Archive for the ‘Financial News’ Category

Too big to fail banks even bigger

August 28, 2009

“J.P. Morgan Chase, an amalgam of some of Wall Street’s most storied institutions, now holds more than $1 of every $10 on deposit in this country. So does Bank of America, scarred by its acquisition of Merrill Lynch and partly government-owned as a result of the crisis, as does Wells Fargo, the biggest West Coast bank. Those three banks, plus government-rescued and -owned Citigroup, now issue one of every two mortgages and about two of every three credit cards, federal data show.”


CA AG Brown threatens loan modification outfits

August 13, 2009

 “Threatening possible criminal and civil prosecution, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. [Wednesday] ordered 386 mortgage foreclosure consultants to post $100,000 bonds and register with his office. He also ordered more than two dozen companies to justify suspicious loan modification claims made in “slick advertising,” online and through the mail.”


Bank of America sued for premature withdrawals

August 5, 2009

“Bank of America made millions of dollars from its customers by prematurely withdrawing money from their checking accounts, a class action claims in Jackson County Court. The class claims the bank withdraws money electronically from accounts before paper checks are presented, though BofA advertises that it does not do that.
     The class claims Bank of America takes customers’ money and puts it into a separate account that it controls during a float period. The bank allegedly earns millions of dollars from the interest it gains from the premature withdrawals, while at the same time it exposes customers to unwarranted service fees and insufficient funds charges.”


More banks in trouble

July 31, 2009

“Citing data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act requests, the paper said The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), along with the Federal Reserve, have issued more memorandums of understanding so far this year than in all of 2008.

At the current rate of at least 285, the Fed, OCC and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp are in line to issue nearly 600 of these secret agreements this year, the paper said, compared with last year when 399 such agreements were issued.”


Chase settling credit debt with 13,000 consumers

July 27, 2009

“Attorney General Bill McCollum [last week] announced that a settlement has been reached in a case brought by Chase Card Services against affiliated Hess Kennedy companies which engaged in fraudulent debt settlement activities. Under the settlement approved earlier this week, Chase will release the credit card debt of approximately 13,000 consumers nationwide, including over 900 Florida residents, who contracted with the Hess Kennedy companies for the fraudulent services.”


Toys and other discretionary products not moving

July 20, 2009

“Consumer discretionary companies knew they were in for a tough recession. As job losses mount, spending on the fun and frivolous is naturally the first to go. But recent corporate results show especially big drops in sales at outfits that cater to consumers’ sense of whimsy.

Take Mattel (MAT), one of the world’s largest toymakers, which reported earnings on July 17. Mattel’s sales fell 12% in the U.S. and, ignoring the impact of currency movements, 16% overseas. The company managed to beat earnings expectations—with earnings per share of 6¢—by slashing costs. But the economy took its toll.”


Taxpayers losing out on TARP

July 10, 2009

I’m shocked!

“The Treasury Department is at risk of short-changing taxpayers by not collecting enough from banks trying to get out from under the government’s thumb, according to a panel that watches over the federal bailout program.”


Plunging retirement confidence

April 17, 2009


“A record-low 13 percent this year able to say they are very confident of having enough money to live comfortably in retirement, according to the 19th Annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) released today by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Among workers, those feeling very confident about retirement has tumbled by one-half in the last two years.”

EBRI press release

Top thirty business books

April 9, 2009

According to Inc. magazine:

Why no transparency? Here’s the answer

April 6, 2009

Last month I posted about a conversation Terry Gross had with Gretchen Morgenson, a business editor for the New York Times about why the Treasury Department under Obama, in the new era of transparency, is doing the opposite, stonewalling on information about how bailout money is being used.  At that time I posed the question, why?  My first quess was because the government was afraid people would panic if they knew the truth. 

Now William Black, a regulator involved in the saving and loan situation back in the late eighties, affirms my guess in an interview with Bill Moyers.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. All right? They’re scared to death of a collapse. They’re afraid that if they admit the truth, that many of the large banks are insolvent. They think Americans are a bunch of cowards, and that we’ll run screaming to the exits. And we won’t rely on deposit insurance. And, by the way, you can rely on deposit insurance. And it’s foolishness. All right? Now, it may be worse than that. You can impute more cynical motives. But I think they are sincerely just panicked about, “We just can’t let the big banks fail.” That’s wrong.