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Home » Retail Banking 2020 Insights » Morning Briefing: UBS was warned about Puerto Rico loan practices

Morning Briefing: UBS was warned about Puerto Rico loan practices

UBS officials were warned by a Puerto Rico branch manager two years ago that brokers for the firm had been urging customers to engage in improper loan practices, according to a Reuters exclusive. This was before the bank made a $5.2 million settlement over the matter with Puerto Rico's financial regulator.

"The documents seen by Reuters reflect the branch manager's allegations that UBS financial advisers encouraged investors to use their brokerage accounts as collateral to borrow money and buy larger quantities of poorly performing closed-end bond funds packaged by UBS," Reuters reported.

Alibaba appoints former Goldman banker Evans as president

Alibaba Group Holding has hired former Goldman Sachs partner Michael Evans to oversee the e-commerce company's international expansion.

Evans has been on the board at Alibaba since mid-2014. The company said that hiring Evans signaled its intention to ramp up cross-border commerce in earnest.

Banks make billions from reluctance to switch accounts — report

UK banks do not provide enough transparency over current account fees and make billions of pounds because of customers not switching accounts, according to a report by research group TNS and Tesco Bank.

The report found that 55 percent of customers "find it impossible" to figure out the value of their account, in terms of its cost and what they receive in return. This prevents many customers from seeking better deals. Customers found it difficult to "make meaningful comparisons" on key elements such as overdraft fees, charges and credit interest.

In the coming months, Britain's Competition and Markets Authority is due to report on the current account market following concerns about a lack of transparency.

Regulator drops Libor investigation into former UBS banker

The FCA has dropped an investigation into former senior UBS banker Panagiotis Koutsogiannis (known as "Pete the Greek"), who was caught up in the Libor scandal, after its review panel found there was not a strong enough case to pursue.

The decision comes a day after Tom Hayes, who was a contemporary of Mr Koutsogiannis at UBS, was jailed for 14 years having been found guilty on charges related to attempted Libor-rigging.

HSBC names Simoes as Europe chief

HSBC's UK chief executive Antonio Simoes has been put in charge of the bank's European operations and given the title of chief executive of HSBC Bank.

Mr Simoes will start in the role on 1 September and will also be a member of the group executive board. The position will include oversight of the UK and responsibility for building the bank's ring-fenced unit in Birmingham

US DoJ probes Deutsche trades

The US Department of Justice is looking into trades worth billions of dollars made by Deutsche Bank on behalf of Russian clients.

Deutsche Bank did not comment on the matter but said in its second-quarter financial report that it was investigating "significant" equity trades by Deutsche Bank clients in London and Moscow that offset one another. It also said that it had had taken disciplinary measures against some people as a result of the case.

Last month, New York regulators sought information from Deutsche on possible money-laundering transactions by some of its clients in Russia.

ING profits up

ING has said that its profits rose in the second quarter as it expanded its loan book, gained from an asset sale and reduced its loan-loss provisions.

The bank said that net profit rose 27 percent to €1.36 billion. Underlying pre-tax profit rose by 25 percent to €1.6 billion.

Promontory ban poses 'no threat' to its bank inquiry role

The FCA has said that Promontory Financial Group's role in an inquiry into how RBS treats small businesses is not under threat despite the company receiving a ban from New York regulators amid allegations that it toned down a report regarding sanctions violations by Standard Chartered.

Dividend set to join list of Standard Chartered cuts

New Standard Chartered chief executive Bill Winters will announce a dividend cut today, as well as results that suggest the bank is continuing to struggle with falling revenues and problem loans, according to a report in the Times.

First payments bank licences to be announced this month

At least one set of payments bank licences is due to be announced before the end of August, according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan.

The RBI received 41 applications for payments bank licences and 72 for small finance bank licences.

Judge reinstates ATM Antitrust Case Against Visa, MasterCard

An antitrust lawsuit brought against Visa and MasterCard by a trade association of ATM operators has been reinstated by a US judge.

The lawsuit was filed in 2011 by consumers, independent ATM operators and the National ATM Council, alleging that the cards networks' ATM-fee policies suppressed competition.

In 2013, a federal judge identified problems with the lawsuits and dismissed them.
However, an appeal court reversed the ruling, saying that Visa and MasterCard "member banks used the bank associations to adopt and enforce a supracompetitive pricing regime for ATM access fees," which made the networks more expensive for ATM operators and consumers.

Amex judge rejects card fee rules settlement

A US judge has rejected American Express Co's settlement with merchants over credit card fees having found that the plaintiffs' lawyer had tainted the deal by exchanging confidential information with a MasterCard attorney, Bloomberg reports.

As a result, merchants and American Express may have to renegotiate the deal or go to trial.

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