A collection of stories from SmartBrief publications and around the web…
Politico sheds light on the “real” bank of America: Federal credit programs, including student loans, mortgage guarantees and transportation programs, have expanded over the past decade from $1.3 trillion to $3.2 trillion in outstanding loans. The fast-growing programs lack oversight, regulation and management expertise. “The government is a gigantic financial institution, operating in a black box,” says Deborah Lucas, who runs MIT’s Center for Finance and Policy and previously worked for the Congressional Budget Office.
WSJ goes all FOIA on the NY Fed: The Wall Street Journal issued a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a copy of the Fed’s Office of Inspector General’s report on its oversight of JPMorgan Chase in the lead up to the London Whale trading fiasco. The report details how the Fed’s overreliance on the bank’s reputation played a role in how it missed the “tempest in a teapot” that was brewing in London.
Go green in the New Year: HSBC’s Zoe Knight in a Q&A about green bonds. “As the market grows, we anticipate a greater focus on whether green bonds are delivering tangible environmental benefits. The establishment of the Green Bond Principles was a first step towards demonstrating the integrity of the market; the next stage will be to define criteria for investment themes in renewables and energy efficiency.”
That other branch of the federal government: I spend so much time watching the actions of the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government (and the related alphabet soup of regulators) to see how they will affect financial services that I rarely pay attention to the Supreme Court. That is part of the reason I found the excellent reporting Reuters put into The Echo Chamber so eye-opening. There is so much detail on how the Court really operates and, more importantly, who really operates it. It was published a month ago, but if you read one thing about the Supreme Court in 2015, make sure this is it.