Tag Archive for ‘Bank of America’
Columnist Gael O’Brien speaks with Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton about a new book in which he argues that successful entrepreneurship and job creation are the most pressing issues facing the world. A critical part of addressing those challenges: the banking industry and its relationships with small business. “Banks,” says Clifton, “are one degree away from us, not six degrees.”
In March 2011, the Federal Reserve made a controversial decision to permit 19 leading U.S. financial institutions to pay out $33 billion to shareholders, including many of their own top executives. Pulitzer Prize winner Jesse Eisinger’s in-depth account of the Fed’s momentous decision sheds light on the inner workings of one of the most powerful but secretive economic institutions in the world.
A federal judge in Manhattan rejected a proposed settlement between Citigroup and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over a failed security that the bank sold to investors. “If the allegations of the Complaint are true, this is a very good deal for Citigroup,” said U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff as he refused to sign off on the $285 million proposed settlement agreement.
Widespread demonstrations in support of Occupy Wall Street have put the financial crisis back into the national spotlight lately. So here’s a quick refresher on what’s happened to some of the main players, whose behavior, whether merely reckless or downright deliberate, helped cause or worsen the meltdown.
Many major banks invest in companies that engage in the environmentally destructive practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, whereby the tops of mountains are removed by explosives to expose thin seams of recoverable coal. Despite some banks’ stated intent to limit such financing, a Sierra Club/Rainforest Action Network “report card” indicates that few are yet walking the talk.
Columnist Gael O’Brien discusses an innovative corporate responsibility initiative launched by Panera Bread, the national cafe-bakery company. “Panera Cares” has opened community cafes in three cities – Clayton, Missouri; Dearborn, Michigan and Portland, Oregon – based on a pay-what-you-can model where those who can pay more do in order to cover the cost of others.
Whistle-blowers, truth-tellers and fraud-spotters pay a miserable price on Wall Street. They are vilified. They are fired. Sometimes they are even sued. Instead of being sought after, they become persona non grata. Pulitzer Prize winner Jesse Eisinger reports on the case of David Maris, a one-time star analyst for Bank of America.
Later this month, the U.S. Federal Reserve is going to let banks know how they did on its most recent round of “stress tests,” a follow-up to the tests the Fed conducted in the wake of the financial crisis. But reporter Jesse Eisinger says something seems different this time around. It’s almost as if the banks knew their results, even before the testing was complete.
Reporter Jesse Eisinger credits the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s just released report for being full of fascinating information and detail. Its biggest failing, he suggests, “is its timidity in engaging the most important question looming over the crash: What did Wall Street know and when did it know it?”
In a post-mortem on mortgage lender Countrywide Financial and its former CEO, Angelo Mozilo, columnist Gael O’Brien explains how personal baggage and ego unchecked can drive unintended outcomes – sometimes persuading a leader to turn a deaf ear to criticism and information that’s needed to get back on course.