Breaking News This Morning ...
UBS profits fall: Unlike other large international banks, which have mostly been reporting better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter, UBS reported its net profit dropped more than 60%. Net profit fell to 827 million Swiss francs from 2.1 billion francs in the same quarter last year. Analysts were expecting 945 million francs. Last year's figure was inflated by a large one-time tax benefit. The Swiss bank said it continued to experience "client risk aversion" as well as the effects of low and negative interest rates that reduce revenue.
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Missing: Deutsche Bank's third-quarter earnings report had some good news but also a big question mark. Deutsche made an unexpected profit after a big loss in the year ago quarter. It also said it is cutting operating costs faster than expected. But it didn't provide any new information about its negotiations with the U.S. Justice Department on a mortgage securities-related penalty. Justice has asked for $14 billion. "This has created uncertainty," CEO John Cryan said during a conference call with analysts. "Uncertainty that affects the market's view of Deutsche Bank as an investment. Uncertainty that affected some clients' view of Deutsche Bank as a counterparty. And uncertainty that even affects our financial planning and strategy execution." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Bailing out: Ashton Ryan, CEO of troubled First NBC Bank, intends to sell 175,000 of his shares in the New Orleans-based bank, more than a third of his roughly 2.5% stake, according to a regulatory filing. Earlier this week, First NBC Bank said it hired investment banks to advise it in "exploring all strategic options to advance the interests of the company's shareholders." The bank's stock is down more than 85% in the past year.
New York Times
Talk to the robot: Bank of America, MasterCard and several financial start-ups have announced new automated tools, called chatbots, that will allow customers to ask questions about their accounts, conduct transactions and get advice via text message or services like Facebook Messenger. "The early versions of the financial chatbots generally do little more than answer basic queries about recent transactions and spending limits," the Times said. "But companies are aiming to build the chatbots into full-service automated financial assistants that can make payments and keep track of your budget for you." Bof A's offering, called Erica, can also track a customer's credit score, look at spending habits and offer advice on how to pay bills. MasterCard intends to make its Kai offering available to the banks that issue its cards. Neither product is available to customers, and no public release dates have been announced.
Butt out: On the Times op-ed page, Roger Lowenstein takes Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to task for her "political grandstanding" and "turf encroachment," specifically referring to her demand that President Obama fire SEC head Mary Jo White. "Last time I checked, the S.E.C. was a regulatory agency of the executive branch, in which Ms. Warren is not, in fact, employed," Lowenstein writes. He cites other examples of what he considers Warren's overreaching.
"What will banking be in two, three or four years? It's going to be this," Michelle Moore, the head of digital banking at Bank of America, describing "Erica," the bank's new chatbot.