Receiving Wide Coverage ...
B of A Nears CFPB Settlement: Anonymice tell their favorite news outlets that Bank of America is nearing an $800 million-plus settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over allegations it force credit card customers to buy other products. The CFPB has levied fines against American Express, Capital One, Discover and JPMorgan Chase over similar allegations, but the B of A fine is expected to be the largest. As the Journal notes "the settlement would be the latest in a string of agreements Bank of America has reached to resolve regulatory probes into past practices." So basically as predicted it's been pulling a "JPMorgan Chase" minus the billion-dollar settlement headlines.
Citi's Stress Exec: Citigroup has talked Eugene McQuade, who announced plans to retire as the head of Citibank last month, to stay on and run its stress test process. The bank you may recall had it capital plan rejected by the Federal Reserve last week based on "qualitative" measures. McQuade's work may prove worthwhile in the end, but right now, it's simply given the Journal an opportunity to rehash all of the bank's problems, including growing scrutiny around fraud in its Mexican unit and prior stress test failures. "Recent events suggest Citigroup's problems haven't gone away," the paper notes. "Some critics have expressed concern the company is too sprawling to manage effectively. With activities in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions, Citigroup gathers about half of its revenue outside North America." So, you know, good luck, Mr. McQuade!
Hired: It's official. Royal Bank of Scotland has named Ewen Stevenson, a senior executive at Credit Suisse's investment bank, as its chief financial officer. He replaces Nathan Bostock, who resigned in December, after just two months on the job, to join Santander. Financial Times, New York Times
Paid in Full: A bankruptcy trustee has reported that the rest of the money collapsed brokerage firm MF Global owes to its former clients is being doled out. "The payouts, which will be sent on Friday, provide a happy bookend to a disastrous Wall Street saga," Dealbook reports. But the Journal notes: "The final payments for U.S. customers won't put an end to related litigation stemming from the firm's failure."
Wall Street Journal
Oh boy. "The job of promoting bitcoin has turned into a crisis-management slog."
The paper offers a bank earnings preview and the outlook well, it's not good. "Analysts in February began slashing profit and revenue estimates amid mounting evidence that bank traders found fewer opportunities to make money in debt and currency markets and bond underwriting slumped," the paper writes. Earnings kick off on April 11 with JPM and Wells Fargo the one big bank that is actually expected to improve profits year over year. Ahem.
JPM has restructured its "London Whale" unit, "in a further step away from the risky strategy that caused more than $6 billion of losses, according to people familiar with the matter." The move involves one of JPM's favorite things: executive reshuffling.
Banco Popular is in talks to buy Citibank's Spanish credit card and retail banking unit.
A Morgan Stanley executive's response to Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys," which suggests the bank got an edge on Goldman Sachs by building an infrastructure to serve high-speed traders: "It couldn't be that we're better than them?"
New York Times
A BreakingViews column suggests that JPM's exiting Blythe Masters not become an equestrian and, instead, join trading house Glencore's all-male board as chairman.
Pimco founder William Gross' latest investment outlook letter is more like a eulogy to his recently deceased cat.