Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.
Prior to joining Marketplace, Moore was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, where she was the lead writer for the paper’s award-winning Deal Journal online and daily newspaper column during the height (and depths) of the world financial crisis. In addition, she wrote an analysis of banks and mergers and broke news of SEC investigations, big acquisitions, and Barclays Capital buying most of Lehman Brothers out of bankruptcy. Before that, she was U.S. Bureau Chief for London-based, Dow Jones-owned weekly newspaper and daily website, Financial News. For six years, she was a senior writer covering Wall Street banks and power brokers for The Deal magazine.
Moore’s articles on Wall Street banks and finance have been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, Financial Times and Slate.
Moore is a graduate of Columbia University and a native New Yorker. In her free time, Moore enjoys running and traveling.
Features by Heidi N. Moore
It's been a busy week of JP Morgan coverage - and there will be more over the coming months - so it's a good time for a wrapup of all the Easy Street reporting and analysis. You may want to start a full month back, when we provided an explainer of the confusing JP Morgan trade and an account of CEO Jamie Dimon's more hubristic statements. We also talked with Lauren Lyster at Capital Account about JP Morgan's improbable explanation of its bet, which we called "a unicorn hedge" for its mythic character.
As more people tried to pin down the scale of JP Morgan's loss, we noted that even the bank probably didn't know what it got into. A few weeks later, we brought you exclusive coverage of Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Engle's predictions about which banks had the biggest gap to fill for systemic risk - including, of course, JP Morgan. When we spoke on a panel at the Museum of the City of New York about Reinventing Wall Street, we talked with our fellow panelists, including Josh Brown, about our conviction that the JP Morgan story was the most important of the year so far - because it was the most surprising.
As the day drew nearer for Dimon's star turn on Capitol Hill, we started with a short curtainraiser for Marketplace Morning Report right from Washington on what to expect from the hotly anticipated Dimon hearings, introducing the term "Dimonpalooza" with the expectation that some of the outrage that fueled previous Congressional grilling may have - shall we say - faded. We introduced you to Jamie Dimon's testimony the night before, looking at it for clues on his stance towards the Senate.
The day of the Dimon hearing, we headed over to Capitol Hill and covered the proceedings right from inside the Senate room with real-time chronicling on Twitter and through pictures on Instagram, with a big thanks to the Storify talents of our Web chief Matt Berger. (Here's the slideshow version) While Dimon testified in front of an increasingly adoring smattering of Senators, we ducked into the gallery overlooking the hearing room to give an update to Marketplace Morning Report.
After the hearing ended, we talked with Lauren Lyster, the smart, tough host of Capital Account, about the testimony and why Jamie Dimon's halo of popularity with lawmakers protected him from the usual treatment given to errant bank chiefs. We also sent over an analysis to our friends at The Guardian in the U.K., explaining the trouble with the hearings and with spotting troublesome trading at other banks.
By the end of the day, when we caught up with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal, we realized that the hearing was not so much a time to hold Dimon to account as it was a wake for the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform efforts - and it was Kai who noted that Dimon had "chutzpah" to wear Presidential cufflinks to the proceedings.
Finally, we rounded out our coverage so far with an analysis of whether JP Morgan could have been right, after all, about its trade, which was designed to profit from a global credit crisis.
All Citigroup ever wanted was to give its shareholders a bigger dividend.&nsbp;
Back in March, the Federal Reserve conducted a new round of "stress tests" for American banks to see if they could survive another financial crisis.&nsbp;
Citigroup....didn't fail the stress tests exactly - as it snippily announced in a pointed blog post - but it also didn't get everything it wanted.&nsbp;
It's like this: ever since 2007, when CEO Chuck Prince said the bank would keep dancing as long as the music played, Citigroup has borne the shame of losing its dividend. Back then, when analyst Meredith Whitney suggested the bank might cut its dividend, Citigroup executives turned on her and snarled.
Whitney, of course, was right. Citigroup had to eliminate its dividend, suffer the indignities of enormous bailouts and executive changes, and throughout five hard years of being Too Big to Fail,the bank has yearned for nothing more than to recapture its former grace with shareholders. Citigroup has a dividend in place right now, but the bank does not think it's enough.
In a press release late Friday, Citigroup wanted to remind shareholders that it has not forgotten them. The bank insisted it would re-submit its financial results to the Federal Reserve on Monday. And while Citigroup is going to let the dividend issue slide for now - known here as "returning capital to shareholders" - next year, Citigroup seems to indicate, it expects a better answer. Because it's worth it. Below is Citigroup's announcement, with a handy translation.
In March, the Federal Reserve released the results of its hypothetical severe stress test scenario as part of the 2012 CCAR. The results showed that Citi comfortably exceeded the stress test requirements without Citi’s proposed capital actions.
Translation: "We passed the stress test if you don't count our dividend plan. Just saying."
However, while the Federal Reserve did not object to Citi conducting certain capital actions...and to continue its current dividend, it did not approve Citi’s request to return additional capital to its shareholders.
Translation: The Fed didn't let us increase our dividend, although it let JP Morgan hike its dividend by 20 percent. Jamie gets all the breaks!
The Federal Reserve will act on the plan later this year. As we noted in April, the Federal Reserve’s schedule requires us to submit our 2013 capital plan in January. In light of that timing, we have decided not to request any additional return of capital in the 2012 re-submission. We will make decisions regarding the 2013 capital plan later this year. In the meantime, we will continue to build additional capital through earnings and the ongoing reduction of non-core assets.
Translation: Fine, we're going to go back and train our balance sheet and show the Fed. You ever see the movie Rocky? Like that.
Citi is one of the best capitalized banks in the world. At of the end of the first quarter of 2012, our Tier 1 Common ratio was 12.5% under Basel I and an estimated 7.2% under Basel III, Citi is also highly liquid, with close to $500 billion in cash and available-for-sale securities, representing approximately 26% of the balance sheet.
Translation: $500 billion in cash and securities! That's enough for a dividend for sure. What do you want, Ben? Blood?
These strong capital and liquidity levels result from the decisions we made to make Citi a fundamentally different company today than it was before the financial crisis. We have overhauled risk management and focused on the basics of banking, leveraging our unique presence throughout the emerging and developed markets to serve our clients and the real economy. We have sold more than 60 businesses that were non-core to our strategy, helping to drive the approximately 75% reduction in the size of Citi Holdings. At of the end of the first quarter, Citi Holdings assets were $209 billion, or just 11% of Citi’s total balance sheet.
Translation: You still see us as that poor little bailed-out bank. We're not that mixed-up little person anymore!
With greatly improved financial strength, a highly liquid balance sheet, and our strategy showing results, Citi will continue to build its capital levels for the benefit of our shareholders.
Translation: We love you. Do you love us? Say you do.