Morning Coffee Jan 12 2010

New Bank Fee Blitz

By julie steinberg

It's raining fees. With the Obama administration's latest action, it seems like the knee-jerk thing to do in Washington these days to sate public outrage is slap a fee on it.

Healthcare broken? Fee. Family values scandal? Fee. Wars around the world? Fee.

The government has long maintained that it expects to be paid back for bailing out financial firms. The most recent proposal kicking around D.C. is to implement a tax on banks to ensure those funds are repaid. Details aren't clear about who would pay what, but it does seem likely that AIG, auto companies and community banks would be excluded. The fee is scheduled to be built into the budget later this month.

While the fees might lead to increased payback, they could also result in laying off workers and passing the charges onto consumers, like what has already been done with credit cards. (WSJ)

Finance Hiring Bright Spots (FINS)
The news for finance jobs 2007-2009? Not great. The good news is that some of the hardest hit sectors are set for a rebound.

Three Strikes (WSJ)
Gregory J. Curl has begun winding down his tenure at BofA. After losing out to Brian Moynihan for the CEO position, a looming reshuffling has reduced many of his responsibilities. After that, it's only a matter of time.

One More Time (Reuters)
To put the cherry on top, the SEC has just sued Bofa -- again -- for taking over Merrill Lynch without disclosing its huge losses before shareholders voted on the merger.

Regulation Trepidation (Bloomberg)
Companies aren't just going to banks for loans. Hedge funds have stepped in to provide lending with insanely high interest rates attached. Are hedge funds the new loan sharks?

Lawsuit? Who, Me? (Reuters)
Proving that lawsuits are for lesser men who let themselves be bothered by details, former TCW manager Jeffrey Gundlach -- who has been sued for stealing, drugs and porn -- has filed to open three new mutual funds under DoubleLine Capital.

Mega Death of Mega Funds? (peHUB)
Private equity funds that fared the worst this year happened to be mega-funds. Is this the year of their pending funeral?

Princely Aspirations (Minyanville)
Citigroup's largest shareholder, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, said over the weekend that he expects the bank to be profitable in 2010. He's been called the Arabian Warren Buffett...Oracle of Arabia?

Following Up (DealBook)
The FDIC has made good on its proposal to propose a proposal that would link insurance fees to banks' pay structures. The plan was made public on Tuesday.

Bright Lights (NY Daily News)
Capitalizing on the advertising industry's discovery that people like shiny things and bright colors, H&R Block has transformed its Times Square office to become the glitziest thing on the block. There's a free coffee bar too!

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