Friday, March 2, 2012

Wal-Mart, Target join push to circumvent banks

Welcome to the morning roundup. Here's a look at what's news in banking and finance this morning.

Retailers circumventing banks. Wal-Mart and Target are part of a new push to circumvent banks and explore new payment technologies -- including turning smartphones into payment devices, the Wall Street Journal says.

Fed shook off warnings. The Federal Reserve ignored warnings from the FDIC in late 2010 that the nation's banks were not yet healthy enough to pay significant dividends to shareholders, ProPublica reports. Instead, banks paid $33 billion in stock repurchases and dividends in the first three quarters of 2011. A number of Fed officials now consider that a mistake.

DOJ issues wide-ranging subpoenas. The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking a broad range of information in subpoenas sent to a number of big banks, including Wells Fargo, regarding mortgage-backed securities, Reuters reports. Its investigation appears to overlap with other enforcement efforts.

$1 billion bank facility. Bank of America is contemplating building a new $1 billion technology center in a small town in New Jersey, the town's mayor says, according to The Express-Times.