NEW YORK (
) -- This year there have been many things that have frightened Wall Street executives, bankers and lawyers. Unfortunately, none of them have involved pumpkins, candy corn or cobwebs. So if you are looking for a Halloween costume that would make
CEO Vikram Pandit's hair stand up on end or
CEO Jamie Dimon's skin crawl, we have some ideas for you.
No, New York State Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is not hunting for "wabbits," he's hunting Wall Street's top bankers. Cuomo has gained a reputation for trying to be the sheriff of Wall Street.
He's issued subpoenas confidential data from
American International Group
and targeted the bonuses of
Bank of America
Merrill Lynch unit. In addition, he has run investigations to see if the eight major banks were giving out misinformation to inflate their credit ratings, accused former BofA CEO Kenneth Lewis of defrauding investors and forced Citigroup to shelve plans to impose new fees on customers who took out "free checking" accounts.
His current campaign is demanding information from JP Morgan, Bank of America,
on home foreclosures in an effort to suspend the practice of "robo-signing" documents.
President Barack Obama scared the pants off of Wall Street when he signed the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Law. Sure, Obama is working to prevent another economic crisis, but in the process he took a knife to the banking industry's bottom line? Luckily, Wall Street is pretty good at finding loopholes.
Obama certainly has maintained a love/hate relationship will many Wall Street executives, particularly after he called them "fat cats" in 2009. Even Obama's supposed best friend on Wall Street, JPMorgan's Dimon, stood him up at the reform bill signing and admitted to
Goldman Sachs' Missing Prop Trading Desk
It will be one of the decisions that haunts the halls of
. Whatever happened to Goldman Sachs' proprietary trading desk? After extensive rumors and following the passage of the Volcker Rule, the team of nine went to
. Did Goldman really need to disperse the group since other banks are allegedly
Jerome Kerviel Behind Bars
trader Jerome Kerviel was sentenced to three years in prison. Possibly the most hated trader in history was surprised by the verdict and plans to appeal. The 33-year-old lost $6.5 billion and exposed the bank to $68.8 billion in trades. He picked up a job working as a part-time as a computer consultant after he lost his job at Societe Generale.
The Ghost of Ken Lewis
Bank of America's former CEO Ken Lewis, it seems, will forever be under investigation and scrutiny for the legacy he left at Bank of America. Besides facing the heat for the $50 billion takeover of Merrill Lynch, he was grilled by Cuomo for not telling investors about the $16 billion in losses Merrill lost before the transaction.
It was Bank of America that was burned the most, having to pay out $150 million to the
Securities and Exchange Commission
to settle the lawsuit. Lewis' acquisitions keep coming back to haunt the bank, such as its purchase of Countrywide Financial that continues to plague the bank as the foreclosure fiasco unravels.
CLSA analyst Mike Mayo is getting a reputation as the Wall Street analyst full of gloom and doom. He has had an underperform rating on Citigroup for two years. The analyst
with Citi CEO Vikram Pandit after he was supposedly frozen out.
Mayo has a history of downgrading bank stocks with findings that cause stocks to dive. Mayo said this week he expects that in 2010 U.S. banks will experience the worst revenue growth in 80 years.
WaMu Zombie Shareholders
Like zombies, they just keep coming back.
filed for bankruptcy Sept. 26, 2008, the day after its banking unit was taken over by the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
and sold to JP Morgan for $1.9 billion. Shareholders are still fighting the decision and are trying recover from the company through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. A Delaware bankruptcy court judge gave investigators until Nov. 1 to complete their probe of the bank closure. Stakeholders have until Nov. 15 to cast their votes on a reorganization plan. The bankruptcy court has scheduled a hearing to consider a new plan beginning on Dec. 1.
Rumors and reports of layoffs on Wall Street have not ceased. Analyst Meredith Whitney expects that layoffs on Wall Street will pile up to over 80,000 over the next 18 months. Some of the banks expected to layoff include Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan,
A Vampire Squid
The Vampire Squid image Matt Taibbi created to describe Goldman Sachs in a
article never gets old, does it? Goldman has been working hard to quash the vampire squid image through a new ad campaign to help rebuild Goldman's image. However, media outlets are still dredging up the phrase. If their new ad campaign doesn't work, Goldman could embrace the mascot and adopt some vampire squid or donate to a charity to protect them from extinction.
Robo-signers were recruited from
floors and hired from
kitchens to be foreclosure experts for Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase , Ally and Wells Fargo. These characters didn't receive training to verify the documents they signed, but they had the authority to rubber-stamp mortgage documents and validate foreclosures without checking their accuracy. Now the banks are embroiled in a scandal on whether these foreclosures are accurate.
Trick or Treat? Trick, apparently.
Happy Halloween from Wall Street!
--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.
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