Receiving Wide Coverage ...

Keep it simple: Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs and current director of the White House National Economic Council, told federal lawmakers in a private meeting that he could support legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial from investment banking. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cohn said he "could support a simple policy completely separating the two businesses" and "expressed an openness to working with" Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., an ardent critic of big banks, on the issue.

Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council.
Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council. Bloomberg News

Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with Cowen & Co., said Cohn "was the most likely obstacle within the Trump White House" to restoring the law, which was repealed in 1999. "With him supporting Glass-Steagall's restoration, there is no one in the inner circle left to fight it." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, American Banker

Not guilty: A British jury acquitted two former Barclays traders in their retrial on charges that they plotted to manipulate Libor. The jury acquitted Stylianos Contogoulas and Ryan Michael Reich of conspiracy. A jury trial last summer failed to reach a verdict. The acquittals bring to a close the Libor prosecutions brought by the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office. Financial Times, New York Times

Wall Street Journal

Seeing under water: Financial technology firms in China are using artificial intelligence to analyze hundreds of data points, many of them unconventional, to evaluate potential borrowers. The companies use everything from conventional bank information to what type of phone a person uses. "While banks only focus on the tip of the iceberg above the sea, we build algorithms to make sense of the vast amount of data under the sea," says the founder of one lending app.

Data dispute: Some of Wall Street's biggest firms, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, are concerned about a move by the New York Stock Exchange to try to gain greater control of market data. "At the heart of the dispute is legal language about who owns the data that brokers submit to the exchange when they buy and sell stocks," the paper reports. "The contract implies that NYSE owns the data. Brokers and big trading firms say the data are rightfully theirs."

What's the catch?: Tax preparation has become a loss leader, even for big tax prep firms like Intuit and H&R Block, who are now willing to do customers' returns for free. Indeed, says the paper, the business "isn't really about taxes anymore. Some are using tax filers' information to recommend credit cards and loans; others see profits in using data to suggest financial strategies based on tax returns."

New York Times

He's back, baby: Renaud Laplanche, the Lending Club co-founder who was ousted from the company last May amid allegations of conflict of interest and findings of falsified loan information during his tenure, is back in business. On Thursday he started a new company, called Upgrade, that will compete directly with his former company by offering small loans to American consumers who want to refinance their credit card debt. Laplanche wants the company to eventually expand into mortgages and auto lending. The new company has attracted $60 million in financing, including from Union Square Ventures, which previously backed Lending Club.

Quotable ...

"Victory!!!!! The truth always wins." – Stylianos Contogoulas after being acquitted of conspiring to manipulate the Libor rate

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