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Union Savings is pleased with an effort to give more autonomy to branch employees, CEO Cynthia Merkle says. A similar effort is shortening waits for loan approvals at CenterState, says Chris Nichols, the company's chief strategy officer.
CenterState in Florida and Union Savings in Connecticut are adding specialists to their retail locations at a time when many other banks are cutting back or have been relying heavily on universal bankers.

Top Stories

The Obama administration and an independent federal banking agency are advising the Supreme Court not to review a lower-court ruling that has roiled the marketplace lending sector and caused consternation throughout much of the consumer finance industry.  more »
The debate over speeding up payments transactions should consider the necessity of allowing consumers time to rethink and abort their purchases.  more »
The San Francisco bank isn't interested in making splashy investments in technology. At an investor day event Tuesday, Wells executives said they would focus on taking incremental steps to reduce costs and improve customer experiences.  read more »
In her final Congressional appearance before she leaves her job at the end of this week, Fincen Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery also advocated for passage of new anti-money-laundering laws being pushed by the Obama administration.  read more »
FinTech Forward
Hold the Schadenfreude: Banks Also Stung by Online Lending Shakeout
During the ascension of marketplace lending, banks responded to the competitive threat in several different ways. Now some banks are better positioned than others to take advantage of the online sector's recent woes.  read more »
As drilling has slowed, energy firms have had to lay off workers, many of whom are falling behind on their bills – compounding the troubles of banks already dealing with higher commercial loan delinquencies in the same markets.  read more »
LaPorte Bancorp was poring over offers from potential buyers when Raymond James, the company's investment bank, notified LaPorte's board that it was also advising a potential acquirer on a separate deal. LaPorte requested more information before ruling out a potential conflict of interest.  read more »
UMB Financial took its lumps last year when its funds management business suffered from large outflows. The challenge prompted UMB to tighten up on expenses and rely more on revenue tied to its balance sheet.  read more »
Following the scandal-tinged departure of CEO Renaud Laplanche, the company is contemplating drastic steps to restore the confidence of loan buyers. Scenarios that would have been far-fetched a short time ago — such as diluting shareholders and funding loans off its own balance sheet — are now under consideration.  read more »
'There Is No One Blockchain to Rule Them All'
Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, authors of "Blockchain Revolution," discuss the implications for banks of distributed ledger technology, the pros and cons of private blockchains compared to open networks, how DAOs might eliminate moral hazard, and more.