Wall Street Journal

With the EMV liability shift to merchants going into effect Thursday, First Niagara Financial Group is bucking expectations and will roll out chip-enabled credit and debit cards that require customers to use a personal identification number rather than a signature. In the lead up to the liability shift, the card industry has chosen chip-and-signature as its standard, despite concerns that having the chip alone does little to curb card fraud. In instituting chip-and-PIN for card transactions, First Niagara becomes one of the largest banks to require PINs, the paper reports. Still, it’s a relatively small fish in the card industry pond, with just "$300 million in outstanding loans." J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. by comparison has approximately "$125 billion in outstanding credit-card loans." First Niagara told the paper that it plans to convert the majority of its credit and debit cards in early 2016.

In the wake of the lymphoma diagnosis for Goldman Sachs’ chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, the spotlight has begun to shine brighter on the bank’s No. 2. Despite early concerns regarding his relative inexperience, the paper writes Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn has become a highly visible and versatile executive, with his and Blankfein’s relationship drawing comparisons to Sanford Weill and Jamie Dimon. The paper notes Cohn’s end goal is to take on Blankfein’s role. To this end, Cohn has embraced Goldman Sachs alumni despite potential concerns over rivalries. And growing relationships with Tesla’s Elon Musk and Uber’s Travis Kalanick, indicate he has become a major booster of the technology industry.

Financial Times

p>While some want to roll back banking regulations amidst a downturn in trading, New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley is saying not so fast. The paper reports Dudley told attendees at an industry conference that he sees little evidence of deterioration of liquidity in Treasury or corporate bond markets. Some have argued markets such as these have shown a decline in liquidity. But Dudley said from his point of view it’s unclear whether liquidity has really fallen, and even if it did there’s no clear sign regulation was the cause.

Student loan provider SoFi told the paper it raised $1 billion in a funding round led by Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank Group, confirming reports that came out in August. The funding comes at a time when the San Francisco company has begun to spread beyond its foothold in student loans to become the first U.S. peer-to-peer lender to enter the mortgage market. In yet another move that places Sofi in competition with banks, it will begin offering interest-paying accounts and credit and debit cards in the next year. SoFi chief Mike Cagney shrugged off concerns about piquing the interest of regulators, saying its business isn’t big enough to warrant such concerns.

Washington Post

Defaults on federal student loans have decreased, the paper reports, based on data from the Department of Education. The news signals that the federal government’s repayment plans have had some success. Of borrowers who began repayment in October 2011, only 11.8% defaulted, down from 13.7% a year earlier. President Obama has pushed for enrollment in repayment plans that cap payments based on the borrower’s income. Use of these plans grew 56% from last year.

Elsewhere ...

Los Angeles Times: The Los Angeles Times reports that 12 major banks have neared a $1.87 billion settlement on allegations of swaps market manipulation dating back to the financial crisis. The deal settles a lawsuit alleging the banks conspired on trades of credit default swaps in order to reap profits. Some investors stand to receive hundreds of millions of dollars as a result, but exact damages will be determined after a federal judge in New York approves the settlement. Among the banks involved in the settlement are Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

Buzzfeed: Buzzfeed reports a study shows those who borrow small amounts in student loans are more likely to default. The study from the Association of Community College Trustees found nearly a third of those with loan balances below $5,000 defaulted, versus just 22% of those owing between $10,000 and $15,000. The study examined community college students in Iowa, notable given President Obama’s push for free community college as part of an overhaul to higher education nationwide.

Boston Globe: Boston Globe columnist Hiawatha Bray reviewed Samsung Pay in the wake of the Apple Pay rival’s release. While he deemed the digital wallet to be "cool" — it can electronically swipe data into standard card readers — he said it’s a lost cause. As the era of swipe cards comes to the end with the rise of chip-based cards, this advantage over Apple Pay will diminish, he argued. And neither technology will ever truly replace a physical wallet in his opinion.

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