Opening Bell: 05.28.09

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PPIP Founders (WSJ)
Shocker: "A government program designed to rid banks of bad loans, part of a broader effort once viewed as central to tackling the financial crisis, is stalling and may soon be put on hold, according to people familiar with the matter."
Citi, SEC In Talks To Settle Asset Probe (WSJ)
"Citigroup Inc. is in the early stages of negotiating with the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle an investigation into whether it misled investors by not properly disclosing the amount of troubled mortgage assets it held as the market began to implode in 2007, people familiar with the matter say.
The talks signal that the SEC could be moving toward resolving a number of civil probes that began in late 2007, when mortgage-related losses began mounting on the books of banks and Wall Street firms. A Citigroup spokesman said the firm's policy isn't to comment on such regulatory issues."
Fortress Takes First Steps Into Retail Banking (FT)
"Fortress Investment Group, a listed private equity and hedge fund company with $26.5bn in assets, is nearing an agreement that would mark the first step in a push into US retail banking, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Under a deal that could be announced as early as Thursday, Fortress and other investors - including private equity firms Crestview Partners and Lightyear Capital - will inject $800m in fresh capital into a small Florida bank called First Southern."
Bank Czar Likely (WSJ)
"The new bank regulatory agency could prove controversial because it would consolidate the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision and strip supervisory powers from the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The Fed and the FDIC would gain other powers, though, as White House officials want the Fed to be able to oversee systemic risks in the economy. They also want the FDIC to have new powers to take large financial companies that aren't banks into receivership."
We'll See A Target Vote Today (Reuters)
"In an increasingly heated proxy contest, Ackman is seeking enough shareholder votes to win five seats on the retailer's board, while Target is running a slate of four incumbent directors.
Shareholders will also have to vote on the size of the board -- Target wants to set it at 12, while Ackman claims it should be 13."

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