Deutsche’s attitude problem compounds Libor hit

April 23, 2015

The German bank is paying a record $2.5 bln to settle rate-rigging charges. To make things worse Deutsche Bank misled the UK regulator and others. That’s not smart in a highly regulated industry. With a currency market fine also pending, the reputational damage could grow.

BofA stuck in a low-profitability trap

July 16, 2014

Several of the bank’s businesses put in a good showing for the second quarter. Trouble is, even after aggressive cost-cutting, BofA is floundering. Strip out legal costs, tax breaks and other noise, and the firm run by Brian Moynihan can only manage a 6.4 pct return on equity.

Citi settlement imposes awfully pricey babysitter

July 14, 2014

An ex-prosecutor will watch the bank as part of its $7 bln deal with Uncle Sam. That may ensure compliance. But as Apple and others can attest, monitors are too often meddlers fond of excessive oversight and multimillion-dollar fees. Shareholders get stuck with the tab.

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

July 1, 2014

New research shows 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 gaps feed suspicions that America is playing favorites.

Big U.S. bank fines far more art than science

October 23, 2013

In theory there are defined, if loose, legal criteria for penalties. But the largest, like the possible $13 bln bite out of JPMorgan, can seem pulled from thin air. While courts occasionally run the rule over the numbers, regulators’ zeal and public outrage outweigh the logic.