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Bank Watch roundup: Top headlines from around the region

SHAREHOLDERS QUESTION SPENDING AT CERTUSBANK: Letters from a New York hedge fund investor in Greenville's CertusBank detail a litany of expenses he thinks are questionable at a bank losing millions every quarter. They include private jet flights, sporting events, luxury vacation resorts, and corporate condos. Vice chairman and former Bank of America executive Charlie Williams also said he was leaving the company.

BOFA CLOSE TO SETTLEMENT OVER CREDIT CARD ADD-ON PRODUCTS: Reports say that Bank of America is close to an $800 million settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over allegations the Charlotte bank pushed customers to sign up for the add-ons. The bank disclosed in 2012 that it was under scrutiny for its identity theft products.

ANOTHER MAN CHARGED IN CHARLOTTE INSIDER TRADING PROBE: A Maryland man who allegedly traded on inside information from Wells Fargo investment banker John Femenia was arrested. He pleaded guilty to one count of insider trading conspiracy.

MAYOPOULOS SAYS DON'T DELAY HOUSING REFORM: Speaking in Chapel Hill at an annual banking institute at UNC, former Bank of America general counsel and current Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos warned that it would be unwise to delay housing reform just because Fannie and Freddie are profitable right now.

PITTENGER WANTS SMALL BUSINESS VOICES AT CFPB: The Charlotte Republican congressman introduced legislation to establish an advisory board to do just that.

PNC BOOSTS DIVIDEND: The bank said Thursday it will pay 48 cents per share in the first quarter, up 9 percent from its previous dividend.

CHARLOTTE DOUGLAS IS STILL EIGHTH-BUSIEST AIRPORT: Passengers in 2013 were up 5 percent from the year before.

****This is The Charlotte Observer's Bank Watch Morning Report, bringing you banking news from the region, the top financial headlines, and the news driving activity in the Charlotte market.****

Send news items and tips to adunn@charlotteobserver.com. Follow banking news on Twitter @andrew_dunn.

Financial headlines

DON'T EXPECT MUCH FROM BANK EARNINGS: When banks start to release first quarter results this month, weak trading and mortgage revenue are expected to weigh down profits, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bank of America's mortgage revenue could drop by a third.

DEMS WANT TO LEVY FEES ON HIGH SPEED TRADERS: Emboldened by Michael Lewis's bombshell new book, Congressional Democrats are planning to renew a legislative effort to levy fees on high speed traders, Bloomberg reports. It'll either be a big government money-maker or tax these firms into oblivion.

Around Bank Town

ON THE FRONT PAGE: StudentFirst Academy to close next week ... Duke Energy is stunting tree growth in Myers Park, Dilworth and Plaza Midwood ... "Dueling Banjos" author and Charlottean Arthur Smith dies

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