Daily Archives: August 3, 2015

Deutsche Bank Said to Be Probed by DOJ on Russia Mirror Trades

U.S. federal prosecutors are investigating billions of dollars of trades Deutsche Bank AG made on behalf of Russian clients as recently as this year, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The Justice Department’s criminal probe, which hasn’t been previously reported, focuses on so-called mirror trades, these people said. Such trades may have allowed Russian clients to move funds out of the country without properly alerting authorities, a person familiar with the situation has said.

The new inquiry adds to the wave of legal woes challenging Germany’s largest bank, which has been buffeted by multiple investigations, resignations of top executives and a leaked confidential document in which German regulators alleged senior officials were aware of traders’ efforts to manipulate markets.

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Deutsche Bank asked to pay former employee $3 mln in damages

Aug 3 Wall Street’s industry-funded watchdog on Monday asked Deutsche Bank to pay $3 million in compensation damages to Jorge Usandivaras, the former head of its Latin American Strategic Transactions unit.

Usandivaras had initially filed for $45 million in compensatory damages, claiming the bank had breached his employment contract and acted in violation of U.S. labor laws.

He also claimed that Deutsche Bank had acted in contravention to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that protects whistleblowers.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) found Deutsche Bank liable to pay damages. (bit.ly/1E4zPde)

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Citigroup Said Facing Student-Loan Servicing Probe by CFPB

Citigroup Inc., the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, is being investigated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over its student-loan servicing practices, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Citigroup is cooperating with the probe, the New York-based firm said Monday in a filing that didn’t disclose which regulator was involved. That agency is the CFPB, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing investigation.

The inquiry may result in penalties or having the bank offer restitution to customers, and echoes an enforcement action against at least one other institution, according to the filing, which didn’t name the other firm. Spokesmen for Citigroup and the CFPB declined to comment.

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Report ranks Bank of America last for financial performance

Annual scorecard has now ranked the lender last for four years in a row

Rankings are based on 2014 performance of the nation’s 20 biggest banks

Massive settlement with government was major drag on BofA’s earnings last year

At a time when Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan is feeling ongoing pressure to improve the lender’s financial performance, a new report scores it last in that area once again.

Among the nation’s biggest banks, the Charlotte-based lender ranks at the bottom of Bank Director magazine’s latest bank-performance scorecard. The rankings, released late last week, are based on last year’s profitability, capitalization and asset quality for 20 lenders with assets of $50 billion or more.

It marks the fourth year in a row Bank of America has been in last place among lenders with $50 billion or more in assets. In 2011, when the scorecard did not have separate rankings based on asset size, Bank of America was No. 127 among the 150 largest publicly traded U.S. banks and thrifts.

As in the previous year’s scorecard, the largest banks performed the worst in this year’s rankings. Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase & Co. ranked second-to-last and third-to-last, respectively. JPMorgan is the nation’s largest bank by assets, followed by Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

N.Y. Regulator to Suspend Promontory Financial Group From Some Consulting Work

New York’s top banking regulator on Monday indefinitely suspended Promontory Financial Group from some consulting work, saying the firm had watered down and compromised its compliance efforts for U.K. bank Standard Chartered PLC.

Promontory said it plans to take the New York Department of Financial Services to court to fight the suspension, which would be a rare legal challenge to the authority of the New York banking regulator. The department has been aggressive over the last two years in combating what it sees as conflicts of interest at consulting firms like Promontory that work for New York-regulated banks.

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Ex-trader Hayes jailed for 14 years by London court for Libor rigging

And yet the banksters get to sleep soundly in their bed with no jail time. The ex-trader is nothing but a small fish….

Ex-trader Tom Hayes was sentenced to 14 years in jail by a London court on Monday after being found guilty of conspiring to rig Libor benchmark interest rates following a seven-year global investigation.

After a nine-week trial and seven days of deliberations, the jury of five women and seven men found Hayes, a 35-year-old former UBS (>> UBS Group AG) and Citigroup (>> Citigroup Inc) trader, guilty of all eight counts of conspiracy to defraud.

In the first trial of a defendant accused of Libor rigging, Hayes had faced up to 10 years imprisonment for each count of conspiracy over the manipulation of London interbank offered rate (Libor), a crucial benchmark for around $450 trillion of financial contracts and consumer loans, between 2006 and 2010.

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NYC mayor reveals new affordable housing plan

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has officially unveiled his new home affordability plan after first mentioning it during his 2013 mayoral campaign. Per The Wall Street Journal:

The article explained that on Friday the mayor released details of a proposal for a program of “mandatory inclusionary zoning,” saying it would entail “the strongest affordable-housing requirements in the nation.”

The plan requires that at least one in four apartments in new buildings in rezoned areas be kept affordable for the entire life of a project, city officials said, a stronger requirement than in other cities.

The plan already won over some previously skeptical business leaders.

Carl Weisbrod, chairman of the City Planning Commission, said the plan is “by far the most aggressive and sweeping” of its kind in any city in the country. He said it reflects in part New York’s strong real-estate market, in which developers’ profits on market-rate apartments help them include affordable units in their projects.

Source: WSJ

G-fees won’t pay for highway bill

Memo to Congress: What is the connection between mortgage interest deduction reporting and pot-hole repair?

A measure that would have delayed cuts to the fees thatFannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders to guarantee loans, and used those very fees to fund massive transportation projects, is out. Thankfully.

A highway bill, tortuously named so that they could come up with the acronym “DRIVE Act,” no longer robs g-fees but it does include a measure that would create new mortgage reporting requirements.


The mortgage reporting measure in the DRIVE Act is designed to reduce inaccurate reporting and root out fraud related to mortgage interest deductions.

The measure would require banks and servicers to report the origination date of a mortgage, the property address, and outstanding balance of the loan at the beginning of the tax year.

But at least they left the g-fees out of it, so housing has that going for it. Which is nice.

Read on.

Robert Reich: Follow Santa Cruz County’s lead on banks

Reverend Jesse Jackson said in 1972 at the Black National Convention in Gary, Indiana echoing the words of poet Leroi Jones (aka Amiri  Baraka) : It’s Nation Time! Well, it’s nation time! Time for every county  in every state to follow the example of Santa Cruz: Not do business with the banksters and move their monies in a community bank or small bank!

SF Gate:

The county’s Board of Supervisors just voted not to do business for five years with any of the five bank felons. The county won’t use the banks’ investment services or buy their commercial paper, and will pull its money out of the banks to the extent that it can.

“We have a sacred obligation to protect the public’s tax dollars, and these banks can’t be trusted,” said county SupervisorRyan Coonerty. “Santa Cruz County should not be involved with those who rigged the world’s biggest financial markets.”

The banks will hardly notice. Santa Cruz County’s portfolio is valued at about $650 million.

But what if every county, city and state in America followed Santa Cruz County’s example and held the big banks accountable for their felonies?

What if all of us taxpayers said, in effect, we’re not going to hire these convicted felons to handle our public finances? We don’t trust them.

That would hit these banks directly. They’d lose our business. Which might even cause them to clean up their acts.

There’s hope. Supervisor Coonerty says he’ll be contacting other local jurisdictions across the country, urging them to do what Santa Cruz County is doing.