Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Anticipating FOMC Minutes: Observers and markets eagerly await the release Thursday afternoon of the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting last month. While the meeting resulted in no change in interest rates, many expect details of the conversation to offer clues as to when they may raise rates, the Wall Street Journal reports. In particular, some think the meeting’s notes may reveal the decision to keep rates unchanged was a close call, based on comments from San Francisco Fed President John Williams. Other details the Journalsays could yield hints to teh Fed's thinking include comments on foreign markets and the U.S. jobs market, both of which appear to be underperforming as of late.
Some industry analysts though suggest stock markets have grown wary of the Fed. Societe Generale strategist Albert Edwards told CNBC markets have lost confidence in the U.S. central bank as a result of its decision not to raise rates despite concerns over deflation. But Janet Yellen has an ally in her colleague, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. He said at a WSJ Pro Central Banking event the decision to keep rates the same was “reasonable.” For more on Bernanke’s views on the economy, check out American Banker’s rundown of a recent event featuring him and Timothy Geithner.
LoopPay Hacked: Samsung has maintained personal payment information remains secure following a hacking incident at LoopPay, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Samsung acquired LoopPay in February to obtain the technology that underpins its mobile payment system called Samsung Pay," the paper said. Chinese government-affiliated hackers reportedly were responsible for the cyberattack. New York Times, Financial Times
Bank Fights Back: An Andorran bank has sued the U.S. government over its allegations the institution was involved in money laundering, charges that "devastated" the bank. Banca Privada d’Andorra sued the Treasury Department and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the paper reports, arguing the regulators did not let the bank see the evidence against it or give it the opportunity to argue its case. The bank’s efforts follow a successful suit from Tanzanian bank FBME, which scored an injunction in U.S. court regarding similar issues. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Hillary Clinton previewed a populist set of proposals for reforms to the financial industry that she is set to unveil Thursday. The proposals, co-written by former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., include a tax on high-frequency stock traders and an extention of the statute of limitations on prosecuting financial crimes, the paper reports. Other elements of her plan aim to address banking risk, which she has argued was not addressed well enough by Dodd-Frank. Nevertheless, her proposals appear to be far less left-leaning than those of her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has called for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall and a tax on financial transactions.
U.K. supermarket chain Tesco may have struck gold with its financial offshoot, according to an analysis by the paper. While Tesco Bank’s profits continue to be on the smaller side, they have grown considerably in the past year. And connecting the bank with Tesco’s loyalty program has provided the retailer with unparalleled insight into consumer behavior. The paper reckons Tesco Bank could even stand on its own two feet, as the U.K. sees a growing trend of upstart challenger banks.
Think U.S. banks have it rough? Think again. The paper profiled the trials and tribulations of the Bank of Palestine, which has managed to survive for more than 50 years despite the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. The family-owned bank has remained successful by avoiding risk, managed to open new branches, and has created a fund for start-ups in the region.
New York Times
A new deal with NBCUniversal is music to Citigroup’s ears. The bank has become the sponsor of the “Today” show’s live-music series, which will now be known as the Citi Concert Series. Citigroup replaces Toyota, which had sponsored the morning show’s music series for 12 years. The bank is betting a closer association with music celebrities, and the ability to offer backstage passes or VIP seats, will help build greater customer loyalty.
An editorial urges the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to do more to address concerns related to student loan borrowers. The paper argues poor customer service at student loan companies keep borrowers in the dark about income-driven repayment plans that could help them avoid default. The paper’s editorial board contends the CFPB should sue companies that have violated consumer protection laws and create more rules to govern how these companies operate.
ProPublica: A report from the investigative news site found debt collection lawsuits have targeted African American communities across the country at nearly double the rate of Caucasian communities. Rather than sheer racial bias on the part of lenders, ProPublica attributes the disparity to the lack of financial resources available to African American communities. The news organization also said the data show how companies now look to the courts to collect debts big or small.