January 15, 2021
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Top Stories
Biden wants $1.9T in immediate pandemic relief
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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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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, finalized shortly before Brian Brooks' departure as acting comptroller of the currency.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/14),  CNBC (1/14),  American Banker online (subscription required) (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.

Modern Money Murmurs: Talk about a tough act for Citi and Wells Fargo to follow.
Full Story: CNBC (1/15),  Reuters (1/15) 
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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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Investors in China have spent a net $15.8 billion buying Hong Kong-listed shares of firms hit by a US investment ban. The amount invested this year through the Stock Connect trading link has reached almost 90% of a record set in March.
Full Story: Financial Times (subscription required) (1/12),  The Wall Street Journal (1/14),  Reuters (1/14) 
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POLL QUESTION:
Do you agree with the US banning some Chinese investments?
VoteYes, it is important to our security
VoteNo, the government should stay out of the stock market
Investors allocated a record $762.9 billion to exchange-traded funds last year, taking assets in the sector to a record $8 trillion worldwide, according to data from ETFGI.
Full Story: Financial Times (subscription required) (1/14),  Morningstar (1/13) 
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Optimizing Your Remote Business Processes
The global pandemic has shifted much of the world's workforce into a remote setting, but the need to collaborate within - and between - teams remains. Cloud content tools have become a significant solution, but which features and benefits are most needed at this time? This infographic provides insight into what makes a strong collaboration tool
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The Future of Finance
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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WEBINAR: Part 2 of the CFPB’s New Debt Collection Rules
On Dec. 18th the CFPB released Part 2 of the Final Debt Collection Rule, amending Reg. F, which implements the FDCPA. The new requirements will have a significant impact on both creditors and debt collectors alike. Register for our webinar to learn everything should know about Part 2 from legal and operations experts.
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Industry Watch
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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Wall Street is bracing for tough regulation as expectations grow that President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. As chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gensler sought to rein in derivatives trading with aggressive rulemaking and enforcement actions.
Full Story: Bloomberg (1/14),  The New York Times (1/13),  The Wall Street Journal (1/12) 
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Fitch Group has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum for credit-research firm CreditSights. The deal, which needs regulatory approval, would enhance Fitch's debt-research coverage.
Full Story: Financial Times (subscription required) (1/14),  Pensions & Investments (free access for SmartBrief readers) (1/14) 
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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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Insights for lending leaders
Insights for lending leaders based on worldwide research pre- and post-pandemic. Learn more
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Hmmm...
An average of 30 million equity options contracts traded daily on exchanges in 2020, up more than 50% compared with 2019, and that figure has risen past 40 million in recent weeks, according to Options Clearing. The flood of trading shows no signs of abating as technology makes it easier for retail investors to purchase options.
Full Story: The Economist (tiered subscription model) (1/16) 
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Survey Results
Here are the results from yesterday's reader survey.
Do you think LSEG's acquisition of Refinitiv will make it a more formidable competitor to ICE and CME Group?
Yes
 76.93%
No
 23.07%
Palm to Forehead
Supporters of President Donald Trump can still send donations to his campaign via Stripe – they just can't do it directly. Although the firm blocked direct payments to the campaign following last week's Capitol Hill riot, indirect payments through intermediaries are still being sent.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/14) 
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Data of the Day
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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About the Editor
Colin Hogan
Colin Hogan
Colin Hogan is the editor of several SmartBrief newsletters focused on the global financial system and capital markets. If you like MMSB, hate MMSB or want to submit a story, shoot me an email.
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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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