January 15, 2021
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Top Story
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has formalized a rule that prohibits banks from refusing to offer loans or other services to firms in potentially controversial industries. The banking industry largely opposes the rule which will likely be called back by President-elect Joe Biden's administration before it is entered into the Federal Registry.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/14),  Morning Consult (1/14),  CNBC (1/14),  American Banker online (subscription required) (1/14) 
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Retail Banking Roundup
Goldman Sachs is partnering with digital payments firm Marqeta to offer checking accounts through its consumer banking unit, Marcus. Marqeta's technology will help the bank provide virtual debit cards and allow customers to tap real-time information about their spending.
Full Story: Reuters (1/14),  Bloomberg (1/14) 
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Industry News
Unemployment claims rose sharply to 965,000 last week, the highest figure since August. The increase is attributed to ongoing fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (1/14),  ABC News/The Associated Press (1/14) 
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JPMorgan Chase has reported $12.1 billion in fourth-quarter net income, or $3.79 in earnings per share, up from $2.57 per share in Q4 of 2019 and well past analysts' expectation of $2.62 per share. The jump is attributed to strength in trading and investment banking.
Full Story: CNBC (1/15),  Reuters (1/15) 
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US banks face a challenging earnings season as the outlook for 2021 remains uncertain. Although government support for the economy and robust trading revenue have shielded banks from the worst fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, analysts expect fourth-quarter reports to show earnings under pressure and rising impairment costs.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/14),  Forbes (tiered subscription model) (1/13) 
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Regulatory Report
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the central bank has no intention of tightening US monetary policy or paring back its bond-buying program any time soon. Powell said that now is "not the time" to think about ending central bank support for the economy given that inflation and employment are tracking below target.
Full Story: Reuters (1/14),  MarketWatch (tiered subscription model) (1/14),  Financial Times (subscription required) (1/14) 
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The Treasury Department has decided not to take any action on removing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government conservatorship before the Trump administration ends. The Biden administration is not expected to take action on re-privatizing the firms.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/14) 
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Legislative Affairs
President-elect Joe Biden says he will ask Congress to act swiftly to provide $1.9 trillion in immediate relief to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The package includes aid to states and cities, additional unemployment benefits, larger direct payments to Americans and a minimum wage increase.
Full Story: Bloomberg (1/14),  CNBC (1/14),  The New York Times (1/15),  Reuters (1/15) 
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Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., was not granted a waiver to continue her placement on the House Financial Services Committee after having prioritized seats on the Oversight and Reform and Natural Resources committees in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Porter was a frequent critic of the financial industry while on the HFSC.
Full Story: The Hill (1/14) 
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Career Development
Quick staff meetings at the beginning of each workday can create focus, purpose and an understanding of everyone's challenges and successes, writes Naphtali Hoff. He offers six rules for leaders to create stand-ups that are productive, consistent and help employees provide "excellent service or care to their customers and clients."
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (1/13) 
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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