Receiving Wide Coverage ...
More RBS Woes: Royal Bank of Scotland has announced plans to cut around $8.34 billion in costs over the next four years, after posting a $15 billion loss for 2013. According to the FT, this is "the sixth consecutive time the lender has slumped into the red, taking its total cumulative deficit since 2008 to about £50 billon." Cost-cutting plans revolve around restructuring units and refocusing on its U.K. activities.
As the Bitcoin Turns: This whole Mt. Gox debacle continues to stir up problems for Bitcoin, with Sen. Joe Manchin taking the opportunity to call for a ban of the cryptocurrency. "According to a committee aide, regulators are now on heightened alert," the Washington Post reports. But the private sector seems confident that Bitcoin will survive all this chatter. The Journal reports some U.S. firms are pushing ahead with plans to set up new exchanges in spite of any fallout. The firms "argue that by bringing in both the Wall Street establishment and regulators, they can offer customers greater confidence in the security of their money," the article notes. And the public seems bullish as well, with Bitcoin prices rising on Wednesday. "There were a lot of people who were trying to buy Bitcoin at what appeared to be discounted prices," one source tells Dealbook. "A lot of the demand was going to Mt. Gox, and once Mt. Gox completely shut down, that level came back into all the other exchanges."
Credit Suisse Goes to Washington: Credit Suisse executives appeared before a Senate panel Wednesday to answer questions about allegations that the bank went to great lengths to help U.S. citizens evade taxes. The bulk of the bank's defense focused on the need to comply with Swiss privacy laws, but senators weren't really buying it. "You want to do business here, you've got to comply with our laws," Sen. Carl Levin said during the hearing. Wall Street Journal, New York Times
Tax Bill: An ambitious tax reform proposal from Rep. David Camp has sparked concerns on Wall Street since it includes a new tax on lending that will affect big banks. It would also tax investment profits generated by private equity at a higher rate. The bill isn't likely to pass. "House Republicans have little expectation that the bill will come up for a vote this year, or even pass the committee," reports the Journal. But there are some reasons why it should matter to bankers.
Wall Street Journal
Bank lending for land development and construction has ticked upward. "An increase in lending would spur additional home construction and possibly put downward pressure on prices, which have been rising rapidly over the past two years and weighing on the housing recovery," notes the paper.
New York Times
New York's top banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky has new concerns about mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial.
The paper profiles the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering mortgages to subprime borrowers and illustrating that other financial firms can too. The organization, run by Bruce Marks, relies "on careful screening of applicants and on building a sense of community among the borrowers, in part by requiring them to join the nonprofit for a $20 annual fee and to participate in its advocacy."