the CFPB: Data brokers. The agency, along with the FTC and lawmakers, is concerned about these companies compiling profiles of financially troubled consumers from social media and other online sources and selling the information as marketing prospects for subprime credit products.
"How Dodd-Frank Doubles Down on 'Too Big to Fail'" Op-ed that favors the Brown-Vitter approach.
"Hammering Hank Greenberg Nine years and two AGs later, New York is still suing AIG's former CEO." The Journal's editorial writers wonder why this case is still kicking around.
New York Times
"Krawcheck Says Women on Wall Street Have 'Gone Backwards'" The crisis has made banks fall back on old, familiar hiring habits, she argues.
"How Credit-Card Debt Can Help the Poor" A contrarian argument (the smart alecks on Twitter call these #SlatePitches).
"PayPal president punches holes in chip-card conversion argument" David Marcus claims that during a recent trip overseas his chip-and-PIN card was likely cloned by a skimmer in a hotel's card reader, resulting in a "ton of fraudulent transactions." As you probably guessed, he takes the opportunity to argue that merchants accepting PayPal would prevent this kind of thing. But he does have a point about the absurdity of entrusting untold numbers of third parties with consumers' sensitive data, even with stronger protections in place like EMV chip-and-PIN technology.