JPM to tap contactless market; bad day for bitcoin

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Wall Street Journal

Tap and go
JPMorgan will soon begin issuing contactless credit and debit cards, enabling customers to tap them at retail payment terminals rather than inserting them. “JPMorgan isn’t the first U.S. bank to issue such cards, but its move could be a tipping point for the rest of the industry to follow suit. More broadly, the change underscores the card networks’ campaigns to encourage consumers to ditch cash, even for small purchases.”

Separately, Berkshire Hathaway disclosed it owns a $4 billion, or about 1%, stake in JPMorgan Chase, giving it a large stake in three of the four largest American banks. It already is the largest shareholder in Bank of America and Wells Fargo, with about a 9% share of each. The company also reported a new stake in PNC Financial Services while increasing its holdings in some of its other bank holdings, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of New York Mellon and U.S. Bancorp.

Financial Times

The pain continues
Deutsche Bank now expects to cut costs even more than it originally planned. James von Moltke, the bank’s CFO, said the German bank’s previous target of lowering expenses to €21 billion by 2021 was not ambitious enough. “Expenses need to be lower, potentially substantially lower than €21 billion,” he said.

Favoritism?
Switzerland’s competition authority is investigating complaints that some Swiss banks, including UBS and Credit Suisse, are boycotting mobile payment solutions offered by Apple Pay and Samsung Pay and favoring TWINT, a local system.

Washington Post

Computer bias?
Minority customers are just as likely to pay higher interest rates on mortgage loans even if they apply online. “That is the groundbreaking conclusion of University of California at Berkeley researchers who found that algorithmic credit scoring using big data is no better than humans at evening the playing field when it comes to determining home mortgage interest rates. Black and Latino consumers pay 5.6 to 8.6 basis points higher interest on home purchase loans than their white or Asian counterparts with similar credit profiles — no matter whether they obtained their loans through a face-to-face process or online,” the study said.

Elsewhere

Down, down, down
Bitcoin dropped to a more than one-year low Wednesday, “breaching a key support level of $6,000 and causing a wave of selling in the digital currency and other crypto assets.” Bitcoin’s price fell as low as $5,533 before rebounding slightly.

New kid on the block
North Carolina’s bank regulator granted the state’s first banking charter since the financial crisis, approving American Bank & Trust’s application for a license. “We intend to bring back a community bank again that caters to the community,” said Randy Adcock, the bank’s president and CEO.

Quotable

“Make no mistake, come January, the days of this committee weakening regulations and putting our economy once again at risk of another financial crisis will come to an end.” — Rep. Maxine Waters, the likely next chairman of the House Financial Services Committee when the new Congress convenes.

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