JPMorgan Chase, 12 More Banks Said to Be Sued Over Libor (Bloomberg)
JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG and 10 other international lenders were sued by a U.S. credit union regulator alleging they illegally manipulated benchmark Libor interest rates. The National Credit Union Administration, an Alexandria, Virginia-based regulator, said it sued the banks yesterday at a U.S. court in Kansas. The filing couldn’t immediately be confirmed in court records. Their alleged manipulation “resulted in a loss of income from investments and other assets held by five failed corporate credit unions: U.S. Central, WesCorp, Members United, Southwest and Constitution,” according to an NCUA statement issued today. The banks are accused of giving false information in response to a daily survey by the British Bankers’ Association, which asks lenders how much it would cost to borrow money from each other for various intervals in 10 different currencies.
J.P. Morgan Ex-Traders Are Citing ‘Whale’ in Their Defense (WSJ)
Two former traders at J.P. Morgan Chase accused of overstating the value of their group’s positions aren’t pointing their fingers at senior executives at the bank in their defense. Instead, their strategy will be to shift blame to Bruno Iksil, the so-called London whale, by claiming that Mr. Iksil was the one responsible for valuing the group’s positions, not the two men, according to people close to the matter. The tack could put U.S. prosecutors in the potentially awkward position of defending the actions of Mr. Iksil, who placed many of the trades that led to more than $6 billion of losses at J.P. Morgan but now is aiding the government’s efforts. The strategy also underscores how the relationship of the traders with Mr. Iksil has switched from close to combative.
BlackBerry Agrees To Go Private (WSJ)
BlackBerry said on Monday it reached a preliminary deal with one of its biggest shareholders to take the company private for about $4.7 billion, as it harbors hope that a better offer might emerge. Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., a Canadian insurance firm, signed a letter of intent with the BlackBerry board under which it could pay $9 a share in cash for the 90% of BlackBerry shares it doesn’t already own.
BofA Told to Pay $2.2 Million in Race Bias Case Spanning Decades (Bloomberg)
Bank of America Corp. was ordered to pay $2.2 million to black job applicants who were unfairly rejected for teller and clerical positions in a case spanning almost two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. An administrative judge told the bank to pay $964,000 to more than 1,000 applicants from 1993 and $1.22 million to 113 people who were rejected in 2002 to 2005, the regulator said today in a statement. The lender also was ordered to make job offers to 10 people. The firm settled separate claims of racial and gender bias at its Merrill Lynch unit in the past month.
Burger King Tries New French Fries (WSJ)
As people cut back on french fries, Burger King is going after what it calls “lapsed users” with new fries that promise fewer calories and less fat. On Tuesday, Miami-based Burger King Worldwide Inc. will roll out lower fat, lower-calorie fries at all U.S. locations. Called Satisfries, the fries have largely the same ingredients as Burger King’s classic fries, but a less porous batter to keep out more oil during cooking, said Eric Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer for Burger King North America. The new fries are marketed as having 30% fewer calories and 40% less fat than McDonald’s fries, the best-selling fries in the U.S. Burger King’s smallest size of the new fries, called a value size, is 190 calories. The calorie claim is less significant compared with Burger King’s classic fries, coming in at about 20% fewer calories and 25% less fat, said a spokeswoman for Burger King.
Naked and afraid? Haunted house invites thrill-seekers to be scared in the nude (DM)
Afraid of ghosts? Afraid of being naked? Now you can combine both these fears into one giant scream fest. Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania is opening its first ‘haunted scream park that is meant to expose participants to ‘a new kind of fear.’ In an event called Shoctoberfest adventurous crowds are invited to take the ‘naked and scared’ challenge based on a hit show on the Discovery Channel called, ‘naked and afraid.’ A group of brave participants will be able to explore a haunted house–entirely naked. Participants are invited to take their clothes off (only if they feel comfortable doing so) in a ‘semi private’ space and will be lead naked with a bunch of strangers into a haunted house. Once participants have been scared out of their skin, they are then led out into a courtyard to put their clothes back on–if they make it that far. Minors are not allowed to participate and haunted house tours are not held on Sundays. Oh, and there is a disclaimer: ‘Shocktoberfest has created this experience so their customers can explore a new level of fear. This is about fear and pushing oneself out of their comfort zone. This is not about sex. No sexual misconduct, inappropriate or disrespectful behavior will be tolerated.Please note there is an additional cleaning charge if we scare the p*ss out of you!’
Regulator sues Morgan Stanley, eight others over faulty securities (Reuters)
A U.S. regulator filed lawsuits against Morgan Stanley and eight other banks over the sale of nearly $2.4 billion in mortgage-backed securities to two credit unions that later failed, according to a filing. Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley Capital I Inc, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s unit Bear Stearns, Credit Suisse Group, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and UBS sold faulty securities to Southwest and Members United corporate credit unions, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) said in its complaint. Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Wachovia Corp, a unit of Wells Fargo & Co and Residential Funding Securities LLC, now Ally Securities, also sold faulty securities to Southwest, NCUA said.
Moody’s Restores GM Debt To Investment Grade (NYP)
The upgrade came on Monday morning, shortly after GM announced plans to buy back high-interest preferred stock from a union retiree health care trust fund for $3.2 billion.
Citigroup Cuts Mortgage Staffing (WSJ)
The end of the refinancing boom continues to shake up the U.S. banking sector, as Citigroup Inc. said Monday it laid off 1,000 workers in its mortgage business. That brings to more than 7,000 the number of jobs lost at major lenders this year as the surge in home loans fades.
Fed’s Dudley ‘wouldn’t rule out’ QE cut this year: CNBC (Reuters)
The decision “depends on the data,” New York Fed President William Dudley said in a Monday interview aired on CNBC Tuesday. “The thing that we really want to emphasize is that it’s driven by data, not by time.”
Bathroom wipes aren’t flushable, after all (NYP)
Extra-moist bathroom wipes — championed by celebrities like Terrance Howard and will.i.am — have become a catastrophic pain the the a$# in sewer systems around the world. The increasingly popular rear-end cleaners look like baby wipes and are supposed to be flushable. But public-works employes from Denver to London say the towelettes are nuisance because they don’t degrade after use and cause huge sewer clogs that cost millions to clean up. The most dramatic example of the problem came in London, where workers this summer found a colossal ball of wipes and coagulated fat blocking a sewer main. The 15-ton, bus-size clog took three weeks to dislodge. The wipes also caused a wave of clogged pipes and broken pumps all over the Washington, DC, area. Officials in the DC suburbs have spent a fortune installing shredders to break down the little cloth towels, which don’t break down like real bathroom tissue. One town in Western New York got so overwhelmed, officials installed pipe strainers to help them track which households used wipes — and then went door-to-door pleading with residents to stop flushing them.