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Donald trump and his companies owe more than 14 billion says wall street journal

DONALD Trump’s complicated financial obligations have been laid bare, with reports he owes more than $1.4 billion.

Debt connected to the President-elects companies adding up to more than $1.37 billion ($US1 billion) is owed to more than 150 financial institutions, the Wall Street Journal reported overnight.

The revelation has prompted renewed concern about a potential conflict of interests minefield when Mr Trump takes office in two weeks time.

According to the Journal, the loans were divided, repackaged and then sold in the form of bonds over the past five years, with some of them personally guaranteed by Mr Trump who previously estimated his companies debt obligations at $US315 million.

Mr Trump has appointed a number of former and current Goldman Sachs executives to his new cabinet and advisory groups, while easing criticism of Wall Street since the November 8 election.

His campaign had been highly critical of Hillary Clintons ties to the banking sector in the lead-up to the poll.

Jay Clayton, a lawyer with ties to Goldman Sachs, will lead the United States Securities and Exchange Commission under Trumps administration in an appointment that was criticised by Democrats conservatives.

Its hard to see how an attorney whos spent his career helping Wall Street beat the rap will keep President-elect Trumps promise to stop big banks and hedge funds from getting away with murder, Senator Sherrod Brow told Politico.

Other controversial appointments include Steven Mnuchin, a hedge-fund manager and former Goldman trader, who will be Treasury secretary; Steve Bannon, who will be a top White House adviser to Trump, and Gary Cohn, Goldmans longtime president who was named director of the National Economic Council plus reality television supervillain Omarosa Manigault, an alumnus of The Apprentice .

The Journal analysed Morningstar data, which it said showed that six funds at Vanguard own about $US225.7 million worth of Trump debt, while seven funds at T Rowe Price owned $US98.2 million, five funds at JPMorgan Chase owned $US51 million and four funds at PIMCO owned $US49.5 million.

Other funds reported to hold debt connected to Mr Trumps companies included Prudential, Fidelity Investments, Wells Fargo and BlackRock, the Journal said.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Admiral Michael S. Rogers said they had concerns that President-elect Donald Trump's dismissive attitude towards the intelligence community could harm morale. Photo: AP

Major banks consider raising variable interest rates leading up to christmas and new year

THE major banks are considering the ultimate Grinch act of raising variable interest rates, slugging the majority of mortgage holders in the lead up to Christmas.

And if the rates are not jacked up in December then economists believe they will be hiked during the new year when people are on holiday.

Smaller lenders have been the first to move, with a third last night slugging standard variable mortgage holders despite the Reserve Bank of Australia this week keeping the cash rate at a record low of 1.5 per cent.

RateCity spokesman Peter Arnold believes the big banks may follow suit by raising rates any day in the lead up to Christmas.

I wouldnt be surprised if we saw one, it wont be the best Christmas present for anyone on a variable rate mortgage but thats not going to be the determining factor, Mr Arnold said.

Yesterday ING Direct increased standard variable interest rates on residential property loans for owner occupiers and investors by 15 basis points, effective from next Monday.

This follows variable rate hikes in November from ME Bank for new customers and UBank for all customers with a mortgage.

The last time the major banks raised interest rates despite the official rate remaining unchanged or going down was November 2015 and the most recent one prior to that was 2012. spokesman Graham Cooke said most major lenders have increased their fixed rate mortgages within the past couple of weeks for both owner occupiers and investors.

Three of the big four have started with shifting fixed-loan rates, but this may well spread to variable rates also I would say we may be more likely to see (variable rate) movement in January, he said.

Independent economist Saul Eslake said the smaller lenders have been forced to raise rates because their funding costs were increasing at a faster pace than their larger peers.

He said the major banks will probably hold off hiking rates before Christmas because it could become a publicity disaster.

If they were going to do it they would be more likely to do it in the silly season when most people are on holidays, sometime in January, he said.

Economist Clifford Bennett said a rate hike from the majors was inevitable.

It probably is inevitable though that the major banks will raise rates I would say in the first quarter of next year.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said if the banks did raise variable rates in December or January then the RBA would probably cut interest rates by 25 basis points at its first meeting in February to 1.25 per cent to help ease the pain for homeowners.