Wall Street Journal
Hillary Clinton's connections to UBS, which has made donations to the family's charitable foundation, comes under the spotlight in a lengthy article. While secretary of state, Clinton worked out a deal between UBS and the Internal Revenue Service; the IRS was trying to obtain information on Americans suspected of trying to dodge taxes through secret Swiss bank accounts.
Following Clinton's involvement in the matter, which was seen to have greatly helped UBS, the Swiss bank subsequently increased the size of its donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation; UBS also loaned $32 million to inner-city programs through the foundation; and UBS paid Bill Clinton $1.5 million the largest single corporate source of speech income Clinton has received since leaving the White House to participate in a series of Q&A sessions with Bob McCann, the CEO of UBS Wealth Management.
The Journal stresses there's no evidence of a link between UBS' financial gifts to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton's assistance to UBS in its IRS settlement. A spokeswoman for UBS told the paper, "Any insinuation that any of our philanthropic or business initiatives stems from support received from any current or former government official is ludicrous and without merit." But the UBS situation is one of several instances of corporate giving to the Clintons causing issues for the Democratic frontrunner in her presidential campaign; both Democrats and Republicans have raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Here's a list of other financial-services companies that have either made donations to the Clinton Foundation or participated in the foundation's philanthropic ventures while at the same time lobbying the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary, or paid Bill Clinton to make speeches: General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, CLSA, Barclays and Walmart.
Big banks with capital markets businesses are trying to push their hedge-fund clients into derivatives, as a way to assist their own regulatory capital requirements. If hedge funds use total-return swaps, a type of derivative, to place bets, instead of actual stocks, it helps banks' capital levels. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and UBS have used the tactic.
Here's another concern for banks' cybersecurity and anti-money laundering personnel: hackers who trick companies into wiring them money via fake bank accounts. This type of scheme, sometimes called "business email fraud" or "corporate account takeover," resulted in losses of at least $1 billion worldwide at companies between October 2013 and June 2015, according to the FBI.
A Phoenix scrap-metal processor, Mega Metals, was recently duped into one of these traps and ended up wiring $100,000 to "who knows where," instead of to the vendor where the company thought it was wiring the money. Mega Metals immediately reported the suspected fraud to its bank, Comerica. The Dallas bank declined to comment.
Nacha, the industry-run group overseeing Automated Clearing House transactions, has urged businesses to work with their banks and credit unions to fight the problem. The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a nonprofit whose members include banks, said it's possible for banks to claw back some of the illegally diverted funds.
Cathy Bessant, Bank of America's chief operations officer and chief technology officer, says analytics is the best way to fight against cyberattacks. B of A has developed a set of metrics to try to better gauge the landscape and implement cybersecurity measures. The metrics include a process to track how frequently system scans are performed. Bessant's cybersecurity efforts have no budget constraints, CEO Brian Moynihan has said. B of A spends about $3 billion yearly on development.
The CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would see their yearly salaries capped at $600,000, according to a bill approved this week by the House Financial Services Committee. Mel Watt, head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, earlier this month approved a $3.4 million pay raise for both CEOs. The White House supports the bill. The CEO salary-reduction bill for the GSEs was just one of 14 financial-reform bills the House Financial Services Committee approved during the past two days; American Banker has the full scoop.
Omaha World-Herald: Community bankers in Nebraska are worried the proposal to fund federal highways would reduce the dividend payments they receive from the Federal Reserve. "I can't believe how they arbitrarily just decide one industry ought to help subsidize the highway fund," Kelly Holthus, CEO of Cornerstone Bank in York, Neb., said. "We know we need more money for highways, but that's just Congress at its worst." First National Bank of Omaha said in a statement, "We feel that the proposed funding approach may set an unfortunate precedent and are concerned about the direct financial impact on our organization."
Columbus Dispatch: Heartland Bank in Columbus, Ohio, plans to lease and renovate an old airport hangar and terminal at Port Columbus International Airport, and move its corporate headquarters to the site.