BANK REGULATORY – The tone sounds like a settlement

Following on yesterday’s blog about Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and its travails with the New York state Banking regulator, the signals are all toward a speedy settlement.  This strategy is consistent with and follows in the footsteps of much larger institutions which have run afoul of regulatory authorities including among others, JPMorgan Chase & Co., ING Bank N.V. and Barclays. 

Notwithstanding the aggressive tone taken by the CEO of SCB when the Order became public that the allegations about the Iranian transactions were incorrect as a matter of law, SCB’s legal team is working to reach a settlement.  Even the CEO himself is now in New York to lend credence to the message that a settlement is seriously being negotiated.  (   )  The hearing is still set for this Wednesday however the form of it has yet to be made public.  Mr. Sands’ presence in New York also indicates that he is prepared to appear. 

SCB is also dealing with the 2010 probe by the US Department of Justice and the Manhattan district Attorney with regard to violations of U.S. sanction laws.  ( )  These two probes will need to be resolved quickly if SCB wants to indicate to the U.S. regulators that it takes U.S. laws seriously (and by extension, wants to keep its U.S. license) and if it wants to assuage the concerns of its shareholders that management understands the regulatory world within which it operates. 

Given the heightened regard for corporate governance and given the impact of the new Basel III rules, one wonders how an institution could continue to carry on business while treating these investigations as ordinary course matters. 


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