Wall Street Journal

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's ombudsman for student loans, Rohit Chopra, is being taken to task by some lenders for how he has used public forums to encourage banks to improve their dealings with consumers on student loans. The problem lenders have is the 32-year-old Chopra favors delivering his message in public forums like blogs and letters, compared to other regulators who use more discreet formats. The paper looks at some of the recent moves made in student lending by Wells Fargo and other banks, and points out the considerable friction that has arisen between the banks and the CFPB, largely because of how Chopra has dealt with the lenders.

Trian Partners, the activist investor that this week won a seat on the board of Bank of New York Mellon, has a generally successful track record in its dealings with financial services companies. Trian's other investments in the financial industry have included State Street, Legg Mason and Lazard.

Private equity firms are considering a wider range of investment banks and other lenders to provide financing for their takeover deals. It's a result of the regulatory crackdown on leveraged loans.

New York Times

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans now thinks rates probably won't rise until 2016. The sluggish rate of inflation is the primary culprit, Evans says in an interview with the paper. "I think appropriate monetary policy would keep the funds rate where it is until the first quarter of 2016," Evans said. In other parts of the conversation, Evans said the projected 3% growth rate of the U.S. economy is actually not so bad, relatively speaking. The corporate chiefs that Evans regularly speaks with seem to be generally pessimistic in their views on hiring and expansion, which led Evans to say, "It's hard to identify from my corporate contacts exactly why we have growth that good."

Maybe regulators poking into banks' subprime auto lending activities are onto something. Delinquency rates on car loans rose 27% from a year earlier, according to the credit bureau Experian. The report did point out, however, that delinquency rates are higher at finance companies than at traditional banks.

Elsewhere ...

Business Insider: With oil prices crashing and burning, some have worried there might be pain inflicted on banks with excessive loan exposure to the energy industry. To that concern, RBC Capital analyst Gerard Cassidy says the equivalent of, "Eh, who cares?" "On the whole the risks posed to large U.S. banks are not material," Cassidy wrote in a research report this week. Cassidy's report also takes a deep dive into various banks' exposure to the oil industry, pointing out which have the biggest energy loan portfolios.

Crain's Chicago Business: Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago is daring to go where few banks are willing to venture. The $833 million-asset bank recently began offering check-cashing services and prepaid cards to consumers who aren't Urban Partnership customers and it's undercutting the fees on these services charged by check-cashers located near its branches. Urban Partnership's branches are located in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago and Detroit and the institution is a certified community development bank.

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