This year looks to be ending on a high note for the banking industry.
Congress this week is likely pass a tax reform bill
that banks of all sizes believe will be a boon to the economy and their own bottom lines, and all indications are that it could also soon approve a regulatory relief package that would likely raise the asset threshold for determining if a bank is a "systemically important financial institution" to $250 billion, from the current $50 billion.
These are among reasons that regional banks, as a group, made American Banker’s annual “10 who had a good year” list for 2017. It was a rather lackluster year for loan demand, but bankers are confident that a lower corporate tax rate will be the stimulus many companies need to increase their borrowing. And the raising of the so-called SIFI threshold would not only free nearly 30 banks from Federal Reserve stress tests, it could also spur more merger activity among smaller regionals that have shied away from acquisitions in order to avoid becoming SIFIs.
This has also been a good year for investors in bitcoin, despite claims by skeptics, like JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, who say the cryptocurrency is a fraud. It could very well be speculative mania, but this much is certain: An investor who bought 10 bitcoins near the end of last year would have paid a bit under $10,000; by mid-December, those same 10 coins were worth $166,000.
Rounding out the top 10 are four regional bank CEOs, a rising star at JPMorgan Chase, a prominent member of Congress, a fintech pioneer and the former CEO of a troubled auto lender who scored the mother of all separation agreements.