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While You Were Working – April 13

The inconvenient truth about JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank still has problems, Big Banks lobby against Big Tech, And what do Wells Fargo customers have in common with gun owners?

4 min read

Modern Money

JPMorgan Chase

Like or not, JPMorgan Chase proves heavily regulated banks can win. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Is JPMorgan Chase the poster child for how well financial regulations are working?

This is an excellent take on how JPMorgan exemplifies all that is right with financial regulation, even though the bank is trying to get rid of some of those very same regulations. The piece looks at some of the words Jamie Dimon uttered about the outlook for the bank shortly before the financial crisis rocked the world. And then it looks at where JPMorgan is positioned now.

“On that April day in 2008, JPMorgan believed it was well-positioned for whatever storm was brewing. It boasted then about its 8 per cent capital ratio; today that stands at 11 per cent. It weathered the crisis better than others. But that is no reason to heed its calls for safeguards to be weakened.”

Amid all the regulations to which JPMorgan is subjected, the bank reported record profits this morning.

About that Saudi Aramco IPO…

There is sooooo much good stuff in this Bloomberg deep dive look at Saudi Aramco’s books. You can dive in and see for yourself, but now I am about 80% sure the IPO ain’t never gonna happen – except on the Saudi’s own exchange.

The trouble with Deutsche Bank

Lost in all the noise surrounding the gossipy exit of John Cryan at Deutsche Bank is the underlying fact that things clearly are not well at the German lender. I have a soft spot in my heart for Deutsche Bank. I don’t really know why, but it just seems like the world is a better place when Deutsche Bank is doing well.

Following the rather short stint of co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jurgen Fitschen, John Cryan was brought in to put out a fire at Deutsche Bank. He didn’t start the fire, but it was his job to put it out. Chairman Paul Achleitner decided Cryan wasn’t putting out the fire “fast enough,” so he removed him. Whether you agree with Achleitner’s move or not, one thing remains true: The fire is still burning.

New CEO Christian Sewing is now the fourth fireman called to the scene of the blaze. How many firemen have to fail before someone decides to just let the structure burn?

European banks boosted lobbying to fend off Big Tech

The threat Big Tech firms like Amazon and Google pose to financial services firm has been well-documented. Banks have even been known to collaborate amongst themselves in order to protect their turf. Now, banks in Europe are looking to lawmakers for help.

Considering how much financial services firms use consumer data to help shape the products and services they offer, I find it a bit rich they are complaining about the ways Big Tech harnesses consumer data to … you know … offer products and services. What’s good for the geese…

As an aside, I had a good chuckle when I read the title of the paper from the European Financial Service Round Table (EFR). “EFR Position Paper on Level Playing Field (LPF) and Future of Competition in a Platform Economy.”

In an industry drowning in acronyms to describe all manner of FRTB, TLAC, MiFID II, EMIR, CAT, GDPR, RWA, FSOC, CCAR, do we really need another one just to describe level playing field?

Money and guns

Wells Fargo has now weighed in on the kerfuffle over banks halting their lending to certain companies in the gun manufacturing business. The bank’s CFO, John Shrewsberry, said the government should be the one making gun policy, not banks.

Gun owners and Wells Fargo customers actually have a lot in common. Many gun owners in the US have multiple guns, just like many Wells Fargo customers have multiple accounts. The only difference is that the gun owners know they have multiple guns.

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