Wall Street Journal

Late to the party?: A Republican congresswoman accused Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray of being "asleep at the wheel" for allegedly failing to investigate more aggressively the fake accounts scandal at Well Fargo. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., said the CFPB didn't start looking into the scandal until after Wells itself told the agency that Los Angeles had filed a civil complaint against it and over a year after the Los Angeles Times first reported on it. Cordray appeared before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday to deliver his semiannual report on the state of the agency.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray delivered his semiannual report on the state of the agency to the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday. Bloomberg News

Disappointing: Two years after its much ballyhooed launch, Apple Pay, the tech giant's mobile-payment service, has yet to get gain serious traction with either consumers or merchants. Although the service "has made significant headway," the paper writes, it has failed to live up to analysts' expectations due to "security concerns about the service, retailers that don't accept it, and Apple's relatively paltry marketing." Only 13% of the company's 680 million iPhone users have used Apple Pay, according to Loup Ventures, a tech research firm, and only a third of U.S. stores accept it as a form of payment, according to the Nilson Report.

FX goes mobile: More and more big foreign currency trades – even nine-figure ones – are being conducted on customers' mobile phones. Troy Rohrbaugh, JPMorgan Chase's global head of macro markets, told the paper that it's becoming commonplace for bank clients to execute millions of dollars in foreign exchange trades using their cell phones. Noting that nearly half of the bank's clients that use its trading platform are millennials, Rohrbaugh said, "Based on how they interact in their whole lives, we want to be able to offer anything they can get on desktop, on mobile, in a user-friendly way." About $5 trillion trades on the FX market every day.

Financial Times

Disrupters: Two prominent venture capital firms are investing in a start-up company that wants to disrupt the way investment banking research is conducted. Hedge fund manager Steven Cohen's VC arm, Point72 Ventures, and a venture capital firm led by Joe Lonsdale, the former co-founder of computer software maker Palantir Technologies, have invested in Street Contxt, which says it "helps brokerages, independent research providers, and asset managers distribute, manage, unbundle and value research." The company has raised $15 million.

"Investment research is one of the most high-profile parts of the banking industry, with star analysts and economists often closely followed for their forecasts," the paper notes. "But falling profits and more onerous regulations have forced a cull since the financial crisis."

A dissenting view: Financial columnist Matthew C. Klein takes issue with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's comment in his letter to shareholders Tuesday that, "It is clear that the banks have too much capital."

"Preventing crises — and limiting the damage they cause when they do occur — should be one of policymakers' top priorities," Klein writes. "The most straightforward approach would be to eliminate private money creation. For those less inclined to radical change, the answer is raising equity capital ratios."

New York Times

Puzzled: DealBook visits with former Massachusetts Democrat Congressman Barney Frank, who is puzzled why President Trump is so vehement about rolling back the financial reform law that bears his name. According to Frank, even some of the biggest banks "have quietly come to tolerate" the law, the paper says, while those outside the industry are not demanding it be scrapped.

"He has to denigrate everything the Democrats did," said Frank, who retired from the House in 2013. "I think he has to say he inherited a mess. Well, he has to find a mess."

Quotable ...

"I have that, but I'm afraid to use it." — Consumer Nancy Schrum on Apple Pay

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