Daily Archives: February 17, 2016

Wall Street ‘turning to spies’ to help root out rogue traders

The length of a cigarette break, a web browsing history, the contents of an email – all things former spies for the CIA and GCHQ could be monitoring if you are a Wall Street trader.

Major banks including Barclays have turned to spooks more used to pursuing terrorists to keep an eye on staff in the hope of preventing costly future scandals, Bloomberg has reported.

The companies, many of which have been punished with massive fines for misconduct such as interest rate and foreign exchange market rigging, are even prepared to double the usual pay packets of intelligence professionals to get them on board, the publication said.

Barclays for example took on a former military intelligence officer and Iraq veteran Bryon Linnehan to watch electronic communications inside the firm.

“We want to be able to identify any potential issues before they turn into anything troubling,” Linnehan told Bloomberg.

Read on.

Former Deutsche Bank analyst to pay $100,000 penalty over deceptive rating

Analysts to be suspended from securities industry for a year for issuing rating inconsistent with personal view

The Securities and Exchange Commission said former Deutsche Bank research analyst Charles Grom issued a stock rating that was inconsistent with his personal view, a violation of SEC rules.

Grom will settle the case by paying a $100,000 penalty and will be suspended from the securities industry for one year. Grom neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings.

The SEC said Grom reaffirmed a “Buy” rating of Big Lots Inc. BIG, +0.40%  on March 29, 2012, but had privately told Deutsche Bank DB, +4.43%  clients to sell shares of the discount retailer.

Read on.

Ronald Reagan Once Urged Senate To Act On Lame-Duck Supreme Court Nomination Of Anthony Kennedy


From out of the mouth of The Gipper!

At the time, Reagan called on all Americans to “join together in a bipartisan effort to fulfill our constitutional obligation of restoring the United States Supreme Court to full strength.” He also asked the Senate for “prompt hearings conducted in the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship.”

Anthony Kennedy was ultimately confirmed in February 1988 by a 97-0 vote.

In Six States, a Felony Drug Conviction Still Comes With a Lifetime Food-Stamp Ban

Bill Clinton’s welfare reform law enacted criminal punishment that outlasts prison terms.

In early February, a council appointed by Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal recommended the state lift its lifetime ban on food stamps for people with felony drug convictions. If a vote from Georgia’s General Assembly lifts the prohibition, the state would follow Alabama’s recent repeal and Texas’ modification of the ban, which is a waning holdover from President Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform law that restricted benefits for drug felons but not for people with other felony convictions.

According to Pew Charitable Trust data compiled by The Marshall Project, 18 states have abandoned the federal prohibition, and 26 other states have partially eased restrictions, providing benefits if the recipient meets certain requirements, including parole and drug treatment compliance. That leaves just six states that fully enforce the 20-year-old ban: Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“This specific law has always irked me,” said Lauren Johnson of Reentry Roundtable, a nonprofit in Austin, Texas, that provides support for people coming out of the prison system. Johnson, who has four felony drug convictions herself, has been called a powerhouse advocate for criminal justice reform on the level of Erin Brockovich. “It irked me before it affected me, but it really irked me after it affected me.”

In 2008, after her husband was laid off, Johnson applied for SNAP benefits. She received assistance for her three small children but not for her or her husband, who also has felony drug convictions on his record.

“I just found it infuriating that they would hand me a card with benefits but say, ‘We don’t trust you with food stamps, but we’ll give you this card for your kids’—effectively punishing my whole family for something I’ve already paid for,” she said.

Read on.

Fed President and Assistant Treasury Secretary Says What Everyone Knows: We Need to Break Up the Big Banks


The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis – who oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability (Neel Kashkari) – says that the nation’s biggest banks remain too big to fail and pose significant risk to the economy

Kashkari joins the following top economists and financial experts who believe that the failure to rein in the “too big to fail” banks is unacceptable:

  • Current Vice Chair and director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – and former 20-year President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City – Thomas Hoenig (and seethis)
  • Former Federal Reserve Bank of New York economist and Salomon Brothers vice chairman,Henry Kaufman
  • Dean and professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School, and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, Simon Johnson (and see this)
  • President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, James Bullard
  • The leading monetary economist and co-author with Milton Friedman of the leading treatise on the Great Depression, Anna Schwartz
  • Economics professor and senior regulator during the S & L crisis, William K. Black
  • Professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the Chicago Booth School of Business, Luigi Zingales
  • The Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Harvey Rosenblum
  • Director, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, and Professor of Economics, University of Bonn, Martin Hellwig

And the head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank – and former Goldman Sachs chief economist – William Dudley says that we should not tolerate a financial system in which certain financial institutions are deemed to be too big to fail.

Federal Reserve Board governor Daniel Tarullo also backs a cap on the size of banks, and Former Treasury secretary under Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Nicolas Brady, says that we need to put a cap on leverage.


Top Bankers Call for Big Banks to Be Broken Up

While you might assume that bankers themselves don’t want the giant banks to be broken up, many are in fact calling for a break up, including:

  • Former managing director of Goldman Sachs – and head of the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London- Nomi Prins
  • Numerous other bankers within the mega-banks (see this, for example)
  • Founder and chairman of Signature Bank, Scott Shay
  • Former Natwest and Schroders investment banker, Philip Augar
  • The President of the Independent Community Bankers of America, Camden Fine

itle problems threaten to cause family to lose their South Tampa home

This should be everyone’s nightmare…

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Kris and Rebecca Kraft face losing their South Tampa Home, even though they’ve never missed a mortgage payment. They never even did business with the bank trying to take their home.

The Krafts bought their house, at 1508 S. Arrawana Ave., in 2013. Everything was fine, but then they started receiving strange mail from real estate professionals. The professionals offered to help the couple fight foreclosure or relocate to another home they could afford.

“It’s mind blowing that something like this could happen,” Kris Kraft told 8 On Your Side.

Then the situation got worse. They came home to find foreclosure notices taped to their front door and garage. Plus, a “relocation specialist,” hired by Nationstar Bank, started calling constantly, wanting to the Krafts to move out.

And then, the unthinkable happened. A friend in the real estate business called them to ask why their house was listed for sale on Zillow.com. The Krafts had no idea and panicked. It was late at night when they got the news.

Read on.

Allowable Foreclosure Attorney Fees Exhibit – Fannie Mae