Receiving Wide Coverage ...
It's official: Wells Fargo has formally separated the roles of CEO and chairman under pressure from some large investors, including several state treasurers, according to the Financial Times. John Stumpf, the bank's former chairman and CEO, resigned in October following the bank's phony accounts scandal and was replaced by Timothy Sloan as CEO and Stephen Sanger as chairman. But on Thursday Wells went further, amending its bylaws to mandate the split. "Wells' decision is noteworthy in a sector that has largely resisted such demands, and some corporate governance experts said it should encourage other banks to do the same," the FT said. The heads of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs all hold both positions.
Separately, Democrat lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced a bill Thursday that would allow Wells Fargo customers to sue the bank for opening fake accounts in their names, a week after Wells asked a federal judge to force those customers to use the arbitration process. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Washington Post, American Banker
Treasury in charge: Treasury secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin plans to restore Treasury as driver of the economy after a long absence, during which the Federal Reserve and monetary policy filled the void. "So far markets have responded enthusiastically to Mnuchin's talk of turbocharging annual economic growth to between three and four per cent," the FT writes. "But longer term, a buoyant dollar could pose problems, as could the Trump team's plans to finance a big rise in borrowing." The Journal agrees the target may be lofty. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Where it began: The "revolving door" between Goldman Sachs and the federal government dates backs to World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt named Goldman CEO Sidney J. Weinberg as assistant director of the War Production Board. Known as "Mr. Wall Street," Weinberg went on to advise Presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson. The tradition continues, with Steven Mnuchin having been nominated as Treasury secretary by President-elect Donald Trump. Gary D. Cohn, Goldman's president, is also being considered for a role in the incoming administration. New York Times, Washington Post
Wall Street Journal
Gearing up: The House passed a bill Thursday that would scrap the $50 billion asset threshold designating a financial institution as "systemically important" and therefore subject to more rigorous regulation. Instead, the bill, which passed 254-161, would give regulators more leeway in deciding what constitutes such a designation, not simply size. Twenty Democrats joined 234 Republicans in voting for the bill. The measure, however, isn't expected to move forward in the Senate this year, and President Obama has threatened to veto it anyway. But a fight is expected over the bill next year when President-elect Trump takes office and the GOP controls both houses of Congress.
On deck?: Paul Atkins, a former SEC commissioner and a vocal critic of Dodd-Frank, met with Trump this week to discuss a possible role in his administration, including SEC chairman or vice chairman of supervision at the Fed, which would give him oversight of banking and systemic risk. Atkins "has been critical of Dodd Frank, especially the creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and its role designating systemically important financial institutions," the Times reports. "He has questioned the value of the Volcker rule that bars banks from betting with the house money, and the need for a uniform fiduciary rule for all investors."
"It is clear that this is just the first act in a long, dangerous play that will continue well into next year. This is the first act in Trump's promise that he's going to get rid of Dodd-Frank." — Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, on Thursday's passage of a House bill to amend the systemically important financial institution designation.