Wells Fargo to Close Hundreds of Branches

A photo of a Wells Fargo bank.

Photo credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Wells Fargo had a pretty rough year. The bank announced this week that it will be closing 800 more branches by the end of 2020 in an effort to cut more than $4 billion in expenses. Last year, Wells Fargo shut down more than 200 branches following endless controversy and legal issues surrounding fake accounts that were created to meet the bank’s unreachable sales goals.

“We will have as many branches as our customers want for as long as they want them,” said John Shrewsberry, the chief financial officer.

Executives told Wall Street analysts that online and mobile banking are the main reasons why the company is losing money, but many believe digital banking plays a very small (if any) role in Wells Fargo’s troubles. The bank’s legal expenses reached a staggering $3.3 billion (or 59 cents per share) before taxes, which is more than triple what the company had set aside for legal funds the previous quarter.  

In addition to the fake account fiasco, Wells Fargo is facing numerous mortgage-related investigations along with other financial matters, most of which aren’t tax deductible. It’s no surprise that Wall Street isn’t feeling confident in the bank’s ability to come out unscathed, or at least with very few bruises.

Last month, bank executives said they would be sharing a portion of their tax cuts with employees, through both increased wages and charitable donations. It’s too early to say how many employees will miss out on these tax breaks due to losing their jobs from the closures. 

CEO Tim Sloan says things are getting better for the bank, but he couldn’t offer analysts a timeline for when Wells Fargo will be in the clear.

“I just can’t provide you with that absolute guarantee at this moment in time,” Sloan said. “Maybe someday I will, but I think it’s going to be something we look at in the rear-view mirror over a longer period of time, as opposed to having some inflection point today or tomorrow or the week after that.”

JPMorgan’s Blythe Masters to Join the Global Market Advisory Committee

Blythe Masters

Blythe Masters IMG: via LinkedIn

Blythe Masters is the head of Global Commodities at JPMorgan Chase. She was previously the Chief Financial Officer of JPMorgan Chase’s Investment Bank and has served as the Head of Global Credit Portfolio and Credit Policy and Strategy.

Masters was born in Oxford, and was raised in south-east England. She graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a B.A. in economics, and joined J.P. Morn after several internships there in college.

Over the past five years, Masters built the biggest physical commodity trading operation on Wall Street at JPMorgan.

Reuters just announced that Masters will be joining the committee advising the U.S. derivatives regulator.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which is a group of market participants that meet regularly to discuss a wide range of issues, voted on their new global Markets Advisory Committee.

This advisory committee is a group of senior officials at large investment banks, asset managers, firms running trading platforms and industry bodies, and is sponsored by Mark Wetjen, the CFTC’s acting chairman.

The committee will meet next week to discuss the CFTC’s controversial cross-border rules. This explains how foreign companies should adhere with U.S. rules when they are doing business from or dealing with U.S. clients.

Is “Google Wallets’ The Next Big Thing in Banking?

Google Wallet

IMG: via Google

Google Inc has come out with Google Wallets, a prepaid debit card that allows users to purchase goods and withdraw cash from ATMs. So far, the card is only available in the United States. The nice thing about Google Wallets is that it comes with a smartphone app, so users are able to check their balance and transfer money to each other. This integration also includes notifications on your phone after using the card.

According to a report in Businessweek earlier this year, the company has spent around $300 million on the development of Google Wallet. However, so far the product hasn’t gained a ton of popularity.

“The [updated] app will be rolling out to Android users this week, which has the option to order the card,” a Google spokesperson told Mashable. “Or users can order the card directly in their Wallet account now.”

A Google spokeswomen confirmed that Google can use data about transactions made with the new Wallet card to target ads for customers.

Users can add money to their Google Wallet Card by linking it to a bank account or another user can add money to their account, according to Google. The card can be ordered online on Wednesday, and takes about 10 to 12 days to arrive.

If the Google Wallet takes off, this would be a quick and easy way to pay friends back, transfer money to your partner, and more. Do you think Google Wallets will take off, or is it a dead end?

Bank Employee Falls Asleep at Desk, Transfers Millions

sleep at desk

IMG: via Shutterstock

A big lesson was learned by a German bank employee recently, don’t fall asleep on the job. While at work, the employee fell asleep on his keyboard and accidentally transferred 222 million euros…that’s a lot of cash.

The Hessen Labour court was told that he was suppose to transfer 62.40 euros, but instead fell asleep and accidentally turned the number into a 222,222,222.22 euro order. Thankfully, the mistake was discovered very soon after it was made.

This case was taken to court because the 48-year-old employee was fired for making this mistake, and did not feel it was a fair punishment. The court ruled that the plaintiff should be reinstated in his job.

 

 

Women Fired after her Son is Diagnosed with Cancer

In New York, a women named Rachel Walsh was recently fired from her job at Barclays after taking some approved time off to take care of her sick son. After her unpaid leave of absence, she talked to her boss about returning on a flextime basis in order to take care of her son. She told him she was able to work either part-time or full time; whatever they needed. Her boss told her there was no longer any positions available, causing her to lose her health insurance.

While this could be true, Walsh found a listing for her same job on Barclays website soon after. She had filed for unemployment, but was turned down due to Barclays claiming that she turned down a full time position. Walsh has now hired an attorney and is suing the bank for $10 million on two causes.

These two causes include gender discrimination and breach of contract. Walsh stated that, “If I was a father with a child who was sick, they wouldn’t be worried that I’d be able to keep up with the workload.” Barclays also allegedly promised Walsh job security during her leave of absence.

Walsh’s son underwent chemotherapy and other treatments, and the cancer is finally gone. However due to the type of cancer, there is a chance that it may come back. 

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