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Barclays gets kudos for defying DOJ; former Wells banker testifies today


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Barclays gets kudos for defying DOJ; former Wells banker testifies today

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department got Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group AG to end 2016 with the resolution of claims that they had missold mortgage backed securities. The two were hit with civil money penalties of $3.1 billion and $2.48 billion, respectively. Barclays Plc, on the other hand, held out and was sued. The Financial Times calls it "a historical victory of sorts" for the DoJ, just before the new president takes office. For Barclays, the FT adds, it is a "gamble," but one that lets investors know "it is back in control of its business." The Wall Street Journal writes: "Good for Barclays ... because [the DoJ's] complaint is a 198-page flight from logic."

Incidentally, Barclays has added Williams & Connolly to its legal counsel. The New York Times' DealBook notes that's the team that helped Bank of America Corp. get its $1.27 billion penalty overturned.

On the subject of bank settlements, Wells Fargo & Co. and the trust liquidating Residential Capital LLC have struck a deal over bad loans passed over to the now-bankrupt firm. Details have yet to be made public, but the WSJ's sources say the trust has so far recovered almost $400 million through such accords — compared with its $237 million figure as of Nov. 9.

Meanwhile, one former Wells banker will testify today in the DOJ's case over the bank's fake accounts scandal. Reuters reports Yesenia Guitron has herself sued her ex-employer for wrongful termination — and lost.

And here's an update on Morgan Stanley's fulfillment of its $3.2 billion RMBS settlement: It has so far earned credit for 27% of the $400 million in consumer relief it is supposed to distribute.

In broker-dealer news, Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Inc.'s brokers in 2017 will have to generate more than $12,000 a month in fees and commissions to qualify for their 50% payout. It used to be $10,000, according to AdvisorHub, and $8,000 prior to 2010. Sources for the media outlet add that another raise can be expected in 2018, with the quota for annual revenue increasing to $225,000 from $175,000 in order to qualify for a 25% payout.

And Algorithmic Inc. (d/b/a LendingRobot) is forming a fintech hedge fund. The WSJ reports it will buy credits made by online lenders, move investors' money like a robo-adviser might, and record positions and performance on the blockchain.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.03% to 19,403.06.

In Europe, around midday, the Euronext 100 was up 0.28% to 932.74.

On the macro front

The S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI report, the consumer confidence report, the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index and the State Street Investor Confidence Index are due out today.

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