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Regulators Frown on 'Ice Cream Bank'

Pittsburgh man is paying out interest in gift cards

(Newser) - State regulators are cool on a Pittsburgh businessman's idea for a bank that pays interest in ice cream shop gift cards. The Pennsylvania Department of Banking says it wants Ethan Clay to shut down the community bank he's set up at Oh Yeah! ice cream and coffee shop.... More »

JPMorgan Pays $20M Slap on Wrist Over Lehman

Regulators fine it $20M for improper lending

(Newser) - Federal regulators have filed their first action related to the momentous, crisis-sparking collapse of Lehman Brothers, but it won't amount to much. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today filed a civil case against JPMorgan Chase, accusing it of overextending credit to Lehman, the New York Times reports. But JPMorgan... More »

'Widespread' Abuses by Groupon: UK Regulator

Company given three months to clean up its act

(Newser) - The UK's Office of Fair Trading today found Groupon guilty of "widespread" violations of consumer protection rules, citing concerns over "pricing, advertising, refunds, unfair terms, and the diligence of its interactions with merchants," the BBC reports. The regulator gave Groupon three months to clean up its... More »

Feds to Bank of America: Get Your Act Together

Or else face public action

(Newser) - Federal regulators have warned Bank of America’s board that the bank will face a public enforcement action if it doesn’t take steps to fix its corporate governance, risk management, and liquidity, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . The bank has been operating under a confidential memorandum of understanding... More »

Microsoft Hits Google With Antitrust Complaint

Software giant sics European regulators on search giant

(Newser) - The war between Microsoft and Google just ratcheted up a notch: In its first-ever antitrust complaint against a competitor, Microsoft asked European regulators today to go after the search giant. Google is stunting competition and attempting to “entrench its dominance” on the Web, Microsoft complained to the European Commission.... More »

Regulators Ignored Killer Abortion Doc: Grand Jury

Multiple complaints against Kermit Gosnell ignored

(Newser) - Pennsylvania health officials ignored multiple complaints against Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of systematically killing newborn babies with scissors, the grand jury concluded. Almost a third of its report is spent castigating state and city authorities for their negligence, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer . “Government health and... More »

States Asked for Foreclosure Probe—3 Years Ago

Federal regulators turned down request, put off matter

(Newser) - State regulators suspected that there was something fishy about banks' foreclosure procedures as far back as three years ago, but federal regulators forbid them to take action, the Washington Post reports. The federal comptroller told the states his office was already planning an investigation, and that banks should only respond... More »

Obama Fires Head of Minerals Management Service

Elizabeth Birnbaum's head rolls thanks to BP oil spill

(Newser) - Democratic sources say the Obama administration has fired the head of the US Minerals Management Service in response to blistering criticism over lax oversight of offshore drilling. President Obama will announce the firing later today, the sources say. Elizabeth "Liz" Birnbaum had run the service in the Interior Department... More »

Feds Let Big Oil Fill Out Own Inspection Forms

Regulators also took gifts, openly hustled for oil company jobs

(Newser) - Minerals and Management Service regulators accepted gifts from the oil companies they were supposed to be watching over, and allowed those companies to fill out their own inspection reports, according to a damning report from the inspector general, which found sweeping misconduct at the agency from 2005 to 2007. One... More »

Regulators Let BP Blow Off Wildlife Permits

Endangered species protections simply ignored

(Newser) - The Minerals Management Service appears to have blatantly ignored a law requiring new oil drilling operations to get permits from the agency that assesses risk to endangered species. The MMS gave the okay to the Deepwater Horizon rig and dozens of others without getting the permits, the New York Times ... More »

Ex-Regulators Hired by Toyota Staved Off Recalls

Former NHTSA officials helped end four probes into accelerators

(Newser) - Two former employees of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration helped Toyota end at least four investigations into issues with its accelerators, according to court and government documents. Toyota’s VP of regulatory affairs, Christopher Tinto, and one of his subordinates, Christopher Santucci, came to the automaker directly from the... More »

Northwest Pilots Clammed Up After Overshooting Airport

FAA transcript shows pair blaming silence on 'cockpit distractions'

(Newser) - Air traffic controllers who sought an explanation from the pilots of the "runaway plane," which overshot the Minneapolis airport by about 100 miles last month, got little satisfaction. After being out of radio contact for over an hour, controllers asked the crew of Northwest Flight 188 for a... More »

FAA Admits Flubs on Wandering Northwest Flight

Miscommunication marked regulator's response to stray airliner

(Newser) - The FAA should have taken more decisive action on the Northwest Airlines flight that fell out of communication with ground control for 77 minutes last month, officials acknowledged today. While the plane was out of contact, air-traffic controllers changed shifts and failed to warn their replacements about the runaway plane.... More »

29-Year-Old SEC Honcho Came From Goldman

New COO Adam Storch did 'business intelligence' at connected Wall Street bank

(Newser) - The first person named to the new chief operating officer position in the SEC’s enforcement division is a 29-year-old whiz kid who previously worked at uber-connected Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg reports. "Adam’s skill in technology systems, workflow process, and project management will greatly benefit the division," his... More »

As Failures Mount, FDIC Asks Banks to Prepay

Regulator wants cash upfront through 2013 to avoid emergency credit line

(Newser) - The FDIC is set to ask banks to prepay three years of fees to replenish its coffers after a wave of bank failures, estimated to cost as much as $100 billion. Banks would be asked to prepay $45 billion of their quarterly assessments, but they wouldn't have to report the... More »

Court Overturns Merrill-BofA Settlement With SEC

Bank's $33M fine doesn't do 'justice' to shareholders, public: judge

(Newser) - A federal judge today scrapped the $33 million settlement Bank of America and the SEC agreed on as punishment for the bank's not informing shareholders of bonuses paid to Merrill Lynch executives just before the bank bought Merrill, the New York Times reports. Saying BofA "materially lied, " Jed... More »

Madoff on Fooling SEC: 'Just Be Casual'

Ponzi schemer taped giving associates tips to dodge regulators

(Newser) - The most important thing to remember if you want to fool the SEC is to act casual, Bernie Madoff told executives at Fairfield Greenwich Group. “You don't want them to think you're concerned about anything,” the Ponzi scheme mastermind said in a phone call taped in 2005, CNN ... More »

Debit Card Overdrafts Bring Banks Billions

Fees make credit card shopping look like the smarter thing to do

(Newser) - Debit card overdraft fees are helping to pay banks’ bills in the recession—and they're hitting customers hard, the New York Times reports. “Banks will let you overspend on your debit card in a way that is much, much more expensive than almost any credit card,” says an... More »

SEC Did Grill Madoff...About Whether He Was Hiring

Young, inexperienced investigators awed, missed signs of Ponzi scheme

(Newser) - Bernie Madoff got nervous every time SEC investigators came around, but he shouldn't have: A new book claims the regulators were so green they were awestruck by Madoff—and even asked about job openings and dropped off resumes, the New York Post reports. “They’d send kids. I think... More »

Geithner Flips Out, Tongue-Lashes Regulators

(Newser) - The heat is apparently getting to Tim Geithner. At a meeting last week with high-level financial regulators, the treasury secretary indulged in a potty-mouthed diatribe about delays in the administration's highly touted plan to overhaul the regulatory system, declaring, "enough is enough," the Wall Street Journal reports.... More »

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