The fracking revolution is having a ripple effect throughout the U.S. economy. That applies to both the natural gas boom in states like Ohio and the oil gas boom in North Dakota. BusinessWeek notes the impact the oil boom is having on local banks.
In his office on the second floor of a glass-encased building on North Main Street in Watford City, N.D., Stephen Stenehjem rolls out a map of a proposed multimillion-dollar residential development and shakes his head in disbelief. “My dad would have been very pleased,” says Stenehjem, a third-generation banker and the chief executive officer of First International Bank & Trust. “For 25 years, our focus as a community bank was to help keep our small town alive. So it has been really fun to see this oil come back.”
Once a depressed town of 1,700 in what was America’s least-visited state, Watford City and its neighbors are at the center of North Dakota’s oil and gas boom. While about 470 banks across the U.S. have folded in the past five years, those serving America’s new fracking economy have seen explosive growth. Oilfield workers carrying paychecks, investors looking to build, and farmers enjoying mineral-rights payments are pouring money into banks. First International, with $1.3 billion in assets and 21 branches in North Dakota, Arizona, and Minnesota, hired 65 employees over the past year, including lenders, trust officers, and insurance agents, and plans to add 30 more this year. “It’s fun to be a banker in North Dakota,” Stenehjem says. “Even six or seven years ago, if there was a new pole barn going up in the county, I knew about it. Now I can’t keep track of everything.”
The implications for the U.S. economy are staggering. It’s great to hear good news and we’ll be following this story.
The SEC isn’t amused by the Twitter hoax that led to a quick and serious drop in financial markets yesterday and we may see an investigation.
Frankly it’s also a little troubling that some of these computer programs can move so fast to sell off stock just based on key words in a Tweet. Maybe we need to start thinking about a financial transaction tax.
Here’s one of Capital One’s catchy ads featuring Alec Baldwin. The ad wasn’t deceptive, but apparently the bank was benefiting from other problematic business practices.
The nation’s consumer watchdog on Wednesday delivered its first enforcement action against the financial industry, fining Capital One for pressuring and misleading more than two million credit card customers.
Capital One, one of the nation’s biggest banks and credit card lenders, agreed to pay $210 million to resolve a pair of regulatory cases, the latest legal setback for the financial industry.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wall Street’s newest regulator, accused Capital One of “deceptive marketing tactics.” The credit card company — which is known for its catchy television ads, asking “what’s in your wallet” — received a regulatory rebuke for misleading card customers into buying unnecessary products like payment protection and credit monitoring, according to the consumer agency.
It’s nice to see someone looking out for the consumer . . . finally.
Stocks surged in the United States and around the world today as markets reacted to the latest news out of Europe. We’ve had so many deals and false starts, but it looks like serious progress might be at hand in Europe.
By the end of a vital two-day summit here, European diplomacy had played out like soccer, with Spain and Italy — the two nations headed to the Euro 2012 finals — emerging victorious and the Germans returning home in shock.
After a marathon 14 hours of talks, Berlin unexpectedly agreed to concessions clearing the way for a deal that could help both Madrid and Rome in their desperate efforts to stave off economic collapse.
The agreement, while conditional on the creation of a regulatory body, addressed the core of the questions facing Europe: Who will cover the tab for its 2½-year-old debt crisis, and how?
Under the terms of the deal, troubled euro-zone countries would have more options for aid, including using a pool of European rescue funds to directly recapitalize ailing banks. That, in turn, would spare governments the humiliation of having to ask for aid themselves to channel to domestic banks, sidestepping the kind of intrusive financial inspections imposed on Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
The big change has to do with the decision to directly fund the troubled banks. Check out the whole article for the story, but it looks like Germany will cave here.
It hasn’t been a good week for Jamie Dimon and all the banker apologists trying to stop regulation of the big banks. With the stunning loss posted by JP Morgan and its irresponsible trading operation, we have another example of why we need strong regulation preventing banks from gambling with funds insured by the government. Hopefully this helps beef up the regulations for the Volcker Rule.
When the euro was introduced just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2002, celebratory fireworks exploded above the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. The historic bridge the Pont Neuf in Paris was lit up in European Union blue with 12 rays of light to symbolize the 12 nations circulating the euro — as people in those countries lined up at A.T.M.’s to get their hands on new bills that would be daily reminders of the project of European integration and unity.
Ten years later, the word “euro” in a headline is usually paired with the word “crisis.” Instead of hosting celebrations for the 10-year anniversary, policy makers appear to be staying as quiet as possible, as if hoping not to upset the brief calm that has come with the holiday season after European central bankers injected nearly $640 billion into the European banking system in December.
Will Europe get its act together? The recent events in Italy have to be encouraging. Let’s see if the austerity can be sustained.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner speaks at the Economic Club of New York May 9, 2011. Boehner, the top Republican in the U.S. Congress, on Monday laid down a tough new yardstick in talks over the nation’s debt, telling Wall Street that spending cuts must exceed any boost to the U.S. borrowing limit. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES – Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
The Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Congress on Friday urging legislators to quickly raise the debt ceiling, while also warning of catastrophe should the government continue spending at its current rate.
The Chamber, which represents business interests, helped elect many of the Republican members of Congress who are now threatening to vote against raising the debt ceiling. Republicans are demanding major cuts to government spending and long-term programs in return for their support.
The Chamber understands the consequences of messing around with the full faith and credit of the United States, while the Tea Party crowd seems happy to let the whole system collapse just to make a point. Remember the TARP vote and how many Republicans were willing to let all the banks collapse? Nobody should be surprised.
Robert Samuelson is a grouch. Nobody would ever accuse him of looking at the sunny side of things, particularly when it comes to budgetary matters.
With that in mind, here’s his sober assessment of TARP.
It isn’t often that the government launches a major program that achieves its main goals at a tiny fraction of its estimated costs. That’s the story of TARP — the Troubled Assets Relief Program. Created in October 2008 at the height of the financial crisis, it helped stabilize the economy, used only $410 billion of its authorized $700 billion and will be repaid most of that. The Congressional Budget Office, which once projected TARP’s ultimate cost at $356 billion, now says $19 billion. This could go lower.
Almost everyone loves to hate TARP. It’s a favorite political sport of liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats — and the public. A Bloomberg poll last October asked how TARP had affected the economy. The results: 43 percent said it weakened the economy; 21 percent said it made no difference; only 24 percent said it helped, with 12 percent unsure one way or another. Commentators in newspapers from The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times disparage TARP.
One lesson of the financial crisis is this: When the entire financial system succumbs to panic, only the government is powerful enough to prevent a complete collapse. Panics signify the triumph of fear. TARP was part of the process by which fear was overcome. It wasn’t the only part, but it was an essential part. Without TARP, we’d be worse off today. No one can say whether unemployment would be 11 percent or 14 percent; it certainly wouldn’t be 8.9 percent.
That benefited all Americans. TARP, says Douglas Elliott of the Brookings Institution, “is the best large federal program to be despised by the public.”
This demonstrates just how out of touch many Americans are these days. Sure, there’s plenty of justifiable anger. But this program served its purpose.
Now that Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as dictator President of Egypt, it will be fascinating from a business a criminal point of view to see what happens to the fortune he has amassed on the backs of his people.
But over the last 20 years, Mubarak, his family and his close circle of advisers have enriched themselves through partnerships in powerful Egyptian companies, profiting from their political power, according to numerous reports. The 82-year-old leader and his two sons also wield the levers of the government, including the military and the country’s preeminent political party, to reward friends and punish enemies.
Mubarak — who stepped down on Friday in the wake of massive protests that have gripped Cairo and Alexandria for weeks — and his family have a net worth of at least $5 billion, analysts tell The Huffington Post. Recent media reports pegging the family fortune at between $40 and $70 billion are considered to be exaggerated.
Much of their fortune has reportedly been invested in offshore bank accounts in Europe and in upscale real estate. On Friday, Switzerland froze accounts possibly belonging to Mubarak and his family, a spokesman told Reuters, under new laws governing ill-gotten gains. Last month, the Swiss froze the accounts of Mubarak’s ally, ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose overthrow inspired the first protests in Cairo.
The family owns tons of real estate throughout Europe and the rest of the world, along with stakes in numerous companies.
If Switzerland starts getting tough with them, there will be pressure for the rest of the world to do so as well. This will likely get ugly . . .