Mulvaney backs group-run CFPB; another capital relief plan

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Director or panel?: Mick Mulvaney, in his first congressional testimony since being appointed acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said he supported having a bipartisan commission run the agency. “We need to have a more down-the-middle approach,” Mulvaney told the House Financial Services Committee, noting he co-sponsored legislation to that effect when he was in Congress. Such an idea “is firmly backed by the financial industry but has lost traction in Congress,” the Wall Street Journal notes. At the hearing, Mulvaney defended his leadership of the agency that he once called a “joke.” Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, American Banker here and here

Another day, another capital proposal: The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency proposed loosening the supplementary leverage ratio, “their second move in as many days that could benefit some of the country’s largest banks.” The rule change, which would apply to the eight largest American banks, would “simplify the rule book for Wall Street without endangering the financial system,” supporters say. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, American Banker

Vote no: CtW Investment Group is advising its union pension fund clients to vote against the reelection of three Equifax board members. The firm said nonexecutive Chairman Mark Feidler and board members John McKinley and Mark Templeton ignored warnings about cybersecurity issues at the credit bureau prior to last year’s massive data breach and failed to develop a crisis management plan to deal with it after it happened.

Separately, a start-up is trying to take a piece of one of Equifax’s businesses — by undercutting it on price, among other tactics. The company, Truework, plans to compete against Equifax’s The Work Number service, which helps employers respond to requests from banks and other entities that want to verify an employee’s work history and salary. Truework says its service will be more transparent than Equifax’s product and will cost at least one-third less.

Wall Street Journal

Show me the money: Big banks are expected to report their best first-quarter earnings in years later this month, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at their stock prices. The KBW Nasdaq Bank index is roughly unchanged so far this year after rising 42% after President Trump’s election in November 2016 until the end of last year.

Financial Times

Ripple effect: Santander has become the first global bank to launch a cross-border payments system using blockchain, the paper reports. Customers in four countries will have access later this week to the One Pay FX service, which uses technology developed by Ripple. The bank plans to make the service available as a mobile app for customers of other banks. The system promises to reduce the time to transfer funds “from several days to the same day or next day,” the paper says.

Faster than a speeding bullet: JPMorgan Chase has taken a stake in AccessFintech, the developer of an analytics system that enables banks to identify trading errors faster and resolve them more efficiently. “We think its ability to bring together different parts of the post-trade process into one aggregated view is technology that is long overdue in the industry,” said Lawrence Waller, global head of markets and investor services operations at the bank.


“I have not burned the place down.” — Acting CFPB director Mick Mulvaney, responding to Democrat critics that he is weakening the agency.

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