Trending Thursday is a roundup of the stories shaping the week and what’s yet to come through the weekend — also taking into account social media reaction. Think of it as a midweek Monday Morning Cup of Coffee, but with extra caffeine and a kick of social media.
Did soon-to-be-former Wall Street Journal reporter Pedro Da Costa rustle too many feathers, leading, to one extent or another, to him becoming “soon-to-be-former” at the Rupert Murdoch-owned financial publication?
It was just a month ago that Da Costa did the job that reporters are supposed to do — asking tough questions and not acting like a palace guard — when he asked “uncomfortable questions” of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and its leaks of proprietary information to "expert network" Medley Global.
And now, Da Costa announced today that tomorrow is his last day at the Wall Street Journal.
ZeroHedge has been covering this closely.
As we reported on June 17, Pedro Da Costa, one of the more determined and controversial Fed reporters, was shocked to learn he was no longer welcome to ask Janet Yellen uncomfortable questions, questions related to the biggest scandal currently gripping the Fed: its leaks of proprietary information to "expert network" Medley Global (recently sold by Pearson to Japan's Nikkei) and one which has since morphed into a criminal investigation.
Shortly aftert this exchange we learned that indeed the Justice Department did launch a criminal probe for leaks at the Fed itself as was disclosed shortly after the above exchange, a probe which may very well implicate anyone, including Janet herself hence her eagerness to avoid any "touchy" questions.
Nonetheless, after "shutting down" Pedro, the result was a "chilling effect" on any actually probing questions, and the same day that Pedro announced he would not be present at the June Fed press conference, not a single other journalist dared to ask anything on the topic.
For the fuller report and a transcript of Da Costa’s “uncomfortable questions” click here.
Friends and colleagues: Tomorrow is my last day at The Wall Street Journal. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for my next adventures.— Pedro da Costa (@pdacosta) July 30, 2015
And since we’re on the subject of uncomfortable questions the financial press isn’t asking and stories going largely unreported, let’s talk about what’s come out of the FannieGate brouhaha since more records are coming to light after Judge Margaret Sweeney gave a big boost to shareholders in her ruling last week forcing the U.S. Treasury to release all discovery document materials in its possession that pertain to the decision to take Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship.
It’s up to legal minds to rule on this, but it’s really troubling that many in the press don’t seem to think the Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency officials allegedly making false statements under oath are anything more than just bad optics. As noted in the HousingWire article, WSJ reporter Joe Light weighed in on the debate on Twitter, but look for coverage at his own media platform. The result? Nada.
It could be, as hopefully a judicial authority will determine, a reversible error that will turn things upside-down in the world of mortgage investment and finance.
The activist investors of FannieGate make the case here, in a well cited and, well, pretty clever posting.
Are increasing regulatory burdens really affecting mortgage and other aspects of banking, or is that just a free marketeer talking point? Looks like the former.
Growing regulatory compliance burdens have led nearly half of all banks to reduce their offerings of financial products and services, according to the American Bankers Association’s 2015 Survey of Bank Compliance Officers. A combined 46.3% of respondents said their bank had cut offerings for loan accounts, deposit accounts, or other services because of regulatory effects.
Additionally, 46% of bank compliance officers reported their institution had decided not to launch a product, open a new channel, or had held off on entering a new market – temporarily or permanently – due to compliance concerns.
“It’s clear that the compliance burden brought on by Dodd-Frank has had an impact not only on banks, but more importantly on the customers and communities they serve,” said Frank Keating, ABA president and CEO. “This regulatory overcorrection has limited the loans, products and services available to consumers.”
Further evidence of regulations’ effect on customers can be seen in the one-third (33.8%) of banks that turned down otherwise creditworthy mortgage borrowers in an effort to comply with the Ability-to-Repay Rule. The rule’s impact was felt most by banks with between $1 and $10 billion in assets. Approximately one-third (33.2%) of banks now make exclusively Qualified Mortgage loans.
Yesterday we covered a Capital Economics report that says that credit standards are too tight. Well, of course that’s going to rustle the feathers of Logan Mohtashami, who took to Twitter to make the case that tight credit isn’t the case at all.