Fed Puts ‘Fear of God’ Into Big Banks
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Fed Puts ‘Fear of God’ Into Big Banks

Orders Wells Fargo to Clean Up Its Act, Install New Board Members

The Fed Gets Tough. The Federal Reserve took unprecedented move to handcuff growth at Wells Fargo & Co. and put boards of directors on notice that they will be held accountable when big banks fail to manage risks.

The Fed on Friday said Wells Fargo would be replacing four board directors in 2018 and announced an enforcement action that limits the size of the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, potentially crimping revenue and profit growth.

While directed at Wells Fargo, which has struggled to overcome the sales practices scandal that engulfed the bank in September 2016, the Fed’s action has wider ramifications.

“The Fed just put the fear of God into bank boardrooms across the country,” Ian Katz, an analyst at Capital Alpha Partners, said in a note on Sunday. “And that’s exactly what it wants to do.”

The Left Coast. The next election season, already well underway in California, will showcase a younger generation of Democrats that is more liberal and personally invested in standing up to Trump than those leaving office. The political debate is being pushed further left without any sign of a Republican renaissance to serve as a check on spending and social policy ambitions. Even some Republicans are concerned about the departure of Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who proved to be fiscally cautious after inheriting a state seven years ago in deep recession. The race to succeed him, as well as contests for U.S. Senate and statewide offices, probably will feature a November ballot exclusively filled with Democrats. The top two primary finishers compete in the state’s general election regardless of party, setting up several races between the Democrats’ left and even-more-left wings in the nation’s most-populous state, races that could signal the direction of the party’s future.

Drill. Drill. Drill. Interior Department officials announced they’re considering dropping protections for a vast swath of the California desert to open up more land to energy development. The federal Bureau of Land Management said in a statement that it’s taking a new look at millions of acres in the desert region of Southern California to comply with Trump’s executive order last year to increase energy development on public lands. The warning is similar to the one that led to the dramatic reduction of protected land in the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah to provide drilling and mining rights to energy industries.



February 5, 2018