And here’s another bombshell:
The Federal Reserve says it will “vigorously” fight attempts by the Securities and Exchange Commission to require the bank to publish a list of customers who lost money or suffered serious harms because of the alleged marketing scheme. The Fed “regrets the uncertainty created by continuing to debate this issue, particularly since the final resolution of the litigation is now expected within the next several months,” a Federal Reserve spokeswoman said Wednesday.
And now for some more bad news for banks:
The New York Fed has warned that it is on the brink of losing a bid to force Bank of America and Citigroup Inc. to tell its regulator the truth about their role in the allegedly misleading banking practices, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The New York Fed made the statement during a Dec. 6 board meeting, said people with knowledge of the matter. The bank’s CEO is under investigation by a New York state attorney general’s office, but as one regulator argues the banks’ conduct deserves far more oversight.
And here’s what I think is most remarkable about the entire ordeal:
In the early 2000s, the SEC announced it was looking into whether Wall Street banks marketed complex securities to non-bank investors like hedge funds, then marketed the same securities to big banks. But because it had been unable to produce evidence to back up allegations about the conduct, the SEC quietly dropped the investigation several years ago. Wall Street declined to cooperate. As a result, some of the accusations against those institutions have since been dismissed.
But after the Justice Department announced it was shutting down a case against Citigroup “over the bank’s marketing of an iPhone, the company has reopened its probe,” WSJ’s Kevin Poulsen reports.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Attorney General Eric Holder held off on conducting a wider investigation when it emerged that the bank planned to buy Bear Stearns, the failed Wall Street firm that had been the target of the inquiry.
Holder also ordered DOJ lawyers and investigators to “refrain from any actions that could reasonably be considered obstruction of justice if appropriate,” in the lead-up to a possible settlement and during “all pretrial procedures,” according to the documents The New York Times obtained.
In April, the Justice Department and the SEC announced that they would work together on the case “to identify and appropriately pursue compliance measures.”
The banks, meanwhile, vowed to sue in the New York case.