Receiving Wide Coverage ...

Differing views: The Wall Street Journal's editorial page had some strong words about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the "rogue" bureau "which has abused the law and whose structure was recently found unconstitutional. By all rights the bureau should be killed," it says, and "Mr. Trump should dismiss [Director Richard] Cordray on his first day as President." "Reform options short of a death sentence could at least restrain some of the bureau's abuses," it adds, if the GOP isn't successful in killing the agency.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times has a completely different view of the matter. Under the headline, "Will Guys With Guns Replace the Agency Elizabeth Warren Created?" the Times opines that if the Dodd-Frank law is repealed and the CFPB is disbanded, "one of the few recourses that honest debt buyers will have, to protect themselves and their businesses, will be to hire a savvy fixer like Brandon Wilson," one of the "guys with guns" in the headline. If the CFPB goes away, "There'll be less intrusion from the government, more lending, and more defaults — which creates more business for collectors," Wilson told the Times. "We're back in business."

Eyes on Italy: Nervous investors are awaiting Sunday's constitutional referendum in Italy and what it might mean for the country's troubled banks. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said he will step down if the measure fails. "Some analysts suggest that Mr. Renzi's departure could open the door for a populist party that could stop a government led attempt to recapitalize the beleaguered banking sector," the paper explains. "Italy's banks are at a critical stage in trying to rebuild their finances and, if Renzi loses the referendum and quits, then those efforts are going to be in deep trouble," said one analyst.

Wall Street Journal

Lifting the gloom: Online payments startup Stripe's recent funding round that brought its value to $9.2 billion, which happened to coincide with Black Friday – when online sales beat brick-and-mortar sales for the second year in a row – certainly bodes well for the valuation of similar companies, such as PayPal and Square. "While much of the fintech sector has been clouded in gloom this year, it appears the shift from paying at registers to paying online or with mobile phones still excites investors," the Journal says.

Meeting: President-elect Donald Trump met Monday with John A. Allison IV, the former CEO of BB&T Corp. who built the North Carolina bank into one of the largest regional banks in the U.S. despite a conservative lending culture. Until recently the head of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, Allison is "a fierce champion of free markets and a vocal opponent of new government regulations intended to stave off the next meltdown," the Journal says. It's not clear if Allison is being formally interviewed for a job in the next administration, possibly Treasury secretary, or is merely providing advice.

Going up: American Express is the first big credit card issuer to take advantage of the CFPB's new higher limits on credit card late fees. Starting in January, the company will charge customers the maximum $38, up one dollar, if they're late on a payment in a six-month period. "AmEx has good reason to focus on such fees," the Journal says, "since its revenue growth has been under some pressure and its business is more concentrated on cards than other big banks."

Quotable ...

"The fact that Stripe can raise so much money suggests that this space is in demand, and that there's plenty of growth ahead." – Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, on Stripe's $9.2 billion valuation.

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