Whither Europe: Greeks are withdrawing $1 billion daily and hording dry foods ahead of June 17 elections that may hasten the country’s exit from Europe’s monetary union.
An ill-timed acquisition has made Credit Agricole the foreign bank with the most to lose in the Greek crisis.
Despite Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s assertion that the matter of his nation’s enfeebled banks was “resolved,” yields on Spain’s government bonds rose, and Fitch Ratings downgraded 18 Spanish lenders.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is on deck.
Breakdown: Jamie Dimon testifies this morning at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on JPMorgan’s recent trading losses. As we noted last night, Mr. Dimon’s prepared remarks are dry stuff. Committee chair Sen. Tim Johnson, a South Dakota democrat, will ask “How can a bank take on ‘far too much risk’ if the point of the trades was to reduce risk in the first place?” according to Bloomberg, and Sen. Richard Shelby, the top-ranking Republican on the committee, will focus on specific nature of the trades. Other potential questions: How were executives in the chief investment office paid? And how involved was Mr. Dimon in the decision to change the way the CIO calculated its VaR, or the amount of money the office could lose on a given day?
Smith Barney no more: Morgan Stanley (MS) intends to drop the Smith Barney name from its retail brokerage, chief executive office James Gorman said yesterday. Morgan Stanley acquired a stake in Smith Barney, the firm that made “money the old fashioned way,” in 2009, and plans to complete the outright purchase of Citigroup’s remaining shares in the years to come. AsThe New York Timespoints out, Smith Barney joins Shearson, E.F. Hutton and Salomon Brothers among former Sandy Weill acquisitions to wind up on the scrap heap.
Moody’s man: The Wall Street Journal has a go at profiling Gregory Winans Bauer, Moody’s global head of banking, the man behind the potential ratings downgrades stalking the world’s leading payday lenders. What did they find? “An avid yachtsman” leading 170 banking analysts neither as well known or highly paid as the bankers whose dreams they are currently haunting.
Gupta grilled: Rajat Gupta’s daughter Geetanjali testified in Judge Jed Rakoff’s courtroom yesterday. Would Ms. Gupta do anything for her father, a prosecutor asked on cross-examination? “I would do anything for my father, but I would not lie, though, on the stand,” she said.
Paper money: Syria released new Russian-printed banknotes into circulation, four Damascus-based bankers told Reuters.
Wipeout: The financial crisis knocked 39 percent off median household wealth, the Federal Reserve said yesterday, as the collapse of the housing market pushed net worth to 1992 levels.
Settled: The Treasury Department reached a $619 million settlement with ING Bank after the government charged that the Dutch lender breached U.S. sanctions against countries such as Iran, Libya and Cuba.