Reuters reports that Barclays Bank, which has now been sued three times in the last month over an alleged windfall profit of $5bn the bank is said to have made on the purchase of Lehman assets in September 2008, says that all talk of secret profiteering is just nonsense. The bank says that the lawsuits are simply a means to try and 'renegotiate now a deal that (was) fully understood and approved more than a year ago'.
Bloomberg reports that Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit is now urging the US Treasury and federal regulators to sign-on to a plan which will allow the company to repay the $20bn remaining of its bailout monies.
The US government will need to agree how much additional capital the firm needs to break free, and then Citi will go to market, raise the money, and apply $20bn to repay the government. Pandit is keen to get the deal done as soon as possible, as all its main rivals (except Wells Fargo) are now free from government interference.
And Reuters reports that The Kuwait Investment Authority (Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund) has sold its stake in Citi, making a cool $1.1bn (or 37%) return in the process.
David Reilly writes on Bloomberg that JPMorgan Chase's biggest asset at the moment might, ironically, be Goldman Sachs. The theory goes that as Goldman has become the main focus of all the bank / banker bashing, it leaves JPMorgan to go about its business (and do everything Goldman does), yet without being subjected to all the outrage.
In fact, you could argue that JPMorgan, which did well to acquire Bear Stearns so cheaply (with US government assistance), is getting off practically scot free. Furthermore, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is viewed as a hero (and even talked of as a possible successor to Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary ), while Goldman counterpart Lloyd Blankfein has had to up security at his home in the Hamptons.
In the meantime, Dow Jones Newswires reports that Dimon confirmed Tuesday that JPMorgan Chase is unlikely to increase dividend payments until the second-quarter 2010.
Finally, Reuters reports that Well Fargo executives are remaining coy about when, and how, they intend to repay the bank's TARP borrowing. CEO John Stumpf merely trotted out the party line earlier this week, responding to a question on the timing and method of the repayment of the borrowing, by saying that the money would be given back 'as soon as practical, and in a shareholder friendly manner'.
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