Editor's note: Morning Scan will not publish on Monday, Sept. 7 in observance of the Labor Day holiday. We'll be back on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Receiving Wide Coverage ...
A Very Important Jobs Report: Bankers are among the many holding their breath for Friday's job report, which is expected to play a big role in the Federal Reserve's decision about whether to begin raising interest rates in September. The latest numbers indicate the economy added 173,000 jobs in August. That's lower than the amount pegged by the papers as indicative the labor recovery is firmly on track: the Financial Times was looking for payroll gains of at least 218,000, while the Wall Street Journal's expert threw out 250,000 jobs as the magic number. But both papers note August jobs data also tend to start out looking weak and then get revised upward, so the initial numbers are somewhat unreliable. The New York Times says job gains while "a bit less than expected" may be "perhaps enough" to convince the Fed to raise rates.
Wall Street Journal
Live Oak Bancshares in Wilmington, N.C., is trying to blend a high-tech approach to small-business lending with old-fashioned human judgment, according to the paper. The bank offers an online loan application process that aims to make underwriting decisions within a week, but the ultimate call on whether to extend a loan is made by the bank's credit committee. The article also highlights the company's laid-back office culture, which allows staffers to bring their dogs to the office and pad around in flip-flops — the kind of perks that helped Live Oak land at the top of American Banker's "Best Banks to Work for" list this year.
The paper pulls back the curtains on a rough week at Bank of New York Mellon, where a software glitch threw a wrench in the bank's pricing system for mutual funds just as market volatility peaked. Among the noteworthy tidbits uncovered by the article is the fact that BNY Mellon demanded that workers from its vendor SunGard Systems trek to the bank's headquarters and assembled a team of outside engineers to approve every change the vendor made to the system. SunGard was eventually forced to rebuild its system from the ground up.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren's favored candidate for an open slot on the Securities and Exchange Commission is under White House review, a development that offers "fresh evidence of the clout wielded by Ms. Warren and her allies." The prospective nominee is Lisa Fairfax, a professor at George Washington University Law School.
Women may lag behind men in financial literacy, but they're also more aware than men about what they don't know, according to the results of two new studies. It's also worth noting that both men and women have a long way to go when it comes to mastering the art of personal finance: only 38% of American men and 22% of American women in the study were able to correctly answer three financial literacy questions.
Financial regulators are worried about a boom in personal loans backed by securities, which have grown in popularity as well-heeled clients use them to pay for big-ticket expenses like ski chalets. The loans tend to be safe for broker-dealers but risky for borrowers if the market takes a downward turn.
The Lex team says big banks should keep the roles of chairman and chief executive separate in order to create a functional system of checks and balances on executive power.
New York Times
Nonprofit organizations like the Hidden Genius Project and Black Girls Code are trying to address Silicon Valley's diversity problem by building a pipeline of future black technology entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, networking groups for African-Americans already in the tech industry aim to help foster professional connections that will put startup founders in a better position to get funding from angel investors.
The Guardian: An Australian politician says there's a dark side to banks' financial education programs. Senator Sam Dastyari argues banks plug information from the children participating in their educational programs into databases, the better to send them credit card offers as soon as they turn 18. He recommends the government and educators team up to run financial education programs instead.
The Economist: HSBC and Standard Chartered made a lot of loans that fueled growth in emerging markets. Now they could be particularly vulnerable to the economic slowdown in China, according to The Economist.