CFPB accused of fudging data to alter payday rule; permanent shift from cash?

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Silver lining

Mastercard “highlighted a potential upside from the crisis: an accelerating shift towards online spending and contactless card payments, which help card companies take market share from cash,” the Financial Times said. “Transactions completed without the use of a physical card had gone from 40% to 50% of volumes in the [first] quarter, and contactless card payments were up 40%, as customers looked for safe ways to transact.”

Earnings for the period fell, mainly due to net losses on equity investments, but revenue beat analysts’ forecasts.

Higher bar

“Deutsche Bank warned that the coronavirus pandemic could threaten its ambition to return to profitability this year, as Germany’s largest lender braced itself for a painful drop in earnings and a jump in loan provisions,” the FT reported. “Despite a surge in revenue at the investment bank during the first quarter, Deutsche posted a net loss attributable to shareholders of €43 million during the period, compared with a profit of €97 million last year,” as the bank more than tripled its reserves for bad loans.

“This changed environment will impact Deutsche Bank’s results of operations, capital ratios and the capital plan that underlies our targets,” the bank said. “All that combined means the bank doesn’t know whether it will be able to finally record a pretax break-even result for the year, following a €2.6 billion ($2.8 billion) pretax loss last year.”

Financial Times

Providing a boost

The Small Business Administration set aside eight hours on Wednesday evening to enable small lenders to make loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. “SBA chief Jovita Carranza tweeted on Wednesday that the SBA would only accept applications from banks with less than $1 billion of assets for a period from 4 pm Eastern time ‘to assist small community lenders and ensure their small business customers have access’” to the PPP.

Failure to cooperate

Shares of German payments company Wirecard dropped another 8% Wednesday on the heels of Tuesday’s 26% plunge following the release of an internal investigation that not only failed to clear the company of accounting fraud allegations but also said that the firm failed to cooperate with the probe. “For months [Wirecard] had confidently predicted KPMG would vindicate its accounting and deliver a final riposte to its sceptics.” Instead, “investors learnt that KPMG’s investigators had faced obstacles in their attempts to verify that large parts of the business were real, and publication of full-year results would be delayed again.”

“KPMG’s report revealed Wirecard’s senior managers did not record minutes when holding executive board meetings, and they did not sign a so-called declaration of completeness, stating that anything relevant to KPMG’s inquiry was fully disclosed. KPMG reported some essential documents for its review arrived at the last minute, while many never arrived. Among the desired but absent information: original bank records detailing €1 billion of payments.”

New York Times

Payday pressure

“President Trump’s appointees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau manipulated the agency’s research process to justify altering a 2017 rule that would have sharply curtailed high-interest payday loans,” according to a “blunt” memo a former economist at the agency wrote to his colleagues on his last day of work last summer. “The departing staff member, Jonathan Lanning, detailed several maneuvers by his agency’s political overseers that he considered legally risky and scientifically indefensible, including pressuring staff economists to water down their findings on payday loans and use statistical gimmicks to downplay the harm consumers would suffer if the payday restrictions were repealed. A copy of the memo was obtained by The New York Times from a current bureau employee.”

Quotable

“Our recent consumer insights indicate that habits are being created today. They will last beyond the current situation.” — Michael Miebach, president of Mastercard, which said contactless payments and online payments rose sharply during the first quarter as consumers shopped at home.

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CFPB Payday lending Paycheck Protection Program SBA Small business lending Earnings Contactless payments Credit cards
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