Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Paying the piper: Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan reiterated that the bank expects to spend tens of millions of dollars on investigations and other regulatory matters in the wake of its phony accounts scandal. "I think that seems reasonable today based on what we know. It's the upper end of our range from an efficiency standpoint," he said at a Goldman Sachs financial services conference Tuesday. He also said the scandal could affect the bank's retail banking results this quarter as well as its submission next year for capital returns under the Federal Reserve's stress test and capital-planning process.
Wells Fargo continues to play hard ball with customers who want to sue the bank for opening accounts in their names without permission. While Wells has "vowed to make things right for the thousands of customers who were given sham accounts," the New York Times reports, the bank is "taking a different tack" in court as it seeks to "kill lawsuits that its customers have filed by moving the cases into private arbitration." Lawyers for the customers say Wells' legal motions "are an attempt to limit the bank's accountability for the widespread fraud and deny its customers their day in open court."
Bigger payouts?: The CEOs of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America said they may look to increase their stock dividends rather than buy back shares, especially if stock prices continue to rise. "This is mostly welcome news for investors, though it may also signal that bank stocks are no longer the steal they were just a few months ago," the Wall Street Journal reported.
As stocks have jumped in price since the election of Donald Trump, it's probably not surprising that big bank CEOs had positive words to say about the president-elect at the Goldman conference. "While the executives were cautious in much of their language, they left little doubt that they were looking forward to a more agreeable political backdrop," the FT reported. "It doesn't surprise me that people have taken a much more optimistic view," BofA Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan said.
Wall Street Journal
Raise: Bank of America said it will start paying its tellers a minimum wage of $15 an hour starting early next year, up from the current minimum of $13.50. The action follows similar moves earlier this year by JPMorgan and Wells Fargo. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Bad times: The life of the typical Swiss banker has changed radically since the financial crisis, the Journal reports. "The transformation of the banking industry — due to heightened regulation, legal scandals and ultralow interest rates that have pinched profits — has taken on a special significance in Switzerland," it says. "It has sparked a broader self-assessment in a country that has relied on the lucrative but staid industry to help maintain its comfortable prosperity."
New loans: Atom Bank, the U.K.'s first mobile phone-based lender, said it will start offering residential mortgages to customers. "The launch marks the first time that an app-based bank in the U.K. has offered mortgages to individuals," according to the Financial Times.
Big spenders: Retail banks have spent more than $200 billion on consultants since the global financial crisis in 2008, according to research firm ALM Intelligence. Banks based in North America were the biggest spenders, doling out almost $80 billion, although the FT said that figure is actually understated because it doesn't include spending by investment banks. Over the past five years, the 10 biggest American banks have paid $52.5 billion for "consultancy and advisory fees," with more than half of that total, almost $27 billion, spent by JPMorgan.
"The amount banks have been spending on regulations and compliance is not sustainable, it just can't go on like this. Something has to give and I think you are going to see growth slowing down." — Tomek Jankowski of ALM, which tracks bank spending on outside consultants.