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Earnings: KeyCorp's third-quarter profit more than doubled from the same period last year, and BB&T reported profits were virtually flat.

Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Moving on: Kenneth Chenault said he will step down as chairman and CEO of American Express on February 1 after a 16-year run. He will be succeeded by Vice Chairman Stephen Squeri, a long-time Amex veteran who previously ran its corporate cards unit. Chenault, 66, is one of the country’s most prominent African-American business executives. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, American Banker

SEC taps JPM executive: The Securities and Exchange Commission named Brett Redfearn, JPMorgan Chase’s top electronic trading executive, as its director of trading and markets. The appointment signals “an appetite for shaking up rules that are blamed for fragmenting trading across dozens of venues and fomenting the rise of high-frequency trading,” the Wall Street Journal comments. Redfearn “has criticized some exchanges’ business models and privileges, including the legal immunity they enjoy from many lawsuits,” it says. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Growth is in: Outside of Wells Fargo, executives at the five biggest American banks “were making encouraging noises” about their growth prospects as they reported third quarter results. “For most of the post-crisis years, growth was something of a taboo,” the Financial Times notes. “Now the mood has changed in Washington. Few laws have been ripped up, as yet, despite Donald Trump’s early pledge to ‘do a number’ on Dodd-Frank. But new figures in agencies such as Randy Quarles, appointed this month to the most powerful bank regulatory job in the country, should make a real difference.”

But the New York Times still has doubts about how far banks will be able to go. “Despite Mr. Trump’s threats to gut Dodd-Frank, the Treasury Department under the leadership of Secretary Steven Mnuchin has so far been levelheaded in its recommendations for revising bank regulations and rules overseeing capital markets,” it says, “The threat from global watchdogs is another reason to discount the odds of a major rollback of financial rules.”

Wall Street Journal
Seeing the bad: U.S. Bancorp reported record profits in the third quarter, but slowing loan growth raised concerns among investors, with the company’s shares falling on an otherwise up day for bank stocks.

Chief Financial Officer Terry Dolan told the paper that loan growth was lower than what the bank previously expected.

U.S. Bancorp CFO Terry Dolan.
U.S. Bancorp CFO Terry Dolan.

“I think we went into the year believing that commercial and corporate lending would be reasonably strong and robust,” he said. “But Washington always takes longer than you think it’s going to.”

Changes proposed: CtW Investment Group, an adviser to union pension funds, wants Equifax to split its chairman and chief executive roles in the wake of its massive data breach. It also recommended replacing the heads of the board’s audit and technology committees as well as establishing tougher clawback policies for executive pay. Pension funds of CtW-affiliated unions hold about 247,000 Equifax shares, or less than 1% of the shares outstanding.

Token war: A management fight at Tezos is threatening one of this year’s biggest initial coin offerings, “highlighting the risks in this red-hot corner of finance,” the paper reports. The company sold $232 million digital tokens in July, but a battle between the company’s founders and a Swiss foundation “has put most trading of Tezos coins on ice, possibly until early next year.”

“We’re starting a new chapter from a position of strength and this is the right time to make the leadership transition.” — American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault, announcing his plan to retire early next year.

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