Receiving Wide Coverage ...
More Mortgage Job Cuts: Wells Fargo says it plans to cut 2,300 mortgage-related jobs nationwide. The FT calls the cuts, which are the third and largest wave of mortgage-related layoffs Wells has announced this year, "part of a renewed push by John Stumpf, chief executive, to cut Wells' overall costs to help offset lower mortgage lending and falling profit margins." The Journal suggests the news is ominous. "The job cuts highlight the bank's belief that the mortgage market is headed for a dive," the paper notes. "Other banks could soon follow." Both Bank of America and Citigroup are among lenders who have already announced cutbacks at their mortgage units this year.
Swipe Fee Fight Continues: The Federal Reserve has decided to appeal a recent court ruling requiring it to issue a new rule on debit card swipe fee caps. The central bank also plans to ask for a longer stay of the ruling so that an interim law does not have to be issued until after the legal process has some time to play out. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said he would "keep an open mind" about extending the stay of his ruling, given merchant support for an extension. Dealbook notes the stakes in this case are high: "The appeal will be a crucial test of the courts' power to overturn the financial regulations that stemmed from the sweeping banking overhaul after the crisis The Fed's appeal could also stoke criticism that the central bank makes unnecessary concessions to the banking industry." Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, American Banker
Time to Parse the Fed Again: The Federal Reserve released July policy meeting minutes yesterday and, per usual, news outlets have nuanced interpretations of what they signal for the central bank's anticipated stimulus wind-down. A general overview suggests the central bank has become a bit more divided regarding its timeline and may begin to taper in September or elect to wait. In other words, no one knows exactly when the Fed will act. Also, per usual, this confusion roiled markets on Wednesday. Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post
Good News/Bad News for JPM: The U.K's Serious Fraud Office is "liaising" with U.S. regulators in their criminal investigation into the $6 billion London Whale trading losses (though, to be fair, it's unclear what that means exactly, given the SFO's refusal to elaborate). In better news for the bank, a review conducted following several investment banks' complaints that Bloomberg journalists were using the company's news terminals to access private information, found it was unfair to compare "the damage in an Italian town after a bad deal with [JPM] to the fallout from the Nazis' occupation in World War II," reports Dealbook.
Wall Street Journal
The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to approve a long-delayed rule requiring companies to disclose the pay gap between chief executives and employees as early as this month. The good news for firms is that the rule is expected to be "less onerous" than lawmaker's original requirement, which came as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. "Rather than surveying the entire workforce, the SEC is expected to allow companies to consider a fraction of their employees when calculating median pay," the paper reports.
The paper profiles Anne Rendall, Royal Bank of Scotland's "flying banker" who "tours a handful of sparsely populated Scottish islands on an eight-seat aircraft emblazoned with the logo of a local whisky brand" in order to serve her customers.
New York Times
Speaking of RBS, columnist George Hay makes a case for why the U.K. bank should "list" the branches it needs to get rid of. With just three bids pending, Hay suggests, if RBS can arrange for an extension of the sale deadline, it could get a better deal. "The best choice would be one that allows RBS to share in any upside."
Well, that didn't go exactly as planned: The Cyprus bailout "has pulled Russia even deeper into Europe's financial system by giving its plutocrats majority ownership, at least on paper, of the Bank of Cyprus."