Tuesday, July 16, 2013

TIAA-CREF meeting in Charlotte today; protests expected

TIAA-CREF ANNUAL MEETING IN CHARLOTTE TODAY: The investment giant will be holding its annual meeting at its Charlotte office in the University City area Tuesday afternoon. The firm tends to alternate its meetings between here and its headquarters in New York City.

At least one group is scheduled to protest outside. The activists wanted TIAA-CREF to divest from health insurance companies for not being socially responsible.

N.C. BANKERS BACK BILL TO DISSOLVE FANNIE, FREDDIE: Kay Hagan and eight of her friends put out a bill that would wind down the mortgage giants and create a government agency to issue mortgage-backed securities but make private investors take more losses. The point is to keep mortgages flowing, but push risk onto private investors rather than taxpayers.

The heads of the N.C. Bankers Association, N.C. Credit Union League, N.C. Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders all say variations on that the bill is a good "first step" for GSE reform. From the realtors group president Patrice Willetts: “This comprehensive reform legislation would enable the market to continue to provide long-term, fixed rate mortgage products that most consumers seek and trust."

BOFA TWITTER BOMB?: Digiday takes Bank of America to task for having its corporate Twitter account reply to activists and trolls by asking if they can help them with their accounts. The bank says the responses are, in fact, from real people. Anyone have this job?

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/15/4166805/nc-bankers-support-hagan-bill.html#storylink=cpy

LOAN HELP FIRM SHUT DOWN: Charlotte-based loan modification help firm Lender Exchange has been shut down after allegedly charging people upfront fees to negotiate with banks -- which is against North Carolina law. The company also reportedly did not deliver results, the N.C. attorney general's office says.

LENDINGTREE AD NAMED EFFECTIVE: One of Charlotte-based LendingTree's new ads was named the third most effective of the last three months by Ace Metrix, Tree.com says. No, this isn't the one that says bankers all talk B.S. It's the one with the green puppet in his boxers.

PLEXUS CAPITAL MAKES $10MM INVESTMENT: The Charlotte and Raleigh firm made the subordinated debt investment in RMG Networks, Inc., a company that sells digital signs to Fortune 500 companies.

NOVARE CAPITAL ON THE ECONOMY: "During the summer, we expect to see continued market volatility as investors dissect every word said by any of the committee members of the Federal Reserve... We expect to see the US equity markets gradually move higher over the rest of the year."

The Charlotte firm added American Tower (REIT), D.R. Horton, Genworth Financial and IBM to its "select" list. It sold its shares of PartnerRe.

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Financial headlines

LITTLE HELP FOR UNDERWATER BORROWERS: Miss a mortgage payment? There's plenty of programs to help you. But if you're underwater on your home, a subprime borrower and current? Not much a bank can do, Bloomberg says. And people like that stuck paying interest rates of a prior area are making the housing recovery uneven in a number of cities.

CITIGROUP BEATS THE STREET: The New York bank was up 2 percent after earnings came in ahead of what was expected. Trading revenue grew, and loan demand increased, the Wall Street Journal says. We'll have a post later today on what Wells, JPMorgan and Citi results mean for Bank of America -- which reports Wednesday.

CUT THE JARGON: As former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre goes on trial for charges he conspired to mislead investors, the judge in the case has made a preemptive ban on even the most basic kind of banking jargon you'll hear on any average conference call, the New York Times reports. Banned words include protection, intermediate, swap, warehouse, and premiums, the Times says. From the judge: “Do not assume people know what an investment bank does ... Trading desk, mere mortals don’t know what a trading desk is."

HOMEBUILDERS BUYING SMALLER RIVALS: Here's a tip for you investment bankers -- large homebuilding companies are increasingly buying their smaller peers, the Wall Street Journal says. Why? Access to capital.

MORE HEADLINES: Meet the Better Banking Butterfly .... 20 signs you're dating a banker ....A quarter of bankers say they would insider trade to make $10 million..... Goldman Sachs earnings today.

Around Bank Town

ON TODAY'S FRONT PAGE: Gov. McCrory has announced a tax deal -- dropping personal and corporate tax rates but cutting spending by $2.4 billion over five years ..... The General Assembly is also working on a bill that would keep landowners from protesting rezoning petitions on neighboring properties. City of Charlotte is against it. Remember the Walgreens in Dilworth? ..... In seemingly a last-ditch effort to keep control of the airport, Charlotte leaders now say a study commission is OK..... Duke Energy settles a lawsuit brought by the state over coal ash threatening Charlotte's water ..... The Royal Baby could one day be another Queen Charlotte.

THE COMMUTE: Should be decent this morning *knocks on wood*. There is apparently some grease on U.S. 74 from a poultry truck that's causing some cars to slip.

PANTHERS WORTH A BILLION: Forbes has a new list of the world's most valuable sports franchises, and the Carolina Panthers come in No. 26 at $1.048 billion. In case you were worried, they beat Atlanta. Not bad for a team that's only had a winning record four times.

TWINKIES COMING BACK: In the next week, local grocers say.

LUXURY HOMES LIST: Still have some of your annual bonus? The Charlotte area's latest Luxury Home Magazine just came out.