the high cost of banking
In recent years, the Upper West Side has been besieged by bank branches, with countless TD Banks and Citibanks, Chase Banks and Banks of America gobbling up once-vibrant street corners, the dull gleam of their ATM screens casting an eerie glow on the empty sidewalks late at night.
There has been hand-wringing, there have been outcries, there is even a zoning ordinance that prohibits banks from having storefronts wider than 25 feet. And unlike the cancerous spread of Duane Reades across every corner of our fair city, which for all their colonial tendencies offer a certain languorous refuge for the stressed city dweller, no one can quite understand what is driving the bank branches’ spread. Aren’t we always told that people are doing more and more banking online? Other than withdrawing cash from the ATM, how often do most of us really visit the bank?
New York City has, in many ways, been spared the worst ravages of the foreclosure crisis. A city of renters, where single family homes are the exception rather than the norm and co-op and condo boards regularly turn their noses up at perfectly decent financial packages, we have avoided the magnitude of problems suffered by many other American cities.
But foreclosures have still troubled the city—and often indirectly. For example, many renters in overleveraged multi-family properties suffered when landlords fell behind on payments and ceased to conduct maintenance. And where foreclosures have hit New York, they have also been tied to increases in crime, according to a new report by NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy.
Politico got its hands on a copy of Greg Smith’s Why I Left Goldman Sachs, and published some excerpts yesterday. There’s an allegation that the bank advised clients to buy and sell stock options on European banks amid the region’s ongoing debt crisis, so that the firm could profit by taking the other Read More
Royal Bank of Scotland managers and traders routinely sought to influence interbank lending rates between 2007 and 2010, and the wrongdoings extend beyond the four traders fired last year, according to Bloomberg. Manipulating the bank’s submissions for Libor and other interbank lending rates would have allowed traders to boost the value of derivatives positions held by RBS, which is 81 percent owned by the British government.
Goodbye Smith Barney: Morgan Stanley is rolling out a name-change for the 75-year-old brand, according to The New York Post. The brokerage, jointly-owned with Citigroup, will be called Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. In its heyday, Smith Barney was known for its advertising slogan: “They make money the old fashioned way: They earn it.”
The New Canaan, Conn. believed to have shot and killed his wife on Friday before turning his weapon on himself was a former Wall Street banker previously employed at Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Bank of America, according to reports.
James D. Owen, 48, had worked on mergers and acquisitions and mid-market financing for the telecommunications industry at The Bank Street Group, according to investigative reporter Teri Buhl, who first reported on Mr. Owens’ Wall Street connections. Mr. Owen had also worked for Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Banc of America Securities, according to Business Insider. The latter firm was an investment banking subsidiary to Bank of America.
The Federal Reserve said it will buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities each month forever, or until the U.S. job market perks up. This third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, is relatively small to the $1.25 trillion-a-month bond-buying program launched in March 2009 or the Fed’s $600 billion-a-month buying spree beginning November Read More
IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG is suing everybody, or at least it seems that way: the German lender is suing Citigroup and Goldman Sachs over losses of $137.4 million and $73.2 million, respectively, on mortgage-backed securities. In May, the Dusseldorf-based lender sued Bank of America over losses of more than $200 million Read More
Daily Libor: Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive officer Stephen Hester told The Guardian that ”RBS is one of the banks tied up in Libor. We’ll have our day in that particular spotlight as well.” At least two banks have joined Deutsche Bank in cooperating with European investigations into the rigging of Read More
It’s earnings season on Wall Street, and earnings at the biggest financial firms have been mostly down, lower profit means paring expenses, cost-saving means cutting comp, or showing some employees the door. And indeed, the 18,000 jobs The Wall Street Journal says the six biggest U.S. banks have cut in the last year are just Read More
Whither Europe: Greece’s leading pro-bailout party—conservative New Democracy, which won Sunday’s elections, and socialist Pasok—are still negotiating to form a coalition to govern the teetering nation. Assuming a deal gets done, the first task will be to convince Europe to rewrite the Greek rescue agreement to provide more time—and financing—to meet Read More