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Reform blueprint: The Treasury Department issued a financial reform report on Monday "that makes scores of recommendations that have been on the banking industry's wish list for years," the Wall Street Journal reported. The report, which calls for rolling back many of the reforms enacted under President Obama after the 2008 global financial crisis, "was expected to draw praise from the financial industry and Republicans and spark criticism from consumer groups and many Democrats," the paper said.
"We tried to have the right balance between eliminating undue, burdensome regulations while not putting taxpayers at risk," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, American Banker
The Journal outlines the key differences between the Treasury Department's report and the Financial Choice Act, the reform bill passed by the House last week.
If you can't beat 'em…: Online lender Social Finance, better known as SoFi, has filed an application for a bank charter, "one of the most advanced efforts by a financial-technology startup to obtain the power to offer bank products and services in exchange for stricter regulation," the Journal reported. According to the application, filed last week, SoFi Bank would be chartered by Utah to offer FDIC-insured deposit accounts and credit cards. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Duped: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Michael Corbat, his opposite number at Citigroup, plus Citi's consumer banking chief Stephen Bird, admitted they responded to phony emails sent over the weekend by someone pretending to be executives at the two banks. Last month Barclays CEO Jes Staley and Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney also fell for the ruse, which exposes "a low-tech gap in banks' cybersecurity armor."
"None of the executives disclosed sensitive information in responding to the prankster, but the repeated episodes flag concerns about whether banks have done enough to guard against online threats," the paper commented.
Ads subtracted: JPMorgan Chase has pulled local TV and digital ads from NBC news programs in protest of Megyn Kelly's upcoming interview with "right-wing provocateur" Alex Jones. "As an advertiser, I'm repulsed that @megynkelly would give a second of airtime to someone who says Sandy Hook and Aurora are hoaxes," tweeted Kristin Lemkau, the bank's chief marketing officer.
Subprime rebirth: Mortgage brokers, whose reputation was tarnished after some faked loan applications and steered people into loans they couldn't afford, are making a comeback. Small and midsize nonbank lenders are looking to hire brokers again as they start to make riskier loans.
Some new mortgage programs, including one from Fannie Mae, are trying to make it easier for young people with student-loan debt to buy homes.
Going green: Goldman Sachs has signed a deal to buy 68 megawatts of electricity from a wind farm in Scranton, Pa., to power its data centers in New Jersey. "It is the first such agreement struck by a bank, according to trade group Business Renewables Center, and pushes Goldman closer to its goal of procuring 100% of the energy it uses from renewable sources by 2020," the paper reported. Power from the project is expected to come on line in 2019.
Fintech to fight laundering: Juan Manuel Vega-Serrano, the president of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, discusses how his global agency wants to use fintech in its fight against money laundering.
He's back: Mike Mayo, the Wall Street analyst "well known for challenging bank chief executives at shareholder meetings," has joined Wells Fargo as managing director and head of U.S. large-cap bank research. Mayo last worked for CLSA, the Chinese broker that closed its American equities division in February.
"On what I think of Wells Fargo, I'm voting with my feet and walking to it," Mayo said. "My goal is to be somewhere that allows me to do great research, to have impact and to still be myself. Wells Fargo fits all three criteria."
New York Times
It's live: Following six years of development, Zelle, the digital payments network backed by more than 30 large banks, went live on Monday. The participating banks are incorporating Zelle into their mobile apps, and about 86 million people will soon have access.
"Nearly all banked Americans will be able to access this," Michael Moeser, the director of payments at Javelin Strategy, said. "That's a huge breakthrough."
"Mike Mayo will still be Mike Mayo." — Wells Fargo bank analyst Mike Mayo