Receiving Wide Coverage ...

Espresso Love: Mario Draghi could run for President -- except he already has that title at the European Central Bank, where he's taking Frankfurt by storm. The New York Times called the first days of his term "audacious," noting he's presided over an interest-rate cut, signaled a greater willingness to flex the bank's muscles in service of a crisis solution, and turned up the burner under the politicians. Speaking of politicians, that situation continues to percolate, with meetings taking place before a two-day EU summit in Brussels and a meeting of the European Central Bank Thursday. As a European summit to figure out how to solve the European Union crisis nears, President Obama sent Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to pressure decision-makers, the Wall Street Journal reported, even as markets shook off S&P's warnings on ratings for nations in the EU, as did German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Other officials questioned the timing of S&P's move. Another Journal story looks at various options the countries can take and what they entail. The "Heard on the Street" column suggests S&P had the right idea; treat all the countries the same. And Spain's prime minister-elect Mariano Rajoy is looking for a quick fix to his nation's bank's real-estate loan woes, which may be costly.

Whack a Staffer or 4,500: Citigroup plans to cut 4,500 jobs, mostly in back-office and investment banking, and take a $400 million charge in the fourth quarter for severance and other expenses. CEO Vikram Pandit "warned that the bank was unlikely to see a repeat of the $2.6 billion paper gain it realized in the third quarter, when it benefited from accounting quirks tied to the valuation of its own debt." Perhaps Citi isn't as sanguine as the rest of the markets are over Europe. Bloomberg said Pandit's move comes despite this week's euphoric anticipation that the European sovereign-debt crisis will be solved post-haste. (Why the sudden optimism? Has anyone ever seen the sun shine for a solid day in Western Europe?) An overarching concern: Banks are preparing for regulations on minimum capital levels to take effect, threatening revenue from trading and investment banking, Bloomberg noted. Citigroup said in September it would limit hiring to "critical" jobs to control costs. New York Times, Wall Street Journal

Whose Lie is it Anyway?: In a letter to Congress the Federal Reserve said recent news reports "have contained a variety of egregious errors and mistakes" regarding bailout funds. According to the New York Times, "the letter did not name Bloomberg, but the details make clear that the Fed is responding to an article by Bloomberg Markets magazine that was published last week." The Fed disputed the calculation that it "provided $7.8 trillion in total aid during that period," and argued that the banks didn't make a profit on loans from the Fed because, "those loans generally carried interest rates above the market rate." And Bloomberg defends it's reporting here. New York Times, Washington Post

Wall Street Journal

Bankruptcy Court Judge James Peck approved the $65 billion Lehman creditor-payment plan, ending the drama that fueled the financial crisis.

Merrill Lynch settled a class-action suit brought by a group of public retirement systems, paying $315 million, the largest settlement to date in such a suit, and the paper says, "a preview of what could be a long line of settlements."

The farm belt is feeling the effects of MF Global's collapse, as many in that region invested to protect themselves against price swings. Also, Republican senators charged CFTC head Gary Gensler's recusing himself from the probe of MF "appeared to reflect an attempt to avoid congressional accountability for his agency having missed apparent rule violations at the company."

The war over too-big-to-fail continues, the paper's "Ahead of the Tape" column says, with some pushing to repeal Dodd-Frank and others looking to break up the too-large firms.

In letters, three readers respond to an editorial last week that volatility in bank stock prices shows banks are in trouble.

New York Times

New York has outsourced the "lock box" process of paying property taxes to New Jersey, in effect, thanks to a contract with Wells Fargo. Send your money to: NYC Department of Finance, P.O. Box 680, Newark, NJ 07101-0680. That's not a typo. Once Newark gets the mail, it then ships the checks to Staten Island, which, after all, is pretty close to New Jersey. Savings? 50%. State pride? 0.

"The Bank of England is calling for British banks to cut their employee compensation and shareholder dividends as a way to bolster their capital reserves in the face of sluggish earnings, tight debt markets and the European sovereign debt crisis." "Separately, the Bank of England said on Tuesday that it would set up a new liquidity program to provide short-term loans to British banks if they are unable to obtain funding 'in light of the continuing exceptional stresses in financial markets.'"

"Dealbook" looks at a study suggesting women executives are optimistic about future investment opportunities.

Washington Post

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who had pulled out of the foreclosure abuse settlement talks earlier in the fall, is teaming up with Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, they "announced a plan Tuesday to combine forces to investigate mortgage fraud and related misdeeds."

 

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