Tag Archive | "dodd"

Whistleblowers Get Cash Incentives thru US SEC’s New Rules

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday adopted final rules that will govern a whistleblower program to offer incentives or cash rewards to those who will provide high-quality tips to the agency for effective enforcement actions.

The new rules, which were voted 3-2 by the SEC on Wednesday, could compel whistleblowers, including other industry insiders, to come more often and warn the agency about various securities violations.

Two Republican commissioners voted against the adoption of the new program that was authorized by a financial revamp law ratified last year. It was also opposed by large U.S. companies, saying whistleblowers should first tell their companies of any misconduct and offer them a chance to fix the errors before heading immediately to the SEC.

However, the new rules discourage employees to avoid the compliance programs posted by their companies. Employees who reported any potential misconduct to their company would be officially considered by the SEC as whistleblowers, and would be potentially entitled of rewards.

According to the SEC, the goal of the whistleblower program, which was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is to reward individuals who expose violations and provide remarkable evidence to help the regulator achieve successful cases.

The new program awards individuals based on the timeliness and quality of the information provided. It must lead to successful actions with at least $1 million sanction.

The new SEC rules will take effect in 60 days. Also, whistleblowers that have provided tips to the agency since July 2010, when the financial overhaul law was ratified, would also be entitled to receive incentives.

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Credit Card Executives Have High Hopes for the Future

For the first time in a very long time- or at least since the recession started- credit card executives are seeing bright sunny days and are looking far beyond the losses brought by the financial crisis. This is a really good thing considering the fact that the government is planning to tighten their grip on credit card companies.

Over the past few months, credit card company losses are falling. The overwhelming consumer acceptance of the smartphone payment systems and all other technologies has given credit card companies the opportunity to garner long-term revenue growth.

Now, executives strongly believe that they can easily do something to work around the effects of the recent regulatory changes of the card industry.

Credit card executive Stephen Eulie said that he is still very optimistic. There are no negative effects of our current economy that they cannot do something about, he said. Eulie spoke to Reuters in the credit card industry conference conducted every year.

In the recent years, most of the topics discussed in the conference are about the new regulations in place. Talks about the credit card law passed in 2009 and its lingering effects dominated the previous conferences. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was also constantly a hot topic in the previous years.

However, banks are more positive and credit card companies are tapping new technologies this year to invest in developing countries wherein people use credit card as a luxury and not a necessity.

One of the conference attendee said that that the credit card industry has stopped finding ways to cease the regulations, and started looking for ways on how to get around it.

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Analyst Says Banks Will Close 5,000 Branches by 2012

Declining profits, as well as tighter profit margins will force the banks to close about 5,000 branches nationwide by the year 2012 according to a research note made by bank analyst Meredith Whitney on Monday.

Whitney Meredith, CEO of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group LLC, informed that the decreased desire of consumers and corporate firms to borrow, along with the new bank regulations, have permanently changed the key source of industry profits.

As a result, banks might be pushed to close some of their branches. There were about 83,320 US commercial bank branches recorded at the end of last year.

Average loan-to deposit ratios of banks have significantly dropped to 78 percent, which is a 16-year low according to Whitney. This is already a sign that both consumers and business firms have dropped their desire for borrowing.

Banks would be unable to earn money from the interests they charge to borrowers if there are fewer new loans. Also, they would be unable to pay out for the deposits.

In addition, Whitney said that the Dodd-Frank Act will limit fee income, which has accounted for about 44 percent of banks total net revenues.

According to Whitney, they believe that the most regrettable and unintended consequence of the hastily written regulatory reform will be the unavoidable ‘de-banking’ of the financial system in the United States. Whitney projects 41 million households in U.S will not have access to banking services, which will be an increase from 30 million households in 2009.

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