What will it take to rev up the economy, revive the dormant M&A market and avoid another market meltdown? How will banks win back customers' trust? And is the mobile phone finally ready to make the leap from communication device to digital wallet? Here are 10 things everyone will be talking about in the new year.

 

Back to Basics: Putting the Consumer First

What do a super-simple mortgage disclosure form, from Bank of America, and a no-frills annuity product, from MetLife, have in common? They're both early examples of what experts expect to be a trend toward easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly financial products.

New Pathways to Capital

If you had asked bankers and policy makers a year ago what "contingent capital" was, most would have responded with a blank stare. Now, this once-fringe idea is being touted as a key to avoiding more government rescues.

Principal Reductions Make Better Loan Mods

As "walkaways" continue to mount, the idea of widening a so-far little-used tactic for preventing foreclosures – the principal-reduction modification – is getting more attention.

Intelligent Limits on Overdrafts

Instead of allowing all customers to overdraw the same amount, say up to $500, banks need to set risk-based, individual overdraft limits on each account.

Mobile's Moment Finally Arrives

The next steps on the road to anytime, anywhere banking will come from the mobile phone.

A Perfect Time to Reinvigorate the SBA

Often treated as an afterthought by the Bush White House, the Small Business Administration has gained newfound prominence under President Barack Obama and its tireless administrator, Karen Mills.

Rules and Regs Are Throttling M&A

What can be done to unlock the dormant bank M&A market? Attorney Rodgin Cohen, who has been helping banks structure merger deals for nearly four decades, offers five suggestions.

Sticky Solution: Online Personal Financial Management

On the highway of financial management, many banks have realized that being seen as a compass – rather than a tollbooth – might actually have a greater benefit in the long run. Enter the era of online personal financial management.

Recovery Key: A Better Way to Unwind TBTF

Finding a hybrid solution that increases bankruptcy protections for all creditors and shareholders while preserving the quick-turn, pre-insolvency powers of a federal agency could be the path to finding an end game to resolution.

Trading Derivatives on an Exchange

Since the finance ministers and central bankers of the world's leading economies agree that market transparency is a priority in inoculating the globe against future market meltdowns, moving over-the-counter derivative products to exchanges seems to be gathering momentum.

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