Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Guessing almost over: Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell is likely to be President Trump’s choice to be the next Fed chair, the Wall Street Journal reports — although Trump still hasn’t made a formal decision and could change his mind. In a video released on Instagram Friday, Trump said he had “somebody very specific in mind. It will be a person who hopefully will do a fantastic job. I think everybody will be very impressed.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Family feud: The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California is investigating foreign exchange trading at Wells Fargo, where, the paper reported last week, four bankers were fired following an internal probe. The issues involve a single trade and subsequent dispute with one Wells client, Restaurant Brands International, the owner of the Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes chains. Both the bank and Restaurant Brands are holdings of Berkshire Hathaway.
What took so long? Speaking of investigations, attorneys general in at least five states are looking into why Equifax took nearly six weeks to disclose the massive data breach at the credit bureau. The AGs want to determine if the company violated their state laws requiring companies to notify consumers promptly when their personal data is stolen.
“We’re definitely interested in the answer to that question,” said James Boffetti, head of the consumer protection bureau in the New Hampshire AG’s office. "We are looking for a fuller explanation.”
Faith rewarded: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has made nearly $100 million in three well-timed trades over the past eight years, the paper reports. Dimon “has only sporadically waded into the open market to buy stock in his bank,” it says. “But when he has, his timing has been shrewd.”
Dimon’s windfall “is the result of contrarian moves,” it notes. “In each instance where he made an open-market purchase, Mr. Dimon stepped in at points where the market was punishing J.P. Morgan’s stock or the overall banking sector.” In all, he bought about $55 million of stock at prices ranging from about $23 to $53. Today, those holdings are worth about $152 million.
Tech talk: Cathy Bessant, who held business and marketing roles before becoming Bank of America’s chief operations and technology officer in 2010, discusses the challenges of protecting information and the importance of confidence. About 40% of the bank’s more than 200,000 employees report to her.
Always vigilant: The U.K.’s Treasury Department says it leads the world in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, although it acknowledges there is still more to be done. Among the future risks: “exploitation of banks by criminals and their facilitators, the use of cash by terrorists and the fact some reforms have yet to take effect,” the government’s second national risk assessment report says.
Well ahead: The volume of leveraged loans to companies with weak credit has already eclipsed that of all of last year, the paper reports. The increase is being driven by companies refinancing debt at lower interest rates. Nine of the 10 largest lenders in the business, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Barclays, have already topped last year’s underwriting activity.
Well paid: Kenneth Chenault earned more than $370 million during his 17-year tenure as chairman and CEO from American Express, “a period in which the shares have returned more than the financial sector but less than the wider stock market,” the paper reports. Chenault, who announced recently that he will leave the company early next year, realized stock options totaling $150 million as well as at least $104 million in stock awards. That’s on top of his $24 million in salary, $76 million in annual bonuses and $16 million in other compensation.
Chenault’s replacement, Stephen Squeri, has his work cut out for him as Amex battles competitors in the rewards war. But critic say it's “unclear if the company is winning” since its product has lost some luster.
New York Times
Too easy?: Credit Suisse paid $2.48 billion to settle claims it knowingly sold toxic mortgage-backed securities to investors in the years prior to the financial crisis, plus an additional $2.8 billion in financial relief to troubled borrowers. But a report from the government’s independent monitor suggests the bank may have got off lightly.
“Put simply, some of the settlement’s terms — those involving consumer assistance — were easier on Credit Suisse than aggrieved investors and borrowers may have wanted,” the paper says.
“This country has done more to put a stop to money laundering and terrorist financing than any other in the world, but we are not complacent as there is always more we can do. Our record is strong and we are already seeing threats foiled due to the action we’ve taken.” — Stephen Barclay, economic secretary of the U.K. Treasury.