Programming note: Modern Money SmartBrief will not be published Monday, Jan. 20. Publishing will resume Tuesday, Jan. 21.
Also, be sure to watch your inbox in the afternoon next Tuesday through Friday for special editions of Modern Money SmartBrief recapping all the financial news coming from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The top six U.S. banks, some of which posted record profits earlier this week, have so far enjoyed a $32 billion boost from the tax cuts signed into law by President Donald Trump in late 2017. The banks, which include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, paid an average effective tax rate of 18% in 2019.
Record-breaking earnings among some of the largest US banks are shining a skeptical spotlight on claims by industry leaders like Jamie Dimon that financial regulations are too onerous, writes Tom Braithwaite.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is changing the "lockup" procedure for economic data to keep the information secure from algorithmic traders before public release, including removing computers, which can provide machine-readable news, from the Washington newsroom March 1. Commissioner William Beach says the change follows a 2014 recommendation from the Labor Department inspector general.
Pay-later company Sezzle has been given approval by California for a direct-to-consumer lending license, freeing it to make small, interest-free installment loans. The California Department of Business Oversight also charged Sezzle a $28,200 penalty for previous illegal loans and said it must refund $282,000 to consumers.
Bank of America Private Bank is focusing on ultra-wealthy investors in 2020, with plans to grow its advisers to 600 and its markets to 40. Last year, the wealth division added 64% more households and grew assets under management to a record $288 billion.
Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee have asked the Government Accountability Office for information on how alternative data such as utility bills is used to make credit decisions and whether any of those practices might conflict with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act. The GAO has been reviewing the use of alternative data in the fintech sector.
Niche startups that specialize in the intersection of decentralized finance and tax accounting are in high demand as firms in the space grapple with unclear definitions of what is and isn't taxable in the world of digital asset trading.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are encouraging banks to be vigilant with their cybersecurity controls, saying there is heightened risk of an attack. The warning does not list any specific threat but other federal agencies have warned Iran might target US financial institutions amid tensions between the countries.
US consumer spending continued to increase through the end of the holiday shopping season. Retail sales, including transactions in stores, online and in restaurants, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in December compared with November, according to the Commerce Department.