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In This List

Malaysia seeks $7.5B in reparations from Goldman; Robinhood under Senators' lens

Street Talk Episode 68 - As many investors zig away from bank stocks, 2 vets in the space zag toward them

Street Talk Episode 66 - Community banks tap the debt markets while the getting is good

Street Talk Episode 67 - Veteran investor tabs Mick Mulvaney to help with latest financial stock-focused fund

Street Talk Episode 65 - Deferral practices trap US bank portfolios in purgatory


Malaysia seeks $7.5B in reparations from Goldman; Robinhood under Senators' lens

Malaysia is demanding $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. over the latter's dealings with 1Malaysia Development Bhd., the Financial Times reports. In an interview with the FT, the Southeast Asian country's finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, said the reparations should at least be more than $1.8 billion, the money Goldman has earmarked, in excess of the reserves, to cover potential losses related to 1MDB legal proceedings. Negotiations between the country and Goldman over the money have not started as yet, but the criminal charges filed against the investment bank could drive it to engage into potential discussions, according to the report.

Goldman Sachs is facing a federal securities class action lawsuit seeking damages over the bank's dealings with 1MDB. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of investors who bought the company's securities between Feb. 28, 2014, and Dec. 17.

Several U.S. senators raised concerns over Robinhood Markets Inc.'s recent product and they asked regulators to check if the financial technology startup misled customers by marketing an investment account as a traditional checking or savings account. In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Securities Investor Protection Corp. and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the senators asked how the agencies plan to oversee fintechs that intentionally or not, "blur financial products for a competitive advantage." On Dec. 13, Robinhood announced plans to launch a checking and savings account backed by the SIPC, but pulled the announcement after the SIPC said it does not insure cash deposited for anything other than purchasing securities. Robinhood immediately rebranded the new product as a cash management program.

In Georgia, community banks CCF Holding Co., Heritage Bancorp. and Providence Bank agreed to combine under one holding company, to be called Heritage Southeast Bancorp. Inc. The M&A deal has an aggregate transaction value of roughly $105 million and could close in the third quarter of 2019.

Hillsboro, Ohio-based Merchants Bancorp Inc. is buying in-state peer Citizens Independent Bancorp Inc. in a $33.3 million all-cash deal. The transaction is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2019.

Wells Fargo & Co. laid off hundreds of its employees in the U.S. in 2017 and moved several of those U.S. jobs overseas, the Charlotte Observer reports, citing federal documents released by the U.S. Department of Labor. A "significant" number of the 636 layoffs, which are being investigated by the Labor Department, in 2017 were sent overseas, according to the report. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a long-time critic of the bank, criticized Wells for cutting jobs at home and shifting them abroad while planning to repurchase $24 billion of its stock that would benefit only its shareholders and executives.

In people news, Javier Rodriguez Soler has been named the CEO of BBVA Compass Bancshares Inc. and U.S. country manager of its parent, Spanish lender Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, subject to necessary authorizations. He will succeed Onur Genç, who has been appointed the CEO of BBVA Group.

Noncash payments in the U.S. continued to show a strong growth between 2016 and 2017 as payments through credit and debit cards rose 10.1% by number and 8.4% by value during the period, according to electronic payments data collected by the Federal Reserve. The increases were larger than the increases of 7.8% by number and 6.3% by value between 2015 and 2016. The increase in the number of card payments in 2017 was attributed to the solid growth in the number of card payments made remotely, including for shopping and bill paying.

And the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing today entitled, “A Legislative Proposal to Provide for a Sustainable Housing Finance System: The Bipartisan Housing Finance Reform Act of 2018.”

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: HSBC Australia names new head of retail; Taiwan holds rate steady

Europe: New bond market scandal; Danske profit warning; Russia's VTB hacked

Middle East & Africa: Saudi banks settle Islamic tax dispute; Qatar ups key rate; Fitch affirms Angola

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Robinhood's botched savings account launch could throw IPO into limbo: The announcement of what critics have called a misleading product has cast doubt over Robinhood Markets' plans to run an initial public offering.

Credit unions, community banks chasing deposits as cost of funds rises: The advertising spending of some community banks and credit unions rose amid intense competition over deposits in conjunction with rising short-term interest rates.

California bank takes up 'dual fiduciary duties' with benefit corp status: Some see Beneficial State Bank's public benefit corporation status as a worthwhile endeavor, while others see it a trade-off between mission and profitability.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 51% to 25,753.42, while the Nikkei 225 was down 1.11% to 20,166.19.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.27% to 6,693.58, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.52% to 905.98.

On the macro front

The durable goods orders report, the Gross Domestic Product report, the corporate profits report, the personal income and outlays report, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's manufacturing index and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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