July 24, 2012 |
The Libor scandal is more than just the latest financial deception to come to light. It exposes a fraud that runs to the heart of our financial system. Libor, the London interbank offered rate, is a benchmark for a range of interest rates, and the misdeeds making headlines have to do with how those rates are set. If insiders can manipulate the basic measurement of a loan — the interest rate — there is rot at the core of the financial system. The British financial giant Barclays has admitted to manipulating the rate from 2005 to at least 2009.
March 12, 2013 |
TRIBUNE WASHINGTON BUREAU WASHINGTON - The Obama administration reacted with new sanctions and blunt warnings Monday to a North Korean declaration that it had "completely scrapped" the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. Sharpening tensions on the peninsula, the North Korean regime declared in the party newspaper Rodong Sinmun that the 60-year-old truce was over and that "the time for final showdown has arrived. " It severed a hotline that had been used to prevent an unintended confrontation between North Korea and South Korea and angrily condemned a 13,000-troop U.S.-South Korean military exercise that began Monday.
April 17, 2012 |
Two years after President Obama vowed to eliminate the danger of financial institutions becoming "too big to fail," the nation's largest banks are bigger than they were before the nation's credit markets seized up and required unprecedented bailouts by the government. Five banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve.
May 3, 2012 |
Although 22 percent of Americans trust the nation's financial system, fewer people fear a large stock market drop, there is a slight uptick in trust in banks, and Americans are more confident about home values increasing compared with three months ago, according to the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index. The index, compiled in March, measures public opinion over three-month periods to track changes in attitudes. "This quarter we also saw an increased appetite for financial risk," said University of Chicago professor Luigi Zingales, coauthor of the index.
August 1, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration and Congress each moved Tuesday to further pressure Iran over its disputed nuclear program. Scrambling on an issue that has been gaining visibility in the election campaign, House and Senate leaders prepared for a final vote this week on legislation that adds penalties on Iran's energy, shipping and financial sectors. Separately, the administration announced an executive order that penalizes a Chinese bank and an Iraqi bank that have helped Iran evade international sanctions.
May 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve has broadened its oversight beyond banks and now monitors a wide range of financial institutions that could hasten another financial crisis, Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday. Bernanke said the Fed was still monitoring banks and other important financial institutions. But it has widened its scope to include other participants that could either trigger a crisis or make the system more vulnerable. Chief among them is the so-called shadow banking system, which includes loans that are turned into securities and sold to investors.
August 8, 2012 |
ALBANY, N.Y. - A British bank schemed with the Iranian government to launder $250 billion from 2001 to 2007, leaving the U.S. financial system "vulnerable to terrorists," New York's financial regulator alleged Monday. State Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky signed an order that requires London-based Standard Chartered Bank to answer his questions after an investigation into "wire stripping," the practice of removing crucial identifiers in financial transactions. The bank conspired with its Iranian clients to route nearly 60,000 different U.S. dollar payments through Standard Chartered's New York branch "after first stripping information from wire transfer messages used to identify sanctioned countries, individuals and entities," according to the agency's order.
February 10, 2012 |
FRANKFURT, Germany - More than two years after it came clean about its addiction to debt, Greece may finally have begun its long and painful road to recovery. Greece's fractious political leaders struck a deal Thursday to make deep cuts in government jobs and spending to help save the country from a default that could shock the world financial system. The deal, under negotiation since July, is one of two critical steps Greece must take to receive the equivalent of a $170 billion bailout from other countries in Europe and around the globe.
March 22, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the U.S. economy has strengthened but still needs extraordinary support to help lower high unemployment. In a statement after a two-day meeting, the Fed stood by its plan to keep short-term interest rates at record lows at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent, as long as the inflation outlook remains mild. And it said it would continue buying $85 billion a month in bonds indefinitely to keep long-term borrowing costs down.
January 31, 2014
BEN Bernanke exits his two terms as Fed chief this week generally regarded as the wonky econ nerd and student of the Great Depression who used his megamind to save our collapsed economy. He's credited with taking drastic action to restore some semblance of confidence in the financial system, and this he did. He bought up $4 trillion in mortgage bonds and securities from the big banks, shored up their balance sheets, paid off their worthless IOUs (the AIG bailout) and in the process kept rates low to help goose our anemic recovery.