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Fate of California's cannabis bank up in the air; Wells settles with states

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Fate of California's cannabis bank up in the air; Wells settles with states

* Wells Fargo & Co.'s $575 million multistate settlement to resolve claims related to sales practices "covers nearly all of the known transgressions," but it does not absolve the bank from "securities law claims or specific regulatory agency claims," Compass Point Research & Trading LLC analyst Isaac Boltansky wrote in a report. Boltansky said the settlement bodes well for Wells Fargo, and he continues to believe that the bank will be freed from the asset growth restriction in 2019.

* California's bid to set up a state-owned bank to serve the cannabis industry received a setback after a state task force determined that the enterprise would be financially unviable, the San Francisco Chronicle said. Boltansky of Compass Point said the concept of having a state-based cannabis bank is not practical, adding that Congress should take "action aimed at addressing the fundamental incongruity between state and federal cannabis laws."

* In more regulatory news, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel has ordered Morgan Stanley to pay a total of $4.2 million to a Mega Millions lottery winner and a former NFL player to settle allegations that the broker/dealer failed to supervise one of its brokers who invested some of their money in a Miami Beach night club, On Wall Street reported.

* The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has imposed a fine of HK$12.5 million, or approximately US$1.6 million, on the Hong Kong branch of JPMorgan Chase & Co. for allegedly violating anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing rules.

* For employees at 4 large U.S banks in London whose jobs will be moved after Brexit, commuting between London and European cities will not be supported by their employers, The Financial Times reported. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup Inc. have warned their staff that they will not cover travel and accommodation costs in the long term should they decide to keep their families in the U.K. capital and commute to European cities, according to the report.

* A report by The Wall Street Journal flags rising corporate debt levels in the U.S., noting that nonbanks, such as private equity firms, are increasingly becoming a major source of lending for midsize businesses. Another report by the Journal highlights the efforts of payment and financial technology companies like Square Inc. to push consumer and small-business lending by leveraging the digital footprint left by their users.

* The recent gyrations of bitcoin show that the cryptocurrency moved somewhat in line with the traditional asset classes because institutional investors that operate in the mainstream markets are also increasingly investing in the cryptocurrency market, the Journal said.

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Northeastern banks push ahead in competitive mobile banking landscape

In other parts of the world

Asia-pacific: China to limit regional banks' expansion; Woori Bank gets nod on holding company

The day ahead

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

Most Asian markets were closed ahead of the New Year's holiday.

In Europe as of midday, FTSE 100 was down 0.14% to 6,724.79 and Euronext 100 climbed 0.18% to 914.56.

On the macro front

No notable reports are due out today.

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