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Big Banks blindsided by former Bush official

Neel KashkariWall Street woke up with a new problem Tuesday: a Republican Goldman Sachs alum using his new bully pulpit atop the Federal Reserve to suggest the biggest banks should break up.

Serving up policy fuel in a populist election cycle where bank bashing is front and center, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari — who helped run President George W. Bush’s 2008 bank bailout plan — sounded a lot like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren when he outlined dramatic solutions to end “too big to fail.”

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Student debt protests planned after armed marshals arrest man for old loans

Student debt protestSeven US marshals armed with automatic weapons turned up at Paul Aker’s home in Houston, Texas, last week to arrest him over a $1,500 student loan debt dating back to 1987.

“It was totally mind-boggling,” Aker said. “I was wondering, why are you here? I am home, I haven’t done anything ... Why are the marshals knocking on my door? It’s amazing.”

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Morgan Stanley to pay $3.2 billion to settle financial crisis-era charges

Morgan Stanley finedMorgan Stanley (MS.N) will pay about $3.2 billion to settle charges that it misled investors in residential mortgage-backed securities that later soured during the financial crisis, federal and state officials said Thursday.

The case stems from an investigation by the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Group, a joint federal and state task force unveiled in 2012 by President Barack Obama that serves to probe potential misconduct from the financial crisis.

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Wal-Mart to shutter 269 stores, 154 of them in the US

walmart closing 269 storesWal-Mart is closing 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S. and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.

The stores being shuttered account for a fraction of the company's 11,000 stores worldwide and less than 1 percent of its global revenue.

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Macy's announces closure of 36 stores, layoffs after slow holiday sales

Macy'sRetailer Macy's Inc. announced the elimination of more than 4,500 jobs and the closure of 36 stores after disappointing sales during the holiday season.

It said Wednesday it would initiate "a series of cost-efficiency and process-improvement measures" by reducing the workforce at each of about 770 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, closing other stores, and offering a "voluntary separation opportunity" to some senior executives. The downsizing actions are set to begin early this year.

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Accounting industry and SEC defang America’s audit watchdog

auditing industryJames Schnurr, just two months into his job as chief accountant at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, stood before a packed ballroom in Washington last December and upbraided a little-known regulator.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, oversees the big firms that sign off on the books of America’s listed companies. And the board was “moving too slowly,” Schnurr said, to address auditing failures that in recent years had shaken public confidence in those firms.

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Federal Reserve ends 'too big to fail' lending policy

YellenThe Federal Reserve Board approved a rule Monday prohibiting the government from extending emergency loans to "too big to fail" companies.

The practice of intervening with loans was essential during the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, but was formally abandoned Monday to keep within the confines of the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010.

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