Receiving Wide Coverage ...
UBS Dark Pool Probed: Swiss bank UBS disclosed on Monday the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the New York attorney general are investigating its dark pool operation, the Wall Street Journal reported. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank got an inquiry about high-speed trading, the Financial Times said. Barclays is already the focus of an Eric Schneiderman probe into whether it has deceived electronic trading investors. Dark pool trades are those in which institutional investors' identities are concealed from the public.
Real Estate Listing Sites Merge: Zillow and Truliathe No. 1 and No. 2 online real estate sitesagreed to combine, which the Journal says could "dominate listings of homes for sale and other information that buyers and sellers covet." Zillow, the larger of the two, agreed to buy Trulia for about $3.5 billion in stock. Real estate agents hate (and fear) Zillow and Trulia, but the paper notes that it still hasn't become more popular to sell a home without the help of an agent. The New York Times quoted Zillow's CEO as saying he doesn't expect the deal to hit antitrust snags. One popular feature of Zillow and Trulia allows one to estimate a home value; that feature has been the subject of debate as to whether the values are accurate.
Wall Street Journal
The Bank of America mortgage settlement talks have reached an impasse, the Journal reports, with the Justice Department wanting a bigger cash penalty than the $13 billion B of A has offered to end legal issues concerning Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. B of A's $13 billion offer includes a combination of fines and consumer assistance, including writing down the values of some mortgages. B of A is willing to pay for some of Countrywide and Merrill's misdeeds, "but not at levels it considers overly punitive." American Banker earlier this month noted that B of A had been pushing for $12 billion, while DOJ was looking at something closer to $17 billion. Whatever the final price tag turns out to be, institutional investors just want the whole thing to go away, and soon.
About 16% of banks and credit unions still engage in the practice of reordering the processing of bank transactions from high amount to low amount, in order to generate more overdraft fees, the paper reported. The finding was based on a survey of more than 2,000 institutions conducted by Moebs Services on behalf of the Journal. TD Bank, Regions and WesBanco are some of the banks that still use the process. The paper notes that some banks use a hybrid approach, making it more difficult for consumers to understand. MUFG Union Bank (the Japanese-owned California-based company formerly known as Union Bank) posts ATM and debit-card purchases low-to-high, but processes checks, bill payments, electronic transactions and some other items high-to-low. As American Banker readers know, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been looking at this practice for some time, at the urging of consumer protection groups like the Pew Charitable Trusts. Most recently, Wells Fargo said it would halt its use of the practice for deposited checks and electronic debits.
The Heard on the Street column predicts shares of American Express will no longer continue to beat the broader market. The reason? Weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales growth.
New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in DealBook that JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and other big investment banks have raked in nearly $1 billion in fees by advising U.S. companies to move the address of their headquarters abroad, without actually moving. The practice allows the companies to avoid millions of dollars in U.S. taxes.