January 25, 2013 |
After the Music Stopped The Financial Crisis, the Response and the Work Ahead Alan Blinder Penguin Press: 496 pp., $29.95 "Obamanomics was an incoherent blur to most citizens - and a not very successful blur, at that," writes Alan Blinder in "After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response and the Work Ahead," a thoughtful attempt by one of the nation's top economists to puzzle through what happened in 2007-09 with the...
January 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In nominating former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, President Obama aimed a strong message at potential Wall Street miscreants: Watch out. Obama amplified that decision Thursday by renominating Richard Cordray, a former state attorney general, as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray's controversial recess appointment to the 2-year-old agency expires at the end of the year. Obama said that White and Cordray were key to implementing the 2010 overhaul of financial regulations and protecting consumers and the financial system from the "kinds of abuse that nearly brought the economy to its knees.
January 22, 2013 |
LONDON - Pressing ahead where others have balked, 11 European countries received the green light Tuesday to plan a financial transaction tax that could generate billions of dollars in revenue for cash-strapped governments. Led by Germany and France, the European Union's two heavyweights, the nations will now work out how to introduce a levy on the buying and selling of stocks and bonds and on the use of complex financial instruments known as derivatives. Advocates say such a tax is not only necessary to help discourage risky transactions like those that precipitated the 2008 global financial meltdown but also a fair way to make financial institutions pay to help clean up the leftover mess.
January 21, 2013 |
Financial services and banks were the least-trusted industries last year, according to a public relations firm's annual survey. Only 46% of U.S. respondents said they trusted the financial services industry, and only 41% said they trusted banks in 2012, according to PR agency Edelman's annual survey of consumers' trust. That's still an improvement, however. The perception of the financial and banking industries improved from 2011, when only 25% of U.S. respondents found them trustworthy, Edelman said.
January 17, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Bank of America Corp.'s and Citigroup Inc.'s lackluster earnings led Wall Street to question how long it will take two of the country's biggest banks to emerge from the shadow of the financial crisis. While BofA's fourth-quarter profit fell 63% and Citi's climbed 25%, both disappointed investors who are growing impatient with the firms' efforts to cleanse their books of problem mortgages and prune sagging businesses. Both banks' bottom lines sank under the weight of settlements and steep legal expenses that only seem to keep mounting as state and federal officials seek payback for the housing meltdown that led up to the financial crisis.
January 17, 2013 |
NEW YORK -- Investors sent Bank of America's stock 3.7% lower Thursday morning after the firm said legal costs dragged down earnings in the fourth quarter. BofA's stock fell 43 cents, or 3.7%, to $11.35 in midday trading on Wall Street. The bank, which has continued to struggle from mortgage woes and acquisitions it made during the financial crisis, said legal costs stemming from massive mortgage-related settlements pushed down fourth-quarter earnings by 63%. Net income was $732 million, or 3 cents a share, down from $2 billion, or 15 cents, in the fourth quarter in 2011.
January 5, 2013 |
If you're concerned about corporate crime, 2012 looked like a pretty successful year for the good guys. The Thousand Oaks biotech giant Amgen paid $762 million in fines and penalties and pleaded guilty to a federal charge related to illegal marketing of its anemia drug Aranesp. Britain's GlaxoSmithKline and Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories paid $3 billion and $1.5 billion in government penalties, respectively, in connection with their off-label promotions of blockbuster drugs.
December 20, 2012 |
UBS has agreed to pay a fine of $1.5 billion to authorities and plead guilty to a felony count of wire fraud, the most recent developments in a far-reaching probe into how banks manipulated interest rates leading up to the financial crisis. Two former traders were also charged with conspiracy in a complaint unsealed Wednesday, the first people charged criminally in the Libor scandal. "We cannot and we will not tolerate misconduct on Wall Street of the kind admitted to by UBS today and by Barclays last June," said Assistant Atty.
December 20, 2012 |
Antifragile Things That Gain from Disorder Nassim Nicholas Taleb Random House: 544 pp., $30 Nassim Nicholas Taleb's 2007 book "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable," detailed the impossibility of predicting the future, which jerks forward by way of massive changes such as the Internet or 9/11. But thanks to "Swan's" timing - published a year before the financial crisis - it appeared to do just that, preemptively offering a handbook to our institutions' inability to handle the unexpected.
December 13, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Thursday failed to extend a special unlimited deposit insurance program largely used by businesses that was created during the financial crisis to help stabilize the banking system. With the crisis long past, opponents of the Transaction Account Guarantee Program, which backs about $1.5 trillion in bank deposits, successfully argued it was no longer necessary and should be allowed to expire at the year's end. The special program has been supplementing the government's regular deposit insurance coverage of up to $250,000 per account, which will remain in place.