Category Archives: Banking

Banks targeting credit unions — again

Let’s face it. Banks have never liked the fact that credit unions can operate in a lot of the same ways they can yet escape some of the taxation that credit unions’ non-profit, cooperative status affords them.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that powerful banking lobbies — i.e., the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America — are trying to thwart legislation in the Senate that would raise credit unions’ lending cap to businesses.

Whether the bankers are successful is not the point. What is the point is that as long as there are credit unions and banks, there always will be tension. Unless, of course, credit unions lose their tax advantage.

Morgan Stanley exec to make court appearance on Friday over stabbing, hate crime charge

Investment bank Morgan Stanley’s co-head of North American fixed-income capital markets is expected to make a court appearance Thursday on charges that he stabbed a New York City cabbie.

William Bryan Jennings was charged with a hate crime earlier this month after allegedly stabbing the cab driver, who drove Jennings from New York to his Connecticut home. Reports say Jennings also refused to pay the fare.

According to an industry report, Morgan Stanley has placed the executive on leave.

Another call to break up Bank of America

It’s not the first time someone has called for the break up of a too-big-to-fail bank.

But Public Citizen is calling for people to sign a petition aiming to do just that to Bank of America.

The Ralph Nader-led group also has produced a music video on the action set to the song, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.”

Here’s the video

Maybe Gordon Gecko got it wrong

I wonder if anyone, besides the staunch champions of “anything goes” on Wall Street, was truly surprised by Friday’s news that the Securities and Exchange Commission is moving on Goldman Sachs.

I doubt it. Your thoughts?

Financial reform moves through Senate

Here’s a little recap from the Washington Post on the Senate’s progress with financial reform.

I got a special chuckle out of the reference to capitalizing on public anger over Wall Street excesses.

I guess Chris Dodd and his Beltway Boys haven’t been reading this blog.

And in a related development, I’ve just polished off “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, and watched a couple of his television appearances. Suffice to say that Mr. Lewis hasn’t softened my hardened view of Wall Street bankers.

“Inside the financial world, there is a [mind-set of] ‘please stop us before we kill again,’” Lewis said.

Here’s a piece from the Motley Fool on Lewis, whose take on the aforementioned excesses is pretty interesting.

Wall St. vets: More regulation needed

This group of men seemed to do OK on a regulated Wall Street, and now they’ve come out in favor of tighter financial regulations, according to the New York Times.

In a much different time, admittedly.

Your thoughts?

Now tell me, who owns my bank?

A year after Citizens Bank of Kansas acquired the Medicine Lodge, Pratt and Isabel branches of SolutionsBank, customers in those towns got a surprise.

They received a letter from Fayetteville, Ark.-based Arvest Bank about its acquisition of SolutionsBank’s six Kansas City area branches, after the Kansas bank commissioner closed SolutionsBank on Dec. 11.

The letter was apparently sent to all former SolutionsBank customers, including the ones picked up a year earlier in CBOK’s branch acquisition.

“We are happy to be with Citizens Bank of Kansas, and our customers should disregard the letter from Arvest Bank,” said Steve Bryan, market president for CBOK, in a press release this week.

Buying banks’ bad assets finally comes to fruition

WICHITA — It’s been nearly a year since the financial crisis began to take hold, causing the Treasury Department, Congress and then-President George Bush to unveil a series of efforts aimed at preventing a collapse of the nation’s financial system.

One of those proposed efforts that seemed to fade from the spotlight as quickly as it was mentioned was creating a system that would allow banks to get bad assets — primarily subprime mortgages — off their books.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said today that it has a winner of its pilot offering in the Legacy Loans Program.

Residential Credit Solutions bid more than $64 million in cash for a 50 percent stake in a limited liability company organized by the FDIC to hold a portfolio of mortgages with $1.3 billion in unpaid principal.

The FDIC said it “received various bids that were very competitive.”

The rub to all of this is the portfolio was from Franklin Bank in Houston, which regulators closed in November.

As this program moves forward, it hopefully will be used to buy bad assets from banks that are still in business, thus preventing them from failing.

When directors and their banks get too close

WICHITA — The Charlotte Observer has a fascinating story today about what happens when members of a bank’s board of directors get too close to a bank whose interest they are supposed to be watching out for.

Of $5 million in loans this director took out from the bank, $3.2 million of the loans turned sour.

And the bank’s failure cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.‘s deposit insurance fund $131 million.

I’m not implying that this director’s action caused the bank to fail. But there clearly was little oversight by the board.

Wells now the king of SBA lending

WICHITA — Wells Fargo, which operates in Wichita as Wachovia bank, has assumed the spot as the country’s biggest SBA lender.

That’s according to a Forbes story, and based off of research by Foresight Analytics.

The story says that Wells, which has 7.7 percent of the country’s market share in SBA loans, moved up to the top spot because of CIT Group’s struggles with heavy debt.

Debit card use tops credit card use

Call it a sign of the financial times.

Use of debit cards has surpassed credit cards, accounting for slightly more than 50 percent of non-cash transactions.

That’s according to research from the TowerGroup.

But is this a trend or just a flash in the pan? Are people just temporarily suspending their debt-quenching tendencies, or have they learned their lessons from taking on too much debt?

Time will tell.

Are lenders really lending?

A new survey shows that just over a third of nationally chartered banks are actively lending.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s survey of national bank examiners shows that 37 percent of banks examined were increasing their loan production. Thirty-one percent had little change in loan production, the survey said.

The survey also showed that underwriting standards by banks have tightened.