Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Trust in U.S. financial system hits a low

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

Trust in finance waning. Trust in the U.S. financial system has fallen back to its lowest point since early 2009, Forbes reports, citing an index compiled by the business schools of the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. The report's authors speculate that the waning trust stems from the multi-billion trading loss at JPMorgan Chase. Trust in small banks, however, is rising.

Wells assets hard to value. Of the six largest U.S. commercial banks, Wells Fargo has the largest percentage of hard-to-value assets in its securities portfolio, Standard and Poors says, as reported by Bloomberg. These so-called "Level 3" assets are highly dependent on the company's internal valuation. PNC has the second-most, and JPMorgan Chase had the third-most.

Fed close to action. As disappointing economic news continues, the Federal Reserve appears closer to deciding to take action, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Fed could make a move as early as next week, when it meets again, or wait until September. Some options include buying mortgage-backed securities or extending its commitment to keep rates low past 2014.

Banker calls for break-up. Former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill has joined the call to break up the country's largest banks, telling CNBC in an interview that he's in favor of re-seperating investment banks from commercial banking units. That's essentially a return of Glass-Steagall, an oft-discussed idea.