Daily Archives: February 24, 2015

J.P. Morgan in Talks With Justice Department Over Auto Loan Pricing

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said it is in discussions with the Justice Department as part of a federal probe into whether auto lenders are doing enough to prevent dealers from charging higher interest rates to minorities.

The largest U.S. bank by assets said in a securities filing disclosed Tuesday afternoon it is in talks with the Justice Department about potential statistical disparities in interest rates for auto loans originated by car dealers, according to the filing.

The bank has been in discussions with the Justice Department for weeks, people familiar with the matter said. It is unclear when or if a resolution, settlement or civil lawsuit filed by the government will occur.

Read on.

Exclusive: BNY Mellon in forex settlement talks with U.S., N.Y. – sources

Bank of New York Mellon Corp is in settlement talks with the U.S. Justice Department and New York attorney general over claims the bank defrauded clients in foreign exchange transactions, according to sources familiar with the matter.

BNY Mellon last week revealed that it would take a $598 million charge as it sought to resolve matters including “substantially all” foreign exchange litigation it faced, though it did not specify which cases.

The bank faces several lawsuits, including class actions, stemming from allegations that it misled clients about how it determined currency exchange rates for certain transactions.

The Justice Department, which has a lawsuit against BNY Mellon pending in Manhattan federal court, is engaging in settlement talks, a person familiar with the matter said.

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JPMorgan to close 5% of its bank branches

JPMorgan Chase plans to close 300 bank branches over the next two years, about 5 percent of the total, as more customers move online and the bank seeks to cut costs.

The closures are part of a $1.4 billion cost-cutting plan the bank announced for this year. The latest developments were revealed during the bank’s annual investor day conference Tuesday.

Online and mobile banking have become increasingly popular and that trend is expected to continue. The shift online has begun to make brick-and-mortar branches less necessary and, frankly, expensive.

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Wall Street to companies: Spend that cash!

Wall Street has a clear message for CEOs: start spending all that cash.

Nearly three-quarters of financial industry professionals think companies have “too much cash” or “way too much cash” rotting in the bank, according to the Convergex Corporate Cash Survey obtained Tuesday by CNBC.com.

The technology sector was singled out as the most in need of additional spending. Some 73 percent of investment professionals said tech companies are holding too much dough, followed by the financial sector (43 percent), industrials (26 percent) and consumer staples (18 percent), according to Convergex.

“Our survey shows that investors want corporate leaders to open up the checkbook,” Nicholas Colas, Convergex chief market strategist, said in a statement.

Read on.

JPMorgan nixes calls for breakup in battle of bank giants

Jamie Dimon to Lloyd Blankfein: Come at me, bro.

JPMorgan Chase pushed back Tuesday against calls from rival Goldman Sachs to break up the nation’s biggest bank, arguing that its size is a selling point for clients.

“Scale has always defined the winner in banking,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said during the bank’s annual investor day held at its Park Avenue headquarters. “We have been able to consistently demonstrate out ability to leverage that scale and successfully adapt.”

“We have a unique asset, an irreplicable asset, in the shape of our company and the mix of our businesses,” she added.

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Failed Nominee Weiss Morphs Into Key Debt Official at Treasury

(Bloomberg) — Eight days after joining the Treasury Department as an adviser, Antonio Weiss was the lead U.S. official listed at a meeting with Wall Street executives. It’s a role typically played by the undersecretary for domestic finance — the same post Weiss lost after Democratic senators stymied his nomination.

Weiss’s presence at that Feb. 3 meeting on quarterly debt sales shows him diving into many of the same tasks that would have come with the undersecretary’s job. The former Lazard Ltd. global head of investment banking is now working on issues ranging from debt management to housing finance and global market developments. One big difference: his job as counselor to Secretary Jacob J. Lew doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

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Bank of America cuts 116 North Texas employees

More layoffs at BofA!

This time Bank of America’s (BAC) job cuts are once again located in North Texas, with 116 layoffs in Addison and Plano, according the bank’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.

Employees are being laid off in Plano at a Bank of America Home Loans Corporate office on Legacy Drive and a mortgage-banking unit on Corporate Drive. A total of 177 associates have been affected over a 90-day period at the two locations, an article in the Dallas Business Journal said.  

The layoffs will take effect on April 13 and April 15.

Over the past six months, the mega bank has announced a slew of layoffs, mostly recently cutting 250 mortgage and technology workers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At the beginning of this month, the bank announced it was laying off 202 employees from its Norfolk, Virginia legacy asset servicing unit as it scales back its staff to “normal levels.”

In October, HousingWire reported that BofA laid off 187 employees from its Plano, Texas, offices.

When contacted about those layoffs, BofA spokesperson Jumana Bauwens told HousingWire that the bank has made “significant progress” in helping delinquent homeowners.

“The number of delinquent mortgage loans we service has decreased to one-fifth of their peak levels,” Bauwens told HousingWire in October. “Due to the lower demand for these specialized services, we are reducing the size of the operations. This division was created in 2011 and staffing grew dramatically to support the short-term needs of mortgage customers at risk of foreclosure. Now, we are in the process of returning to normal staffing levels.”

Source: DBJ