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Westlake Legal Group > Citigroup Inc

Big Banks Were the Loudest Optimists. They’re Getting Quieter.

Westlake Legal Group 15banks2-facebookJumbo Big Banks Were the Loudest Optimists. They’re Getting Quieter. Wells Fargo&Company United States Economy Solomon, David M JPMorgan Chase&Company Goldman Sachs Group Inc Dimon, James Corbat, Michael L Company Reports Citigroup Inc Banking and Financial Institutions

The heads of America’s largest banks have been some of the country’s most prominent optimists over the past two years, shooing away questions about the potential effects of President Trump’s trade policies, cheering his tax cuts and offering periodic reassurances that things would all work out for the American economy.

But manufacturing activity and job growth are slowing, and trade talks with China have so far produced only an interim agreement that still has to be written and signed. And bankers are starting to worry.

“Of course there’s a recession ahead — what we don’t know is if it’s going to happen soon,” Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said during a call on Tuesday with journalists to discuss the bank’s third-quarter earnings.

Even as his bank announced record-high revenue, Mr. Dimon warned that the strong position of consumers in the United States had come under pressure from “increasingly complex geopolitical risks, including tensions in global trade.”

The warning was new: Just six months ago, during another discussion of the bank’s earnings, Mr. Dimon had predicted that United States economic growth “could go on for years.”

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said on Tuesday.

JPMorgan’s quarterly earnings were no worse for wear. The bank took in a record $29.3 billion during the third quarter and earned $2.68 per share, beating analysts’ expectations by 23 cents. Its deposits grew by 3 percent compared with the same period last year.

The report from Goldman Sachs, which also announced third-quarter results, along with Citigroup and Wells Fargo, was less rosy. The bank’s net earnings of just under $1.9 billion for the quarter were 26 percent lower than the same period last year and 22 percent lower than the second quarter of 2019. Goldman also announced that it had set aside $291 million for credit losses, a 67 percent increase from last year.

The bank’s chief executive, David Solomon, shrugged off some of the recent turmoil on Wall Street, which has included disappointing debuts by tech companies like Uber and botched initial public offerings like WeWork, saying he believed the I.P.O. market was in fact healthy. But, he said, the bank is closely watching “where we are in the economic cycle” as it manages risks across the firm.

Citigroup’s chief financial officer, Mark Mason, said on a call with journalists that the bank had begun making adjustments to its business operations to accommodate changing economic conditions.

“We’ve been very thoughtful about the pacing of our hiring,” he said.

Citigroup’s revenue was $18.6 billion, slightly lower than the previous quarter but a bit higher than its third-quarter revenue a year ago. But its corporate lending revenue decreased by 6 percent from a year earlier.

Citigroup’s business customers have been showing “pause,” Mr. Mason said, “in terms of whether they actually want to invest in building out facilities or operations, pause in terms of whether they want to consider entering into new markets.”

That was a subtle but significant admission that the slowdown was affecting Citigroup’s business.

The bank’s chief executive, Michael Corbat, had been saying for months that its global footprint allowed it to take advantage of shifting trade routes so that the president’s tariffs did not actually hurt the bank. He offered a more troubled view on Tuesday during a call with analysts.

“It has caused a slowdown in terms of trade,” Mr. Corbat said of the trade war. “If we could start to get some clarity on some of these things, where I think businesses can have some more surety on the future, our trade business would definitely benefit from that.”

Wells Fargo reported $22 billion in revenue for the quarter, slightly more than the $21.9 billion it generated in the same three months a year ago, and said it had $50 million left over from what it had set aside for loan losses in the most recent quarter.

And the bank’s chief financial officer, John Shrewsberry, pointed to a different concern that was closer to home for his business clients. “To date, while our customers are cautious, the most common concern they identify is their ability to hire enough qualified workers,” he said on a call with analysts.

Wells Fargo, the country’s fourth-largest bank, is still operating under growth restrictions imposed by its regulators, and its per-share earnings of 92 cents were lower than analysts’ expectations because of expenses from legal woes stemming from a series of scandals that began to come to light in 2016.

The bank has continued to stumble lately. Its chief executive stepped down suddenly in March not long after lawmakers grilled him over lingering problems, and The New York Times reported in August that customers whose accounts had been closed were still being charged fees for activity after the closing date. The bank’s interim chief executive, C. Allen Parker, told analysts that Wells Fargo was still looking into the matter.

The bank’s new chief executive, Charles W. Scharf, starts next week.

Wells Fargo reported a $1.6 billion charge for legal expenses related to “one of the largest lingering issues related to sales practices,” Mr. Shrewsberry said, but he declined to go into details.

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Those Foreign Business Ties? The Trump Sons Have Plenty Too

Westlake Legal Group 11Trumpkids1-facebookJumbo Those Foreign Business Ties? The Trump Sons Have Plenty Too Vancouver (Wash) United States Politics and Government Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric F (1984- ) Trump, Donald J Jr Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Trump Organization Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Presidential Election of 2020 Panama Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos JAKARTA, Indonesia India Dubai (United Arab Emirates) Conflicts of Interest Citigroup Inc China Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter Apollo Global Management Aberdeen (Scotland)

Last month, the Trump family business received approval from a local government in Scotland for a major expansion of its golf resort near Aberdeen, marking the largest real estate development financed by the Trump Organization since the 2016 election.

In August, President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., flew to Jakarta to help kick-start sales at a pair of Trump-branded luxury resorts planned for Indonesia. He appeared at a private event with wealthy prospective buyers and joined his politically connected billionaire Indonesian business partner at a news conference.

And last year, Donald Jr. visited India to sell condos at future Trump-branded towers, appearing at an event that also featured India’s prime minister.

“I’m here as a businessman,” Mr. Trump told the gathering in New Delhi. “I’m not representing anyone.”

But for the children of the politically powerful, personal business and public dealings can often be indistinguishable, especially when private projects depend on foreign governments that are looking to bolster ties with Washington.

In recent weeks, as the president has become embroiled in a scandal involving his interactions with Ukraine, Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric have taken to attacking Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., for his business dealings in Ukraine and China.

The brothers have accused him of leveraging his family name for personal gain while his father served in the Obama administration. Among other things, Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company that has been a focus of Mr. Trump’s interest in the country.

“At the VERY LEAST, there’s the appearance of impropriety,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter. “A clear conflict of interest.” At a rally in Minneapolis on Thursday, Eric Trump’s charged remarks about the former vice president’s son inspired the crowd of Trump supporters to chant, “Lock him up!”

Republicans, led by the president, have sought to make Hunter Biden’s international business dealings an issue in the impeachment debate in Washington. But the high-profile attack roles being played by Mr. Trump’s eldest sons have now thrust their own business dealings into the spotlight too.

Both sons have operated and promoted the Trump family business overseas during their father’s presidency, even as he retains ownership. And while the Trump and Biden father-son relationships differ in many ways, the business dealings have set up a simple parallel.

“They are criticizing the vice president’s son for doing exactly what they are doing themselves,” said Martin Ford, a member of the Aberdeenshire Council in Scotland, which voted last month to approve a proposal by the Trumps to build a 500-unit housing development. “They are conducting international business here in Scotland.”

Eric Trump, in a statement to The New York Times, said there was a distinction between his father’s career in business, with his recent turn to politics, and Mr. Biden’s decades in public office.

“When my father became president, our family stopped doing international business deals,” he said, a reference to a pledge by the Trump Organization not to begin new overseas projects during the Trump presidency. Hunter Biden, he said, did the opposite when his father became vice president.

The Trump business activities in India, Indonesia and Scotland were considered in compliance with the pledge, according to the company’s ethics rules, because they were building on deals already in the works.

Mr. Biden’s campaign declined to comment on Friday. But in a tweet, the former vice president once again suggested that the attacks on his son were part of a political smear campaign. “Let me make something clear to President Trump: I’m not going anywhere,” he wrote. “You’re not going to destroy me. And you’re not going to destroy my family. I don’t care how dirty the attacks get.”

Conducting business on the international stage has long been standard for the Trump Organization, which has placed the Trump name on hotels and towers in several countries.

But its international dealings have become far more complicated since Mr. Trump took office and his sons took leadership of the business, especially when foreign governments have been involved to the company’s benefit.

When the Trump Organization tangled with the majority owner of a property in Panama, for example, its local lawyers at one point called on the Panamanian president for an assist.

In Indonesia, the government is helping to build a major new highway that will make a new Trump development more accessible. Construction is scheduled to begin soon on what will be known as Trump Residences Lido, which will include 280 homes, a golf course and a hotel, south of Jakarta.

The Trump family’s partner in Indonesia — a billionaire named Hary Tanoesoedibjo — is financing the project, with the Trump family getting a cut of the sales.

In marketing materials released this summer, which featured the Trump family logo and a photograph of Donald Trump Jr., the company noted that the “Trump Residences Lido can be accessed directly through the newly opened Bocimi Toll Road.”

In Scotland, the Aberdeenshire Council recently dropped an earlier requirement that the new housing development could not be built until the Trumps spent tens of millions of dollars on other investments at the resort.

Sebastian Leslie, a local official who supported the project, said the family received no special consideration. “We don’t do that — we don’t give anybody special favors,” Mr. Leslie said.

But Mr. Martin, a council member who opposed the approval, said the Trumps benefited handsomely from the change. “It is a much, much more lucrative deal now,” he said.

Revenues coming to the Trump family in the United States have drawn scrutiny too, including at the Trump International Hotel in Washington — a property, opened in the final stages of the 2016 campaign, that has flourished while Donald Trump Jr. and Eric have run the company.

The hotel has been a magnet for Republican lobbyists and political fund-raisers, and companies and foreign officials with business before the Trump administration have thrown parties there, including the Kuwait embassy and the government of Azerbaijan.

Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka has also retained a stake in the family business even as she serves as a White House adviser, and last year she received trademarks in China related to her separate fashion ventures. Her husband, Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, maintains a stake in his own family’s real estate business, which has received and sought funding from international sources as well.

In 2017, Mr. Kushner met privately at the White House with top executives from Citibank and the private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Those meetings came as the firms were contemplating sizable loans to his family’s business, Kushner Companies, which they did eventually make.

And since Mr. Kushner entered the White House, his family has courted state-connected investors in China and the Middle East — both regions that were in Mr. Kushner’s government portfolio — to bail out the firm’s headquarters at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

But the presidency has also come with some costs for the Trump family business since the sons have been at the helm.

The company had been banking on global expansion to drive its growth, but when the president agreed to put a hold on new foreign deals, it curtailed those ambitions for his sons.

George Sorial, the company’s chief compliance counsel when the policy was developed, said it was the right thing to do even though it was not required by law and had cost the company significantly.

Eric Trump, in his statement to The Times, suggested that even the decision to forgo new foreign deals could be seen through the prism of Hunter Biden.

“My father was one of the most famous businessmen on earth and he sacrificed billions to be our president,” he said. “Joe Biden was an incredibly influential politician — his family made millions.”

The Biden campaign also sees opportunity in the nasty dispute. In a fund-raising email sent on Friday, the campaign singled out the Trump sons and the “lock him up” chant at the Thursday rally. “We are fighting back against this nonsense as hard as we know how every single day,” the campaign wrote.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Banks Want Efficiency. Critics Warn of Backsliding.

WASHINGTON — A decade after big banks needed government support to dig out of the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve is slowly, but steadily, making a series of regulatory changes that could chip away at new requirements put in place to prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown.

Some of the changes, seemingly incremental and technical on their own, could add up to a weakening of capital requirements installed in the wake of the crisis to prevent the largest banks from suffering the kind of destabilizing losses that imperiled the United States economy.

Fed officials and others who support the changes, including big banks, say the Fed is engaging in what they call “tailoring” — a regulatory correction that will bring greater efficiency to standards written in the heat of a meltdown. They say the tweaks will not weaken the ability of banks to withstand financial losses but will reduce burdensome regulations that could have unintended consequences, like encouraging risk-taking.

But some current and former Fed officials worry that the central bank and its fellow regulators are giving large banks, which are making big profits, an unnecessary gift that could leave the economy exposed in the next downturn. They say the overseers should be forcing banks to maintain or even build up their defenses given the strong economy, which is in its longest expansion on record, rather than eroding those buffers.

“No individual thing jumps out, but if you look at the sum total, the direction of travel is not entirely encouraging,” Jeremy Stein, a Harvard professor and former Fed governor, said on a recent panel. “You need to be incredibly vigilant, and really understand this stuff very well. It’s very opaque, in many ways.”

The changes, some put into place and others still under consideration, range from making it easier for big banks to pass the Fed’s annual “stress test” of their financial health to allowing some to borrow more. One idea being floated could quietly reduce capital levels at the biggest American banks over the course of the business cycle.

The tinkering is being driven by Randal K. Quarles, the Fed’s vice chair for supervision, whom President Trump nominated in 2017, and the effort has earned the consideration of Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair. At a news conference last month, Mr. Powell said the Fed was weighing a proposal that might have the effect of reducing average capital levels at big banks over time.

Bolstering capital at large banks was a centerpiece of postcrisis efforts, as regulators looked for ways to ensure that banks would have stable sources of financing in the event of another downturn. In a crisis, depositors and creditors may demand that a bank return their money, destabilizing the financial system. Indeed, that helped to fell Lehman Brothers, the investment bank that collapsed in 2008.

But capital — money raised from shareholders or retained as profits — does not have to be repaid. The 18 biggest banks, which include American firms like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of America, added more than $650 billion in common equity capital from the beginning of 2009 through the end of last year.

Bankers acknowledged that capital needed to be higher after the 2008 crisis, but increasingly say enough is enough. Big banks have complained of measures that might increase capital from current levels or that could make year-to-year requirements fluctuate more, and have criticized United States rules for being more demanding than international standards.

Bank lobbying groups like the Bank Policy Institute have pushed back on calls to lift capital requirements, saying that stricter regulations “would harm economic growth with little benefit to the safety and soundness of the financial system.” And the country’s large banks have been working for more than a year to persuade the Fed to avoid putting more stringent capital rules in place.

Representatives from each of the biggest banks have met multiple times with Fed officials to talk about the stress capital buffer, a measure that would condense and streamline capital requirements, according to two people familiar with the matter. Each bank also used a public comment period in 2018 to send letters detailing specific suggestions for changes the Fed could make when it enacts the new standard.

“We’re comfortable with the capital regime that we’re operating under,” John Shrewsberry, Wells Fargo’s chief financial officer, said on a call with reporters last month.

Executives have a reason for opposing tougher capital requirements. They force banks to limit stock buybacks and dividend payments, curbing moves that help lift share prices. A big chunk of senior bank executives’ compensation is made up of stock. Yet existing capital requirements have not stopped banks from returning large amounts of excess capital to their shareholders. Last year, the eight largest American banks spent $104 billion on stock buybacks and dividend payments, up nearly a fourth from $84 billion in 2017.

Some Fed officials say capital requirements are already on the low side and should be beefed up, and careful watchers of financial regulation warn that current regulatory tweaks could bite into capital over time.

Lael Brainard, a Fed governor who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has now dissented on six separate regulatory matters, and has said that the Fed must be “especially vigilant to safeguard the resilience of our financial system in good times when vulnerabilities may be building.”

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Robert Kaplan, and Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, have warned against making changes that reduce capital requirements.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154870338_c593db35-50f9-4dea-9d48-569d369d703c-articleLarge Banks Want Efficiency. Critics Warn of Backsliding. Yellen, Janet L United States Economy Subprime Mortgage Crisis Stein, Jeremy C Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Quarles, Randal K Powell, Jerome H Liang, Nellie Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc Kashkari, Neel T Kaplan, Robert S JPMorgan Chase&Company Goldman Sachs Group Inc Federal Reserve System Citigroup Inc Brainard, Lael Banking and Financial Institutions Bank of America Merrill Lynch Bank of America Corporation

Randal Quarles, the Fed’s vice chairman for supervision, has been driving many of the proposals aimed at changing post-crisis bank rules. Mr. Quarles, who was appointed by President Trump, has said many of the rules need to be tweaked to make them more efficient and effective.CreditJonathan Ernst/Reuters

Fed research shows that bank capital should be in a range of 13 percent to more than 26 percent of a bank’s assets, adjusted for risk, to best balance threats that emerge during downturns against costs to economic activity during times of expansion. Capital ratios at the eight biggest American banks stood at about 12.3 percent early this year.

“The biggest banks need substantially more capital,” Mr. Kashkari said in an interview, calling changes that could weaken requirements “concerning.”

Mr. Powell and Mr. Quarles often say that capital levels are “about right” at the moment. But an idea being floated by Mr. Quarles has the potential to lower capital levels at the biggest banks over the course of the business cycle.

Mr. Quarles has said the Fed should revisit what’s known as the “countercyclical capital buffer” — a fancy name for an extra level of capital that the Fed can require banks to add during robust economic times. The buffer, created by an international statute, allows regulators to respond to economic conditions — turning it down to unleash money and encourage lending when the economy needs it and raising it when the economy is running hot.

The Fed has never turned on the capital buffer, though Ms. Brainard and Janet L. Yellen, the former Fed chair, have been advocating that the Fed should consider enacting it now, when the economy is strong.

The other Fed governors have resisted enacting it, arguing that capital levels are high enough and that financial risks are not elevated. Mr. Quarles has gone a step further, saying that the extra layer is essentially always “on” because the Fed and its fellow regulators require American banks to maintain much higher capital levels than their global peers.

Mr. Quarles has suggested that the countercyclical buffer should be counted toward existing capital requirements. The move could reduce capital requirements over time, relative to the status quo, because banks would face lower standards during downturns, analysts say.

Mr. Powell indicated on July 31 that the Fed was contemplating such a change.

“The idea of putting it in place so that you can cut it — that’s something other jurisdictions have done, and it’s worth considering,” Mr. Powell said. “This isn’t something we’ve decided to do. It’s just under consideration.”

Critics say that treating the countercyclical buffer as part of current requirements, instead of as a cherry on top, even risks permanently lowering capital requirements.

“I’ll believe it when I see it, that a Federal Reserve constituted like we have now will ever voluntarily turn on the capital buffer,” said Jeremy Kress, a former Fed regulator who now works at the University of Michigan. “It’s a backdoor reduction of capital.”

A proposal already underway will lower capital slightly, while making a hard cap on how much the biggest banks can borrow more flexible. Known as the “enhanced supplemental leverage ratio,” the measure was put in place to ensure that the eight largest United States banks did not overextend themselves with borrowed money, as some did in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The changes would give banks more room to borrow and bring United States rules in line with global standards.

Mr. Quarles has called it a “modest recalibration” that will ensure that banks’ capital requirements better reflect the risks to which they are exposed. Bank executives support the change, which could free $400 million of bank holding company capital — 0.04 percent of the total — for dividend payouts and buybacks, according to staff estimates.

Not all of the tweaks act on capital directly. For example, the Fed has also begun disclosing more information about its stress tests, which critics equate to giving banks the answers ahead of the test. Mr. Quarles takes objection to that characterization, saying the point of stress testing is to encourage strong capital standards, not to punish banks.

“Like a teacher, we don’t want banks to fail. We want them to learn,” he said in a July speech.

The Fed has also cut a qualitative component from most banks’ tests, one that checks in on their processes, rather than assessing numbers alone. Ms. Brainard voted against the move.

The Fed is also expected to soon approve changes to the Volcker Rule, which was ushered in after the crisis to limit banks’ investment activities. The revised rule, which must be approved by the Fed and four other financial regulators, could give banks more flexibility to invest in private equity and hedge funds and will probably be “helpful to the big banks, especially in terms of making compliance easier,” Ian Katz, an analyst with Capital Alpha, wrote in a note previewing the move. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will discuss the proposal on Tuesday.

The risk with all the fiddling, experts say, is less that any individual change will burn down the house — in fact, banks and some lawmakers have urged the Fed to move faster. It is more that this gradual drip of deregulation points in one direction for the largest banks, and could undermine standards just as the expansion hits record length and the economy faces challenges.

Mr. Stein, the former Fed governor, said in an interview that his concern was partly about the message sent to bank supervisors in the field.

“What is the tone that you’re setting?” he said.

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Big Banks Are Earning Billions of Dollars. Trump’s Tax Cuts Are a Big Reason.

Westlake Legal Group 17banks1-facebookJumbo Big Banks Are Earning Billions of Dollars. Trump’s Tax Cuts Are a Big Reason. Wells Fargo&Company United States Politics and Government United States Economy United States Taxation Stock Buybacks Moynihan, Brian T JPMorgan Chase&Company Interest Rates Goldman Sachs Group Inc Federal Taxes (US) Federal Reserve System Donofrio, Paul M Credit and Debt Company Reports Citigroup Inc Banking and Financial Institutions Bank of America Corporation

The five largest banks in the United States reaped tens of billions of dollars in profits in the first half of the year, thanks in part to a strong economy and to the lingering effects of President Trump’s tax cuts.

Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have all seen their tax rates decline to 22 percent or less as a result of the cuts, compared with rates of around 30 percent three years ago, one of the most consistent sources of strength apparent in quarterly earnings reports issued this week.

JPMorgan’s tax rate fell to just under 15 percent in this year’s second quarter, although the bank said it would probably inch higher later in the year. Wells Fargo’s tax rate for the quarter was just over 17 percent, and Bank of America’s was 18 percent.

The reduced rates helped offset a general decline in Wall Street trading revenue and added some pep to what would have otherwise been unremarkable quarterly performances by most of the banks.

Bank of America had the strongest results across the board among the five. It earned $7.3 billion from April through June, 8 percent more than it did during the same period last year. It also reported growth in deposits and loans to consumers.

“We see solid consumer activity across the board,” Bank of America’s chief executive, Brian Moynihan, said in a statement. He added that the country’s economy still appeared to be “steadily growing.”

JPMorgan’s overall results were strong, too: It earned $9.7 billion for the quarter, 16 percent more than in last year’s second quarter. Its credit card business boomed, but revenue from other kinds of loans fell.

Activity on Wall Street has faltered recently, with investors unsure of how to plan for fallout from Mr. Trump’s continuing trade war and the increasing likelihood that the Federal Reserve will begin to cut interest rates after a brief period of increases.

“We don’t know what kind of rate cut we’re going to get and we don’t know why,” Paul Donofrio, Bank of America’s chief financial officer, said. “That’s important.”

Lower interest rates could cause banks to earn less in interest on loans. Bank of America and JPMorgan both warned that the Fed’s likely shift toward lowering rates meant that they would probably earn less in the second half of the year than they originally anticipated.

Goldman Sachs was the only one of the five big banks to declare some type of win on Wall Street, although it was a partial one: an increase in revenue from trading stocks and certain kinds of derivatives. At $9.5 billion, Goldman’s overall quarterly profit was down 2 percent from the same period last year. It was the only one of the five to report a decline.

Citigroup may have gotten the most significant lift from a lower tax rate. The bank’s chief financial officer, Mark Mason, said the strength in Citi’s adjusted per-share earnings — $1.83, higher than Wall Street analysts’ expectations — was mostly a result of the lower rate and of a decline in its outstanding shares. The decline stemmed from Citi repurchasing shares.

Citi, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo said last month that they planned to repurchase a combined $105 billion in shares over the next year.

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Deutsche Bank Is Subpoenaed for Trump Records by House Democrats

Congressional investigators on Monday intensified their pursuit of President Trump’s personal and business financial records by issuing a subpoena to his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank.

The two committees that issued the subpoena, the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees, also demanded documents from numerous other financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe, according to three people with knowledge of the investigation.

“The potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern,” Representative Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, said in a statement. She added that the panel was “exploring these matters, including as they may involve the president and his associates, as thoroughly as possible pursuant to its oversight authority, and will follow the facts wherever they may lead us.”

The subpoenas were the latest attempts by congressional Democrats to collect information about the finances of Mr. Trump and his family-owned company, the Trump Organization, and were immediately condemned by Mr. Trump’s son Eric.

“This subpoena is an unprecedented abuse of power and simply the latest attempt by House Democrats to attack the president and our family for political gain,” Eric Trump said in a statement. He added that the subpoenas “set a horrible precedent for all taxpayers.”

Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s lawyer, said the company was weighing its options for potentially blocking Deutsche Bank from complying with the subpoena.

Deutsche Bank’s longstanding relationship with Mr. Trump is a central element of the joint committee investigation. Over the past two decades, Deutsche Bank has been the only mainstream bank consistently willing to do business with Mr. Trump, who has a long history of defaults and bankruptcies. The bank has lent him well over $2 billion, and Mr. Trump had more than $300 million in outstanding loans from Deutsche Bank by the time he took office, making the German bank the president’s biggest creditor.

Kerrie McHugh, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman, said the company was “engaged in a productive dialogue” with the committees. “We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations in a manner consistent with our legal obligations,” she said.

Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, described the subpoena to Deutsche Bank as “friendly” and said the German lender had been cooperative.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_137352126_ef6279af-84ee-44f8-bd29-a16b182274ac-articleLarge Deutsche Bank Is Subpoenaed for Trump Records by House Democrats United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Deutsche Bank AG Democratic Party Citigroup Inc Banking and Financial Institutions

Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.CreditDaniel Roland/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Several other banks also received subpoenas on Monday seeking records related to business the banks did with people and organizations in Russia and Eastern Europe. The identities of those individuals were not clear.

The Deutsche Bank subpoena had been in the works for months, with congressional investigators negotiating the specific demands with the bank’s lawyers. Deutsche Bank had pushed for the subpoena’s scope to be narrowed, arguing that doing so would make it easier and faster for the bank to produce the documents, three of the people said.

An investigation into Mr. Trump’s finances has been one of the highest priorities of Democrats since they gained control of the House of Representatives last fall. Another Democrat-controlled committee, the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has requested the personal and corporate tax returns of Mr. Trump, who did not release those documents during the 2016 campaign, breaking with a long tradition among presidential candidates.

Mr. Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank has drawn the attention of Ms. Waters and Mr. Schiff, two California Democrats. The committees have hired experienced former federal prosecutors and Capitol Hill investigators to help with the investigation, and some committee aides have pushed to further expand the teams, arguing that they lack the resources to conduct a thorough but swift investigation.

While Deutsche Bank has been cooperative, its lawyers have warned that they will have to notify the White House about their plans to hand over Trump-related materials, according to people familiar with the discussions. Investigators have braced for a court fight if the White House or the Trump Organization seek to block the bank’s cooperation.

The congressional panels are not alone in investigating the relationship between Deutsche Bank and Mr. Trump. The New York attorney general, Letitia James, issued a subpoena to the German bank, and one other lender, last month seeking information about loans to Mr. Trump.

At a public hearing last week, Ms. Waters grilled the chief executives of several banks about their business dealings in Russia.

“Much has been reported about how Deutsche Bank has been a pathway for criminals, kleptocrats and allies of Mr. Putin to move illicit funds out of Russia,” she said at the beginning of the hearing. “But recent information shows that some of your institutions have also been providing services for Russian individuals or entities that may be engaging in questionable transactions.”

Ms. Waters asked the executives if their banks had conducted internal reviews. While some of the executives she questioned acknowledged looking into possible connections to Russian money-laundering, Citigroup’s Michael Corbat told Ms. Waters that he could not comment “on an ongoing investigation.”

Deutsche Bank executives did not attend the hearing, but their bank has been deeply entangled in Russian money-laundering before.

The German lender has done business in Russia for more than a century, and some top executives developed close ties to the Kremlin. Earlier this decade, a group of employees in its Moscow office took part in a multibillion-dollar scheme to move rubles out of Russia, which led to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from British and American authorities.

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Congressional Investigators Subpoena Deutsche Bank and Other Lenders

Westlake Legal Group merlin_137352126_ef6279af-84ee-44f8-bd29-a16b182274ac-facebookJumbo Congressional Investigators Subpoena Deutsche Bank and Other Lenders United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Deutsche Bank AG Democratic Party Citigroup Inc Banking and Financial Institutions

Congressional investigators on Monday issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and numerous other banks, seeking information about President Trump’s finances and the lenders’ business dealings with Russians, according to several people with knowledge of the investigation.

The subpoenas, from the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees, were the latest attempts by congressional Democrats to collect information about the finances of Mr. Trump and his family-owned company. Another House committee is separately seeking Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns.

The committees that issued subpoenas on Monday are jointly investigating Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Mr. Trump. Over the past two decades, Deutsche Bank was the only mainstream bank consistently willing to do business with Mr. Trump, who has a long history of defaults and bankruptcies. The bank has lent him well over $2 billion, and Mr. Trump had more than $300 million in outstanding loans from Deutsche Bank by the time he took office, making the German bank the president’s biggest creditor.

Kerrie McHugh, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman, said the company was “engaged in a productive dialogue” with the committees. “We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations in a manner consistent with our legal obligations,” she said.

Multiple other banks — including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America — also received subpoenas on Monday, according to two people with knowledge of the subpoenas. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation.

The subpoenas seek records related to business the banks did with a list of suspected money launderers from Russia and other Eastern European countries, according to a person familiar with the subpoenas.

The subpoena to Deutsche Bank had been in the works for months, with congressional investigators negotiating the specific demands with the bank’s lawyers. Deutsche Bank had pushed for the subpoena’s scope to be narrowed, arguing that doing so would make it easier and faster for the bank to produce the documents, three of the people said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening. The Trump Organization, the holding company that oversees Mr. Trump’s business ventures, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Bank of America Will Lift Minimum Wage to $20, as Lawmakers Spotlight Inequality

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Westlake Legal Group 09BANKOFAMERICA-facebookJumbo Bank of America Will Lift Minimum Wage to $20, as Lawmakers Spotlight Inequality Wells Fargo&Company Wages and Salaries State Street Corporation Morning Joe (TV Program) minimum wage JPMorgan Chase&Company House Financial Services Committee Goldman Sachs Group Inc Citigroup Inc Banking and Financial Institutions Bank of New York Mellon Corporation Bank of America Corporation

A day before he was to appear at a congressional hearing focused on the biggest banks in the United States, Bank of America’s chief executive, Brian Moynihan, said on Tuesday that the bank planned to raise its minimum wage to $20 an hour from $15 over the next two years.

It was another example of how big banks are trying to deal with shifting political winds in Washington, where they face new scrutiny under the Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives.

Income inequality has become a key focus of some liberal lawmakers, some of them part of the tide of Democrats swept into office in last year’s midterm elections. And now the banks’ leaders must explain to progressive representatives like Maxine Waters of California and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York why they are paid more than 700 times what low-wage workers, including some tellers in their branches, earn each year.

Appearing on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” Mr. Moynihan said that starting next month, Bank of America’s lowest-paid employees would earn $17 an hour. The hourly rate would increase incrementally over the next two years until it reached $20, the highest minimum wage paid by any of the country’s largest banks.

JPMorgan Chase said last year that it was using some of the savings it had realized as a result of the Trump administration’s corporate tax cuts to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Mr. Moynihan is set to appear before the House Financial Services Committee, where he and leaders of Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and State Street Corporation are expected to be questioned on issues like executive pay, diversity, fair lending and the financial services industry’s ties to gun makers.

For years under Republican control of the committee, members focused on the effects of Dodd-Frank financial regulations. Now, instead of lamenting the constraints of stricter regulations, banks are being forced to respond to lawmakers’ inquiries about compensation and fair competition. Ms. Waters, who is chairwoman of the committee, recently harangued Wells Fargo’s chief executive, Timothy J. Sloan, for receiving a $2 million bonus even as regulators continued to criticize the bank’s performance. (Mr. Sloan resigned on March 28.)

The change is reflected in the topics that banks and trade groups choose to address at industry events. Discussions of income inequality are popping up in places like the Bank Policy Institute’s annual New York conference and the World Economic Forum’s retreat in Davos, Switzerland.

“Meet the new hyper-attuned bank C.E.O.s.,” said Mike Mayo, an analyst for Wells Fargo who covers Bank of America and other big banks. “If the top levels of the financial industry were tone-deaf around the financial crisis, this is the opposite.”

Big banks face growing pressure to show they are treating their less-powerful customers and employees well. On Tuesday at Bank of New York Mellon’s annual shareholder meeting, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, the civil rights leader, was in the audience. During a question-and-answer session, he first praised the bank’s chief executive, Charles W. Scharf, “on your efforts to achieve diversity across the United States in a fundamental way.”

But, he added, the bank still has work to do. “There’s too much disparity, too little transparency,” he said. “Are you preparing to raise the wages of workers, for example?”

Across the country, workers in low-wage jobs often find they need government assistance even though they have full-time employment, or even several jobs. A 2015 report from the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley, found that bank tellers were among those who struggled to earn enough.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America said the new wage would affect tellers as well as workers in consumer banking, technology and operations and staff support, among other areas. The bank has over 200,000 employees.

At Wells Fargo, which has been working to repair its culture and its standing with regulators after a series of scandals, some employees have had their pay stagnate or shrink as the bank reshaped its incentive plans so that they no longer encouraged cheating. Some rank-and-file employees have reported difficulties making ends meet. In 2017, Wells Fargo set its minimum wage at $15 an hour, up from $13.50.

Mr. Scharf said at Tuesday’s meeting that Bank of New York Mellon had recently raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Another source of pressure is an effort by the wealth management company Arjuna Capital to get several big banks, including Bank of America and Bank of New York Mellon, to disclose comparisons of the pay for men and women, and for white employees and minorities.

“The most striking feature of these banks is that they’re run by white men, and that there isn’t a balance of gender and racial equity in the top jobs,” Arjuna’s managing partner, Natasha Lamb, said in an interview on Tuesday. “Really, the goal of our proposal is to create a more diverse, balanced leadership.”

Bank of America and Bank of New York Mellon both advised shareholders to vote against Arjuna’s proposal this year, as did Wells Fargo and JPMorgan. Citigroup revealed last year that the median pay gap between its male and female employees was 29 percent — women earned that much less — while the gap between white and minority workers was 7 percent.

Mr. Mayo said the wage increase announced by Bank of America also reflected a trend among large banks toward employing fewer low-wage employees like tellers in favor of more highly skilled workers like financial advisers and technologists who help operate digital banking services. Mr. Moynihan was paid more than $26 million in 2018.

The Committee for Better Banks, an activist group that promotes employee unions, reported on Tuesday that in 2018, the six largest banks — JPMorgan, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman and Morgan Stanley — laid off more than 3,000 employees in total, an increase from 349 the previous year. Last year also had record annual profits for the banks.

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Bank of America to Raise Minimum Wage to $20 an Hour

Westlake Legal Group 09BANKOFAMERICA-facebookJumbo Bank of America to Raise Minimum Wage to $20 an Hour Wells Fargo&Company Wages and Salaries State Street Corporation Morning Joe (TV Program) minimum wage JPMorgan Chase&Company House Financial Services Committee Goldman Sachs Group Inc Citigroup Inc Banking and Financial Institutions Bank of New York Mellon Corporation Bank of America Corporation

A day before he was to appear at a congressional hearing focused on the biggest banks in the United States, Bank of America’s chief executive, Brian Moynihan, said on Tuesday that the bank planned to raise its minimum wage to $20 an hour from $15 over the next two years.

Appearing on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” Mr. Moynihan said that starting next month, Bank of America’s lowest-paid employees would earn $17 an hour. The hourly rate would increase incrementally over the next two years until it reached $20, the highest minimum wage paid by any of the country’s largest banks.

JPMorgan said last year it was using some of the savings it realized as a result of the Trump administration’s corporate tax cuts to raise its minimum wage to $15 and $18 an hour.

Mr. Moynihan’s announcement came as he prepared to appear before the House Financial Services Committee, where he and leaders of Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and State Street Corporation are expected to be questioned on issues like executive pay, diversity, fair lending and financial services industry’s ties to gun makers.

After years of Republican control of the committee, when members focused on the effects of Dodd-Frank financial regulations, the Democratic takeover of the House is placing the country’s biggest banks under new scrutiny. Instead of lamenting the constraints of stricter regulations, they are being forced to respond to lawmakers’ inquiries about whether they are too big and crowding out smaller lenders.

The change is reflected in the topics that banks and trade groups choose to address at industry events. Discussions of income inequality are popping up everywhere from the Bank Policy Institute’s annual New York conference to the World Economic Forum’s retreat at Davos.

“Meet the new hyper-attuned bank C.E.O.s.,” said Mike Mayo, an analyst for Wells Fargo who covers Bank of America and other big banks. “If the top levels of the financial industry were tone deaf around the financial crisis, this is the opposite.”

Mr. Mayo said that the wage increase announced by Bank of America also reflected a trend among large banks toward employing fewer low-wage employees like bank tellers in favor of more highly skilled workers like financial advisers and technologists who help operate digital banking services.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com