Bank of America’s $16 Billion Mortgage Settlement Less Painful Than It Looks | New York Times – Dealbook

From the article:

The Justice Department said on Thursday that it had so far recovered nearly $37 billion from big banks for their role in selling shoddy mortgages before the financial crisis.

Such a large number — intended to deter misdeeds in the future — suggests that Wall Street is being made to pay for its role in stoking the subprime debacle. Yet the financial pain inflicted by the settlements may not be as great in the end.

Feminomics: Women Reformers Motivated by a No Tolerance Rule

A great article from a very interesting website. Read the article here.
Excerpt:

During the past year, the financial sector has done a lot of wrong. First, it nearly self-destructed. Then it engaged with a set of Washington elites to extract trillions of dollars of public funds to ease its pain. Now, it’s posting record bonuses on the back of that assistance, in a disgustingly entitled manner, as if its profits are based on sheer skill, rather than federal aid, accounting tricks, and regulatory indifference. What’s missing from this reckless scenario? Women.

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The Other Stress Test (For Bankers)

The Baseline Scenario
Simon Johnson
Read the article here.
Excerpt:

There is nothing you can teach Wall Street titans regarding the timing of news flow. Stephen Friedman, the former head of Goldman Sachs, resigned last night as chair of the New York Fed’s board, after committing essentially a rookie error. In December/January, he traded the stock of a company (Goldman) overseen by the NY Fed, while helping to pick a new head of the Fed (formerly from Goldman), and presumably being aware of other potentially nonpublic information regarding bank rescues (benefiting Goldman both directly and indirectly). The real error, given the Federal Reserve System’s incredibly lax rules on potential conflicts of interest at this level, was failing to disclose this information to the NY Fed – they learned it from WSJ reporters and that cannot have been a good moment.

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From Madoff to Merrill Lynch, ‘Where was ethics officer?’

International Herald Tribune
Claudia Parsons (Reuters)
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Excerpt:

NEW YORK: Most major U.S. companies have an ethics officer, but as investors survey the wreckage of a deepening financial crisis that has exposed behavior ranging from risky to downright illegal, one might ask, “What were they doing?”

From Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme, to the subprime mortgage crisis, to lavish spending on the chief executive’s office at Merrill Lynch, the past year has seen a crisis of confidence in business that cost investors $6.9 trillion in U.S. stock market value last year.

“The rising market covered a lot of sins, and a falling market exposes one’s nakedness,” said Steve Priest, president of Ethical Leadership Group, a consulting firm that has worked with 50 of the biggest U.S. companies and firms in 40 other countries. “Investors don’t trust the companies they’re investing in. They don’t trust the financial statements, they don’t trust the audits, they don’t trust the bond rating agencies.”

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