FINANCIAL

May’s mandate melts

THE ECONOMIST - 1 hour 35 min ago

THERESA MAT, Britain’s prime minister, called a surprise election for June 8th arguing that she needed a strong mandate for negotiating Brexit. The pound rallied on the news, in the belief that a large Conservative majority would allow Mrs May the flexibility to do a deal with the EU, and see off the hard-liners among her party.

For a while, it looked as if the plan was going well. The Conservatives had a 20-point lead in some polls. But the party’s campaign, heavily reliant on the appeal of its leader and the repeated use of soundbites like “strong and stable”, has been misjudged. The manifesto launch was disastrous and included a pledge to charge the elderly (a key Tory demographic) for social care. That pledge was quickly reversed, but Mrs May’s refusal to admit to an obvious U-turn undermined her strong leadership...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

The slow remaking of the taxi-medallion loan market

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 18:37
Amid all the bad news this year among taxi-medallion lenders, banks are trying to renegotiate loan terms behind the scenes, and regulatory changes could prop up collateral values and the competitiveness of taxis.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Mom's not-so-little helper; 'values' in hiring

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 18:01
Teresa Tanner designed a unique program to help keep new moms from leaving Fifth Third. Monica Coles of Wells Fargo has a surprising perspective on diversity initiatives. Plus, Abby Johnson talks up bitcoin.
Categories: FINANCIAL

FHFA raising concerns about Home Loan Bank funding, advances

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 17:43
FHFA Director Mel Watt sketched a regulatory vision that included greater scrutiny of funding mechanisms and large exposures to single borrowers.
Categories: FINANCIAL

BancFirst in Oklahoma shuffles leadership

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 17:27
David Rainbolt, who has been the company's CEO since the early 1990s, has handed the reins to a pair of longtime deputies. Rainbolt will stay at BancFirst as its executive chairman.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Donald Trump considers congestion pricing for American cities

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 16:20

DONALD TRUMP made a splash during the American presidential campaign when he called for a trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure. But when he actually released his first major budget proposal this week, funds for roads and bridges hardly attracted notice. Though the document does lay out a target of $200bn in direct federal spending, to be augmented by private investments, it provides only $5bn in 2018. “President Trump’s campaign promises on infrastructure are crumbling faster than our roads and bridges,” said one senior Democrat.

Yet tucked away in the proposal is one short paragraph that ought to intrigue the country’s city-dwellers, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, as well as business travellers who often find themselves visiting American cities.

In a paragraph titled “Incentivize Innovative Approaches to Congestion Mitigation”, there is a proposal to “provide valuable incentives for localities to think outside of the box in solving long-standing congestion challenges,” modeled after...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Debt to the Penny for 05/24/2017

Debt Held by the Public: 14,310,454,613,226.92
Intragovernmental Holdings: 5,535,491,198,487.41
Total Public Debt Outstanding: 19,845,945,811,714.33

Why this bank sold itself for zero premium

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 15:08
Anchor Bancorp in Laney, Wash., lowered its expectations in the face of impatient investors and buyers’ concerns about antitrust, credit quality and other issues.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Bank of Ozarks to raise capital ahead of first stress test

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 14:51
The Arkansas company is selling more than $300 million in stock a year before its DFAST test in June 2018.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Dodd-Frank overhaul bill advances closer to House vote

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 14:34
A bill to overhaul the Dodd-Frank Act could get a vote in the full House as early as June 7.
Categories: FINANCIAL

How banks can cut security risks posed by email hoaxes

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 14:16
Two related and equally humiliating cases of high-level bankers completely falling for fake emails illustrate the dangers of social engineering and the need to better protect executives and other employees from themselves.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Balance-sheet growth in U.S. provides spark to TD Bank

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 13:38
The Toronto bank said increases in deposits and loans spurred a 20% rise in profit at its U.S. retail bank from a year earlier.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Would Wells scandal have come to light with a defanged CFPB?

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:41
Free-market advocates believe that consumers discipline wayward companies better than the government by eschewing their offerings, but switching products is not the same as punishing malefactors.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Top Pence adviser blasts FDIC resolution powers

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:41
A top Trump administration official on Thursday vowed to roll back FDIC powers to seize and unwind a failing megabank.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Trump nominates affordable housing official as HUD general counsel

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:41
President Trump has nominated Paul Compton, an Alabama attorney with affordable housing experience, to serve as general counsel for HUD.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Growth in U.S. bolsters Royal Bank of Canada's 2Q profit

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:55
The Royal Bank of Canada got an earnings boost from its U.S. capital markets business and its ownership of City National Bank in Los Angeles, helping to offset softer growth at home.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Netflix still gets booed at Cannes

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

THE rise of Netflix has been greeted frostily by some of the old guard at the Cannes film festival, where the American streaming giant’s disregard for releasing films in cinemas wins it few friends. It looked a bit more at home on May 21st, as the lights went up at the Louis Lumière theatre. The stars of its own film, “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)”, a comedy drama, accepted a standing ovation from the audience. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s head of content, stood alongside Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller and other cast members. Festival-goers jostled for a word with him at a swanky after-party.

This is the first year that Netflix has been admitted into the festival’s competition, with two films, “The Meyerowitz Stories” and “Okja”, directed by Bong Joon-ho of South Korea. Still, cries of protest from French film-industry executives prompted Thierry Frémaux, the festival director, to declare that, in future, only films guaranteed a theatrical release in...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Why companies in the chemicals industry are mixing

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

AS SPRING arrives, the hills of Languedoc in southern France turn green with the leaves of grapevines. This is helped along by chemicals—lots of them, confides a winemaker based near the town of Thuir in the Pyrenees. In their absence, vineyards would need natural fertilisers and to be weeded by hand, both costly. French farmers use more chemicals than anyone else in Europe: 65,000 tonnes of pesticides alone each year.

Even the smallest of vine-growers has an interest in a series of takeovers proposed between their chemicals suppliers. After a decade without any big deals, since 2015 three mega-mergers, collectively worth around $240bn, have been proposed. When they were first announced, many doubted that regulators would allow the mergers because of competition worries. If all three proceed, as now seems likely, four companies will produce 70% of the world’s pesticides instead of six today.

The first mega-merger, announced in December 2015, was between Dow Chemical and...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Machine-learning promises to shake up large swathes of finance

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

MACHINE-LEARNING is beginning to shake up finance. A subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that excels at finding patterns and making predictions, it used to be the preserve of technology firms. The financial industry has jumped on the bandwagon. To cite just a few examples, “heads of machine-learning” can be found at PwC, a consultancy and auditing firm, at JP Morgan Chase, a large bank, and at Man GLG, a hedge-fund manager. From 2019, anyone seeking to become a “chartered financial analyst”, a sought-after distinction in the industry, will need AI expertise to pass his exams.

Despite the scepticism of many, including, surprisingly, some “quant” hedge funds that specialise in algorithm-based trading, machine-learning is poised to have a big impact. Innovative fintech firms and a few nimble incumbents have started applying the technique to everything from fraud protection to finding new trading strategies—promising to up-end not just the humdrum drudgery of the back-office,...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

A trade deal between the EU and east Africa is in trouble

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

Magufuli advises Museveni on how to tilt at colonialism

THE winds that waft along the Swahili coast change direction with the seasons, a boon to traders in times past. Shifts in the political winds are harder to predict. Last July a proposed trade deal between five countries of the East African Community (EAC) and the EU was thrown into disarray when Tanzania backed out at the last minute. An EAC summit, scheduled for months ago, was meant to find a way forward. Held at last on May 20th in Dar es Salaam, after many postponements, only two presidents showed up. The deal is in the doldrums.

The pact is one of seven “Economic Partnership Agreements” (EPAs) the EU wants to sign with regional groups in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The first was agreed with the Caribbean in 2008; southern Africa followed suit last year. But progress in west Africa has also stalled, with Nigeria raising objections. The EPAs were promoted as a new breed of trade deal, and...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

A new code aims to clean up the foreign-exchange market

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

FINANCIAL-MARKET traders have earned a pretty shocking reputation in recent years. From manipulating LIBOR, a benchmark interest rate, to rigging the daily fix of foreign-exchange (FX) rates, traders have shown themselves ready not just to stretch the rules, but to collude in outright illegality.

A global code of conduct for the FX market, unveiled on May 25th, aims to put things on a sounder footing. Drawn up over the past two years by a coalition of central bankers, known as the FX Working Group (FXWG), and supported by a panel of industry participants, the code’s 55 principles lay down international standards on a range of practices, from the handling of confidential information to the pricing and settlement of deals.

Such standards seem long overdue in the massive FX market. Roughly $5trn is traded every day (see chart). Many companies, pension funds and money managers depend on banks to hedge their exposure to currency fluctuations. Yet in the past traders colluded with one another...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

How becoming a Hong Kong pensioner can save you tax

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

Not dodging but shuffling

THE global war on tax evasion rumbles on. What began as an American onslaught, with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of 2010, has been joined by more than 100 countries through an initiative called the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). Under this, governments will exchange tax information on their financial firms’ clients on a regular, “automatic” basis, without having to be asked for it, starting this year. Holdouts such as Panama, the Bahamas and Lebanon have, one by one, been frogmarched into line.

But tax-dodgers and their advisers are enterprising sorts, eager to clamber through the smallest loophole—and gaps in the CRS there are. One involves becoming a pensioner in Hong Kong.

The territory, home to a big financial centre, has a type of pension known as an ORS (for Occupational Retirement Scheme). The beauty of ORS from a tax evader’s point of view is that anyone can get one and they are not...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

One bitcoin is worth twice as much as an ounce of gold

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

Fans of bitcoin, a crypto-currency, have long called it digital gold. Now this sounds like an insult: continuing its stellar rise, and adding more than 30% to its value in just a week, one bitcoin is worth more than $2,600, over twice as much as an ounce of gold. As The Economist went to press all bitcoins in circulation were worth over $43bn. A sum of $1,000 invested in bitcoins in 2010 would now be worth nearly $36m. Other crypto-currencies are also marching upward: together this week they were worth $87bn. But if the history of gold is any guide, what goes up will come down—and then go up again.

Categories: FINANCIAL

An abrupt change at the top at Ford

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

Fun comes to the blue oval

THE abrupt departure of Ford’s boss, Mark Fields, which the firm announced on May 22nd, has two explanations. Investors had become restive at its performance, particularly in the past year. But Mr Fields was also perceived to lack the drive of Alan Mulally, the man he succeeded. In replacing him with Jim Hackett (pictured), who ran an office-furniture company before joining Ford’s board in 2013 and more recently led the firm’s mobility unit, Ford hopes to conquer current problems and shore up its future strategy.

Ford’s shares have declined by nearly 40% since Mr Fields took over (see chart). Though it made record profits in 2015 and had strong results in 2016, investors reckoned a booming North American market, on which it relies for nearly two-thirds of revenues, would slow. They also disliked the fact that Mr Fields had to invest heavily in new technologies. Ford suffered the ignominy of its market capitalisation being...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Among private tech firms, Airbnb has pursued a distinct strategy

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

UNTIL recently “Uber envy” afflicted many top executives at Airbnb, a platform for booking overnight stays in other people’s homes. So admits a big investor in the firm. The two companies often raised money at the same time, and the ride-hailing giant reliably received more cash and closer attention. Uber is America’s most valuable private technology firm, with a valuation of close to $70bn at last count; Airbnb is still in second place with a value of around $30bn. But with Uber facing a series of setbacks, including allegations of intellectual-property theft, departures by senior executives and a consumer boycott, jealousy in Airbnb’s hallways has largely evaporated.

Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

What the German economic model can teach Emmanuel Macron

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

IT IS heartening that the euro area has a knack for surviving near-fatal crises. Yet confidence in the durability of the single currency might be stronger if it suffered fewer of them. Europe dodged its latest bullet on May 7th in France, when Emmanuel Macron, a liberal-minded (by local standards) upstart centrist, defeated Marine Le Pen for the presidency. Even so, an avowed nationalist and Eurosceptic captured 34% of the vote, leaving Mr Macron with five years to assuage widespread frustration with the economic status quo. An obvious model lies just across the Rhine, where the unemployment rate—below 4%, down from over 11% in 2005—is testimony to the potential for swift, dramatic change. Yet Germany’s performance will not be easy to duplicate.

It would be unfair to call France the sick man of Europe; half the continent is wheezing or limping. Yet there is certainly room for French improvement. Real output per person has barely risen in the past decade. Government spending stands at 57% of GDP, outstripping the tax take; France’s budget deficit, at 3.4% of GDP, is among the largest in the euro area’s core. The biggest worry, however, is the labour market. The unemployment rate, now 10.1%, is stubbornly high. Nearly a quarter of French young adults are unemployed. Worklessness, especially among young people, is a source of rising social tension and a...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Masayoshi Son and Saudi Arabia launch a monster technology fund

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

“I HAVEN’T accomplished anything I can be proud of in my 60 years on Earth,” Masayoshi Son, the boss of SoftBank, a Japanese telecoms group, recently confided. Now he has enough money to make a dent in the universe: on May 20th SoftBank and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), along with smaller investors including Apple and Sharp, launched the world’s largest technology-investment fund, worth nearly $100bn. How will Mr Son and his team deploy these riches?

He has a vision to match his vehicle. Within 30 years, he predicts, the world will be populated by billions of robots, many of them more intelligent than humans. Several of SoftBank’s recent acquisitions, most of which are expected to be part of the fund’s portfolio, should be seen in this light. ARM, a British chip firm acquired for a whopping $32bn last year, will design the brains for the robots. OneWeb, a satellite startup in which SoftBank acquired a 40% stake for $1bn in December, will connect them. Nvidia,...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

The market for rare trainers

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

All star investments

WHEN Marty McFly donned his self-lacing Nike trainers in the distant future of 2015, he really should have kept them in the box. Almost 30 years on from “Back to the Future II”, Nike’s real-life version, released in 2016, is the most expensive training shoe on the planet, with an average resale price of $32,275. These rarest of shoes (only 89 pairs were made) are at the apex of a resale market that has been carefully nurtured by Nike and other trainer titans since the late 1980s.

Every Saturday morning across America, queues of “sneakerheads” form outside trainer shops. Many are adding to their hundred-pair collections, but the rest are seeking shoes to sell in the secondary market. As brands try to strike a balance between generating instant revenue and restricting supply (which creates demand, and more revenue later), the secondary trade thrives. In America it is worth an estimated $1.5bn a year, a tenth of the trainer...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Noble Group, a big Asian commodities trader, is teetering

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

THE difficulties facing Noble Group, a beleaguered Hong Kong commodities trader, are multiplying. On May 23rd the firm was forced to suspend trading of its shares in Singapore after their value slumped by more than 28% in half an hour. The panicked selling came after S&P Global, a ratings agency, warned that Noble was at risk of defaulting on large debt repayments that are due within the next 12 months. Investors were also rattled by reports from Reuters and the Financial Times suggesting that Sinochem, a Chinese conglomerate at one time tipped to take a stake in Noble, had lost interest in a deal.

Founded in 1986 by Richard Elman, a former scrap-metal merchant from London, Noble grew from an initial investment of $100,000 to be worth more than $10bn at its peak in 2010. But investors took fright in 2015 when a previously unknown group called Iceberg Research began publishing reports questioning Noble’s accounting practices (Noble has vigorously defended its...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Is efficient-market theory becoming more efficient?

THE ECONOMIST - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:49

BUILD a better mousetrap, the saying goes, and the world will beat a path to your door. Find a way to beat the stockmarket and they will construct a high-speed railway. As investors try to achieve this goal, they draw on the work of academics. But in doing so, they are both changing the markets and the way academics understand them.

The idea that financial markets are “efficient” became widespread among academics in the 1960s and 1970s. The hypothesis stated that all information relevant to an asset’s value would instantly be reflected in the price; little point, therefore, in trading on the basis of such data. What would move the price would be future information (news) which, by definition, could not be known in advance. Share prices would follow a “random walk”. Indeed, a book called “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” became a bestseller.

The idea helped inspire the creation of index-trackers—funds that simply buy all the shares in a benchmark like the S&P...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Here’s why the Durbin repeal got pulled from House reg relief bill

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:04
A Dodd-Frank overhaul bill faced trouble in the House because lawmakers id not want to vote on a provision to repeal debit swipe fee limits.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Banks should share financial data — to avoid being forced to

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 09:45
Banks in the U.S. should get ahead of potential open banking regulation by building application programming interfaces now. A preemptive strategy will give banks more flexibility.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Hensarling drops Durbin repeal; Court hears CFPB challenge

AMERICAN BANKER - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 07:50
House financial services committee head agrees to drop swipe-fee repeal in order to save Financial Choice Act; Federal appeals court appears skeptical about declaring agency's makeup unconstitutional.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Six insights from the FDIC's 1Q earnings scorecard

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 18:27
The FDIC's Quarterly Banking Profile was mostly good news for banks, showing higher profits and lower noncurrent loans, but loan growth remains a worry. Following is a detailed look at some of the insights into bank earnings.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Give credit unions carve-out from CFPB? NCUA says ‘yes’

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 17:40
In a rare move, the credit union regulator is asking the CFPB for exemptions for credit unions from expanded HMDA requirements and unfair and deceptive acts authority.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Debt to the Penny for 05/23/2017

Debt Held by the Public: 14,301,899,119,121.59
Intragovernmental Holdings: 5,544,090,957,561.60
Total Public Debt Outstanding: 19,845,990,076,683.19

Does Trump's budget foreshadow changes to credit unions' tax exemption?

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:53
The Treasury Department significantly raised an estimate for how much the exemption will cost the government over the next decade, giving bankers some hope that their complaints are finally being heard.
Categories: FINANCIAL

What Fifth Third is doing to retain moms

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:08
New mothers were bailing out from the Cincinnati bank at twice the rate of other women employees, so it decided to offer a maternity concierge service that would help them with stressful chores.
Categories: FINANCIAL

BBVA and B of A move to make data-sharing safer

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:08
Both banks announced efforts to provide a rich supply of customer data to third-party companies and developers (with customers' consent, of course).
Categories: FINANCIAL

Mixed signals on CFPB constitutionality from appeals court justices

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:14
Appeals court justices appeared divided on whether the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is constitutional during oral arguments in the PHH v. CFPB case on Wednesday.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Scrap screen scraping? Europe's finding it's not that simple

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:14
Europe is debating whether to ban screen scraping, a practice that fintechs count on as a last resort. Innovation is at stake.
Categories: FINANCIAL

House Dems seek bank documents of Trump accounts

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 13:01
House Democrats are asking Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer John Cryan for documents related to two internal reviews, including one into accounts held by President Trump and his family.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Donald Trump’s budget ignores what is actually ailing American workers

THE ECONOMIST - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:47

PRESIDENTIAL budget requests, all of them, are worth exactly nothing. They carry no force of legislation. They land, heavy, bound and shrink-wrapped, so they can be immediately binned as Congress continues its now yearly stumble toward a “continuing resolution”—a supposedly temporary legislative act that in recent decades has almost entirely replaced the statutory budget process. The request from the President is the least consequential part of something that is completely broken. It functions like a bumper sticker on an old car. It only tells you about the person who’s driving. 

Mick Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina who won his seat in the Tea-Party wave of 2010, runs Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget. Mr Mulvaney has created the budget his wing of the Republican party always wanted: government as a service, paid for by its clients, the taxpayers. If you receive more than you pay, the system has failed, and must be fixed. The marketing copy that accompanied the budget calls this...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Bank 1Q earnings jump to $44B, while loans fall: FDIC

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:41
Bank earnings leaped to $44 billion in the first quarter, a 12.7% increase from a year earlier, but loan growth marked its first quarterly slowdown since 2013.
Categories: FINANCIAL

HSBC discovers consumers trust robots for surgery over savings

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:41
Andy Maguire faces a challenge: tasked with upgrading HSBC's digital-banking systems, he has discovered that customers are twice as likely to trust a robot for heart surgery than for picking a savings account.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Risk Management 2017: A Broadening Sense of Hazard

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:41
Are Risk Levels Rising for Banks? Execs Think So
Categories: FINANCIAL

Buying spree continues for Horizon in Ind.

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 09:49
The $3.2 billion-asset company agreed to pay $32 million in cash and stock for Lafayette Community Bancorp in a deal that is expected to close in the third quarter.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Don't end branching to compete digitally. Just do it better

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 09:33
Regulatory restrictions on market entry can shield banks for only so long from problems like those faced by traditional retailers. But financial institutions can take these steps to stay competitive in the ever-digital world.
Categories: FINANCIAL

R3 raises $100 million in latest funding; Fidelity adopts bitcoin

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 08:34
Blockchain platform's capital raising is its biggest to date; mutual fund giant now accepts digital currency in its cafeteria as CEO Abigail Johnson embraces it.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Tech is neat, but branches are necessary

AMERICAN BANKER - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 06:02
The role of branches in consumers' lives may be changing in the digital age, but brick-and-mortar locations are here to stay. To adapt, Citizens Bank has begun a "10-year process" of retrofitting its branch network.
Categories: FINANCIAL

GOP plan to scrap agency guidance takes step forward

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 21:08
The Government Accountability Office has agreed to a request by a GOP lawmaker to examine whether congress can reject regulators' guidance.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Wells Fargo CEO Sloan sees B of A's Moynihan as crisis management role model

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 17:23
Brian Moynihan won praise from the Wells Fargo CEO for his handling of subprime, legal and other post-crisis issues during his first years as Bank of America's top executive.
Categories: FINANCIAL

OCC's Noreika makes first deputy comptroller appointment

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 16:58
The acting Comptroller of the Currency named longtime OCC official Michael Sullivan as deputy comptroller for economics.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Regtech startup's mission: Find real terrorists, avoid false alarms

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 16:40
Merlon Intelligence, a startup launching Wednesday, plans to offer banks AI software that will help them with their expensive compliance responsibilities.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Lenders protest proposed FHA fee for risk upgrades

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 16:40
Lenders are objecting to the Trump administration's proposed $30 million fee designed to partially fund upgrades to the FHA.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Debt to the Penny for 05/22/2017

Debt Held by the Public: 14,309,116,236,183.17
Intragovernmental Holdings: 5,536,918,104,118.74
Total Public Debt Outstanding: 19,846,034,340,301.91

Four takeaways from Trump's first budget

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 16:02
President Trump’s budget would reduce funds to the CFPB and eliminate a fund designed to help regulators unwind a failing megabank.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Chairman and CEO roles combined at F.N.B. in Pennsylvania

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 14:24
The rising regional player has also appointed new chairs for four board committees as it prepares for the retirement of several long-serving directors.
Categories: FINANCIAL

HSBC makes 'big bet' on Canada in bid for more market share

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 14:24
HSBC is getting aggressive in Canada — and one needs to look no further than its latest mortgage rate for proof of broader ambitions.
Categories: FINANCIAL

The evolution of the ATM

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 14:24
Automated teller machines have come a long way since Barclays rolled out the world’s first ATM at a branch in north London 50 years ago. Here’s a look at some of the milestone moments and key innovations in ATM technology over the past five decades.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Why de novos are still a no-no for this banker

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 13:24
George Groves is raising money to buy an existing bank despite regulators' hints that they are warming to the idea of startups.
Categories: FINANCIAL

A mortgage for immigrants with money but no credit history

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 13:24
Bank of the West is using alternative data and the international expertise of its parent company to tap into the lucrative but difficult to underwrite market of middle- and upper-class immigrant mortgage borrowers.
Categories: FINANCIAL

A Southeastern expansion at SmartFinancial

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:58
The Tennessee bank has agreed to pay nearly $85 million for Capstone Bancshares in Alabama.
Categories: FINANCIAL

The strange tales of ministers and kings flying commercial jets

THE ECONOMIST - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:44

ONE of the more disquieting rumours of the year is that of the Iraqi transport minister who reportedly demanded a turn at the yoke of a plane carrying 200 passengers flying from Baghdad to Basra. According to a report in the New Arab last month, and a witness account on al-Sharqiya television news, the politician entered the cockpit and asked if he could land the plane. The captain told his co-pilot to give his seat to the minister so that he could land it under his supervision. New Arab quoted one official, speaking on the condition of anonymity: "The minister did not do a good job. He slammed the front of the plane into the ground, sending the passengers into a panic."

That all sounds a bit far-fetched to Gulliver. (The Iraqi Civil...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

UBS dives into credit card fray with Chase, Amex to woo wealthy

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:41
UBS Group AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, plans to introduce a premium card this month as it seeks to strengthen ties with affluent Americans.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Savings app Long Game raises $4M

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:23
Long Game uses behavioral economics and the mass popularity of lottery games to redirect lottery spending towards savings.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Ask Alice — she'll say character is collateral

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:02
A Nebraska banking veteran put up $1 million of her own money to create a microlending program that doesn't require business owners to provide traditional collateral.
Categories: FINANCIAL

How OCC can help banks disrupt the payday loan industry

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:02
With the future of payday lending in flux, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has the ability to help provide consumers with a better credit option.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Open banking is inevitable. Let’s rethink data security, too

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:00
Better information security will remain the foundation of success as the financial services industry moves quickly to engage new business models.
Categories: FINANCIAL

The “I’ve paid in all my life” fallacy

THE ECONOMIST - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 09:40

SOCIAL security is often described as the “third rail” of American politics—touch it and you die. Britain’s prime minister has just tied herself into a tangle over the way to fund long-term care for the elderly.

The problem is made more difficult because of the way that such benefit schemes were established and marketed to the public—as insurance schemes in which what you receive in benefits relates to what you put in. When pension schemes were set up by Franklin Roosevelt (pictured left) in the 1930s or in Britain, by David Lloyd George (pictured, right) in the Edwardian era, the insurance notion was something people could easily grasp (private schemes already existed) and could be seen as fair. 

This was fine in the early years of such schemes when the number of people contributing was far greater than the number of people taking benefits. But as our societies age, the costs rise and the inadequacy of...Continue reading

Categories: FINANCIAL

Banks pour $107M into blockchain consortium R3

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 09:28
The money will be used to hire more people. It is also morale boost for the group, which has suffered some high-profile recent defections.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Citi settles Banamex probe; bitcoin surges again

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 08:27
Bank agrees to pay $97 million as DOJ drops criminal charges involving money laundering at Citi uni; digital currency price roars past $2,200 as Japanese catch the bitcoin bug.
Categories: FINANCIAL

'A needle in a stack of needles': Using AI to detect money laundering

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:15
David McLaughlin, founder and CEO of QuantaVerse, discusses how artificial intelligence can improve anti-money-laundering compliance; the problems of de-risking and "defensive filing" of suspicious activity reports; the Clearing House's proposal to reduce banks' AML costs; and more.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Close loopholes for online lenders, N.Y. regulator urges Albany

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 17:51
Online lenders are evading New York regulations by claiming their loans are “made” by federally chartered or out-of-state partner banks, Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo told lawmakers Monday.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Top Fed stress test staffer to retire

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 17:11
Federal Reserve official Tim Clark oversaw the development of the agency’s stress testing program. He will see through this year's round of stress tests and leave this summer.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Citi affiliate settles AML violations probe tied to Mexico-bound remittances

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 17:11
Banamex USA will pay $94 million to the Justice Department over widespread anti-money-laundering abuses.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Why big banks are in an arms race to upgrade the 50-year-old ATM

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 16:31
The gray-bearded ATM would seem like a goner since mobile usage is surging and cash withdrawals are flatlining. But banks such as JPMorgan, B of A and PNC are pouring money into overhauling them in a bid, oddly enough, to attract a younger generation of customer.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Trump budget to propose risk management upgrade for FHA

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 16:16
The Trump administration will ask for more funds to improve the Federal Housing Administration's risk management systems as part of its budget expected to be released Tuesday, according to a leaked version.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Debt to the Penny for 05/19/2017

Debt Held by the Public: 14,313,167,095,859.27
Intragovernmental Holdings: 5,533,000,028,254.81
Total Public Debt Outstanding: 19,846,167,124,114.08

Regional banking stages a comeback in Virginia

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 16:01
Union Bankshares is poised to become a nearly $12 billion-asset bank in a state that lost most of its midsize institutions in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Categories: FINANCIAL

What to expect at court hearing on CFPB constitutionality

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 15:43
The case, PHH Corp. v. CFPB, is being watched closely because depending on the outcome, it could give President Trump the power to immediately fire Richard Cordray, the CFPB's director.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Nasdaq, Citi using blockchain for securities payments

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 14:36
Nasdaq and Citi are partnering to utilize blockchain technology to expand and improve cross-border and private company securities payments.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Community Banks with the Highest Returns on Average Assets

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 14:36
Year to date through Mar. 31, 2017. Dollars in thousands
Categories: FINANCIAL

If banks wait for APIs to be mandated, it will be too late

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 14:36
Users want more control over their data and more seamless integration with their financial tools. Banks and credit unions cannot wait for a regulation like PSD2 to move forward.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Community Banks with the Highest Returns on Average Equity

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 14:36
Year to date through Mar. 31, 2017. Dollars in thousands
Categories: FINANCIAL

USAA wants banks to pay it for remote deposit capture

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 13:35
A dozen years after it pioneered the technology, the company now says any bank or credit union using RDC is infringing on its innovation.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Subprime auto giant checked income on just 8% of loans in ABS

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 12:34
Santander Consumer USA, one of the biggest subprime auto finance companies, verified income on just 8 percent of borrowers whose loans it recently bundled into bonds, according to Moody's Investors Service.
Categories: FINANCIAL

A good bank CEO is confident, but not too confident

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 12:34
In a world where confidence is rewarded more than indecision, businesses risk elevating confident leaders who overestimate their abilities. In banking, that can have harmful effects.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Berkshire Hills to move HQ to Boston as part of latest acquisition

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 10:36
The company agreed to buy Commerce Bancshares in Worcester, Mass., in a deal that is expected to close in the next six to nine months.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Worlds collide: JPM works with team behind anonymous crypto Zcash

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 09:44
The creators of a top "altcoin" are building privacy features for JPMorgan's blockchain platform.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Union in Va. to cross $10B threshold with Xenith acquisition

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 09:28
Union agreed to pay $701 million for Xenith in a deal that is expected to close early next year.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Treasury pick bows out; Canada banks set to report

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 08:34
James Donovan cites family matters for withdrawing his name from being named Deputy Treasury Secretary; strong earnings from the Big Five may ease concerns about Canada's overheated housing market and consumer debt.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Battleground state voters favor CFPB commission, poll finds

AMERICAN BANKER - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 08:14
Roughly 58% of 6,000 voters in key states said they would support moving the bureau from a single director to a bipartisan commission, according to an industry-supported poll.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Breaking Banks: Small-business fintech around the globe

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 19:45
From digital lending solutions for U.S. community banks to Sharia-compliant finance in Africa
Categories: FINANCIAL

Improving loan performance sparks renewed calls for FHA premium cut

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 16:28
The delinquency rate of Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages fell in the first quarter, dropping to historic lows and fueling more calls for a reduction in the agency's annual premium.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Debt to the Penny for 05/18/2017

Debt Held by the Public: 14,311,291,738,645.75
Intragovernmental Holdings: 5,534,919,645,563.40
Total Public Debt Outstanding: 19,846,211,384,209.15

Large CMBS loans are being carved up to spread risk, but …

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 15:45
The trend of putting ever-smaller pieces of the same commercial mortgages into multiple securitizations requires investors to be extra careful, and will inevitably make workouts of bad loans more complicated.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Goldman Sachs exec drops out as next deputy Treasury secretary

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 15:45
Jim Donovan, nominated in March, was one of many Goldman Sachs alums to join the administration.
Categories: FINANCIAL

SBA lending gains popularity with thrifts in need of fee income

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 15:23
First Savings Financial in Indiana and Dime Community in New York are keen on making more SBA loans as a way to diversify revenue and the generate fees through loan sales.
Categories: FINANCIAL

Cut mortgage down payments to 10%: B of A's Moynihan

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 15:23
Down payment standards should be relaxed to just 10% to spur home buying among millennials, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said this week.
Categories: FINANCIAL

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