Will The Fed Drop The Hammer On Wells Fargo?

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates


A few weeks ago Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made some short – but very direct – comments about one of the big banks under the Fed’s oversight.

“Let me say that I consider the behavior of Wells Fargo toward its customers to have been egregious and unacceptable,” she said at her press conference following the Fed’s September monetary policy meeting. “We take our supervision responsibilities of the company very seriously. And we are attempting to understand what the root causes of those problems are and to address them.”

Now, for a person one of whose job requirements is to always speak cryptically, vague and ambiguously in public – Fedspeak, in other words – to call out one of the largest banks in the country and call its behavior “egregious and unacceptable” is pretty startling. That’s why I believe a major fine – at least $1 billion – against the Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) by the Fed is coming.

Not only would it be justified, but certainly not out of line given past Fed penalties against other banks that committed far less “egregious” misdeeds. The fact that all of Wells’s transgressions were highly publicized and committed against consumers – millions of them – makes it even more imperative that the Fed let Wells have it between the eyes.

Let’s look at some recent big fines imposed by the Fed against the banks it regulates: Continue reading "Will The Fed Drop The Hammer On Wells Fargo?"

CFPB Stays, But Cordray Goes

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates


The worst-kept secret in Washington is that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray may be running for governor of Ohio. Whether that satisfies his political ambitions or not is unclear, given that if he wins he would have to answer to someone other than himself – the state’s taxpayers – a position he doesn’t seem comfortable with.

In a country loaded with way too many arrogant politicians and government officials who think they are above the law and normal standards of decency, Cordray has set the bar pretty low. Few public officials have shown the level of contempt for legitimate questioning from Congress, the White House and the industries his agency oversees than Cordray has shown since he took over the CFPB, and it’s only gotten worse in the past few months as his tenure winds down.

More seriously, his obstinacy, haughtiness, and lack of candor are likely to cost the agency a lot of goodwill and support in Washington, and possibly among the public. He owes it to the agency he helped build and supposedly loves to step down immediately before he creates more damage.

Now comes word that Cordray’s agency may have botched the Wells Fargo scandal – big time. Not only has there been previous evidence that the CFPB was lackadaisical in investigating the bank’s sales practices, at least a year after the Los Angeles Times reported there were problems, but now a recently released internal memo shows that the agency’s lawyers felt there was a strong justification to hit the bank with a $10 billion penalty, instead of settling for a paltry $100 million last September.

What’s up with that? Continue reading "CFPB Stays, But Cordray Goes"

We Need To Keep The CFPB

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates


President Trump’s first federal budget proposal got a lot of grief over the past week from both Republicans – some of whom say it’s “dead on arrival” – and Democrats – some of whom claim it’s actually going to kill people. But one small part of the plan got relatively little notice, maybe because it was on the next-to-last page of the document. That was the huge cuts proposed for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), essentially abolishing it in a few years.

The Trump proposal would cut the agency’s budget by $145 million in 2018, a one-year reduction of more than 20%, with the cuts increasing to more than $700 million by 2021, when it would essentially be defunded.

I think that would be a terrible mistake. For those of you who disagree, I have two words for you: Wells Fargo (WFC). Continue reading "We Need To Keep The CFPB"