Week InReview
Friday | Sep 24, 2021
Confusion, anxiety, therapy puppies.
Citi employee Patrick Moran was one of a number of people to nominate Guide Dogs as their charity partner, and for a very specific reason.
Photos: Citigroup
BANKING BOSSES are navigating a complex transition for weary employees who in many cases haven’t been at their desks for 18 months. For the hard-charging finance industry, it’s a balancing act of restoring normalcy while easing back into corporate life at a time Covid is still raging.

Citigroup Inc. workers in London were greeted by therapy puppies upon their return this month.

— Bloomberg Wealth | Work
let's recap...
In a highly anticipated announcement, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said he would begin removing the training wheels from the U.S. economy as soon as November.
Photo: Getty Images
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, sending a message to progressives worried about his possible renomination, made clear that he won’t protect Wall Street from tough oversight if he gets a second term. Powell pledged Wednesday to let the Fed’s next banking watchdog handle regulation without interference. (Bloomberg Economics | Sep 22) see also Fed tees up taper and signals rate rises possible next year (The Wall Street Journal | Sep 22)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the leaders of Wall Street’s largest financial firms in recent days to enlist their help in her campaign to pressure Republicans to support raising or suspending the debt ceiling. Yellen reached out to chief executive officers including JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon, Citigroup Inc.’s Jane Fraser, Wells Fargo & Co.’s Charlie Scharf, Bank of America Corp.’s Brian Moynihan and a senior official at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (Bloomberg Politics | Sep 22) see also Treasury borrowing panel warns of debt risks (Bloomberg Markets | Sep 21)

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler said he is keen to finish a long-stalled requirement to clamp down on Wall Street bonuses when companies report incorrect financial information. Gensler said he’s asked SEC staff to provide recommendations on a rule for clawing back executive pay and other parts of never-finished regulations that were mandatory under the Dodd-Frank Act. (Bloomberg Markets | Sep 22) see also SEC says bank loan disclosure 'critical' to accounting (Bloomberg Tax | Sep 20)

As the cryptocurrency industry gears up for a regulatory battle, some lobbyists, who asked to withhold their names to discuss client matters, said they were so deluged by crypto firms looking to hire them in August that they had to turn down some potential clients. Some of the crypto firms said they were being targeted by or expected to be targeted by regulators, the lobbyists said. (Bloomberg Politics | Sep 22) see also OCC chief compares crypto to 2008 financial crisis (Crowdfund Insider | Sep 21)

Ratings companies reacted slowly to the Covid-19 crisis, raising questions about the reliability of creditworthiness scores and their impact on financial stability, according to a paper to be published by the International Review of Financial Analysis. A separate report published in June from the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation – an independent research organization – found that credit rating agencies “performed their role well as independent providers of forward-looking information.” (Bloomberg Markets | Sep 21)
Finance industry warns against 'restrictive' crypto rules
Banks are trying to balance their customers’ growing interest in cryptoassets with regulators’ clampdown on the sector.
Photo: Florence Lo/Reuters
(Sep 21) — Trade groups representing banks, asset managers, and the blockchain industry have voiced their oppositions to imposing strict capital rules on digital assets, arguing that it would push activity underground and deprive banks of the benefits of the technology, the Financial Times reports, citing a letter it has seen. 
  • Trade groups told the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision that the authorities’ proposals would make it too expensive for banks to participate in the crypto industry
  • FT cites a letter sent on Monday where the groups said the proposals were “overly conservative and simplistic” and that they would impede banks from being involved in cryptoasset markets
  • The letter was signed by the Global Financial Markets Association, the Institute of International Finance, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, the Financial Services Forum, and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, which represents the blockchain industry

Source: Bloomberg Government
Fed reverse repo facility usage rises to record amid imbalances
(Sep 20) — The amount of money that investors are parking at a major central bank facility unexpectedly climbed to another all-time high because of the glut of cash in the U.S. interest-rate markets and lack of supply. 

Seventy-seven participants on Monday placed $1.224 trillion at the Federal Reserve’s overnight reverse repurchase agreement facility, in which counterparties like money-market funds can put cash with the central bank. That surpassed the previous record volume of $1.218 trillion from Sept. 17, New York Fed data show.

Demand for the so-called RRP facility has surged since the Fed boosted the offering rate on it to 0.05% from 0% last month as a flood of cash continues to overwhelm the U.S. dollar funding markets. That’s in part a result of central-bank asset purchases and drawdowns of the Treasury’s cash account, which is pushing reserves into the system. At the same time, the department continues removing bill supply from the market as it endeavors to remain under the debt ceiling. 

Source: Bloomberg Government
the cyber cafe
Photo caption
Companies’ cyber ransom payments may bring Treasury calling
Submitting to ransomware demands may trigger enforcement under U.S. sanctions laws and risk fines for companies already beset by a cyberattack. Guidance from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control released Tuesday applies to all U.S. companies, including federal contractors and critical infrastructure providers who might be the target of ransomware, as well as financial institutions, cyber risk insurers, and cybersecurity service providers who may be involved in facilitating payments.

U.S. releases ransomware advisory
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Tuesday issued an updated advisory to highlight the sanctions risks associated with ransomware payments.

Cybersecurity advisory: Conti ransomware
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have observed the increased use of Conti ransomware in more than 400 attacks on U.S. and international organizations. Mitigation measures include requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA), implementing network segmentation, and keeping operating systems and software up to date.
— CISA & FBI
binge reading disorder
Illustration: Morphart via Deposit Photos
How much water should you drink in a day?
Each person’s water intake needs vary, and they depend on a number of factors, including how much exercise you get, the weather conditions of where you are, what you eat, and other health conditions you might have. Taking all these factors into account, the purported eight glasses a day just doesn’t work for most people.

Covid-19 rapid home tests: How to use them and how reliable they are
Rapid Covid-19 antigen tests are a hot commodity this fall. You buy them at the store or online, twirl a swab around your nostrils and get a result in roughly 15 minutes. The rapid tests are far faster than a PCR test done at a medical office or drugstore, whose results can take days to process. PCR tests are still more sensitive at detecting the virus, however, and the tests work in different ways.

Troll farms reached 140 million Americans a month on Facebook before 2020 election, internal report shows
In the run-up to the 2020 election, the most highly contested in U.S. history, Facebook’s most popular pages for Christian and Black American content were being run by Eastern European troll farms. These pages were part of a larger network that collectively reached nearly half of all Americans, according to an internal company report, and achieved that reach not through user choice but primarily as a result of Facebook’s own platform design and engagement-hungry algorithm.
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