Banking Sector

UBS in Advance Talks With US Department of Justice to Settle Foreign Exchange Allegations

UBS in Advance Talks With US Department of Justice to Settle Foreign Exchange

Swiss financial services giant UBS said that it is in advanced talks with the US Department of justice to settle allegations that it attempted to rig foreign exchange markets.

The Zurich headquartered bank has been investigated in the US and around the world for possible market manipulations.

It has been told that UBS has already suspended at least five traders in relation to the allegations.

The current UBS allocations to cover settlements with the Departments of Justice and other authorities are adequate, said UBS in its quarterly results.

It reported a pre-tax profit of 1.98bn Swiss francs for the first three months of the year, more than double for the same period last year and beating analysts' expectations'.

Los Angeles sues Wells Fargo Bank

Los Angeles sues Wells Fargo Bank

A Los Angeles lawsuit that echoed a Times investigation has revealed that rigid sales quotas at Wells Fargo Bank has driven employees to open unauthorized accounts for customers.

The civil complaint was filed on Monday in state court in Los Angele by City Atty. Mike Feuer stated that the largest California-based bank encouraged its employees to engage 'in unfair, unlawful and fraudulent conduct through a pervasive culture of high-pressure sales.

The lawsuit alleged that the employees misused customers' confidential information and often failed to close unauthorized accounts even after customers complained about the issue.

Some employees even raided client accounts for money to open additional accounts, the suit alleges.

Westpac to Apply Tougher Tests to New Property Investor Borrowers

Westpac to Apply Tougher Tests to New Property Investor Borrowers

Westpac, an Australian bank and financial-services provider, is going to apply tougher tests to new property investor borrowers while assessing how they would manage with higher interest rates in response to regulators' attempts to prevent the housing market from overheating.

The bank is also tightening its lending to foreign investors in housing because banks have pressure to slow the booming growth in investor home loans. The country's second-largest bank provided information about how the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's actions to slow investor credit growth are affecting bank lending practices.

Barclays first-quarter profit drops 52%

Barclays first-quarter profit drops 52%

According to the British bank Barclays, its first-quarter profit dropped 52% mainly due to legal costs that mainly related to investigations into the possible manipulation of foreign currency trading markets.

Barclays has taken other legal provisions of 800 million pounds in the quarter for potential fines and litigation costs. These costs were related to the currency market investigation that is still ongoing. According to Barclays, it took £1.03 billion in total litigation and conduct costs in the quarter.

Deutsche Bank to reduce Annual costs by 3.5 billion euros

Deutsche Bank to reduce Annual costs by 3.5 billion euros

German banking and financial services company Deutsche Bank has planned to reduce annual costs by about 3.5 billion euros. In addition, the bank has decided to cut back its ownership in the Postbank consumer unit.

In a statement on Monday, the company headquartered in the Deutsche Bank Twin Towers in Frankfurt stated that the bank has targeted to achieve a return on tangible equity of about 10% in the medium term. As per plan, the company will reduce its local presence and number of countries by about 15% by 2020.

Goldman Sachs Group reports its best Quarterly Profit in Five Years

Goldman Sachs Group reports its best Quarterly Profit in Five Years

Goldman Sachs Group has reported surge in its quarterly earnings for the first quarter. According to the investment banking and financial services major, it has registered the best quarterly profit in five years. The company gained from trading bonds and currencies as global market rose and fell in the first quarter of 2013.

According to reports, trading volume improved after the Swiss central bank scrapped a cap on the franc, the United States Federal Reserve moved to tighten monetary policy and the European Central Bank announced about its quantitative easing program.

Bank of America earns $3.4 billion Profit in First Quarter

Bank of America earns $3.4 billion Profit in First Quarter

According to recent earnings report shared by Bank of America, during the first three months of the current year, the financial services major has earned a profit of $3.4 billion. The latest results mark a turnaround from the loss, which was reported by the bank a year ago, when much higher legal costs were posted by it.

During the first quarter, the bank reported lower revenue since its income dropped in four of its five business segments. However, it also posted much lower legal expenses compared to a year ago. During that time, an agreement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency led to adverse results on one time charge.

Pilot Program to help Millions of Americans to have Easier Access to Credit

Pilot Program to help Millions of Americans to have Easier Access to Credit

Fair Issac, the company that provides credit scores, is coming up with a new score especially for those who currently do not have the same. The program will be rolled out in next few months making it easier to get a Visa or MasterCard.

On Thursday, FICO announced that it will launch a pilot program to help a number of Americans to have an easy access to credit. Basis of the same will the record of paying utility bills and not the history of loan repayments.

It is estimated that the reach of the program will be massive. It has been said so as around 53 million Americans do not have FICO scores created by the company Fair Isaac. It is vital as 90% of the lending decisions are based on that score.

New York Federal Reserve Officials Prepare Interest Rate amid Several Uncertainties

New York Federal Reserve Officials Prepare Interest Rate amid Several Uncertaint

The New York Federal Reserve officials who have been tasked to determine the interest rates have been meeting with bankers and traders to plan their next course of action.

Officials are facing troubles due to uncertainty over how much control interest rate will actually have over short-term lending markets.

Simon Potter and his team of market experts have been assigned with a tough task to assign higher rates using some new and lightly tested tools. They will be operated under the intense market scrutiny that is centered on the prospects of the world's biggest economy. Testing new methods means sweeping up several trillions of dollars of reserves from financial markets, said experts.

Fed will raise Interest Rates, but how?

Fed will raise Interest Rates, but how?

There is a question about when policy makers of the Federal Reserve System will raise interest rates. But before that question, it is important to know if the policy makers have figured out how to do that. And the answer is: they haven't quite figured it out.

Since 2008 financial crisis, the United States central bank has been trying to control near-term borrowing costs, but in that case, the central bank has faced troubles. While the bank's main new tool has enabled the Federal Reserve System to exert more influence over money-market rates in the last year, experts at investment banking companies like Barclays to Goldman Sachs said that the bank's program is too small to stop rates from falling.

Bank of New York Mellon Agrees To Pay $714 Million to Resolve Federal and State Allegations

Bank of New York Mellon Agrees To Pay $714 Million to Resolve Federal and State

Bank of New York Mellon has agreed to pay $714 million to settle federal and state allegations. The allegations are that the bank defrauded pension funds and other clients by wrongly representing how it managed their foreign exchange transactions.

According to the US Department of Justice and New York's top legal official, the investment services and management company said that it wrongly informed customers that it would give them the `best rates' available in a process. The process was designed to maximize the proceeds of every trade in the foreign currency exchange market.

Santander and Deutsche Bank fail Stress Tests

Santander and Deutsche Bank fail Stress Tests

On Wednesday, the central banking system of the United States Federal Reserve released results of the second round of its stress tests called 'Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR)'. The stress tests included 31 big banks that are currently operating in the U. S. market.

While two foreign banks, Santander and Deutsche Bank, failed the tests, the remaining banks managed to pass the second round. According to reports, the result was not as bad as analysts had predicted.

Another bank, Bank of America, which somehow passed the test, was put on a 'warning' by the central banking system of the country. The multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Charlotte was found to have some weaknesses in aspects of revenue modeling.

Federal Reserve can Increase Interest Rates in Second Half of the Year: Survey

Federal Reserve can Increase Interest Rates in Second Half of the Year: Survey

The National Association of Business Economists conducted a survey in which 293 economists took part. As per them, the Federal Reserve can increase interest rates in the second half of the year.

However, it has been noticed that uncertainty over the plans is no affecting the US economic growth. As many as 71% of the total economists who took part in the survey said that they do think that the Federal Open Market Committee will increase the federal funds target rate this year.

Since the end of 2008, the rate has been almost zero. Experts do not think that even if the Fed takes time to increase the rate, it will have much impact on the pace at which economic recovery is taking place.

US big banks urge for custom-made approach to Fed stress tests

US big banks urge for custom-made approach to Fed stress tests

Many big banks in the United States have been urging the Federal Reserve to modify the methodology used in annual stress tests.

Annual stress tests are used by the Federal Reserve to determine the ability of banks to survive a recession and keep lending after being affected by potential economic shocks, such as a spike in unemployment or a crash in stock market.

The test requires lenders to project losses on various loans and operations using a standard index through which the resiliency of the entire financial system is judged. They were launched in 2011 under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill to gauge how much capital banks can use for dividends or stock buybacks.

Standard Chartered reduces key financial target

Standard Chartered reduces key financial target

Standard Chartered PLC informed that it has lowered a key financial target and also informed that it is going to take new action in order to conserve capital after profit dropped sharply last year.

It has been informed that net profit fell 37% to $2.51 billion from $3.99 billion. It is expected that the earnings will be not good. An announcement was made by the bank that former J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. executive Bill Winters is going to replace Chief Executive Peter Sands. Departure of Mr. Sands was announced last week after months of pressure from some shareholders to put new leadership in place after two years of waning earnings.

HSBC chiefs apologise for 'unacceptable' practices at its Swiss bank

HSBC chiefs apologise for 'unacceptable' practices at its Swiss bank

London, Feb 26 - The two top HSBC chiefs have reportedly apologised for "unacceptable" practices at its Swiss bank that helped clients evade millions of dollars in tax.

While Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver admitted that it had caused "damage to trust and confidence" in the company, Chairman Douglas Flint said that he felt ashamed and would take "his share of responsibility" for the failings, reported the BBC.

The two bosses were responding to questions from the UK Members of Parliament of the Treasury Committee.

However, on being asked who was responsible for the problems in HSBC's Swiss private bank, Flint pinned the blame on the management in Switzerland. He estimated that about 30 percent of relationship managers were still employed by HSBC. (ANI)

SBI arm for higher fiscal deficit target to boost investment

SBI arm for higher fiscal deficit target to boost investment

Mumbai: Analysts and economists at the nation's largest lender SBI today joined the call for stretching the fiscal deficit target by a few notches so that the government can boost capex without impacting the fiscal consolidation process.

"We believe, the government must step up capital expenditure meaningfully to stimulate investment. We firmly believe fiscal deficit for 2015-16 should be set higher at 3.8 per cent of GDP, up from 3.6 per cent envisaged in the current Budget. This is unlikely to impact fiscal consolidation," the economic research arm of SBI said in a note.

Former UK watchdog brands HSBC's tax evasion scheme 'serious criminal activity'

Former UK watchdog brands HSBC's tax evasion scheme 'serious criminal activity'

London, Feb 23 - A former Director of Public Prosecutions has accused banking giant HSBC of "grave" cross border crime and of engaging in "a systematic and profitable collusion in serious criminal activity" in the UK.

According to the Independent, in a damming intervention Lord Ken Macdonald, who led the Crown Prosecution Service until 2008, said there existed "credible evidence" of HSBC's involvement in "grave" cross border crimes that should have been the subject of urgent and "sustained criminal investigation".

He said that the decision by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to not launch a probe into allegations of tax evasion by HSBC was "seriously legally flawed".

IBA agrees to meet bank unions today to avert strike

All-India Bank Employees Union vice-president Vishwas Utagi

Mumbai - The Indian Banks Association has decided to hold further talks with leaders of public sector bank unions who have given a call for four-day nation-wide strike from February 25.

"The IBA has invited us for talks on Monday in Mumbai and we have agreed to participate in the talks," United Forum of Bank Unions (Maharashtra) and All-India Bank Employees Union vice-president Vishwas Utagi said.

The unions have threatened the strike to press wage-hike demand. This will be their fifth strike this fiscal.

IBA has offered a 13 percent hike which will put a burden of Rs 4,095 crore on the banks, against the unions' demand of 19.5 percent hike which would increase the salary bill by Rs 10,000 crore per annum.

HSBC India at centre of fresh tax evasion claims

HSBC India at centre of fresh tax evasion claims

London - HSBC's Indian banking unit is at the heart of fresh revelations around tax evasion, days after a global expose showed tax dodging through accounts in the British major's Swiss banking unit, a media report said today.

It is alleged that representatives of HSBC India, which has employees based in America, assured customers that details of their accounts would not be reported to tax officials.

The latest revelations came even as the bank issued full-page advertisements in British newspapers as a public apology after reports that its Swiss banking arm had helped some wealthy clients avoid tax.



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