Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Apple Pay's Ripple Effects: Big banks are vying to have their cards at the top of iPhone users' mobile wallets when Apple Pay debuts next month. Apple has yet to release details of how its mobile payments system will work, but the Financial Times reports that everyone is betting consumers will be able to select a particular card as the default payment option. That's a scary prospect for lenders like the San Francisco-based Bank of the West, which worry that their smaller marketing budgets will make it hard to compete with the likes of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. "If I can pay to put an advert within Passbook eg tap here to make this the default card then Apple has created a scenario where whoever the highest bidder is will be able to communicate with customers," says Bank of the West mobile head Matt Krogstad. Meanwhile, the markets are antsy about how Apple Pay will affect eBay's PayPal but "the impact may be less negative than many assume," according to the Wall Street Journal's "Heard on the Street." Since Apple Pay won't be available on older phones, it'll be a while before the technology can take hold, and PayPal has the benefit of a strong reputation in the e-commerce market.
Santander's All in the Family: Banco Santander's new executive chair Ana Patricia Botín promised, at a shareholder meeting Monday, to uphold the legacy of her father, former Santander chair Emilio Botín. The elder Botín, 79, died last week after a heart attack. Shareholders had convened to vote on Santander's plan to buy back the 25% of its Brazilian unit that it does not own; the plan was approved as expected. The Wall Street Journal notes that Ms. Botín sent a visual message of continuity by sporting a red scarf for her first appearance in her new role; her father typically wore a red tie in tribute to Santander's chosen color scheme. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Citigroup imagined its ability to weather a "sharp decline in emerging-market currencies, defaults by Asian counterparties and weaker housing markets across Asia" in its latest self-run stress test. Citigroup and the other largest U.S. banks released details about their projected capital ratios under hypothetical recessions as they ready for next year's Federal Reserve stress tests.
Speaking of Citigroup, the New York-based bank is reportedly gearing up to sell or spin off its subprime lending business, OneMain Financial. The bank could file for an initial public offering as early as the end of the month, according to an anonymouse. Would-be buyers aren't exactly beating down Citi's door with offers, given One Main's risky and highly scrutinized business model, but analysts think competitor Springleaf Holdings is a potential bidder.
Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba has a payments system that's interesting but hard to value, according to "Heard on the Street." Alipay "doesn't yet generate profits for Alibaba, so doesn't figure into near-term earning estimates," writes Aaron Black. The fact that China is currently dominated by state-run banks gives Alipay a lot of room for growth, but it'll have to contend with rival Tencent and a potential regulatory crackdown.
A lot of pundits are eagerly speculating about whether Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will cede to the minority of the panel, which wants to tighten monetary policy sooner than expected, but Spencer Jakeb says everyone needs to chill out. "Maybe it doesn't matter as much as we think," he writes, pointing out that inflation remains in check and that yields on U.S. Treasuries remain fairly low. For now, Yellen "has no real levers to pull," he writes.
Propublica: A report suggests that a growing number of Americans are having their wages seized for consumer debts. Four million workers (about 3% of all American employees) had their earnings docked in 2013 to go toward unpaid credit card bills, medical bills and student loans, according to the report by NPR and ProPublica. "Wage seizures were most common among middle-aged, blue-collar workers and lower-income employees," according to the report.