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Visa, Mastercard revenues suffer; PayPal to invest $50M in minority firms

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Double dipping

Mastercard and Visa “reported double-digit declines in their revenue as the pandemic continued to weigh on results.”

“Mastercard’s revenue fell 14% from a year earlier to $3.84 billion,” missing the consensus estimate of $3.95 billion. Profit fell to $1.51 billion or $1.51 a share, versus $2.11 billion, or $2.07 a share, a year earlier.

“Visa’s revenue tumbled 17% to $5.1 billion, but was still above the analyst consensus of $5 billion.” Earnings dropped 29% to $2.14 billion, down 29% from a year earlier.

Investors had been hoping for better news,” the Financial Times said, noting that “Mastercard’s shares fell 8% on Wednesday, more than twice the decline in the wider market. Visa fell 5% in sympathy, though it bounced [up] about 2% after reporting its own results after the bell. Shares in Mastercard and Visa, which have been among the stock market’s best performers over the past five years, are now down 15% and 13%, respectively, since the pandemic first took hold of the market in February.”

Looking up

Despite reporting a 38% drop in third quarter income, Credit Suisse “said it plans to start buying back shares and raise its dividend,” the Journal reported. “The Swiss lender said it expects to return up to 1.5 billion Swiss francs, equivalent to $1.6 billion, to shareholders through buybacks from the first quarter of 2021 after the Swiss financial regulator raised no objection. The bank is also targeting a dividend for 2020 at a 5% higher rate than last year and is setting aside capital now.”

Credit Suisse is “the latest bank to signal it could withstand a pandemic that is gathering pace in Europe and the U.S.,” the FT said.

Wall Street Journal

Lowering the bar

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Federal Reserve Board want to reduce to $250 the threshold when financial institutions must report international financial transfers, “potentially adding more of a compliance burden on banks that process such payments.” The current threshold is $3,000. FinCEN and the Fed would keep the threshold for domestic transactions at that amount.

“The regulators said they found that lower-denomination, cross-border wire transfers below the $3,000 threshold were being used to facilitate terrorist financing, narcotics trafficking and other illicit activities.”

Fun at the office

A new HBO drama set in the financial world focuses not on the “savvy power brokers on top” but “the struggle (and sex and partying) at the entry level, with a group of Gen Z recruits trying to make it at a London investment bank,” called Pierpoint & Co. “Their gatekeepers: a managing director who grips a baseball bat on the trading floor. A trader who flips into hazing mode when an underling botches a salad order. A manager who demands that a junior analyst stop doing all-nighters in the office—not forhis sake, but so the manager doesn’t get in trouble for overworking her staff.”

The show, called “Industry,” premiers November 9.

New York Times

Wealth creation

PayPal said it “plans to invest more than $50 million in eight Black- and Latino-led venture capital firms as part of a $530 million initiative to combat systemic racism and police brutality. The eight firms were chosen after PayPal interviewed more than 60 candidates, all of whom applied through PayPal’s website.” The company didn’t say how much each firm would receive.

“So little venture money goes into minority communities,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said. “This is a way to think about how we start to create wealth creation.”

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