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Today is my last day at CFOZone. I'm heading to Inc.com to cover the world of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
I've always joked that throughout my career I've left a trail of destruction. Right out of undergrad, I worked on Wall Street briefly. The year was 1999 and I worked for the online brokerage firm TD Waterhouse. Remember those days? Everybody was a trader. Retail money was flowing into companies like TD and E*Trade. I left in early 2000. We all know what happened shortly after that.
The latest survey of senior loan officers by the Federal Reserve showed that bank lending standards on commercial and industrial (C&I) loans were little changed over the three months ended in April.
The survey, however, did show that most of the banks that reported having eased some lending policies in the April survey were large banks. This suggests that larger banks have healed enough to start lending to customers other than those with the strongest credit. On the other hand, none of the smaller banks, which compose roughly half of the respondents, indicated that they had eased their standards on C&I loans to large firms over the past three months.
By remaking itself through acquisitions and divestitures, Dow Chemical hasn't made life easy for those inside its finance department. And so, apparently, they've decided to share the pain with investors and analysts following the chemical manufacturing giant.
I have the privilege of assembling our weekly CFO Moves column, so the finding of a new survey that the vast majority of finance chiefs haven't identified their successor doesn't really surprise me. I've seen a lot of press releases stating, "The company is considering both internal and external candidates to fill the position."
Still, the percentage of companies with no CFO succession plan is pretty staggering. The aforementioned poll of 1,400 CFOs by Robert Half Management Resources found that 83 percent have not identified a successor for their position.
Wilt Chamberlain was wrong; sometimes people do root for Goliath.
A Bloomberg story Monday, "Big Banks Are Back as JPMorgan, Citigroup Turn Corner", is a great example.
It's a feel good story that starts off this way: "Main Street teamed up with Wall Street to produce something the four biggest U.S. lenders haven't had since the banking crisis began two years ago: reason for optimism."
Covering daily stock market movements must be a lousy job. Today's news wire stories from Reuters on Goldman Sachs' earnings are a prime example of why.
I couldn't help but think back a year and a half when I read the news of a leaked staff memo out of General Motors. Reuters reported on Monday that the automaker's chief executive, Ed Whitacre, wrote, "Our first quarter financial results will show us an important milestone, and I'm pleased to say that I anticipate solid operating results when we report our first quarter financials in May."
Those solid results, of course, were made possible by GM's bankruptcy, which it emerged from last July after 40 days.
It's no secret that lenders have been frantically scaling back consumer credit since the onset of the financial crisis. Since the fourth quarter 2008 through February of this year, revolving consumer credit outstanding has been cut by more than 13 percent, according to Federal Reserve data.
But now that the economy has begun growing again and the new credit card laws are in effect, banks need to start figuring out how to make money through their once massively profitable credit card operations.
Looking for an easy way for your company to save a few bucks on office supplies? Change the font in the documents you print, reports the Associated Press.
The idea is simple enough: Certain fonts use different amounts of ink. That Arial font Word formerly defaulted to actually cost you money compared to using something like Century Gothic. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has asked its faculty and staff to switch to Century Gothic for all printed documents. By doing so, the school figures it could save between 5 and 10 percent on its annual $100,000 ink and toner bill.
The CFOs at 24 large financial institutions can expect a nice little treat in the mail sometime soon from the Securities and Exchange Commission: a letter asking them for detailed information about their use of repurchase agreements and their accounting and disclosure of these transactions, Reuters reported.
The inquiry, of course, is in response to the now infamous "Repo 105" transactions uncovered at Lehman Brothers by its bankruptcy examiner, which allowed the bank to move as much as $50 billion off its balance sheet just before reporting earnings and to move them back on later.
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