Consumer protection

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Brazil Bank Interest Rates At 20-Year High

Brazil's overdraft interest rates reached 12.28% in October, the highest since September 1995 when the rate was 12.58%, according to research conducted by consumer protection group Procon. Of the seven financial institutions included in the research, five increased their overdraft rates and one upped its rate for personal loans. The average overdraft rate of 12.28% per month was higher than that registered in September, 11.90%.

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Frontrunning: September 28

  • Headline winner: "Read Beyond Massive Job-Cuts Headlines: Labor Market Is Fine" (BBG)
  • And speaking of lies: The More Yellen Talks Up Inflation, the Less Traders Believe Her (BBG)
  • How Some Investors Get Special Access to Companies (WSJ)
  • Victorious Catalan separatists claim mandate to break with Spain (Reuters)
  • Russia seizes initiative in Syria (Reuters)
  • Former VW boss Winterkorn investigated for fraud (Reuters)
  • Investors Pull Back From Junk Bonds (WSJ)
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Volkswagen Scandal Becomes "Investor's Nightmare" As German Government Dragged In

The fallout from the emissions scandal that triggered a harrowing plunge in Volkswagen's shares and now threatens to derail the German economy continues as Detusche Bank delivers a sobering assessment, the Green party blames Berlin, BaFin lanches an investigation, and the town of Wolfsburg panics.

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Crowdfunder Slammed Over Playing Cards

In a first for donation-based crowdfunding, the creator of a Kickstarter campaign has been ordered by a state court to pay civil penalties, restitution, and court costs for failing to deliver products to his contributors. Edward J. Polchlopek, aka Ed Nash, and his company, Altius Management, have been ordered to pay a total of $54,851.29 for failure to deliver decks of ‘retro-horror themed’ playing cards. 

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Frontrunning: June 18

  • WSJ urges Fed to blow uberest of all bubbles: Memo to Fed: Let the Economy Overheat (WSJ)
  • Gunman at large after killing nine at black South Carolina church (Reuters)
  • Nine Dead in Charleston Shooting Labeled a 'Hate Crime' (BBG)
  • Hong Kong Votes Down Beijing-Backed Election Plan (WSJ)
  • Greece Has Already Cost Investors $897 Billion This Year (BBG)
  • Merkel Maintains Tough Stance on Greece as Deadline Looms (WSJ)
  • Small U.S. frackers face extinction amid drilling drought (Reuters)
  • Brian Williams to Stay at NBC, but Lester Holt Will Be Anchor (WSJ)
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The Two Contending Visions Of World Government

U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed ‘Trade’ deals are actually about whether the world is heading toward a dictatorial world government - a dictatorship by the hundred or so global super-rich who hold the controlling blocks of stock in the world’s largest international corporations - or else toward a democratic world government - which will be a global federation of free and independent states, much like the United States was at its founding, but global in extent. These are two opposite visions of world government; and Obama is clearly on the side of fascism, an international mega-corporate dictatorship... What’s at stake here is nothing less than whether the future of the United States, and perhaps even of the world, will be democracy, or else fascism.

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Frontrunning: June 11

  • Pope urges Putin to make 'sincere, great effort' for Ukraine peace (Reuters)
  • Merkel Tells Tsipras It’s Time to Back Talk With Policy Action (BBG)
  • 'Greek tragedy' needs happy ending now: EU's Moscovici (Reuters)
  • Vulture Funds Circle Greece Targeting Europe’s Best Trading Bet (BBG)
  • Germany against third aid program for Greece under any circumstances, says daily (Reuters)
  • Biggest OPEC Members Pump Record Oil With Rally in Jeopardy (BBG)
  • Greek ruling reversing pension cuts will cost state 1 to 1.5 bln euros (Kathimerini)
  • China’s Former Security Chief Zhou Yongkang Sentenced to Life in Prison (WSJ)
  • MSCI backs itself into corner on China share inclusion (Reuters)
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Frontrunning: April 15

  • China growth slowest in six years, more stimulus expected soon (Reuters)
  • EU charges Google over shopping searches, to probe Android (Reuters)
  • A Chinese Paradox: Slow Growth Is Good, Stock Bubbles Welcome (BBG)
  • Draghi Seen Dispelling Duration Doubts About QE Program (BBG)
  • IEA Sees OPEC Supply Jumping Most in Four Years on Saudi Surge (BBG)
  • SEC Reaches Settlement with Former Freddie Mac  (WSJ)
  • Kerry says confident Obama can get final deal on Iran (Reuters)
  • Regulators Call for Short-Term Loan Changes to Handle ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ (WSJ)
  • Florida Doctor Linked to Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted for Medicare Fraud (WSJ)
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Meet Linebarger - The Government's Biggest Private Debt Collector

Collecting debt is a dirty business which is why The Federal Government turns it over to the private sector. Meet one of the biggest players in the industry, law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. It has worked for small-town school districts, the city of New York and at one point, the largest tax collector in the country: the Internal Revenue Service. As CNN reports, based in Texas, Linebarger works for 2,300 clients nationwide and collects $1 billion for its clients each year. But the collection system is far from perfect, leading to some nightmare scenarios. Despite decades of scandals over the way the firm gets business (and even jail time for one of its top executives) Linebarger still lands lucrative government contracts...

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Is China Starting To Crackdown On Alibaba's "Illegal Operations"?

It appears the Chinese government has decided it is time to remind the nation's richest man (and millions of retail investors in America) who is in charge. According to a report released by the Chinese government - citing closed-door meetings in July 2014 that were kept quiet so as not to affect the September IPO - there are at least 19 problems with Alibaba's various platforms. As Bloomberg reports, Alibaba failed to properly oversee merchants and allowed the sale of counterfeit products on its e-commerce platforms, according to a Chinese government report. The report concludes, rather ominously, "Alibaba not only faces the biggest credibility crisis since its establishment, it also casts a bad influence for other Internet operators trying to operate legally." While Alibaba has tried to clean-up its image, the report cites issues with counterfeit goods, merchant screening, false advertising, and lax controls.

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Bill Dudley Explains Why The New York Fed Is Not A Subsidiary Of Goldman Sachs - Live Webcast

Just days after the NY Fed ousted an employee for providing confidential information to a Goldman Sachs banker (who formerly worked at the NY Fed - and has since been fired by Goldman), Bill Dudley - the president of the NY Fed - will face a very skeptical Senate Banking Committee this morning investigating so-called "regulatory capture." Of course, their eyes were finally opened after Carmen Segarra, a former employee, leaked 47.5 hours of taped conversation (as we discussed in detail here), exposing the dismal reality of the relationship between the 'regulator' and the 'regulated' as New York regulators were deferential to Goldman bankers for a supposedly "shady" deal. Dudley's defense (not denial) so far:  "We understand the risks of doing our job poorly and of becoming too close to the firms we supervise. Of course, we are not perfect. We sometimes make mistakes."

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Meet The New Leadership Of Europe: Presenting The "Juncker Commission"

As reported ealier this morning, here, courtesy of Bloomberg, are the nominees for the next European Commission under the presidency of Jean-Claude "If Serioues Then lie" Juncker, with one from each of the European Union’s 28 countries. Job assignments were announced today by the incoming president, Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg. What do these appointments mean for the European Union? The attached flash analysis from Open Europe should answer most initial questions.

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