Banco Popular de Puerto Rico signed a $1.7 billion cash deal to acquire Wells Fargo & Co.'s auto finance business in Puerto Rico. Specifically, the Popular Inc. subsidiary is buying approximately $1.5 billion in retail auto loans and $340 million in commercial loans from Wells Fargo's Reliable Financial Services Inc. and Reliable Finance Holding Co., including assets and liabilities.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in a Feb. 13 letter to Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan, criticized the company for its "utterly inept" efforts at compensating customers who were improperly charged mortgage rate-lock fees and auto loan insurance premiums, The Wall Street Journal reports. Days earlier, WSJ reported that Wells Fargo sent erroneous letters to 38,000 people in its attempt to refund affected auto loan customers.
Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — Wells Fargo's biggest shareholder — lowered its stake in the during the fourth quarter of 2017. Berkshire Chairman, President and CEO Warren Buffett sold 6 million shares, or 1.31% of the company's investment in Wells Fargo. As of Dec. 31, 2017, Berkshire held 458,232,268 Wells Fargo shares worth $27.80 billion.
On the other hand, Buffett increased Berkshire Hathaway's investment in Bank of New York Mellon Corp. by 17.41% to 60,818,783 shares, which was worth about $3.28 billion at the close of 2017.
In other banking news, Bank of America Corp.'s BofA Merrill Lynch is in a confidential partnership with Amazon.com Inc. regarding the latter's Amazon Lending program, an invitation-only program launched in 2011 that provides loans to merchants, CNBC reports, citing "people familiar with the matter."
In Illinois, sister banks First National Bank in Paxton and Cissna Park State Bank will consolidate this year to become Frederick Community Bank. The banks are units of Agricultural Banking Corp.
In merger news, Avanti FCU and Glacial Lakes Educational Employees FCU — both based in In Watertown, S.D. — are set to combine on March 1. The combined organization will be led by Avanti FCU CEO Judy Wolff.
Hamilton, Bermuda-based Bank of Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Ltd. agreed to acquire Deutsche Bank AG's banking and custody business in the Cayman Islands, Jersey and Guernsey. Deal terms were not disclosed.
In government and regulatory news, the U.S. House of Representatives, in a 245-171 vote, passed a bill known as the "Madden Fix" which seeks to resolve legal ambiguity around the rights of a digital lender when entering bank partnerships.
And the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing today entitled "Examining De-risking and its Effect on Access to Financial Services."
In other parts of the world
Asia-Pacific: India, China bidding for Bangladesh bourse stake; Suncorp H1 net profit slides
Europe: Aegon Q4 profit up 110%; Rabobank FY'17 profit jumps; Creval prices share issue
Middle East & Africa: Ramaphosa to lead South Africa as Zuma resigns; Tunisian central banker leaves
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng grew 1.97% to 31,115.43, and the Nikkei 225 was up 1.47% to 21,464.98.
In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.58% to 7,255.48, and the Euronext 100 climbed 1.02% to 1,011.90.
On the macro front
The jobless claims report, the PPI-FD report, the Empire State manufacturing survey, the industrial production report, the National Association of Home Builders' housing market index, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
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