Search Results for: tbtf

Another massive bank fiasco involving the full cast of TBTF banks, this time for Credit Default Swaps. Where is the boundary of fiascos?

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometime. There is an entirely new, huge banking mess that I hadn’t heard about before the billion dollar settlement was announced. Another small fiasco is rumored.

Another day, another couple billion out of the stockholders’ pocket.

First the nearly $2B private settlement.

Twelve banks agreed to settle a private antitrust lawsuit. The now-admitted scheme was to manipulate credit default swap rates. Those are deals to cover the loss if a bond defaults.

Follow up articles on the $5.8B settlement from TBTF banks

A few articles of note on the humongous settlements from five banks for manipulating foreign exchange rates. Oh, and a trivial $0.1B settlement from Barclays for manipulating yet another swap rate.

5/20 – Wall Street Journal – Barclays Fined $115 Million by CFTC for Alleged Manipulation of ISDAfix – Barclays tried to manipulate another index which is used to calculate pension payouts. This is an interest rate swap index. Game playing ran from 2007 until 2012.

Another TBTF bank accused of manipulating electricity prices – time to start paying attention to another fiasco

Three days ago I mentioned Barclays was accused of manipulating energy prices and the feds, specifically the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, claim a $487.9M fine is due from them.  The case is heading to court – Barclays to Dispute Electricity-Manipulation Charges.

The Wall Street Journal reports J.P. Morgan is now negotiating a settlement for allegedly playing games with electricity prices.

Time to start paying attention to another banking fiasco.

The article Big Bank Staring at Record Fine Over Energy says the bank began negotiations with FERC with a possible billion dollar fine on the table.

Fun reading for accountants

Manual accounting records. Anyone miss those? Didn't think sol. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Manual accounting records. Anyone miss those? Didn’t think so. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few fun reads for accountants:

  • Why no Hollywood movie will ever show a profit.
  • Adrienne Gonzalez is back at Going Concern, talking about the idea of TBTF Big 4 firms possibly, maybe, becoming SIFI (not likely to ever happen, but a fun read anyway).
  • Talent shortage appearing in the CPA world.
  • Research from Management of an Accounting Practice now available.

9/14/11 (yes, 2011) – The Atlantic – How Hollywood Accounting Can Make a $450 Million Movie “Unprofitable” – If you have never taken a look at the astoundingly creative accounting in Hollywood, this article will give you a superb introduction.

Several years ago I took a fraud education CPE course in which the instructor went on a tangent to explain why no Hollywood movie has ever made a profit and none of them ever will.

Followup on Wells Fargo opening accounts without customer permission

Wells Fargo Concord stagecoach. April 2012 photo by James Ulvog.
Wells Fargo Concord stagecoach. April 2012 photo by James Ulvog.

When the leading article from the Wall Street Journal mentioned earlier was placed on the front page of the print edition, the headline of

 Wells Fargo Fined for Sales Scam

was in type 0.4 inches tall. Yes, I measured it.

That is the largest font I recall seeing on the front page in a long time. Maybe I don’t pay enough attention to font size, but still, that is the largest headline I recall lately. Isn’t quite the way you want to get your name on the front page of the Journal.

Here’s another article from the WSJ and a discussion from Rumbi Bwerinofa. Also, a study that quantifies the damage caused to senior executives earnings from the stigma gained by having a scandal-tainted company on their resumes.

9/9 – Emily Glazer at Wall Street Journal – Next Test for Wells Fargo: Its Reputation – The fiasco of opening accounts in customers’ names without their permission is a story that could cause reputational damage. Article says analysts are concerned and bank execs are worried how much this will damage earnings.

Difference with this mess from other banking fiascos is that this one is easy to explain and easy to understand.

Litigation cases that could possibly take down a Big 4 firm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If a judgment at trial were big enough, it could mean the end of a large firm. Writing on August 13th at Market Watch, Francine McKenna explains PwC faces 3 major trials that threaten its business.

That threaten its business phrase in the headline actually means could take down the entire firm.

There are three major cases, each with a serious enough impact, that an adverse ruling in any one could take out the firm. One is in court now, another expected next February, with the final one in court within a year.

Work with me as I try to process through the cases. Here is the thumbnail version.

Two lawsuits over one client

Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp allegedly generated massive amounts of fraudulent loans, a large portion of which were sold to Colonial Bancgroup.  Both companies failed during the financial crisis.

PwC audited Colonial Bank and allegedly did not discover the bad loans that their client, Colonial Bank, bought from PwC’s non-client Taylor Bean.

A few more updates in the ongoing world-wide banking fiascos

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few recent reports: Reason for no criminal prosecution of one too-big-to-fail bank is that it was TBTF, an indictment and a settlement in forex cases, and progress in the money laundering investigations.

Since I use the term a lot, here is a definition of fiasco from Google:

a thing that is a complete failure, especially in a ludicrous or humiliating way. Synonyms: failure, disaster, catastrophe, debacle, shambles, farce, mess, wreck.

Seems to me throwing away $530 million of bank capital because bank staff and leaders wanted to cheat customers meets the definition of fiasco.

7/11 – Francine McKenna at Market Watch – HSBC wasn’t prosecuted because it was ‘too big to fail’: House Committee – A House committee concluded that HSBC wasn’t prosecuted for willful AML violations because it was TBTF. One part of the violations was intentionally leaving out of wire instructions any indication that the funds were related to activity in countries with bans.

Staff recommendations were to pursue a criminal prosecution. Attorney General Eric Holder determined the systemic risk was too high and thus agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement.

Updates on banking fiascos – 8/31

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Here are a few updates I’ve noticed about the banking fiascos:

8/17 – CFO Journal at Wall Street Journal – Biggest Banks’ Crisis-Era Settlements Petering Out: Report – Study by SNL Financial says payouts related to the financial crisis by the six largest US bank accumulate to $132B. More settlements are expected, but the number and dollar amount of settlements is slowing down.

Reserves for additional settlements are $5.9B at Goldman Sachs and $1.4B at Wells. The other four didn’t respond to the reporter about the dollars they have in reserves.


8/30 – Wall Street Journal – Meet the Private Watchdogs Who Police Financial Institutions – Article gives background on private sector monitors put in place to check on changes made to comply with deferred prosecution agreements.

Speculation on upcoming bank settlements

Not much news on the bank fiasco front in the last week or so. Here are two articles pondering what settlements are on the horizon.

5/26 – Alison Frankel at Reuters – Forex class action deals may hint banks braced to lose Libor appeal – Citigroup settled up for $394M with private parties over manipulation of forex.

Article points to one settlement I missed:

1/5 – Reuters – JPMorgan settles currency manipulation lawsuit in U.S. – Morgan will settle up with about $100M.

Criminal guilty pleas for big banks are no longer a death sentence; more like a messy traffic incident that hit the papers. What that approach might look like in your life.

The banks that settled up for a massive coordinated effort to manipulate foreign exchange rates each agreed to plead guilty to one criminal count of violating anti-trust rules. That makes each of them a felon.

Will describe why that is no longer a big deal and then offer an analogy of what this approach might look like in the life of an individual. …

$5.6B for 5 banks to settle up on manipulating forex for customer’s accounts

Big settlement announced today to resolve the Forex manipulation cases. Big surprise for me is the NYDFS only came in at $485M, with all of that going against Barclays. I was guessing a higher amount with DFS wanting a settlement from all the banks.

Here are two articles with the details, then I’ll list the individual settlements:  …

Expect big news of big settlements for big banks next week

Multiple reports indicate UBS will join previously expected  Barclays, JP Morgan,  RBS, and Citigroup  in settling up on their forex manipulation behavior next week.

A guilty plea to a felony criminal count is expected for all 5 TBTFs.

Biggest rumor is that DoJ may tear up the deferred prosecution agreement with UBS.

My wild guess of the dollar amount of the settlement? Four and a quarter billion. Reports i have seen over the past few weeks leave me wondering if that is just the DoJ settlements and doesn’t include NYDFS. If not, add another billion or three.

A few articles for more details:

A new metric for measuring the size of bank fines

After reading the data for the 100 largest accounting firms, I realized the CPA industry can provide a frame of reference for the magnitude of fiascos we are seeing in the banking industry. Discussion of that article is here.

My wild guess is here for the total fines for manipulating forex rates: a range of $11B to $16B with point estimate of $13B.

Sixteen billion is just a number with lots of zeros. Let’s look at that number in relation to revenue in the CPA profession.

Another Forex update

Not a lot of new info in this report on the TBTF banks’ settlement discussions for manipulating foreign exchange rates, or forex. There are a few tidbits at the inside-baseball level that are interesting. If you’ve been reading my posts on banking fiascos, you will appreciate this info.

2/13 – Bloomberg Business – U.S. is Seeking Billions from Global Banks in Currency Manipulation Settlement

DoJ is looking for a simultaneous settlement with all the banks so none of them are singled out.

Total dollar amount on the table is reportedly $4B with starting point for each bank about $1B, give or take.

Here’s what the really deep-inside-baseball lineup is looking like: …

From the dusty archives…Barings Bank. Thought to ponder: How do you prevent a rogue from taking down your business?

A sad anniversary – 2/24 – The Guardian – Barings collapse at 20: How rogue trader Nick Leeson broke the bank

Twenty years ago Barings Bank was taken down by one trader, Nick Leeson. The bank was founded in 1762. It was London’s oldest merchant bank.

Barings was 233 years old when it failed.