Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Settled: JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $264 million and admit it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to resolve charges that it hired relatives of Chinese government officials and managers of state-owned companies to win business in China. But it may only be the first of many banks to do so. Several other U.S. and foreign banks are under investigation for similar practices, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, HSBC and UBS. "We do not expect this to be the last action resulting from that sweep," said Andrew J. Ceresney, the head of enforcement at the SEC.
"For shareholders of these banks, the regulatory fines and reputational damage are regrettable," the Wall Street Journal commented. "But the enduring tragedy is that for all their efforts, these banks haven't won a lasting presence in China's deal-making scene." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post
Wall Street Journal
Dismissed: The U.S. Supreme Court said Thursday it would no longer consider an appeal by Visa, MasterCard and several banks to challenge lawsuits alleging they conspired to set anticompetitive ATM fees. "The court said it was removing the case from its docket," the paper reported, "because the companies were now focusing on issues in their main case briefs that weren't part of their earlier petition that persuaded the court to take the case." Oral arguments had been scheduled to start next month.
Consent order: First NBC Bank, the troubled New Orleans-based bank, disclosed Thursday it has entered into a consent order with the FDIC and the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions in which the bank agreed to review its management and lending operations and submit a plan to "achieve and maintain" certain Tier 1 capital ratios. The SEC is also looking at the bank's accounting practices after the bank had to restate results. First NBC stock is down more than 80% in the past year.
New York shines: The election of Donald Trump is "likely to make New York more attractive as a financial center. And that could make London a relative loser — unless British authorities are ready to fight back," says Gillian Tett, the Times' U.S. managing editor. "The crucial point now is this: whatever Europeans think of Mr. Trump, they need to recognize that animal spirits are rising in New York, and this is likely to boost finance and the standing of Wall Street. If London wants to fight back, the British authorities need to find a way to unleash some animal spirits of their own. Bickering about Brexit is not a good place to start."
Downward trend: Wells Fargo said new account openings dropped sharply for the second straight month since its phony accounts scandal was exposed. The bank said customers opened about 300,000 checking accounts last month, down from about 600,000 in the same period last year, while credit card applications were also down by about 50%. "The number of new accounts is not what we've achieved in the past and it's not what we want to have in the future," said Mary Mack, the new head of the bank's community banking division. "I believe the actions we're taking will be reflected in more positive trends as we move forward. But in the near term, I expect many of these trends to continue. It takes time to rebuild trust."
Tweaking: Speakers at the Financial Times's annual Banking Summit said they expected "at most some tweaks" to U.S. banking regulations under Donald Trump rather than drastic changes.
"The so-called Sons and Daughters Program was nothing more than bribery by another name" — Leslie Caldwell, the head of the U.S. Justice Department's criminal division, commenting on JPMorgan's scheme to hire the children of Chinese officials in order to win business.