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April 24, 2012
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News for financial services executives

  Top Story 
  • FDIC: Insurance fund is recovering, but assessments won't drop
    A slowdown in bank failures is speeding the recovery of the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund, the FDIC said in a report. The fund should reach its required reserve ratio by late 2018. But the assessments that banks pay to the fund will remain at current levels for the near future, officials said. "The bad news is that premiums aren't likely to come down anytime soon," said Martin Gruenberg, acting chairman. "We're clearly on a path of slow and steady buildup in the fund, so as to not unduly burden the industry while the economy is still in a recovery phase." The Wall Street Journal (4/23), Bloomberg Businessweek (4/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Industry Watch 
  • Tell me a story, says City National Bank CEO
    City National Bank holds an annual "Story Idol" contest in which workers from across the company's 79 offices vie to tell the best tale about how they've promoted teamwork or helped clients. Workers vote on the stories, with the winners receiving iPads and cash prizes. "It's a way to give colleagues a pat on the back ... and it democratizes and decentralizes positive reinforcement," says CEO Russell Goldsmith. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (4/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Freddie Mac: Servicers must participate in Hardest Hit Fund
    In a letter to mortgage servicers, Freddie Mac said participation in Hardest Hit Fund programs in 18 states and the District of Columbia is mandatory for short sales, deed-in-lieu deals or relocation assistance. A recent government report found that only 3% of the special fund had been used as of Dec. 31. Housing Wire (4/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Bankers say 2012 will be slow for M&A
    In recent earnings calls, several top bank officials said price disputes between buyers and sellers could keep the pace of merger-and-acquisition activity slow this year. "People are still, it seems, very much in a waiting stage," said BB&T Chairman and CEO Kelly King. Sellers "want to see their [share] prices go back up to what they think they might get to." So far this year, banks have announced 43 deals, the same as this time last year. (subscription required) (4/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Technology & Trends 
  • Smocer: Congress should take a holistic approach to cybersecurity
    Congress should improve cybersecurity for market participants with measures such as better information-sharing between the private sector and government on threats and solutions and encouraging all sectors' voluntary participation in risk assessments and security requirements, writes Paul Smocer, president of BITS, the technology-policy division of The Financial Services Roundtable. "The financial services industry is committed to evolving our cybersecurity practices, and we ask Congress to provide the most effective framework to strengthen cybersecurity," Mr. Smocer writes. The Hill/Congress Blog (4/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Regulators' check-processing focus increases costs for banks
    Regulators are focused on weaknesses in electronic check-clearing systems that leave banks exposed to money laundering. As a result, some banks are spending significantly more on staff and technology to defend against such abuses. For example, HBSC's U.S. unit doubled its compliance expenses in 2011 from the prior year, and bank officials said the increase was primarily driven by anti-money-laundering costs. Reuters (4/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Report 
  • Daily Economic Indicator: Economist sees signs of lasting rebound
    The U.S. in the past two quarters has seen improvement in employment, consumer and business sentiment, household spending and other measures typically associated with the start of lasting economic rebounds, says Joseph Carson, director of global economic research at AllianceBernstein in New York. "We're seeing confirmation of sustainability from all sides," he said. "That's a real business cycle." Financial Advisor online/Bloomberg (4/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  News from the Hill 
  • Analysis: Congress is unlikely to tackle GSEs this year
    Republican and Democratic lawmakers agree that the U.S. housing system would be better without government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But in an election year, facing a still-fragile housing market, Congress is unlikely to attempt to wind down the mortgage giants. "There's not a politician out there who is willing to take the risk of proposing something with a short transition period that would potentially be blamed for cratering the housing market," said Douglas Elliott, a Brookings Institution fellow. Reuters (4/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Members in the News 
  • Other News
  Featured Content 

  Roundtable in the News 
  • Lending tools aim to boost franchisees' access to capital
    At a small-business-lending summit held last week by The Financial Services Roundtable and other groups, the International Franchise Association announced a new Franchise Lending Index and a Franchise Lending Template. The tools are meant to help connect lenders and franchises seeking loans. Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (4/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
There are three cures for ennui: sleep, drink and travel."
--D.H. Lawrence,
British novelist

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