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AmEx to Cough Up $75M Over Deceptive Practices

335K consumers will get refunds for credit card add-on programs

(Newser) - American Express has agreed to pony up $75.7 million over what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is calling "deceptive marketing to sell credit card add-on products," reports the LA Times . Some $59.5 million of that will go toward refunds to the 335,000-plus consumers who were... More »

US Banks Hit Lowest Number Since Depression

Pennsylvania sees country's first startup since 2010

(Newser) - There are currently 6,891 banks in the US—the fewest since 1934, when the federal government started keeping records. The figure is down from about 18,000 in the mid-1980s, and it's largely because small banks have been disappearing, the Wall Street Journal reports. Between 1984 and 2011,... More »

Bank Fires Worker Over Minor Offense 49 Years Ago

Wells Fargo cans 68-year-old over use of phony dime in laundromat

(Newser) - In the past year and a half, the federal government enforced tough new rules against banks and mortgage-lenders, designed to eliminate executives and mid-level employees with prior convictions for serious offenses such as fraud. But the banks, eager to avoid the $1-million-a-day fines, are firing even low-level workers over minor... More »

Bank Failures Far From Over

Failures down in 2011, but weak banks are taking longer to recover or die

(Newser) - Bank failures were down significantly in 2011, but that doesn't mean banks are getting healthier—it just means sick ones are taking longer to die, the Wall Street Journal finds. Some 92 banks failed last year, down from 157 in 2010. But many of 2011's casualties were in... More »

Sheila Bair to Leave FDIC in July

Chair weathered financial crisis, oversaw closure of 350-plus banks

(Newser) - Sheila Bair is stepping down as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. this summer, ending a five-year term in which she helped craft the government's response to the 2008 financial crisis. The FDIC says Bair will leave her post as one of the government's top bank regulators... More »

FDIC Seizes 6 Banks, for Total of 34 This Year

But the pace is down from last year

(Newser) - The pace is slowing, but bank failures continue to ripple throughout the industry. The FDIC seized six yesterday, the most in a single day this year, reports AP . That makes a total of 34 in 2011, compared to 50 at this point last year. The new banks seized were in... More »

FDIC's Failed Bank Tab: $9B

But officials and execs cite successful effort to battle bad loans

(Newser) - The 165 banks that toppled like dominoes in the financial crisis have stuck the FDIC with a hefty tab to the tune of $9 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports. Regulators have helped shoulder the burden of bad assets and loans at the failed banks; the loss-sharing agreements encouraged healthier... More »

FDIC Launches 50 Criminal Inquiries of Failed Banks

But it won't name names yet

(Newser) - The FDIC has launched criminal investigations targeting around 50 executives, directors, and employees from banks that failed during the financial crisis. Regulators won’t say which banks or executives are under investigation yet, but did tell the Wall Street Journal that banks of all sizes from across the country are... More »

Republicans Want to Abolish Financial Firemen

McConnell is doing Wall Street's bidding

(Newser) - Mitch McConnell wants to abolish fire departments—they just bail out burning buildings. We won’t get out of this mess until the biggest buildings are allowed to burn! That’s essentially what McConnell’s latest assault on financial reform amounts to, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times ... More »

FDIC Closes Bank No. 28: NYC's Park Avenue Bank

Latest to fail had about $1B on the books

(Newser) - Federal regulators shut down Park Avenue Bank in New York today, marking the 28th failure this year of a federally insured bank. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Park Avenue Bank. It had $520.1 million in assets and $494.5 million in deposits as of Dec.... More »

FDIC Seizes 4 More Banks

Tally hits 26 this year; pace of closures expected to increase in coming months

(Newser) - Regulators yesterday shuttered banks in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, and Utah, boosting to 26 the number of US bank failures so far this year following the 140 brought down in 2009 by mounting loan defaults. The pace of bank seizures this year is likely to accelerate , FDIC officials have said, as... More »

Lending Falls at Fastest Rate Since 1942

Boatload of bank failures likely in 2010

(Newser) - Banks tightened credit last year at what the Wall Street Journal calls an “epic pace,” recording their biggest full-year decline in loans outstanding in 67 years. The figure comes from a new FDIC report that paints the picture of a banking industry that, apart from a few top-tier... More »

Quarter of US Households Have Limited Bank Access

Minorities, low-income families hit hardest

(Newser) - A quarter of US households have little or no access to banks—relying instead on nontraditional services such as check-cashing shops, pawn shops, or payday loans, and often paying exorbitant interest rates. The first comprehensive survey of its kind by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed that 71% of families... More »

Danger Signs Ignored at Failed Banks

Regulators knew loans were toxic but didn't act

(Newser) - "Post-mortems" on banks that failed during the financial crisis are exposing serious misjudgment by state and federal regulators. Inspectors-general are finding at bank after bank that regulators were aware that risky and potentially toxic loans were being made while the economy was booming, but failed to take action, the... More »

Dodd Unveils Sweeping Financial Overhaul Bill

It would create new oversight agencies

(Newser) - Chris Dodd introduced a sweeping financial regulation bill that creates no fewer than three new agencies to oversee the banking industry. Dodd’s bill creates an Agency for Financial Stability to identify systemic risks to the economy as a whole. It entrusts all bank supervision to the Financial Institutions Regulatory... More »

Dodd Declares War With Senate Bank Bill

Senator readies radical overhaul of finance regulation

(Newser) - A Senate bill that would fundamentally change the structure of banking regulation is headed for a clash with both the House and the White House. Christopher Dodd is readying a proposal to strip the Fed and FDIC of almost all bank-supervision powers, creating in their place a new agency that... More »

Sorry, FDIC Can't Guarantee Interest on That CD

When selling failed banks, Feds allow buyers to slash expected payout

(Newser) - There’s a little-publicized part of your bank deposit the FDIC doesn’t insure, and it’s driving scrupulous savers up the wall. The logic is simple enough: When the FDIC takes over a failed bank and resells its assets, it allows buyers to alter interest rates, particularly on CDs.... More »

Feds Close 9 More Banks

Failures, mostly in west, bring total to 115

(Newser) - Regulators have shut California National Bank of Los Angeles and eight smaller related banks as the weak economy continues to produce a stream of loan defaults. The banks closed yesterday by the FDIC were in California, Illinois, Texas and Arizona. They were divisions of privately held FBOP Corp., a bank... 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 »

FDIC May Borrow Billions From Banks

Tapped-out deposit insurance fund mulls reverse bailout

(Newser) - After a year of government bailing out the banks, now the banks may bail out the government. Regulators are considering a plan for the FDIC, which protects bank depositors, to borrow billions from healthy banks, enabling the fund to refresh its accounts after a wave of bank failures. Banks and... More »

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