While You Were Working - March 5

Despite trends to the contrary…

Big US banks look set to do battle via their branch networks. This seems odd because every indicator from Millennials seems to be that they don’t really want to go into brick-and-mortar bank branches. Like. Ever.

I would also submit that JPMorgan Chase already expanded its footprint relatively quietly during the Great Recession. This is purely anecdotal, but I certainly noticed a lot of JPMorgan Chase branches popping up during that time. All consisted of new construction at choice locations or the converting of previous structures at choice locations whose previous tenants failed to withstand the economic downturn.  

Either way, adding brick-and-mortar branches seems like an old strategy pushing against new trends. Wells Fargo obviously bears the brunt of their fake account scandal, but the stink has still spread to brick-and-mortar bankers as a whole. Simply put, younger consumers would rather bank with a computer than with a bank teller they don’t trust.

Goldman looks for a commodities solution

After getting its teeth a wee bit kicked in by its own commodities desk, Goldman Sachs has created a new team to look for “commodity finance solutions.”

Broadcom’s move to snag Qualcomm looks to be in trouble

Few moves in the corporate M&A world fascinate me more right now than Broadcom’s attempted acquisition of Qualcomm. It started out as a masterful chess move by Broadcom boss Hock Tan. First Tan made a big to-do about plans to move Broadcom’s HQ to the US and even co-opted President Trump into trumpeting the announcement.

Then Tan turned around and made a move to grab Qualcomm, an US industry leader.

Tan was betting that Trump would not stand in the way of an acquisition being made by a firm he labeled a “great, great company.” It was a sound bet … until Qualcomm went to work lobbying to thwart the deal on national security grounds.  

Now, it looks like the deal is in serious trouble. If the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ends up squashing the deal, I will be verrrrrrry curious to see if Tan reverses his decision to move Broadcom’s HQ to the US.

#MeToo at Credit Suisse

The #MeToo movement isn’t going to ensnare any senior executives at Credit Suisse any time soon.  But that is not stopping CEO Tidjane Thiam from promising he will take another look at an allegedly tawdry incident that took place amongst Credit Suisse employees eight years ago.

How corporations came to be treated as people

This is an interesting look at just how corporations came to be viewed as people from a legal perspective. It might not be of interest to many, but the people clamoring for bankers to be jailed after the financial crisis often question why corporations enjoy all of the benefits of being treated as people (free speech, etc), but none of the downside risk (prison).

It is also worth considering where the political system in the US might be right now if the decision to treat corporations as people had never been made.

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