Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Co-op Bank Probe: The U.K. Treasury has launched a probe into Co-operative Bank that will examine how the bank was run (and regulated) in the years leading up to its current crisis. Scan readers will recall that the bank is in the middle of bailing itself out largely by ceding control to institutional investors. The Journal says the inquiry "may prove uncomfortable for Britain's politicians, particularly in the opposition Labour Party, some of whom championed Co-op Bank as a model of responsible lending following the financial crisis." The U.K.'s Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority are also mulling inquiries. Late last week, former Co-op chairman Paul Flowers was arrested as part of a drug investigation.
Rejected: Swiss voters rejected a measure that would have capped executive salaries at 12 times as much as their lowest-paid employee. Earlier this year, the country did approve an initiative that gives shareholders more control over executive pay packages. However, the outright salary cap, also opposed by Parliament, was seen as too extreme and there were concerns that it would dissuade companies from doing business in Switzerland. Wall Street Journal, New York Times
JPM Chatter: Yes, JPMorgan Chase continues to generate headlines. Per the Journal, on Friday, the bank's top litigator Stephen Cutler took a pointed opportunity to criticize big bank fines. "At what point does this stop?" Cutler asked during a panel discussion that included regulators from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "We should all be concerned because at a certain point people become immune to the numbers." An anonymouse tells the paper Cutler wasn't speaking out of frustration. Instead, he "wanted to prompt a discussion about how regulators exercise their power in the future." Meanwhile, the Times' Gretchen Morgenson argues that the bank's $13 billion settlement was a long-time coming though, perhaps, not exactly for the reasons one may think. "Although it took the Justice Department more than five years to pursue a major bank for its role in the mortgage mania, the investigation seems to have unearthed material that, by and large, could have been dug up with a spoon," she writes.
Wall Street Journal
The U.K. plans on introducing a cap on the costs of payday loans, the exact terms of which will be decided by the Financial Conduct Authority.
A few unnamed bank executives threaten to charge for deposits if the Federal Reserve cuts the interest it pays on bank reserves. "It's not as if we are suddenly going to start lending to [small and medium-sized enterprises]," one adds. "There really isn't the level of demand, so the danger is that banks are pushed into riskier assets to find yield."
Royal Bank of Scotland is facing allegations in two reports that claim the bank "is turning away creditworthy businesses seeking loans and is even deliberately putting good companies into default to make a profit from them."
New York Times
Kareem Serageldin, a former Credit Suisse executive was sentenced late last week to two-and-a-half years in prison for inflating the value of mortgage bonds leading up to the financial crisis.
A few days after a Journal article on essentially the very same thing, Dealbook looks at the alternative virtual currencies that have sprung from the success of the wildly popular Bitcoin. But "if this is a contest, bitcoin is still light-years ahead of any of its competitors - the value of all bitcoin is measured in the billions of dollars, while only a few others have even cracked a hundred million," the article notes. "And bitcoin has the basic attributes that most other coins are trying to imitate."