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Wells wrestles with shareholder proposals; Citi exiting mortgage servicing biz


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Wells wrestles with shareholder proposals; Citi exiting mortgage servicing biz

While Sen. Elizabeth Warren questions the disappearance of the Wells Fargo & Co. whistleblower page on the Labor Department's website, the agency in turn has cleared Donald Trump's administration from suspicion it interfered in the investigation, Bloomberg News reports. Still, it might raise extra questions at Andy Puzder's confirmation hearing as Labor secretary.

But even if Wells has gotten the Labor Department off its back, it seems to have its hands full with shareholder proposals. The Wall Street Journal reports the San Francisco-based company has asked the SEC to exclude several duplicate proposals, while their filers argue there are differences in terms of accountability demanded from the fake accounts-scandal.

Guess who else is offering business loans through an online lending platform. Reuters reports Citigroup Inc. has partnered with Biz2Credit — the president and COO of which both used to be affiliated with Citi.

On the other hand, Citi is exiting the mortgage servicing business, with the sale of rights and related servicing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans of non-Citi retail customers. The outstanding balances amount to about $97 billion, and the buyer is New Residential Mortgage LLC. Remaining Citi-owned loans and mortgage servicing rights will be transferred next year to Cenlar FSB.

Good news for some traders: JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s bonus pool will be roughly 20% higher for those who deal in government bonds and swaps, say Bloomberg's sources. Meanwhile, rates traders at Morgan Stanley have a bonus pool that's more than 10% higher, and those at Bank of America Corp. are getting an average bonus increase of also more than 10%.

Remember when the U.K. Prime Minister met with Wall Street CEOs in Davos? Aside from JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, Morgan Stanley's James Gorman and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s Lloyd Blankfein, the gathering included BlackRock Inc.'s Larry Fink, BofA's Brian Moynihan and Blackstone Group LP's Stephen Schwarzman, the Financial Times reports. Sources for the FT add "Blankfein talked tough," telling Theresa May other European centers could someday rival the City. May, for her part, was said to have a firm grasp of the consequences for London's financial district. She also reportedly had a separate meeting with Schwarzman to discuss her then upcoming meeting with Trump.

In community banking news, Illinois-based Seaway Bank and Trust Co. failed on Friday. Dallas' State Bank of Texas assumed all its deposits and bought $309.0 million of its assets.

The asset management scene is seeing BlackRock, State Street Corp. and Vanguard Group Inc. grow their corporate governance teams, amid criticism that institutional shareholders do little to police the firms they partly own. The FT covers the development.

And North Carolina's money managers can expect a personal call from Dale Folwell, according to the Triangle Business Journal. The State Treasurer is aiming to cut the fees it pays, which amounted to more than half a billion last year for an aggregate $38 billion being externally managed.

And broker/dealer Citadel Securities LLC has a new man at the helm. Peng Zhao succeeds Kevin Turner, who left after just months at the top. Bloomberg calls Turner's (previous) job "one of the trickiest straits in finance: growing a business at Citadel while not being named Ken Griffin." Bloomberg also notes quick turnovers are not unusual at Citadel.

An update on the $211 million merger between specialty lenders Stonegate Mortgage Corp. and Home Point Financial Corp.: The latter gets about $7.3 million if Stonegate goes with another buyer.

In the fintech sphere, Canada's DH Corp. is drawing interest from potential buyers Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, TPG, Cerberus Capital Management LP and Thoma Bravo LLC, say Reuters' sources.

And France's Linedata is buying New York-based Gravitas Technology Services.

On the regulatory front, the FDIC on Friday released a list of enforcement actions, including previously disclosed consent orders against Ameris Bank and Branch Banking and Trust Co.

In other parts of the world

Europe: More Co-op Bank intervention; Allianz eyes QBE; Bankia posts results

Middle East & Africa: Trump's immigration ban fallout; Al Hilal Bank CEO leaves

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Nikkei slid 225 by 0.51% to 19,368.85.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.76% to 7,129.75 and the Euronext 100 by 0.89% to 925.84.

On the macro front

The Commerce Department's personal income and outlays report, the National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index and the Dallas Fed's manufacturing survey are due out today.

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