Three thoughts on the $13 billion settlement JPMorgan Chase has tentatively agreed to with the U.S. Justice Department:
This is what happens when the Wall Street-Washington revolving door is removed from regulating: JPMorgan initially offered 1$ billion to settle. Then reportedly upped its offer to somewhere around $3 billion. Regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would have jumped at any of those dollar figures, accepted a settlement whereby JPMorgan wouldn’t admit any wrongdoing, and called it a day.
But the dynamics at the Justice Department are different. Most of the people at DoJ neither came from Wall Street, nor expect their next job offer to come from Wall Street. That meant they could play hardball. DoJ not only upped the price tag to $13 billion (with some help from the FHFA), but they refused to grant the banks immunity from criminal prosecution – a reportedly key contention during the negotiations. (read more…)
The 5-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy has sparked numerous retrospectives of the financial crisis (and the response to the crisis). Here are 12 of the better reads out there:
Bloomberg makes the most of some great access it got to former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.
Hamilton Place Strategies dives deep on the issue of “Too Big to Fail”
Phil Angelides, the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, counts down 5 things that must be done to prevent another crisis.
BreakingViews delivers a 5-part series on the crisis that is one of the few that includes a look back on the Northern Rock debacle.
InvestmentNews weighs in with a view from the perspective of financial advisors.
The Economist tracks the some critical changes in the finance landscape with some nifty charts.
The Brookings Institution thinks things are safer now.
Buried beneath headlines the past few months about the “fiscal cliff” and sequestration was at least one nugget of positive information for the U.S. economy: Foreclosure starts declined in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Home mortgage foreclosure rates have been a key indicator in the U.S. economic recovery. Foreclosures hit a five-year low in October, according to Lender Processing Services and HOPE NOW. In December, 3.4% of mortgaged homes were in foreclosure, down from 4.2% in December 2011. Rates in each state vary according to local economic conditions.
States with the highest percentages of homes in foreclosure are in the Northeast, Northwest and Florida. In December, Florida had the nation’s highest rate of homes in foreclosure at 11.6%. In December, Florida’s unemployment rate was 7.9%, just above the U.S. rate of 7.8%.
States with the lowest percentages of homes in foreclosure are in the Plains States. At 0.5%, Wyoming had the lowest rate of homes in foreclosure in December; the unemployment rate was 4.9%. (read more…)
The demographics of the U.S. population are changing dramatically. We are becoming a much more diverse society due to the growth of minority populations and immigration. Illegal immigration is a hot topic, generating strong feelings on both sides of the issue. The Office of Immigration estimates that 11 million illegal immigrants are living in the U.S. today; 3 million arrived in the past 10 years. Congress and President Barack Obama plan to introduce legislation to change the status of immigrants who are currently in the U.S. illegally. It is clear that immigration — regardless of status — is changing the demographic makeup of the U.S. population.
Where do the minority populations live? Do their locations vary by the minority racial or ethnic type?
According to Esri, a geographic information systems company, in 2012, 115.8 million people in the U.S. identify themselves as a minority race or ethnicity. This includes 52.8 million Hispanics, 39.5 million blacks, and 15.2 million Asians as well as other races which includes American Indian and Pacific Islanders. (read more…)
Now that the holidays are over, the stress of higher credit card charges arrives with the bills. NerdWallet estimates that the average U.S. household had $14,478.78 in credit card debt in 2012 and that 46.7% of U.S. households carry credit card debt. According to CreditCards.com, 2.93% of consumers are delinquent on their credit cards. Credit card usage has dropped in recent years as some consumers are concerned about developing debt they cannot pay. Who carries debt and what credit cards they use varies across consumer types.
This article explores the types of consumers who charge a lot on their credit cards each month versus those who don’t. Also, it compares the types of consumers who carry American Express and Discover cards.
Credit card debt
Americans hold more than 600 million credit cards, according to CreditCards.com. This averages out to 3.5 cards per person. Many consumers use their cards quite avidly, charging everyday purchases such as food and gas. (read more…)