Receiving Wide Coverage ...
B of A Passes Vote Test: Brian Moynihan decisively won a shareholder vote to allow him to retain both the CEO and chairman titles at Bank of America. But shareholders who wanted to yank the chairman title from him told the Journal and FT that they still plan to hold his feet to the fire.
"I hope they don't just put blindfolds on," said Buzzy Geduld of Cougar Capital, which voted to separate the CEO and chairman titles.
A spokesman for the California State Teachers' Retirement System, which also voted against Moynihan, said the pension fund "[does] expect the board to adopt a more active oversight role. We'd like to see better stock performance."
B of A's recent shuffling of multiple executives has also troubled some investors. Yari Wajid, director of research at Mirador Capital Partners, said "recent executive-level turnover raises legitimate concerns about governance and consolidation of power at the top."
State Street Global Advisors voted in favor of Moynihan keeping both titles, although its head of corporate governance said, "We recognize that leadership could be provided by an independent chair or a strong lead independent director."
Another shareholder who voted in favor of Moynihan, Thomas Brown of Second Curve Capital, told the NYT that "Good corporate governance is not determined by form, it is determined by substance ... and substance is when you have a strong lead director and active board members, and that is what Bank of America has."
American Banker's Kate Berry takes a comprehensive look at Moynihan's tough schedule coming up the next few weeks. B of A must submit its revised capital plan to the Federal Reserve. It's also got third-quarter earnings to report, and the quarter could hold unpleasant results because of recent market volatility, deflated stock prices and uncertain forecasts about the economy and monetary policy.
Wall Street Journal
Lloyd Blankfein, the 61-year-old chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, said Tuesday that he has a curable form of blood cancer.
Blankfein plans to stay on the job while he receives chemotherapy, although he'll reduce travel.
Blankfein and Goldman Sachs have generally been reluctant to discuss the issue of succession planning. But The Journal raises the question of who's in line to succeed Blankfein.
The first name speculated is 55-year-old Gary Cohn, president and chief operating officer. Goldman also named other executives, although more in the context of their being groomed for eventual climbs up the corporate ladder and not necessarily as successors to Blankfein: Michael Sherwood, vice chairman; David Solomon, co-head of investment banking; and Harvey Schwartz, chief financial officer.
The "Heard on the Street" column submits the name of David Viniar, a current Goldman director at its former CFO, as a good choice for chairman.
As Banco Santander's Ana Botín formulates a plan to cut costs, boost earnings and capital, some analysts suggest other ways the Spanish bank could improve.
One is to seek acquisitions in markets where it lacks scale, including the U.S., said Stefan Nedialkov, an analyst at Citigroup. Santander Bank is now mostly concentrated in a few northeastern U.S. cities. The FT didn't suggest which geographic areas would benefit Santander, nor which banks it might acquire.
DealReporter: Could First Niagara Financial Group be on the auction block?
The Buffalo, N.Y., regional bank has hired JPMorgan Chase's investment bank to explore strategic alternatives, according to Mergermarket Group's DealReporter. Banks contacted to gauge their possible interest include New York Community Bancorp, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Huntington Bancshares.
First Niagara has had plenty of issues in the past few years, ranging from overextending itself on acquisitions, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade its computer systems and a still-unexplained problem with a "process issue" that affected customers' deposit accounts.
However, the $39 billion-asset regional bank seemed to have at least begun the process of righting the ship in the second quarter, when fee income increased and the bank began to generate new loan growth.
First Niagara could appeal to a number of potential acquirers, as it holds significant market share in Buffalo, as well as Pittsburgh and Rochester, N.Y.
Los Angeles Times: Starbucks' Mobile Order and Pay app, which American Banker has covered previously, has now been rolled out nationwide at the coffee purveyor's 7,400 company-owned stores. Starbucks will introduce the payments app at some stores in the Canada and the U.K., next month.
Detroit Free Press: Wells Fargo will expand a program to Detroit that offers $15,000 down payment assistance grants to first-time homebuyers. Wells Fargo has earmarked about $5.25 million of its Home Lift program for Detroit and plans to issue about 250 grants in the Detroit area.
Home Lift also provides financial and home-buying counseling. Grant recipients must have annual incomes that do not exceed 120% of the local area's median income, which equates to about $81,250 for a family of four in the Detroit area.
Wells Fargo's Home Lift has been implemented in about 30 U.S. cities and provided grants to about 10,000 home buyers.