GE Brings Breakups to Life: Industry observers have been quick to cheer General Electric's decision to sell off the majority of its financing arm, arguing that it's a victory for the post-crisis effort to break up nonbank behemoths. University of Georgia law professor Mehrsa Baradaran takes a contrarian view: the sale "just means that the conglomerates left standing are now even more homogeneous and risk-prone." Some commenters agreed with Baradaran's assessment. "Driving competitors out of the financial services business has a definite cost to the consumer," opines Ray Dardano. But Duke University law professor Lawrence Baxter argued that the sale of GE Capital will in fact reduce risk to the financial system. By selling specialty business lines to companies with experience in them, he says, "GE is actually reassigning risks to their proper areas of risk management."
Don't Panic: Mortgage lenders have been stressing over how to handle the new disclosure forms mandated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but consultant Mike Jones says they should see the change as an opportunity. The forms will be more efficient in the long run, he says, benefiting both consumers and lenders. Moreover, he says that lenders can even look at the forms as a chance to "use new or changed regulatory requirements as a springboard for transformation."
Also on the blog: Basel Committee secretary general William Coen has a fan in Mayra Rodríguez Valladares. Based on a number of conversations with Coen, Valladares offers her view of what's ahead for global bank regulation in a two-part series.
The cost of complying with New York's proposed regulations for Bitcoin firms might prove too expensive for smaller companies. But there's a way around the issue, according to Perianne M. Boring of the Chamber of Digital Commerce: state regulators should place smaller firms under the watch of a nonprofit incubator that would help them develop affordable yet strong compliance programs.
Will marketplace lenders be the death of credit cards? Former Barclays banker Nick Clements suggests that a growing number of credit-card customers will flock to refinance their debt at more affordable rates with companies like Lending Club and SoFi.
Financial technology startups may not be able to fell the banking industry as a whole, but you can bet geeks in the garage will take down a number of individual institutions in the years ahead, according to Innosect head JP Nichols.
Digital currency and mobile money could help billions of people around the globe gain access to the financial system, says Bitreserve head Halsey Minor.
The Dodd-Frank Act has undeniably played a role in driving bank consolidation, writes Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati chairman Donald Mullineaux.
Chief marketing officers are ideally situated to take charge of banks' digital initiatives, says community bank marketer Kevin Tynan.