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from Breakingviews:

Ushering Eric Cantor to revolving door

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The following is a fictional letter that could be circulated in the corridors of K Street, the canyons of Wall Street and the hedgerows of the Hamptons this summer:

From the desk of Rick Rooter, Executive Placement Specialist

Dear Sirs and Madams:

I am writing to you as the exclusive agent for a former high-ranking member of the House of Representatives who will soon be eligible for employment by your organization. My client has asked to remain anonymous until he has cleared all remaining business with the current Congress, though the following will provide you with sufficient information based on his voting record, extensive legislative experience and public statements to assist with your consideration of his candidacy as a senior adviser to your business, both in counseling executives on important public policy matters and engaging with your clients on the same.

In the first instance, my client is particularly well suited for Wall Street despite never having worked directly in the financial industry. As you shall see, though, his qualifications extend far beyond banking, with a deep record of defending the interests of the food, restaurant and tobacco industries, and other major employers of import to the United States economy.

from Edward Hadas:

Not all banks are alike

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Competition is fierce for the Bankers’ Bad Behaviour Award. Rate-rigging, client-fleecing, dishonest documentation, reckless trading and exorbitant pay were all widespread before the 2008 financial crisis, and faulty practices have proven remarkably persistent. It sounds like there is something wrong with all banks. The ethical problem, though, is not universal.

from Breakingviews:

Argentine opportunity cost is reason to cut deal

By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Argentina’s debt negotiators need to think about opportunity cost. A failure to reach agreement with holdout creditors by Wednesday might not make things immediately worse. But it would set back recent efforts to curry favor with international financiers – efforts that could pay off richly for the Argentine economy.

from Alison Frankel:

How a lone New York judge squeezed billions from banks in MBS cases

Asking a federal appeals court to step into the fray of an ongoing case to reverse a decision by a trial judge is extraordinary. Petitions for a writ of mandamus, as such requests are known, assert that trial judges have committed such egregious errors that their appellate overseers must undo the damage immediately, before the case gets to a final judgment. Mandamus petitions are a desperation move, a last resort when you've got nothing to lose from alienating a trial judge who's already ruled against you.

Last Thursday, RBS filed not one but three mandamus petitions at the 2nd, 9th and 10th circuits -- an apparently unprecedented response to what the bank claims is an unprecedented abdication of responsibility by trial judges presiding over cases brought by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

from Breakingviews:

Goldman chums return John Thain to semi-importance

By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

John Thain is returning to significance with a little help from some former Goldman Sachs colleagues. Thain has been doing penance running lending minnow CIT for the past four years after serving as Merrill Lynch’s last boss. Now he’s spending $3.4 billion to buy OneWest Bank, which is owned by, among others, a gaggle of Goldman alums. The deal manages to bring CIT, and Thain, back into the club of systemically important financial institutions, if just barely.

from Global Markets Forum Dashboard:

The money’s in the bank: What financial institutions are not telling investors

The largest Wall Street investment banks reported good earnings this week, many beating analysts’ expectations, but the devil remains in the details.

Banks are in the middle of implementing global regulations designed to create a safer framework under which they operate and avoid an encore of 2008. Still, these financial institutions are not as forthcoming as they should be in disclosing key elements that would help measure their resilience, Mayra Rodríguez Valladares, managing principal of MRV Associates and a bank regulation expert told the Reuters Global Markets Forum during a LiveChat this week.

from Breakingviews:

U.S. cooks up penalties with anti-foreign flavor

By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Uncle Sam is cooking up penalties with an anti-foreign flavor. New research suggests that overseas firms like BNP Paribas do in fact pay bigger fines and plead guilty more often than U.S. companies. One reason may be that prosecutors target only the most serious cases abroad. But the differences feed suspicions that America is playing favorites.

from Alison Frankel:

SCOTUS Libor case, by itself, won’t revive antitrust claims

Don't get too excited about the news Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of bond investors whose antitrust claims against the global banks involved in the Libor-setting process were tossed last year.

Untold billions of dollars are at stake in the Libor litigation, in which investors in all sorts of securities pegged to the London Interbank Offered Rate claim that the banks conspired to manipulate the interest rate benchmark. There are now about 60 cases consolidated in the Libor multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan, asserting a potpourri of state and federal securities, racketeering and fraud claims as well as violations of federal antitrust laws. Last year, Judge Buchwald gave the bank defendants an almost priceless gift when she concluded that U.S. antitrust laws don't cover the sort of rate-rigging alleged in the Libor scandal because the banks' conduct wasn't anticompetitive. Buchwald has permitted other pieces of the litigation to move forward, most recently refusing to dismiss classwide unjust enrichment claims in an 80-page decision last week, but has refused to re-instate the big-money antitrust allegations, which offer the prospect of treble damages.

from Breakingviews:

Review: Rebooting banking – with Google’s help

 By Dominic Elliott

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Brett King may be, as his own author’s note claims, “the foremost global expert on retail banking innovation.” But his latest book is let down by an excess of acronyms and gushing advertorial.

from Breakingviews:

BNP’s chief operating officer retires. Next?

By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.  

The only thing missing in the BNP Paribas release announcing the retirement of Chief Operating Officer Georges Chodron de Courcel is that he wanted a new challenge. Otherwise, it is business as usual at France’s largest bank: the long-serving No. 2 was planning to retire in September. He suddenly noticed that a new French law was putting a limit on the number of directorships he could hold, so in fact he will leave at the end of this month. U.S. probe, anyone? Sanctions violations? Multibillion-dollar fine?

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