Banks could make small-dollar loans to help borrowers with unexpected expenses, and they could charge lower interest rates, according to a proposal from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Such loans could keep borrowers in the "financial mainstream," says Alex Horowitz, senior research officer with Pew's consumer-finance project.
A group of Democrats has written Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting Director Mick Mulvaney to seek information on changes to the agency's fair-lending office. The letter asks Mulvaney to submit documents and to name people with whom the CFPB has discussed the reorganization by March 1.
The finance sector experienced 471 security breaches in 2016, more than any other industry, according to a report from the Council of Economic Advisers. Cyberattacks cost the economy $57 billion to $109 billion that year, the report says.
The 2-year-old Sheltered Harbor initiative, in which major banks operate a buddy system that has one bank storing another's data for safekeeping, is still vulnerable to cyberattacks, market participants say. In response, Synechron has created a blockchain-based version of Sheltered Harbor, which the technology developer says greatly improves security, although the system needs evaluation by industry bodies.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, laid the blame for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's needing Treasury funding on Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt. Hensarling has demanded an explanation from Watt by Friday that lays out "how your decision to require continued GSE payments to the [Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund] despite the need for a new draw on Treasury funds does not directly contradict your previous written and verbal guidance from 2014 and 2015, and how the FHFA intends to limit your ability to exercise your discretion in the future so that it can establish a consistent policy on this subject that provides both clear and reliable guidance to Congress and the GSEs."
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has chosen two monetary-policy specialists -- Jon Faust, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University, and Antulio Bomfim, an economist in the Fed's monetary-affairs division -- to assist him as senior advisers, people familiar with the matter said. Faust is among those suggesting that the Fed reconsider its approach to targeting inflation.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has issued an investor alert that criminals are using its name and logo and the signature of its CEO in investment scams. In one advance-fee scam, prospective investors were given the false impression a FINRA guarantee backed money put into the venture.
David Evans, president and CEO of machining company TESSEC, and Jenell Ross, president of Bob Ross Auto Group, have been named board directors of the Cincinnati branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.