The SEC settled cases today with JPMorgan and Credit Suisse over “misleading investors in offerings of residential mortgage-backed securities” for a total of about $400 million, which the SEC plans to hand out to those misled investors. There’s been a lot of this sort of thing recently, so here’s a quick cheat sheet on who is suing whom over what mortgages:
Everyone is suing every bank over all of their mortgages.
So fine but is that not weird? Two things to notice about big banks is that they are (1) big and (2) banks, both attributes that tend to accrue lawyers. And a thing that lawyers are supposed to do is stop stupid cowboy bankers from doing stupid illegal things. If you told me that one or two banks decided to go without lawyers for cost-cutting and/or risk-increasing reasons, I would be skeptical but perhaps willing to play along, but all of them? I am certain that JPMorgan has lawyers.1
The mystery is resolved and/or deepened if you look at most of what is being settled in these cases, which in highly schematic outline was:
banks wanted to hose investors,
they asked their lawyers if that was okay,
the lawyers checked the documents and said “yes,”
so they did.
In ever so slightly less schematic outline: Read more »
…when Falcone and five LightSquared colleagues met over a meal of white-truffle pasta and Barolo at a Washington restaurant in January, they failed to come up with anything they could have done differently, according to a person who was there who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.– Falcone Waits For Icahn Doubling Down On Network
When JPMorgan, which earned the most of any of the six banks over the four quarters, decided to thank employees for their performance this year, it sent 161,680 individually wrapped buttercream-frosted, chocolate chip, oatmeal-raisin and sugar cookies to retail branches and call centers in the U.S., U.K., Philippines and India.– No Joy On Wall Street As Biggest Banks Earn $63 Billion
Cooperman, 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said.–Bankers Join Billionaires To Debunk ‘Imbecile’ Attack On Top 1%
American International Group Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche, 66, a Kappa Beta Phi member who disclosed in October that he was undergoing treatment for cancer, was there. He looked energetic, the two attendees said. In 1930, the dinner was beefsteak. This year, the meal featured lobster salad, shrimp, pigs-in-a-blanket, lamb chops and pistachio ice cream.– Wall Street Secret Society Kappa Beta Phi Adds Dealmakers With Lehman Rite
As someone once said, you can find out a lot about a man or woman’s character during moments of great crisis. Do they fall apart? Do they become shells of their former selves? Do the worst parts of them come out? Do they turn their backs on everything they supposedly once stood for? Or do they, even in moments of darkness, rise to the occasion and demonstrate the morals and values they held when times were good are the very same ones they choose to live by when times are bad? For Bloomberg News reporter Max Abelson, Hurricane Sandy was a test. Would he turn in an article containing few if any reference to the food people consumed during the natural disaster? Or would his commitment to bringing readers exhaustive details re: what his Wall Street subjects eat (see above, here, and here) burn ever bright, to the extent that sources and interviewees elaborating on their situation beyond provisions would find themselves cut off and told, “Just the food and drink, toots. I got a lotta calls to make”? Read more »
One way to make a lot of money in banking is just to be really good at it. But this is not a very good way! There are lots of people who want to make a lot of money in banking, and all of them1 have at least considered the approach of “just be good at it,” so you have no real competitive edge if that’s your strategy. You need to be creative and think outside the box, as you might say, if you were not very good at banking, as the law of large numbers says you are not.
I love me some Credit Suisse; they think outside the box. Then they sell the box to themselves in a roundabout fashion that magically removes it from their balance sheet. So when I saw this
“As we continue to reduce costs, continue to optimize our capital and we continue to have momentum on the client side we think we will be able to improve our return on equity toward that 15 percent target,” Dougan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “That’s something that’s achievable.”
I had so much hope! I mean, “reduce costs” is boring and sad, and “momentum on the client side” is just like “be good bankers” which whatever, but “optimize our capital” could mean all sorts of devious things.
It probably does but I couldn’t find them. I mean, other than the usual devious things, which start with “Basel II.5 core tier 1 ratio increased by 2.2 percentage points to 14.7%, total capital ratio increased by 1.0 percentage point to 21.2″ and segue right along into this funding stack: Read more »
Kareem Serageldin, the ex-global head of Credit Suisse’s CDO business charged in a bonus-boosting fraud tied to a $5.35 billion trading book, plans to fight extradition to the U.S. until he reaches a plea deal. Serageldin’s lawyer told a London court yesterday that his client’s arrest this week outside the U.S. Embassy was a result of “miscommunication.” Ben Brandon said Serageldin was negotiating a plea bargain with U.S. prosecutors before the arrest. He was released on a 150,000-pound security ($243,000) until a Nov. 28 court hearing. [Bloomberg]
Swiss banks are turning over thousands of employee names to U.S. authorities as they seek leniency for their alleged role in helping American clients evade taxes, according to lawyers representing banking staff. At least five banks supplied e-mails and telephone records containing as many as 10,000 names to the U.S. Department of Justice, according to estimates by Douglas Hornung, a Geneva- based lawyer representing 40 current and former employees of HSBC Holdings’s Swiss unit, Credit Suisse, and Julius Baer Group Ltd. The data handover is illegal, said Alec Reymond, a former president of the Geneva Bar Association, who is representing two Credit Suisse staff members. “The banks are burning their own people to try and cut deals with the DOJ,” said Hornung. “This violation of personal privacy is unprecedented in the Swiss banking industry.” [Bloomberg]