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Mar 25, 2014

U.S. banks enjoy ‘too-big-to-fail’ advantage: Fed study

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A landmark study by Federal Reserve economists found that large U.S. banks enjoy a “too-big-to-fail” advantage in financial markets, confirming the suspicions of many Wall Street critics more than five years after the financial crisis.

The series of research papers, published on Tuesday by the U.S. central bank’s influential New York branch, suggests the biggest and most complex banks benefited even after the financial crisis from lower funding and operating costs compared to smaller firms. The researchers used data through 2009.

Mar 21, 2014

U.S. Fed corrects stress test results, says most changes minor

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve on
Friday revised several banks’ capital levels under stress after
results of the closely watched industry health check were
published a day earlier.

The revisions did not cause any additional firms to dip
below the 5 percent minimum for top-tier capital in the Fed’s
annual stress tests.

Mar 21, 2014

U.S. appeals court upholds Fed’s debit card ‘swipe fee’ limits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court upheld the Federal Reserve’s controversial rules for debit card “swipe fees” on Friday, reversing a lower court’s decision to throw them out after merchants argued the charges were too high.

Businesses pay the fees to banks when customers use debit cards to purchase goods or services. The fees reimburse banks for costs involved in offering debit cards.

Mar 20, 2014

All big U.S. banks but one pass Fed’s health test

WASHINGTON, March 20 (Reuters) – U.S. big banks have enough
capital buffers to withstand a drastic economic downturn, the
Federal Reserve said on Thursday, announcing that 29 out of 30
major banks met the minimum hurdle in its annual health check.

All of the big banks except for Zions Bancorp
stayed above the 5 percent requirement for top-tier capital in
the latest round of stress tests.

Mar 20, 2014

U.S. Fed to release results of financial industry health check

WASHINGTON, March 20 (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase,
Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and other banks will find
out if the Federal Reserve thinks they can cope with the next
financial crisis when it publishes the results of an annual
health check on Thursday.

If the Fed finds that any of the 30 banks subject to the
so-called stress tests are still at risk, the banks will then
have a few days to change any plans they may have made to return
capital to shareholders through dividends or share buy-backs.

Mar 19, 2014

NY regulator says financial firms could face bans over money laundering

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New York state’s top financial regulator on Wednesday said his office, as part of efforts to crack down further on Wall Street misdeeds, is considering banning certain banks from specific businesses.

The New York Department of Financial Services has taken an increasingly hard line on financial institutions that have violated U.S. sanctions laws through their U.S. dollar clearing operations, imposing steep fines on them.

Mar 17, 2014

Big banks need point person for money-laundering lapses: regulator

HOLLYWOOD, FL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Big banks should designate senior managers to oversee efforts to police transactions for criminal activity and take responsibility when lapses occur, a top U.S. financial regulator said on Monday.

Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said “murky” lines of accountability at the biggest banks in the United States have prevented regulators from determining who was to blame for major anti-money laundering compliance failures.

Mar 12, 2014

U.S. consumer bureau probing firms that link borrowers, payday lenders

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. consumer watchdog is investigating companies that link cash-strapped wage earners to payday lenders, according to a document on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) website.

The bureau is looking into whether those firms “have engaged or are engaging in unlawful acts or practices in connection with the marketing, selling or collection of payday loans,” according to the document, which was dated February 18 and posted on the bureau’s website on Wednesday.

Mar 11, 2014

U.S. Senator Collins says bill would tweak capital rules for insurers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. senator who backed tougher capital rules for nonbank financial firms said on Tuesday that regulators misread how that requirement applied to insurance companies, and she has proposed new legislation to clear up the confusion.

Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, introduced an amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street oversight law that said large nonbank firms should meet leverage limits that are at least as stringent as the rules that banks follow.

Mar 3, 2014

Hundreds of Keystone protesters arrested at White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Police arrested hundreds of young people protesting the Keystone XL project on Sunday, as demonstrators fastened themselves with plastic ties to the White House fences and called for U.S. President Barack Obama to reject the controversial oil pipeline.

Participants, who mostly appeared to be college-aged, held signs reading: “There is no planet B” and “Columbia says no to fossil fuels,” referring to the university in New York City.