Receiving Wide Coverage ...
AG Questions B of A Settlement: New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman asked for information about Bank of America's $8.5 billion settlement agreement in the mortgage-backed securities case. The AG's move indicates he may challenge the deal, according to the Times. Letters sent by the AG's office indicate the settlement may have been made without the full participation of all investors who would be affected. The Journal says Schneiderman wants to know if public agencies or state-affiliated pension funds were included in the settlement. "Some mortgage-bond investors have already objected to the deal, citing conflicts of interest that raise questions about the fairness of the accord," the Journal says. The paper also reported Rep Brad Miller, D-N.C., in a letter questioned if the deal was fair to taxpayers or if the settlement amount is "too low." Wall Street Journal, New York Times
A Fed Divided: Federal Reserve officials lack a strong consensus over what they should do next in setting the nation's monetary policy, according to minutes of their last policy meeting, showing a mix of views as to why the U.S. economy remains weak and what, if anything, they should do about it, the Post reported. In its "Ahead of the Tape" column, the Journal says, "The reality is that the Fed simply doesn't at this point seem to have the right set of tools to fix what ails the U.S. economy." Wall Street Journal, Washington Post
Wall Street Journal
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it will send examiners to more than 100 banks next week, when it officially opens next week. It also announced plans for year-round supervision of the largest banks. "Examiners will inspect banks' books and records and meet with bank executives to ensure firms are complying with federal consumer finance laws."
European banks are gearing up for a worsening of the crisis in the continent and the possibility that some nations will pull out of the euro zone. The banks appear uneasy about making even short-term loans to other banks. "Although the European debt crisis has been dragging on for roughly a year and a half, it appears to have entered a new, more perilous, stage this week," the paper says. "Expectations have faded that European officials will be able once again contain Greece's problems and avoid a destabilizing default that would inflict losses on banks holding Greek debt."
New York Times
A former SEC chairman told the Senate Banking Committee that the Dodd-Frank Act has failed to protect investors. Harvey Pitt, who was chairman from 2001-2002, said Tuesday that "The act is unduly complex, adds more layers of regulatory bureaucracy to an already over-bloated bureaucracy, makes financial regulation more cumbersome and less nimble than it already was." He also criticized a program that rewards whistle-blowers for going to the government before reporting fraud internally. "This provision threatens to undermine corporate governance, internal compliance and the confidence of public investors in our heavily regulated capital markets," he said.
Michael B. Likosky, a senior fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, wrote an op-ed giving his support to the American Infrastructure Financing Authority, the infrastructure bank proposed by U.S. Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.
One of the SEC's five commissioners has taken the extraordinary step of publicly dissenting from an enforcement action on the grounds that it was too weak. Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar said the Securities and Exchange Commission should have charged a former Morgan Stanley trader with fraud in view of what he called "the intentional nature of her conduct."