Receiving Wide Coverage ...
European Bank Earnings: European stocks took a hit on Monday, thanks to "some lackluster" bank earnings. Most notably, Lloyds Banking Group reported higher than expected earnings for 2013 but wait for it said it was setting aside an additional $3.1 billion to cover potential claims related to the misselling of payment protection insurance and other products. FT Lombard columnist Jonathan Guthrie called the bank's full year update "akin to a gourmet platter with a dead mouse in it." Notes the Journal: "The large PPI provision disappointed analysts because it indicates that Lloyds and other U.K. banks will continue to be dogged by legacy issues for at least a couple more years." The bank, still partly owned by the U.K. government, expects to start paying "modest" dividends in the second half of 2014.
Settled Kind of: A New York judge has partially approved Bank of America's $8.5 billion settlement with investors over bad crisis-era mortgage-backed securities. Justice Barbara Kapnick approved the bulk of the settlement late last week, believing the trustee working for the investors mostly acted in good faith, but excluded from her ruling billions of dollars of loans that had been modified. No one seems quite sure what this verdict means for B of A just yet. It's possible that it could derail the settlement altogether and lead to higher payouts over the investor claims. One of the Journal's anonymice predicts "'months' of continued legal proceedings." As summarized by the FT's Lex column, "Investors cannot put this pesky settlement completely in the past just yet."
Wall Street Journal
Asian banks are pushing into new markets as they chase higher yields and look to diversify. "Their efforts come at a time when Western banks are reining in some lending as they recover from the global financial crisis," notes the paper.
Lloyds is introducing an internal quota to support increasing the number of women in banking, pledging 40% of its 5,000 top jobs will be filled by women by 2020. The move is part of a "Helping Britain Prosper Plan" that bank CEO Antonio Horta-Os-rio will unveil this week "to boost the industry's standing."
New Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Ross McEwan is preparing to make a "sweeping overhaul of his top management team" in coming months. This includes naming a new finance director as early as this month. (Nathan Bostock resigned in December.) Top candidates include Philip Broadley, due to step down this year from Old Mutual, Stephen Jones of Santander and Charlotte Jones of Credit Suisse.
New York Times
Columnist James B. Stewart defends or at least interviews a bunch of people who defend Jamie Dimon's $20 million raise. "In the world of executive compensation, especially when viewed from the rarefied perspective of other chief executives, and more broadly on Wall Street, Mr. Dimon's pay and how it was determined is not only defensible, but laudable," he writes.
Recent data breaches are inspiring some consumers to return to a seemingly antiquated payment method: cash. Some switchers are finding there are benefits beyond security, such as a more balanced budget. But others doubt the move will be a lasting one. Says one consumer advocate: "You don't want to be carrying a bag of money into Best Buy to buy a flat-screen TV. People shouldn't have to resort to that for peace of mind."
A long read on new Fed chair Janet Yellen details her long history of breaking gender barriers. But "Yellen has been reticent about the role that her sex has played in her four-decade career," the article notes. "She has even instructed staff members that her new title be simply 'chair,' rather than 'chairwoman'."