Trump’s SEC Nominee Has a Major Conflict-of-Interest Problem

Jay Clayton is tied to big banks and corporations—and that could hold up fraud enforcement.

The dominant theme of Thursday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing with Jay Clayton, nominee for chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, was conflict of interest. Not the well-documented conflicts of some of the more notorious members of the Trump administration but the conflicts of Clayton himself.

A partner at the high-powered corporate law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, Clayton represented Wall Street banks throughout his career. He served as Goldman Sachs’s lawyer during the Wall Street bailout, allowing it to emerge from the financial crisis relatively unscathed. He helped deliver failed investment bank Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase and other failed investment bank Lehman Brothers to Barclays. Hedefended Ally Financial in its foreclosure fraud settlement with the government and represented Deutsche Bank in its “mirror trade” Russian oligarch money laundering scandal. He was the lawyer of record with mortgage servicer Ocwen during a scandal so distasteful the CEO was forced to resign. Oh yeah, also his wife is a broker at Goldman Sachs. (She reportedly plans to step down upon Clayton’s confirmation.) Matt Taibbirightly suggested that Clayton would be “the most conflicted SEC Chair ever,” and given the history of SEC chairs, that’s saying a lot.

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Trump Administration Conflicts? Former Anthem Lobbyist To Oversee Antitrust Division: Report

A former top lobbyist for Anthem will be the next head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, according to two reports citing officials familiar with the matter. Makan Delrahim served as one of the healthcare conglomerate’s top lobbyists working on antitrust issues as the company pushed the Justice Department to approve its controversial proposal to merge with Cigna.

Delrahim would head the office that Anthem is pushing to approve the merger, which physicians and consumer groups say could raise healthcare prices and reduce medical coverage for up to 53 million Americans. Delrahim’s impending appointment was first reported by Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.

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Trump reportedly considering former OneWest CEO to lead OCC

President Donald Trump is reportedly close to installing another former top OneWest Bank official in a significant role in the government, CNBC reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the Trump administration is “expected to name” Joseph Otting to serve as the Comptroller of the Currency, one of the country’s top financial regulators.

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NY Fed president compares Wells Fargo fake account scandal to subprime mortgage crisis

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York told the Banking Standards Board in London on Tuesday that he sees quite a few similarities between the Wells Fargo fake account scandal and the subprime mortgage crisis of the late 2000’s.

New York Fed President William Dudley, in a speech entitled “Reforming Culture for the Long Term,” said that the goal-driven sales culture at Wells Fargo, which drove 5,000 of the bank’s former employees to open as many as 2 million accounts without authorization in order to get sales bonuses, reminded him of the environment that led to the mortgage crisis.

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St. Louis man, 97, accuses Bank of America of pilfering $77,000 of his retirement savings

ST. LOUIS • A 97-year-old St. Louis man who ran a jewelry repair shop downtown for decades after emigrating from Hungary believes Bank of America has cheated him out of more than $77,000 of his retirement money.

Karlo Tanko, a widower who lives in the city’s Boulevard Heights neighborhood, sued Bank of America on Friday in St. Louis Circuit Court, accusing his former branch at 6639 South Kingshighway of liquidating one of his savings accounts without his consent by forging his signature on a withdrawal slip.

Around the time his wife of 69 years died in June 2012, Tanko transferred five CD accounts from Bank of America to U.S. Bank, according to the lawsuit and his lawyer, Albert Watkins. Tanko soon realized he never received statements from one of accounts that held $77,477.51. He inquired with U.S. Bank and was told it was never transferred. At that point, he went back to Bank of America and was told the account didn’t exist.

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Laundered Russian Cash Went Through Big Banks, Guardian Says

Cash that flowed from Russia through a vast money-laundering network sometimes ended up passing through the world’s largest banks, with U.K. firms including HSBC Holdings Plc handling almost $740 million, the Guardian reported, citing a cache of financial records it reviewed.

The documents contain details of about 70,000 banking transactions, including 1,920 involving firms based in the U.K. and 373 in the U.S., the newspaper said. The records indicate at least $20 billion moved out of Russia between 2010 and 2014, and that some of it ended up at overseas banks. The flows are tied to a network dubbed the Global Laundromat, the subject of a 2014 report by the Organized Crime & Corruption Reporting Project, an investigative journalism group that provided some of the documents, the paper said.

HSBC handled $545 million of Laundromat cash, mostly routed through its Hong Kong branch, the Guardian said, without elaborating on the dealings.Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, majority owned by the U.K. government, processed $113 million, the paper said. Standard Chartered Plc, UBS Group AG, Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Barclays Plc and ING Groep NV handled amounts ranging from $2 million to $37 million, it said.

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Wells Fargo books plush resort for company meeting – and some shareholders aren’t happy

A very poor message to send to the shareholders when the bank is dealing with the ongoing sales scandal…

Florida’s Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa offers the kinds of amenities you’d expect from a swanky venue overlooking the Atlantic coast: two championship golf courses, villas with private balconies, therapy baths and massage lessons.

It’s also where Wells Fargo will hold its annual meeting for shareholders next month, the San Francisco bank said in a regulatory filing last week. It will be the first such gathering since regulators fined Wells in September over its sales scandal.

But at a time when Wells is trying to move past the scandal, the choice of the Ponte Vedra Beach venue is sparking fresh criticism from shareholders already angered by revelations of its sales practices.

“This is an indication that the company didn’t assess the value of being more humble in light of the scandal and are asking shareholders to find a place to stay that is off the beaten path because they don’t want to be exposed to protesters,” said Sister Nora Nash, a nun with the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, which owns Wells Fargo shares.

“It’s a very poor public message of visibility at a time when the company should begin to display a new culture that it not insular,” she said.