This week, Dropbox filed confidentially for an IPO, HSBC settles over money-laundering allegations, and the CFPB is giving loan-sharks some slack.
Fool me twice | International bank HSBC has said “uncle,” and agreed to pay $100m after a lengthy probe by the U.S. Justice Department. That money is to resolve the DoJ’s investigation into currency rigging, but this isn’t the first time the bank has been in hot water. A few years ago, HSBC broke one or two rules, like breaching international sanctions by doing business with Iran, and laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. No big deal. They deferred prosecution for five years, and now HSBC says they are “committed to ensuring fair outcomes for its customers.” Probably. Maybe. Speaking of…
Everybody now | Western Union is coughing up about $60m for allegations related to (you guessed it) failing to deter and report potential money laundering. For almost a decade. This particular settlement is with NY’s Department of Financial Services, but Western Union also recently paid $586 million to settle similar claims by the U.S. DoJ. But the company isn’t terribly worried; they already set aside some cash “just in case.”
Going big | Dropbox has thrown their hat in the ring and filed confidentially for a U.S. initial public offering (IPO). Reminder: last year the SEC decided to change up the rules and allow all companies to file confidentially before it lists, a perk initially only available to companies making less than $1 billion. This lets a company chat with potential investors before giving away their secret recipe. Now that the gate has been opened, bigger companies have been dipping toes into the water, like Snap Inc. and Stitch Fix. Silicon Valley and Wall Street are keeping an eye on this deal, though—Dropbox is on better ground that some other companies were when they filed (lookin’ at you, Snap).
Sharks in the water | The CFPB is eyeing some regulations that would give loan-sharks a little more wiggle room. An Obama-era rule that put stricter limitations on payday lenders might be reconsidered. The rule was put in place after a five-year study into lender practices, which found that (shocker) they prey on the innocent with things like 400% interest rates. The CFPB said that to hand out loans, lenders would have to do a “full-payment test,” and check things like income and how many loans a borrower took out recently. Critics say that the rule hurts banks by benching them when they could give loans to creditworthy consumers.
Bad Situation | If you were paying attention to pop culture in the late 2000s, you may remember the MTV show, “Jersey Shore”—a reality show that (unfortunately) brought us classics like GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry), and fist pumping. Now, one of the former castmates is making headlines again, but this time for TF (Tax Fraud). Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and his brother Marc were charged in 2014, and again in 2017, when authorities said they filed bogus tax returns. The brothers said, “not true,” and pleaded not guilty, but this week they had a change of heart and wrote a letter to the judge asking to change their plea. Both are scheduled to appear in federal court Friday, January 19.
Thanks for reading! Keep your eyes glued to this column for another roundup of the latest news from the wider world of compliance. And as always, please send any questions, comments, or leads to email@example.com.