Financial Regulatory Forum

Obama proposes U.S. bank fee, slams Wall Street

By Caren Bohan and Alister Bull

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday proposed Wall Street banks pay up to $117 billion to reimburse taxpayers for the financial bailout, as he slammed bankers for their “massive profits and obscene bonuses.”

Striking a populist tone, Obama called for a fee on the biggest U.S banks to “recover every single dime” the government spent rescuing the financial sector from its worst crisis since the Great Depression.

“My determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at some of the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people,” Obama said, reflecting increasingly harsh rhetoric toward the financial industry.

The White House hopes a tougher line with Wall Street will resonate with an American public furious at multimillion dollar bonuses being handed out by banks as the middle-class struggles with double-digit unemployment.

The fee, which Obama will formally propose in his fiscal year 2011 budget to be released in February, is also aimed at helping to reduce the ballooning U.S. budget deficit.

Obama to propose bank fees to recoup bailout funds

By Alister Bull

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday will propose major U.S. financial firms pay a fee to protect taxpayers from up to $117 billion in losses on a bank bailout that has spurred fury at Wall Street excess.

Obama, whose action comes amid mounting public anger over multi-million dollar bank bonuses while ordinary Americans struggle in the face of 10 percent unemployment, will announce the plan at 11:50 a.m. (1650 GMT), a senior administration official said.

“The fee that is put forward here is in many ways a minimum — a minimum of what is owed back for the rather significant costs that are borne in many aspects by the taxpayers,” the administration official told reporters.

Special bankruptcy court for banks mulled in U.S. Senate

By Rachelle Younglai

WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Key U.S. senators are considering the creation of a special bankruptcy court for troubled financial services firms, a person familiar with the plans said on Monday.

Senate Banking Committee members are trying to toughen up parts of a draft bill that overhauls how the financial system is supervised. The draft, introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, would create a system to unwind troubled financial firms.

But members of the committee want a more specific and tougher regime to deal with troubled financial firms after the federal government used billions of dollars in taxpayer funds to prop up firms like Bank of America.

FACTBOX – 20 ways US House, Senate financial reforms differ

Jan 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate will resume debate this month on financial regulation reform, focusing on proposals that differ in 20 key ways from comprehensive legislation approved last month by the U.S. House of Representatives.

A summary of the differences follows.

* RESOLUTION FUND. House bill creates $200-billion fund to help pay for Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) actions to dismantle insolvent, non-bank financial firms.

Fund gets $150 billion from fees paid by firms with more than $50 billion in assets. Fee threshold for hedge funds is $10 billion. Fund can get $50 billion more if needed from Treasury borrowings.

China banks need $73 bln capital in 2010 -regulator

Chinese banks need more capital

Chinese banks need more capital

   By Samuel Shen and Edmund Klamann
   SHANGHAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Chinese banks may need to raise about 500 billion yuan ($73 billion) from the capital markets next year as rapidly expanding loans weaken their financial strength, a senior banking regulator said, marking the first official estimate of banks’ near-term fund-raising. (more…)

Obama tells US bankers it’s payback time

By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama told top U.S. bankers on Monday they owed the country their help in lifting the economy out of crisis and implored them to lend more money and to get behind financial reforms.

“Given the difficulty that businesspeople are having as lending has declined, and given the exceptional assistance banks received to get them through a difficult time, we expect them to explore every responsible way to help get our economy moving again,” Obama said.

After speaking at the White House to executives of a dozen major financial firms, Obama said that, having benefited from taxpayer bailouts, they owed “an extraordinary commitment” to help rebuild the economy.

Chavez seeks gain from Venezuela bank purge

By Andrew Cawthorne

CARACAS, Dec 7 (Reuters) – President Hugo Chavez on Monday sought to reassure a nervous public and maximize political gain from an ongoing purge of Venezuelan banks that has cost him a close ally and unsettled the financial sector.


Senior Venezuelan minister resigns in bank scandal

  By Frank Jack Daniel

CARACAS, Dec 6 (Reuters) – A senior minister and close confidant of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez resigned on Sunday in a scandal that has shaken the OPEC nation’s banks and triggered a purge of businessmen with ties to the government.


Two Venezuela banks go to state for under $1 – paper

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during a cabinet meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas December 3, 2009. By Walker Simon and Eyanir Chinea

CARACAS, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Anxieties over the health of Venezuela’s financial system eased on Friday, with bonds rising after heavy losses this week as a paper reported a businessman agreed to hand over two institutions to the state.


Banks sense danger, warn U.S. Congress on breakup power

By Kevin Drawbaugh
WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Some of the world’s largest financial firms on Monday urged a top U.S. lawmaker not to pursue big bank break-up legislation, an idea attracting interest in Congress and causing alarm on Wall Street.