Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Sallie Mae to Split in Two: The FT emphasizes the growth prospects of the banking and private student loan business that will be separated from the legacy government-backed loan servicing operation. The Times plays up the context of rising student loan defaults and tightening regulatory scrutiny. The Journal plays it pretty straight. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Another Hole in the Swiss: The Swiss government, under pressure from the U.S., proposed a measure that would temporarily allow the Alpine country's famously secretive banks to give Washington more information on their American clientele. The FT's editorial writers trumpet this as a sign that "Big economies are turning the tide against havens," noting that "the Swiss, who have been pulled kicking and screaming to this point, are trying to limit the damage to what used to be their banks' competitive advantage: a discreet place to park your money. The old and cosy world where too few questions were asked should not be allowed to survive." The editorial and the FT's main news story differ on whether the arrangement will provide enough legal certainty for Swiss banks to stay in, or return to, the U.S. market.
Money Laundering Potpourri: Treasury Department documents FOIA'd by Public Citizen and shared with the Times "revealed some tension among authorities about how aggressively to pursue the cases" against HSBC and Standard Chartered. For example, "The Treasury Department raised concerns last year that New York's banking regulator acted against Standard Chartered without sufficiently notifying federal authorities, the documents show. The tension reflected a culture clash between [New York regulator Benjamin] Lawsky's aggressive approach and the more staid philosophy common at the Treasury Department" under then-secretary Timothy Geithner. Also in the Times, you'll find a scary article entitled "Anonymous Payment Schemes Thriving on Web," complete with an opening anecdote about child porn and a "perp walk" photo of the indicted founder of Liberty Reserve. The word "privacy" does not appear in the article once. You'll have to go to BankThink for that part of the discussion.
Wall Street Journal
The Obama administration's "signature" Home Affordable Modification Program, due to expire at the end of the year, will be extended for another two.
"Morgan Stanley has told investors that its underperforming fixed-income unit will have to be a lot smaller than rivals' businesses in order to earn decent profits."
New York Times
"Shareholders can't be counted on." Columnist Jesse Eisinger is disappointed that investors voted against the proposal to split the chairman and CEO roles at JPMorgan.
"Choosing the Next Head of the Federal Reserve" Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher "would be the ideal candidate," Simon Johnson writes, acknowledging that the outspoken megabank critic is also unlikely to succeed Bernanke.