Daily Archives: May 14, 2016

Loretta Sanchez touts votes against Iraq War and Wall Street bailout in new TV ads

LA Times:

California Rep. Loretta Sanchez launched her first salvo of campaign commercials Friday in her bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

The ads emphasize her votes against the Iraq War and the bailout of ailing financial institutions during the recession and describe her as a “senior member” of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees .

“Loretta Sanchez is the only candidate with national security experience,” one ad says of the Democratic congresswoman from Orange County.

Three of the four ads are in Spanish. In two, the congresswoman speaks directly to the camera.

Nightmare on Wall Street: Busted Deals Cost Banks Over $300 Million



In the world of mergers and acquisitions, 2015 was a year of record-breaking deals. This year is one of broken-deal records.

More than $395.4 billion in U.S. mergers, including, most recently, Staples Inc.’s combination with Office Depot, have fallen apart in 2016, , according to data provider Dealogic, felled by exacting regulators, rocky markets or reluctant targets. That will be a record even if no other deals stumble for the rest of the year.

That is bad news for the banks that stood to make billions of dollars in fees on the M&A feast of 2015, a record-setting year of more than $4.6 trillion in announced deals. Financial advisers pocket most of their money only when deals close, which means that when deals go bust, the work they have already done goes largely unpaid.

Three of the largest collapsed deals this year—Pfizer Inc.’s takeover ofAllergan PLC, Halliburton Co.’s purchase of Baker Hughes and Staples’ merger with Office Depot—will cost banks more than $300 million in advisory fees, according to a review of regulatory filings. That doesn’t include potentially large fees banks aren’t legally required to disclose.


Florida opts to not seek U.S. foreclosure-relief funds

Already lagging behind the rest of the country in aiding struggling homeowners with federal foreclosure-relief funds, Florida missed out on a chance at $250 million in additional assistance.

More than a dozen of the nation’s 18 hardest-hit states got word at the end of April that they won a new round of federal foreclosure-relief funds they had sought.

Florida was not among those states. It never applied, a Treasury spokesman said, even though it may have gotten $250 million. State officials did not say why they didn’t seek the funds but pointed instead to a $78 million infusion of “Hardest Hit Funds,” which the federal government gave to all qualified states.

Florida’s missed opportunity has been criticized by U.S. Sen.Bill Nelson, D-Florida.

Read on.

NY AG launched probe into State University of NY’s involvement into big-rigging project with ties to NY Gov.

New York Post:

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched a probe into potential bid-rigging of a project involving the State University of New York and a SUNY official with ties to Gov. Cuomo.

The investigation centers on whether SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros improperly coordinated with a real estate firm, Columbia Development, on a dormitory project in Albany — a possible violation of anti-trust law, a source familiar with the probe said.

Kaloyeros is also the subject of a federal bid-rigging probe into Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” program. He was a top official at a SUNY not-for-profit entity, Fort Schuyler Management Corp., which reviewed bids and awarded contracts for the program.

HSBC criticises John Kerry over business with Iran request

HSBC has criticised the US secretary of state, John Kerry, for asking European banks to do more business with Iranwhile Washington continues to restrict American financial firms from doing the same.

The bank’s chief legal officer, Stuart Levey, said HSBC had no intention of doing any new business with Iran after a meeting in London on Thursday in which Kerry urged a gathering of European bankers to make a push into the country.

The US and European Union lifted sanctions against in Iran in January after the country dismantled 14,000 centrifuges– two-thirds of its total nuclear capacity – as part of its obligations under the international deal agreed in Vienna last July. Despite this, the banking industry remains fearful of large financial fines, – the threat of losing crucial licences to operate in the US, for falling foul of regulations.

HSBC was fined £1.2bn by the US in 2012 for money laundering offences in relation to Mexico while Standard Chartered was fined more than £400m for breaching sanctions with Iran. In 2014, French bank BNP Paribas was fined more than £5.2bn for breaching US sanctions.

At Thursday’s meeting, Kerry had told representatives from all the major European banks that he wanted to “clarify and put to rest misinterpretations or mere rumours about how [the deal] is applied”.

Read on.

U.S. banks help their best customers find their way to offshore accounts

Panama Papers shows that banks refer clients to Mossack Fonseca

One client sought an offshore for $14 million transaction

None of the banks mentioned in leaked documents would comment

In the spring of 2015, Miami-based Citigroup banker Victor Olivo emailed the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal. He had a wealthy client who needed assistance.

Mossack Fonseca’s leaked emails describe the client as globetrotting entrepreneur Naman Wakil, who is worth about $400 million and has business interests in both North Carolina and Miami. He wanted to reduce his U.S. tax liability and protect his assets from creditors, his lawyer’s memo indicates.

The law firm quickly proposed to create a series of trusts and offshore companies for the client. A year later, Wakil was embroiled in a controversy that tied him to a Venezuelan general in an alleged procurement scam that reportedly netted $76 million.

More than 500 banks, their subsidiaries and branches registered nearly 15,600 shell companies with Mossack Fonseca between 1985 and 2015, according to an analysis by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. That’s the umbrella group that partnered with 370 journalists from news organizations in 80 countries, including McClatchy as the sole U.S. newspaper partner, to examine the 11.5 million leaked documents from the law firm.

Bank of America cuts more jobs in Charlotte, elsewhere

BofA made an unspecified number of layoffs this week in technology, as well as a unit that handles distressed mortgages

Cuts are part of CEO Brian Moynihan’s effort to lower overall costs and streamline operations

Since becoming CEO in 2010, Moynihan has eliminated more than 70,000 jobs while adding positions in other areas

Bank of America announced this week an unspecified number of layoffs in Charlotte and elsewhere, as the company continues to shed jobs in an effort to lower overall costs and streamline operations.

In Charlotte and some other U.S. markets, the eliminated positions are in the bank’s global technology and operations unit, in addition to a unit created to handle distressed residential mortgages. They mark the latest cuts under CEO Brian Moynihan, who continues to wring out costs as the Charlotte-based bank remains under pressure from investors to boost profitability.

“Limited position eliminations have been ongoing and reflect our previously announced efforts to reduce complexity and simplify our company for our customers and clients,” spokesman Dan Frahm said Friday. He declined to disclose layoff numbers.

Moynihan has been pushing for efficiencies in an ongoing program called Simplify and Improve. In a CNBC interview Thursday, Moynihan said the bank will “absolutely” keep reducing costs.