Editor's note: Morning Scan will not publish on Monday, May 28, Memorial Day. We’ll be back on Tuesday, May 29.
Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Signed, sealed, delivered: President Trump signed into law the bipartisan bill that eases regulations on small and midsize banks. “This is all about the Dodd-Frank disaster, and they’ve fixed it, or at least gone a long way toward fixing it,” the president said. The bill, officially the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, “rolls back certain regulations for both community and regional banks,” the Wall Street Journal notes, but “leaves most of the sprawling Obama-era statute in place.” Still, the president said easing some regulation burdens on large banks may be next on his agenda. Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, American Banker here, here and here
Little did you know, but Barney Frank now works for a bank, and the measure signed into law Thursday would benefit it. “But the proponents of the law rarely, if ever, mentioned that Frank is not just the author of the 2010 law, but also sits on the board of New York-based Signature Bank, a financial firm in position to benefit from the new legislation,” the Washington Post reports. Frank told the paper his position at the bank did not influence his thinking, saying he has in the past sympathized with parts of the new law.
“When citing Barney Frank as the historic creator of Dodd-Frank, it’s important to flag he may have different motivations now as the public gauges whether these rollbacks are good for them or good for Wall Street,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen.
Confirmed: The Senate confirmed Jelena McWilliams to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The vote was 69-24; 60 were needed to pass. Her confirmation “clears the way for a coordinated implementation of the administration’s deregulatory agenda, just as interagency frictions had started to become apparent.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, American Banker
“For the really big banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, it is more important that Team Trump is finally in place,” the Financial Times says. McWilliams’ confirmation “means that each of the main regulatory agencies in the U.S. is now run by a figure committed to lightening the [regulatory] load. And now the inter-agency projects can begin: starting with 'Volcker 2.0.'”
Wall Street Journal
Uniting: Retailers are raising concerns about a new online payment plan by Visa and Mastercard to combine their payment buttons on merchants’ checkout pages. Retailers are worried they won’t be able to route their debit-card transactions to lower-cost networks.
“The networks say the move is largely aimed at simplifying the checkout process and making it more secure. But merchants, who have long tussled with the card networks and issuers over fees they pay in exchange for accepting cards, are picking up the new fight as one that may help shape the future of how consumers pay for goods online.”
Not happy: Some Merrill Lynch brokers may take a pay cut this summer as the firm’s parent, Bank of America, rolls out a compensation plan that penalizes advisers who don’t sell more traditional retail banking products, such as deposits, mortgages and credit cards.
“The plan is meant to juice brokers’ assets” and “increase the unit’s profit, regardless of stock-market conditions.” But it is “stirring some discord inside Merrill, in part because it emphasizes cross-selling outside brokers’ traditional role. Some brokers are also complaining the plan is being applied retroactively in what amounts to a pay clawback.”
Wait til next year: A few dozen Goldman Sachs senior associates who thought they were “fast-tracked for promotion” have been told they will have to wait until at least next year before they can expect to be named vice presidents. They are “none too happy about it.”
Still the one: Deutsche Bank chairman Paul Achleitner easily beat back a shareholder proposal to remove him from the bank’s supervisory board. A total of 91% of investors voted against the proposal to can him, only slightly less than the 93.5% who elected him last year to a second five-year term.
“Maybe we are going to have to start looking at [deregulation] also for the large institutions, because they also are put at a disadvantage in terms of loaning money to people to open up businesses.” — President Trump, after signing the Dodd-Frank rollback bill that benefits small and midsize banks.