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It’s Halloween. Here’s what bankers should fear
Banks have had much to celebrate so far in 2017.

Deregulation is back in vogue. The recent congressional vote to overturn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule was arguably the banking industry’s biggest win on Capitol Hill since 2008. At some federal regulatory agencies, industry-friendly appointees have started rolling back the work of their Obama-era predecessors

Banks' stock prices are soaring. And though loan demand remains lukewarm, industrywide profits hit $48.3 billion in the second quarter, while the sector’s return on assets hit a 10-year high. Nearly a decade after the start of the financial crisis, what was once an enormous pile of legal claims against U.S. banks has become much less worrisome.

Still, a year that began with great promise for the industry could end on a downbeat note if Congress fails to make good on its promise to lower the corporate tax rate or if the North American Free Trade Agreement, which most bankers support, unravels. President Trump is openly feuding with leaders within his own party, and there are growing concerns that regulatory relief legislation, once thought a slam dunk, may not happen.

Meanwhile, a long-time nemesis of big banks is thought to be weighing a presidential run, Silicon Valley is increasingly eyeing the banking business, branches are being spurned by millennial customers and worries over data breaches have hit a new peak.

None of these are ghosts and goblins, but with Halloween upon us, here is a look at some potentially frightening developments that should keep bankers up at night.


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