Fed paves way for bank mergers by revising rules | Banks react differently to Fed rate hike | US consumers continue to be more optimistic
March 21, 2017
Top Stories
Fed paves way for bank mergers by revising rules
The Federal Reserve has lifted its restriction on bank mergers that would result in an institution worth $25 billion and raised it to $100 billion, handing the banks more freedom to contemplate merging. Financial bodies have widely welcomed the revision after the Fed deemed that newly created entities "with less than $100 billion in total assets, are generally not likely to create institutions that pose systemic risks."
CNBC/Reuters (3/17) 
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Banks react differently to Fed rate hike
Banks react differently to Fed rate hike
Yellen (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Banks had varying reactions to last week's Federal Reserve interest rate hike. For example, while many will raise their prime rates immediately, some may hold off on raising deposit rates.
AmericanBanker.com (free content) (3/17) 
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US consumers continue to be more optimistic
US consumer sentiment this month is at its highest level in the past 16 years, according to data from the University of Michigan. The preliminary reading from the university's sentiment index reached 97.6, up from February's 96.3.
Bloomberg (3/17),  U.S. News & World Report (3/17) 
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Former FDIC chief: Trump deregulation policies too complicated
President Donald Trump's deregulation proposals are too complicated and could harm the economy, says Sheila Bair, former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Bair, who led the agency during the financial crisis, says higher capital is key and praises the Federal Reserve's interest-rate increases.
CNBC (3/15) 
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Justice Department signals potential dismantling of CFPB
Mortgage company PHH Corp. has challenged the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, setting the stage for a potential dismantling of the agency. PHH's filing indicates that CFPB's director Richard Cordray's removal by President Donald Trump would not sufficiently resolve the case and that "the appropriate remedy is to strike down the CFPB in its entirety," an action the Justice Department has indicated it will support when it files a friend-of-the-court brief.
Bloomberg BNA (free content) (3/13),  HousingWire (3/13),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/13) 
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Goldman buys billions in troubled mortgages from Fannie Mae
Goldman Sachs Group has purchased $4.5 billion worth of soured mortgages from Fannie Mae over the past 18 months to comply with a government settlement requiring it to provide homeowners relief. Under the agreement, the lender will restructure the loans so borrowers can get current and then sell the debt at a profit.
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/16) 
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Risk & Compliance
CFPB imposes $1.75M fine on Nationstar for reporting violations
On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau imposed its largest civil penalty yet -- a $1.75 million fine on mortgage lender Nationstar for alleged misreporting of data from 2012 to 2014. The CFPB said the amount reflects Nationstar's "market size, the substantial magnitude of its errors, and its history of previous violations."
HousingWire (3/16) 
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Bank Fraud Briefing
Two Illinois men convicted in bank fraud
Schemes designed to keep a parcel of land in Illinois from foreclosure led to a bank fraud conviction for two men. Trial evidence revealed that the pair used fake loan documents and scammed two couples, one of them elderly, out of more than $750,000 and also directed another $1.9 million loan scheme at Amcore Bank.
The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/Chicago (3/17) 
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Regulatory Roundup
Yellen: Modern-day Glass-Steagall is unclear
President Donald Trump's proposal to return to a Depression-era separation of commercial and investment banking -- the Glass-Steagall Act -- would not necessarily prevent another financial crisis, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says. "I don't think it was the cause of the financial crisis, and I do feel we have significantly strengthened supervision of bank holding companies that incorporate investment-banking activities," Yellen said.
AmericanBanker.com (free content) (3/15) 
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Proposed US fintech bank-charter rules made public
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has released draft rules for a new kind of bank charter for financial-technology companies. The draft supplement to the regulator's licensing manual states that firms granted the fintech charters must comply with all the requirements that apply to conventional banks.
The National Law Journal (free content) (3/16) 
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Former SEC attorney finds fault in FINRA's methods
The Securities and Exchange Commission is better suited to overseeing the financial industry than the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, says Hester Peirce, a former SEC staff attorney and onetime nominee for a seat on the SEC. In a wide-ranging interview, Peirce criticizes FINRA's methods and says the Dodd-Frank Act takes the wrong approach to solving problems.
ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (3/17) 
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Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life.
E.M. Forster,
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