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Dissecting the surge in financial reporting issues
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May 07

Reflections on the crisis

Posted by MQuinn in Riskentrepreneurshipcrisiscorporate financeCFOsBanking


Today is my last day at CFOZone. I'm heading to 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.

May 05

Fed survey: Lending standards little changed, loan demand still weak

Posted by MQuinn in RisklendingDealsCredit, borrowing, Banks


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.  

Apr 30

Dow Chemical making life difficult for analysts

Posted by MQuinn in financial reporting, earnings, compliancecareer/management


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.

Apr 28

Vast majority of CFOs have no succession plan

Posted by MQuinn in turnoversuccession planningrecruitingCFOscareer/management


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.

Apr 27

Rooting for Goliath

Posted by MQuinn in RiskeconomyCreditBanking


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."

Apr 20

The futility of market watching

Posted by MQuinn in stock marketmediaGoldman Sachs, earnings, career/management


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.

Apr 13

Bankruptcy wasn’t the end of the world for GM after all

Posted by MQuinn in General Motorscareer/management, bankruptcy


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.

Apr 12

No wonder banks are having problems with credit cards

Posted by MQuinn in underwritingRisklendingcredit cardsconsumersBanks


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.

Apr 07

That Arial typeface is costing you money

Posted by MQuinn in printingoffice suppliescost cuttingCFOscareer/management


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.

Mar 30

Don’t worry: SEC is all over this Repo 105 stuff

Posted by MQuinn in secRepo 105Regulation, Lehman Brothers, complianceCFOsBankingAccounting


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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