Standard Chartered Missing Those Good Old Money Laundering Days

The bank reported its first annual loss since 1989 today.
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Up late counting those bad loans.

Given how long Standard Chartered has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, here’s a surprising little tidbit:

Standard Chartered PLC on Tuesday reported its first annual loss since 1989 after the number of bad loans on its books soared and it embarked on a costly restructuring program.

That’s quite a streak of profitable years in the face of, uh, less-than-propitious circumstances. Maybe that whole money-laundering business was a bit more than a clerical error. And maybe we’ve found a job even worse than running Deutsche Bank, or a boiler room’s compliance program.

Standard Chartered chief Bill Winters is still knee-deep in his Augean task of cleaning out the “fertilizer,” as he put it, from the bank’s stables.

Trouble is that, while the group has been shoveling the muck, business has been dwindling or walking by.

“It rips at our soul every single time we look at the results, and we don’t ever want to stand up here and tell this kind of a story again,” Mr. Winters told analysts. He said the bank is working hard at carrying out the strategy he laid out in November.

Which strategy, in case you’ve forgotten, is firing 15,000 people.

Standard Chartered Reports First Annual Loss Since 1989 [WSJ]
Standard Chartered: Why This Cheap Bank Stock Isn’t a Bargain [WSJ]

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