Wednesday, April 03, 2013

I'm shocked ... absolutely SHOCKED!!!

I refer to an article by Mark Scott about Barclays Bank and the culture that led to the Libor manipulation uproar in The Times.  New York, not London.  Times, that is.

Titled "Report Faults 'At all costs' Attitude at Barclays," it cites the "push to change Barclays from a predominantly British retail bank to a global financial giant over the last two decades" as the factor that "created a culture that put profit before customers."

Profit before customers?  OMG!  I'm shocked.

If your financial situation is even slightly complex -- like having a certain type of variable-rate mortgage, for instance -- there's a real possibility that you are affected by Libor rates, and that the boys at Barclays -- and, allegedly, their buddies at RBS, HSBC, JPMorgan Bank, and Citigroup -- conspired to screw you just ever so slightly.  I'd include Deutsche Bank in that group, except they have a great art collection and I'm hoping they'll buy one of my paintings someday.  So I don't want to scotch the deal.

Anyway, Barclays, doing somebody's version of the right thing, agreed to pay $450-Large to settle the Libor case.  Which is roughly what they pay for the box-of-cigars-a-month subscription they provide for all their key executives.  I bet they didn't admit to any wrong-doing as part of the settlement.

Does the name Jed Rakoff mean anything to you?  He's a US District Judge in the Southern District of New York.  Which means that he hears a lot of Wall Street cases.  And although the guy's apparently a bit of a loose cannon, he does have one endearing quality:  he's started throwing out settlements between banks and attorneys general because it annoys him that there is no admission of guilt in the settlement.

Now there's a man I should paint.

Minimally, there should be something in the article that's fodder for PaintingTheStreetWeekly.


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