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Put up time: Most of the rally in bank shares in the third quarter was built on optimism about economic growth and an interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve. But banks will have to report good numbers on loan growth and consumer credit in their upcoming earnings reports if the rally is going to continue, the Heard on the Street column says.

“Lending growth will have to rebound, and consumer credit losses stabilize, for the recent bank rally to have staying power,” it says. “If not, the fourth quarter will really be one to forget.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, American Banker

Wall Street Journal
More Equifax details: The hackers who stole consumer information in the Equifax breach accessed driver’s license information on nearly 11 million people, the paper reports. “The disclosure of driver’s license information could give hackers even more information to use to try committing fraud,” the paper said. “Although information varies by state, licenses typically include a person’s name, date of birth, home address and personal details such as height and eye color.”

In addition, Equifax said the hackers attacked a computer file containing information on more than 15 million U.K. consumers. However, most of the records may only contain customers’ names and birth dates.

Possible conflict: The Federal Reserve’s Office of Inspector General is looking into whether a group of Fed economists may have violated the central bank’s conflict of interest policies by owning shares in a U.K. economic forecasting company. The internal investigation, which is at a preliminary stage, is looking at four economists who have owned shares in Now-Casting Economics Ltd.

“Having a vested interest in the U.K. company puts the Fed economists in a position where they could be suspected of a conflict or the appearance that the U.K. company is selling access to such information,” the paper says.

Finding diversity: JPMorgan Chase’s Director Advisory Services helps the bank’s clients find new board members, many of them women. The group is headed by Karen Simon, a 30-year JPM veteran, who meets regularly with bank clients looking for directors and with potential board candidates.

Since last September, the group has referred more than 700 candidates, about two-thirds of whom were women, to more than 70 companies.

Financial Times
Playing with real money: Ripple, one of the largest blockchain companies, says it has built a war chest of $15 billion of digital currencies that could be used to acquire or partner with rivals “as it seeks to dominate its fast-moving sector within financial technology,” the paper reports. The California-based company said it has signed up more than 100 customers, “many of which were now using its blockchain technology to move large sums of money across borders.”

“This is not a science experiment, it is about using real money for real customers. There are a lot of blockchain tourists out there who are kicking the tires, but we are well beyond that.” — Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse about his blockchain-based fintech company.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

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