Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Creating a giant: Vantiv has formally agreed to acquire U.K. payments processor Worldpay Group for about £8 billion ($10.4 billion) in cash and stock. The deal, the Wall Street Journal says, “will create a trans-Atlantic payments processing giant with a combined market value of more than $20 billion.”

Vantiv CEO Charles Drucker
Vantiv CEO Charles Drucker

“Scale and having a cost efficient [operation] is key in a consolidating industry and we need to take advantage of that,” said Vantiv CEO Charles Drucker, who will lead the new company, which will be called Worldpay. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, American Banker

Fifth Third Bancorp, which spun off Vantiv in 2009, plans to record a one-time, pretax gain of about $1 billion in the third quarter on the sale of Vantiv’s stock.

Further review: The Labor Department wants to delay the fiduciary rule’s compliance deadline by 18 months, until July 1, 2019, “a move that experts say suggests the retirement-savings rule will emerge from a re-evaluation with significant revisions,” the Journal reports. Labor is also considering loosening some restrictions included in the rule.

The fiduciary rule “is likely here to stay, but its impact could be significantly reduced over the next few years if exemptions from the rule are significantly expanded,” Jamie Hopkins, a professor at the American College of Financial Services, told the paper. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times

Wall Street Journal
Silver lining: Ten years after its start, the global financial crisis “still looms large in market psychology,” the Heard on the Street remarks. “The prevailing tone is one of worry about the high level of asset prices, concern about the low level of volatility and a fear of complacency: rising markets are a source of angst, not euphoria. But this persistent concern may yet be a positive factor, by helping to prevent markets from becoming too reckless.”

Financial Times
Saving trees: HSBC is looking to “revolutionize” the $2 trillion market in documented trade finance. The bank is using blockchain and artificial intelligence to speed global trade flows and adopting IBM technology “that can extract information from non-standardized papers and feed it straight into bank processing systems.” HSBC and Standard Chartered are also both testing distributed ledger technology “to slash paper use and speed up settlement.”

No thanks: A newly released survey of German companies found few are willing to accept negative interest rates from their banks. The survey by Ifo, a Munich-based research institute, found that nearly one in five German companies said their bank tried to charge them for keeping their money on deposit, but less one in 10 of them ended up paying, with many of them moving their cash into other assets or switching banks.

Elsewhere
It's kosher: A Russian businessman is looking to create a digital currency based on bitcoin designed specifically for Jews, the Jerusalem Post reports. The currency, called “BitCoen,” aims to simplify connections between Jewish communities, although you don’t have to be Jewish to purchase the currency, which will be based on the U.S. dollar. The plan is to issue 100 million BitCoens, eventually reaching $1.5 billion in two years. The Bank of Israel has been considering regulating digital currencies.

Quotable
“This is the first transaction that we’re aware of where it was an entirely remote electronic online closing with all of the documents electronically signed.” — Samuel E. Oliver III, vice president of single-family business transformation management at Freddie Mac, after a Chicago couple refinanced their mortgage by signing all of the loan documents digitally on a laptop.

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