Swipe Fee Dustup: Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., takes on the Federal Reserve and the American Bankers Association in a scathing op-ed, arguing that the interchange law he wrote was rendered ineffective by ABA lobbyists. "It's time for the Fed to stop giving deference to the banking industry and correct the industry's swipe fee increases on small-ticket transactions," he writes. "The point of the law was to curb swipe fee abuses, not make them worse." Commenters from the banking side of the industry were quick to rebuke Sen. Durbin's argument. "Why does Sen. Durbin believe that banks should offer this high-risk service at their cost," writes one reader, suggesting that interchange fees help compensate for the costs that banks rather than retailers bear in the event of data breaches.
The Case for Postal Banking: Postal banking would fill the gap in financial services for the poor, writes University of Georgia School of Law professor Mehrsa Baradaran. "American banks long ago deserted their most impoverished communities, but post offices, even two centuries later, have remained — still rooted in an egalitarian mission," she writes. "There have never been barriers to entry at post offices, and their services have been available to all, regardless of income." This legacy makes the post office structure ideally suited to democratize credit access and perhaps encourage saving, she argues.
Also on the Blog: Digital disruptors like GoBank and Apple may wind up lighting a fire under traditional financial institutions, writes Matt Atherton, group vice president of financial services at Oracle.
A proposal to streamline quarterly call report requirements for small banks has renewed Terry Jorde's faith in the prevalence of common sense, writes the chief of staff at the Independent Community Bankers of America.
Patrick Burke, head of HSBC's U.S. division, offers his thoughts on the state of gender equality in banking today.
American Banker Magazine's editor in chief, Bonnie McGeer, reflects on the importance of sponsors in helping women advance in their careers.
Banking attorney Thomas Vartanian suggests that a cost-benefit analysis of the Dodd-Frank Act would likely reveal that its drawbacks outweigh its advantages.
Small banks can lure people back into their branches with strategic community-engagement programs, argues Kevin Tynan, the senior vice president of marketing at Liberty Bank in Chicago.
Columbia Law School professor Ronald Mann dismisses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's concerns over payday-loan borrowers becoming trapped in debt cycles. He argues that borrowers are well aware that they may need longer than two weeks to repay their loans.