Receiving Wide Coverage ...
The Incredible Shrinking GE: General Electric is shedding financing units at a rapid pace. In its latest move, the company has sold its health-care lending business to Capital One for roughly $9 billion. GE's goal is to unload $100 billion of GE Capital assets by the end of 2015 as it seeks to concentrate on its industrial business, and it's on track to do so with about $78 billion sold thus far.
GE will retain some parts of the health care division, "including a portion that lends to customers of the conglomerate's medical equipment operations," according to the New York Times. The acquisition is a big deal for Capital One, which hasn't had much of a presence in the health-care industry to date, although it does have specialty lending arms focusing on areas like energy and equipment finance. New York Times, Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Credit Suisse and Barclays are in the process of negotiating with New York's attorney general and the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle allegations related to the banks' dark-pool trading practices, according to anonymice. The Credit Suisse fine may be in the "high tens of millions," which would set a record for penalties related to a private trading venue; the Barclays fine is expected to be "large," though that seems like a pretty relative term.
Germany's financial regulator is giving Deutsche Bank and other domestic banks the hairy eyeball over suspicions the scope of their rate-rigging attempts was fairly sweeping. "Just another typical day in today's manipulated financial markets," sighs a Journal reader in the comments section.
More banks are holding mortgage loans on their balance sheets, thanks to an increase in the guarantee fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as restrictions on trading that have left banks with fewer options as to the use of capital. John Carney of "Heard on the Street" predicts this may become an even bigger trend if mortgage originations drop as a result of higher interest rates, since banks will be looking for a way to make up for the loss of fee income.
The new book Jesse Livermore, Boy Plunger details the rollercoaster life and fortunes of an early 20th-century investor whose trading instincts helped him make good on both the banking crisis of 1907 and the 1929 stock-market crash.
Credit ratings agencies failed to raise the alarm about risky subprime lending in the run-up to the financial crisis. So why do investors still care what the agencies have to say? That's the question posed by New York University economics professor Nouriel Roubini, who argues investors should be scrutinizing market signals themselves rather than putting their fates in the hands of unreliable lookouts. He also says the agencies are overrating Brazil and China while ignoring recoveries in Hungary and Ireland.
If suffering produces great art, it stands to reason misery can make for better banking too, according to the paper's Gary Silverman. He suggests heaps of post-crisis financial regulation have made U.S. bankers sadder and wiser, "focusing their minds in ways that would have been unlikely in more permissive regimes." But the best part of the article may be where Silverman calls Jamie Dimon the James Dean of financial services. He suggests the JPMorgan Chase chief's tirades about the injustice of bankers' persecution make him bear a certain resemblance to the famous rebel without a cause.
New York Times
What do you get when you put a small army of "rogue stock traders" together with a team of hackers based in Ukraine? One massive insider trading scandal. U.S. authorities arrested nine people Tuesday over allegations the hackers found ways to gain illicit previews of corporate news releases and funneled the information back to traders. A network of 32 hackers and traders "reaped more than $100 million in illegal proceeds," according to the paper.