Deregulation seen likely; CFPB, FTC to monitor debt collectors

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Remembered: Peter G. Peterson, co-founder of Blackstone Group and former chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, died Tuesday at his home in New York City. He was 91. Peterson, the son of Greek immigrants, was Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon administration and chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations for 22 years. He counted Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller among his many powerful friends. Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post

Wall Street Journal

Hands off!: Senate Republicans are putting pressure on their colleagues in the House not to tinker too much with the Dodd-Frank rollback bill passed by the Senate last week. Making too many changes, they argue, “could scuttle support in the Senate, particularly among Democrats whose backing is crucial to the bill,” and “there is little political appetite in the Senate to vote on a revised version of the legislation.”

But the Heard on the Street column says not to worry. “The chances of substantial deregulation this year remain good,” it says. “In the end, a deal should be possible.” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, “has already said that he won’t seek re-election in November. This means he has as much incentive as anyone to make something happen now. It is unlikely that he wants to leave a legacy of strong free-market rhetoric but little actual deregulation. The bottom line is that regional banks are likely to get their deregulatory prize by the end of this Congress.”

Joining forces: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it will be working with the Federal Trade Commission to regulate debt collectors, a move the paper calls a shift “to a gentler form of enforcement under the Trump administration.” Still, CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney said debt collection will be an enforcement priority because of the amount of consumer complaints the agency gets about it, but consumer advocates and Democrats say the FTC is not equipped to regulate nonbank lenders and collectors.

Downward spiral: The amount of money companies hope to raise through digital initial coin offerings is dropping sharply as regulators look more closely at these cybercurrency deals for potential securities law violations. According to the Token Report, more than 180 ICOs are expected to come to market this month to raise $795 million, down 45% from February’s $1.44 billion.

Departing: David Cote, the executive chairman of Honeywell International and one of the people overseeing the search for a new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, resigned from the bank’s board of directors last weekend. Bank officials said they have narrowed their list of candidates to replace William Dudley, who will leave the Fed this summer. Cote is “considering pursuing new business opportunities that could affect his eligibility to serve” as a bank director.

Financial Times

Hallelujah: The Church of England said it will begin installing portable card readers at more than 16,000 churches, cathedrals and religious sites in order to accept electronic donations. The readers will be provided by Swedish start-up iZettle, which called the partnership with the church a “match made in heaven,” and London-based SumUp.

“Using iZettle, church-goers now have the choice to pay and make contributions in whatever way suits them best — whether it is by cash, card, mobile or wearable technology — which will benefit both the church and its visitors,” said Johan Bendz, the company’s chief strategy and communication officer.

New York Times

Doing well by doing good: Jordan A. Thomas, whose law firm represented the three Bank of America whistleblowers who were awarded $83 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, stands to personally reap a good portion of the $25 million his firm will earn. “People thought I was crazy not to go into a big corporate defense practice where I could make a lot of money,” said Thomas, a former SEC lawyer who left the agency in 2011. Instead, he wanted to represent those seeking to expose corporate wrongdoing.


How we pay for things is changing fast, especially for younger church-goers, who no longer carry cash, and we want all generations to be able to make the most of their place of worship.” — John Preston, national stewardship officer of the Church of England.

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