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John Cryan didn’t get many things right as CEO of Deutsche Bank, but he knew one thing for sure: This WhatsApp thingamajig was trouble. Only problem was, it was trouble because (a) it was so damned easy to use (especially for nefarious purposes), (b) it was so damned hard to track and (c) that made it violate essentially every record-keeping requirement on the books.

Oh, Cryan tried, imploring his underlings to use the app only on a traceable platform that no one uses. But, like just about everything else from the Cryan era (and, to be fair, at Deutsche Bank generally), it didn’t work. And, in further fairness, it didn’t work for the much-better-run JPMorgan Chase, either. Or, you know, for anyone else.

The roster of banks poised to pay $200 million each includes Bank of America Corp., Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG, the people said. Jefferies Financial Group Inc. and Nomura Holdings Inc. are nearing settlements with regulators but will pay lower fines, reflecting their smaller size, the people said…. The SEC’s push for big fines has irked many defense lawyers and legal executives at the banks, according to people familiar with the negotiations. That’s because the investigations don’t allege any fraud or harm to clients.

Not that Gary Gensler cares what defense lawyers and bank leaders think, but he’s got to make an example here because….

The record-keeping enforcement initiative likely won’t end with the big banks, some of the people said, because the SEC is now probing whether regulated money managers broke the same rules.

“The fines are high to try to serve as a deterrent,” Mr. Berman said. “On the other hand, Democrats like to increase the amount of fines. In this case it is probably more of the former, because they have to send a really strong message.”

Banks Nearing $1 Billion Settlement Over Traders’ Use of Banned Messaging Apps [WSJ]

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