Buzzing Big Bank Stock Stories of the Week

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to this week’s top financial industry business headlines:

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Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC): Current price $12.15

On Friday, the company obtained the approval of  United States District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan for a $2.43 billion resolution with investors who claimed that BofA concealed crucial information when it acquired Merrill Lynch & Co. The approval marks the conclusion of one of the the biggest investor settlements originating in the recent world financial crisis; the judge described the accord as  ”fair, reasonable and adequate,” and said it ended an “extraordinarily hard-fought litigation.”

Pursuant to an agreement reached by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board, with 13 mortgage servicers, payments to some 4.2 million borrowers are set to begin on April 12. The accord was made earlier in 2013 and provides $3.6 billion in cash payments to borrowers whose homes were in any stage of the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010, and whose mortgages were serviced by one of the following firms, their affiliates, or subsidiaries: Bank of America, Aurora, Citibank, Goldman Sachs Group, HSBC Holdings, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC).

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BAC

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM): Current price $49.01

Five of the biggest Wall Street banks, including JPMorgan and Bank of America Corporation, would be required to hold capital in excess of Basel III standards under a proposal being written by United States Senate Democrats and Republicans to restrict the size of too-big-to-fail banks. A current draft of the legislation would mandate  regulators to supplant Basel III requirements with a higher capital standard of 10 percent for all banks and an additional surcharge of 5 percent for institutions with over $400 billion in assets. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and David Vitter (R-LA), have said they intend to introduce the bill in April.

It seems that for the big banks nothing is ever enough. Although the industry reported its best results since 2006, the six biggest domestic banks announced plans in the first three months of 2013 to slash around 21,000 positions, or 1.8 percent of their combined workforce, said data compiled by Bloomberg. The figure represents the most since 2011’s third quarter. JPMorgan, whose 259,000 employees produced three consecutive years of record profit, was at the top of the list with 17,000 reductions scheduled by the end of 2014.

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JPM

Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY): Current price $60.76

The Canadian government is looking into whether the bank violated the rules by subcontracting work to an offshoring company using foreign workers to supplant some of its Canadian staff. Approximately 45 of Royal Bank’s employees in Toronto are losing their jobs since the bank has given its long-time partner iGate Corp. some of the back-office support to its investor services.

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RY

Ellington Financial (NYSE:EFC): Current price $25.61

On Monday, Ellington announced that its estimated book value per common share as of March 31 was $25.25 or $24.74 on a diluted basis. Estimated book value per share on a diluted basis takes into account securities convertible into the firms common shares. These estimates are subject to change upon completion of the firm’s month-end valuation procedures connected with its investment positions, and any such change could be material.

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EFC

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Medley Capital Corporation (NASDAQ:MCC): Closing price $14.76

Medley has announced the beginning of a registered public offering of 4 million shares of its common stock, and says that it will also grant the underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 600,000 shares sold at the public offering price.  The firm intends to use the net proceeds to repay a portion of the outstanding indebtedness under its revolving credit facility, pay for new investment opportunities, and for general corporate purposes.

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MCC

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Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS): Current price $148.85

For the second consecutive year, Goldman Sachs turned aside a shareholder proposal that could have caused an embarrassing public vote to strip Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein of his chairman’s title. By allowing modest changes to the group’s governance policies, Blankfein once again potentially averted the kind of unpleasantness suffered by Chief Executive and Chairman Jamie Dimon, of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), who faced substantial opposition on a similar vote in 2012, or Citigroup’s (NYSE:C) then-Chief Executive Vikram Pandit, whose executive pay plan was turned down by shareholders also last year. Also at Goldman Sachs, CtW Investment Group, an adviser to union pension funds with $250 billion of assets, announced on Wednesday that it would withdraw its proxy proposal requesting a split after the company agreed to give Goldman’s lead director, James Schiro, new powers like setting board agendas and writing his own annual letter to shareholders.

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GS

American International Group (NYSE:AIG): Current price $40.07

On Wednesday, a $115 million resolution between AIG shareholders and former executives including Maurice Greenberg was approved by United States District Judge Deborah Batts in Manhattan federal court. The ruling settles claims by AIG shareholders against Greenberg, former Chief Financial Officer Howard Smith, former Vice President of Reinsurance Christian Milton, former Comptroller Michael Catelli, and Greenberg companies C.V. Starr and Starr International Co.

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AIG

ING Groep (NYSE:ING): Current price $7.80

The American insurance division of ING Groep, ING U.S., that is planning to go public, will change its name as it distances itself from its parent, which is the biggest Dutch financial-services. Through a statement distributed by PR Newswire, the company said Thursday that the business will be called Voya Financial. ING U.S. filed for an initial public offering in November, and reported today its ticker symbol will be VOYA. The U.S. unit, led by the former American International Group executive Rodney Martin, competes with MetLife and Prudential Financial.

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ING

Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB): Current price $41.30

During a meeting on Thursday, shareholders heckled the bank’s new leaders concerning its legal problems, while they worry that Germany’s flagship lender is being distracted by a spate of scandals and investigations. Attorney Klaus Nieding, representing DSW, Germany’s biggest association for private investors, remarked that “Enough is enough. Shareholder rights are being abused. A private vendetta is being carried out at the expense of all shareholders.”

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DB

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