Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Dudley Do-Rate: Rate hikes remain on the horizon for 2015 despite Friday's disappointing jobs report, according to New York Fed head William Dudley's Monday speech, as interpreted by the media. Dudley attributed sluggish economic results for the first quarter to "temporary factors," including a rough winter and the strong dollar's drag on exports. But he "expects inflation to firm and wages to pick up later this year," according to the Wall Street Journal. The Financial Times reports that "overall, Dudley said the U.S. was poised for stronger growth, justifying the anticipated move by the Fed later this year to start raising rates." Dudley left both himself and the Fed some wiggle room in his speech, allowing for the possibility of "a more substantial slowing in the labor market than I currently anticipate" and saying the timing of the Fed's rate increase "remains uncertain."
Bitcoin Blow Up: A Bitcoin Foundation board member says the nonprofit advocacy group is "effectively bankrupt" in a public blog post that urges the Bitcoin community to "never put any trust in a centralized org again" that represents the cryptocurrency. Computerworld gathers responses from Bitcoin Foundation top brass to Olivier Janssens' accusations. The group's executive director Patrick Murck denies the organization is bankrupt but says "a restructuring is needed." Board member Gavin Andresen acknowledges "the money has basically run out" and says "the board needs to decide whether the responsible thing to do is to continue the organization with a much smaller organization and vision or to dissolve it." Technology news website Ars Technica dives further into these accusations with Janssens: "You can't be a member-run non-profit and still try to get money from your corporate or individual sponsors while hiding the fact that you're near-bankrupt," he says.
Wall Street Journal
A scathing unsigned editorial suggests U.S. authorities' crackdown on discrimination in auto financing aims to "punish banks for events that may not have even occurred." The authors take issue with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's method of evaluating whether car dealers are saddling minority borrowers with higher interest rates than white borrowers. "The feds look at data from thousands of loans and, based on last names and addresses of the borrowers, guess who's black, who's white, and so on," according to the editorial. But this approach, known as Bayesian Improved Surname Geocoding, "is of limited value in verifying the ethnicity of a particular person." American Banker late last year covered the financial industry's objections to this method of identifying minorities.
Americans' spending and borrowing may have gone into hibernation in February, according to economists predicted ahead of the consumer credit report to be released today. But the paper suggests this would be a temporary glitch: consumer optimism is at a 10-year high, and people say they're more likely to take out credit this year than last year.
Federal agencies are increasingly hiring former U.S. prosecutors to provide them with more enforcement muscle, the paper reports. The Journal also suggests a stop at a regulatory agency can provide ex-Justice Department prosecutors with a little extra sheen on their way to the private sector. "A high-profile regulatory post can offer specialized, senior-level experience" as well as "front-line government experience" that's "increasingly sought after by private law firms."
The Lex team has no patience for banks that pick and choose performance measures to paint themselves in a better light. More banks are broadcasting returns on tangible equity as opposed to return on equity, the latter "forces banks and their investors to scrutinize balance sheets in their totalityand retains the advantage of simplicity."
Compliance officers are in high demand, but with their hefty salaries comes the possibility they'll get the boot if things go wrong. "One industry veteran likens it to American football and asks whether we really want compliance to be the same sort of career: hard, short but well-compensated as a result," the paper reports.
Talk about on-demand service: a Polish bank aimed at entrepreneurs will send an electronic BMW equipped with an ATM so customers can make deposits or withdrawals right in the backseat.
New York Times
Proposals to change the way the Fed operates tend to come from Republican lawmakers these days, but in the past Democrats were more likely to be the ones at odds with the central bank, according to the paper. George Washington University political scientist Sarah Binder also says Republicans' protests against easy-money policies are a historical anomaly. Her argument is "the polarization of national politics encouraged the parties to accentuate their differences," in the words of the paper, leading Republicans to seek to distinguish themselves from Democrats that supported quantitative easing and other efforts to lower unemployment.
The BBC takes a look at efforts to preserve African-American-owned banks in the U.S.