SoFi Mulls Utah Bank Charter

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Future of banking: In fintech, as in life, it all comes full circle. While banks are rushing to disrupt themselves through new offerings and partnerships with Silicon Valley, the startups are beginning to look more like banks. The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy profile Tuesday of online lender Social Finance, which has made $10 billion in loans, including student loans, since 2011. The company has reportedly been in discussions with Utah regulators about obtaining a state banking charter, "which would bring more red tape but perhaps greater stability," the paper says.

SoFi is considering offering credit cards and deposit accounts, after already expanding into mortgages and personal loans. The firm's efforts are a litmus test for an industry facing new pressures. Charge-offs are ticking up at some online lenders as the economy lags and some of SoFi's competitors have already announced significant layoffs, suggesting that lean times may become the new normal.

Elsewhere, consumer site reports that SoFi will stop offering loans. to MBA students after the 2016-2017 school year. The loans were previously available to those attending one of the top 25 programs in the country, including Harvard and Stanford. "We're refocusing our lending efforts on student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans," a spokeswoman told the website.

Shake-up: Former JPMorgan Chase executive Blythe Masters is stepping down as nonexecutive chairwoman of Banco Santander's U.S. subprime auto loans unit and will be moving into a broader role with the parent company, focusing on digital banking. Santander's U.S. holding company failed its annual stress test for the third year in a row last month. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Wall Street Journal

Silver lining: Bank earnings season is just around the corner and analysts are hopeful that, despite some grim news between low interest rates and the Brexit vote, banks will be able to fuel continued growth through additional lending. "Lending growth will allow at least some banks to make the best of a tough situation," the report says.

Difficult job: What has the man at Brexit's ground zero been up to? The Journal takes a look at how the Bank of England's Gov. Mark Carney has handled the political and market upheaval following the vote.

Tax code: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are urging the Treasury Department to include industry-specific exemptions on proposed tax rules for internal corporate debt. They argue that moving money around within a bank is part of business, not tax avoidance.

Insider favors: An ex-Barclays banker, Steven McClatchey, pleaded guilty Tuesday to passing trading tips, based on confidential information, to his plumber in exchange for a free bathroom remodel and cash. Criminal, yes. But do you know what's also offensive these days? The cost of bathroom renovations.

Elsewhere ...

Picture profits: The New York Post talks to James DeBello, who holds the patent for mobile check deposit. The technology has saved banks an estimated $620 million on more than one billion checks processed since 2008.

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