Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Red Card: Visa has become a key player in the FIFA corruption scandal. The credit-card network, one of FIFA's top corporate sponsors, said it's disappointment in the FIFA scandal was "profound" and added it may end its sponsorship agreements with soccer's governing body if changes aren't made. Visa's comments were the strongest voice of concern among all of FIFA's corporate sponsors. FIFA earns a total $177 million yearly from corporate sponsors, which also include Adidas and Coca-Cola. As for FIFA leader Sepp Blatter, the Swiss national isn't acting like someone coming under extremely heavy fire. "Partners want to be with FIFA because the World Cup is a showpiece not just for football but for sport in general. There is no sporting event that has so much fame and draws so much attention, especially on television where millions and billions watch the World Cup," Blatter told FIFA's annual congress in Zurich, where he's expected to be re-elected to another term as FIFA president. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
'Bite Me': In what he described as his first public event since 2008, which happens to be the first time since Lehman Brothers went down in flames, Dick Fuld said the investment bank's collapse wasn't his fault. Fuld, Lehman's final CEO, blamed the government for the financial crisis, singling out the policies that subsidized cheap loans. Fuld, speaking at an investor conference in New York, also named lax regulators, homeowners who used their home-equity lines as "ATM accounts" and the growth of hedge funds. "The increased rates led to increased mortgage rates and payments, a huge number of residential foreclosures. Banks wrote down and sold assets," he said. It became "a self-fulfilling economic loop," Fuld said. In one especially intriguing remark, Fuld said Lehman was "not a bankrupt company in 2008" and that more information would come out to prove that; he didn't elaborate on the remark. In another, less-intriguing comment, Fuld responded to a question from the audience about why he didn't ride off into the sunset after Lehman's collapse with this: "Why don't you just bite me?" The Journal's Heard on the Street column took issue with Feld's insistence that Lehman Brothers wasn't bankrupt and instead was "mandated into bankruptcy," saying the Lehman bankruptcy examiner's report gave plenty of proof the bank was, in fact, bankrupt. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
JPMorgan Chase's plan to fire at least 2% of its workforce will touch on a wide range of areas of the company, including corporate and investment banking, consumer and community banking, asset management, commercial banking, legal, compliance, technology and operations. Retail, of course, will also see significant job cuts, as JPMorgan moves to replace human tellers with electronic tablets or with so-called universal bankers who can handle multiple job responsibilities. The average branch will lose two tellers and add one financial adviser, CEO Jamie Dimon said at an investor conference on Thursday. Employees in the firing line range from junior analysts to managing directors, including those who earn six- or seven-figure annual pay packages.
Moody's Investors Service raised its ratings on four banks with big investment-bank operations: Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The moves reversed the 2012 downgrade of the same four companies; the downgrade was premised on the European sovereign-debt crisis and other factors. Now, because large banks have issued increased levels of debt, it's more likely that senior unsecured creditors will bear a smaller loss in the event of failure. JPMorgan Chase didn't get an upgrade because it relies more heavily on deposits and less on other types of debt.
Newport News (Va.) Daily Press: The paper takes a look at the innovative approach used by $424 million-asset Farmers Bank, a privately held company in Windsor, Va., to generate liquidity for its small number of shareholders. Farmers Bank hired FIG Partners in Atlanta to make a market in its stock, leading to some transactions in the bank's shares over the past year.
U.S. News & World Report: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert used accounts at three banks to allegedly make cash withdrawals, which he then used to pay hush money to a person to keep silent about his "prior misconduct." The financial institutions were Old Second Bank, People's State Bank and Castle Bank. Hastert is alleged to have withdrawn a total of $1.7 million between 2010 and 2014.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A former Bank of New York Mellon corporate trust administrator was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for financial fraud. Joe Graziano admitted to stealing millions of dollars from the bank, passing counterfeit bills and filing fraudulent loan applications and tax returns. Graziano, who said in court that he's a gambling addict, was also ordered to make $4 million in restitution to his victims.