From exposés of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's wrangling with auto lenders to analyses of the banks' technological experimentation and retooling, these are American Banker's most popular stories of 2015.
<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/bank-technology/why-banks-are-testing-bitcoins-blockchain-without-bitcoin-1074622-1.html" target="_blank">Why Banks Are Testing Bitcoin's Blockchain (Without Bitcoin)</a>
"Ask a U.S. banker about the prospects for Bitcoin, a digital currency with no trusted central authority or mechanism to reverse transactions, and you're likely to get a lukewarm answer. But financial institutions are increasingly taking an interest in Bitcoin's recordkeeping system, known as the blockchain…"
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<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/national-regional/why-regions-is-no-1-with-customers-in-the-bank-reputation-rankings-1074944-1.html" target="_blank">Why Regions Is No. 1 with Customers in the Bank Reputation Rankings</a>
"It's really simple: do the right thing every day, in every decision and with every customer interaction." Regions CEO Grayson Hall
<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/law-regulation/cfpb-nears-landmark-victory-against-three-large-auto-lenders-1075179-1.html" target="_blank">CFPB Nears Landmark Victory Against Three Large Auto Lenders</a>
"Under the proposed deals, Honda, Toyota and Nissan's financing arms would agree to cut the price discretion that they offer dealers by roughly half of their current rates. … [S]uch an agreement would be a significant victory for the CFPB, which until now has struggled in its efforts to curb pricing discretion."
<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/national-regional/bank-reputations-on-the-rise-our-2015-rankings-show-1074963-1.html" target="_blank">Bank Reputations on the Rise, Our 2015 Rankings Show</a>
"Synovus Financial Chairman and CEO Kessel Stelling says that investments in technology, a branding campaign and lots of community outreach likely contributed to the 'excellent' reputation the company enjoys with customers."
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<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/law-regulation/the-inside-story-of-the-cfpbs-battle-over-auto-lending-1076940-1.html" target="_blank">The Inside Story of the CFPB's Battle Over Auto Lending</a>
"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has struggled internally with how to end potential discrimination in auto lending, including debating whether it should cite a large lender in the hope of effectively ending the ability of partnering dealers to mark up loans with all lenders. In a series of internal documents reviewed by American Banker, agency officials wrestle with the practice of dealer markup…"
<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/bank-technology/deutsche-bank-tech-chief-overhauls-145-year-old-global-giant-1074140-1.html" target="_blank">Deutsche Bank Tech Chief Overhauls 145-Year-Old Global Giant</a>
"Kim Hammonds is modernizing Deutsche Bank's technology with a set of dramatic choices to outsource some functions, bring others in-house and work extensively with tech startups." (Editor's note: Hammonds later was promoted to chief operating officer.)
<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/bank-technology/digital-banker-of-the-year-citis-heather-cox-1074762-1.html" target="_blank">Digital Banker of the Year: Citi's Heather Cox</a>
"As Citigroup's chief client-experience, digital and marketing officer for the global consumer bank, Cox is focused on achieving her vision as a financial services exec: to help a more than 200-year-old institution adopt a modern attitude toward technology amid mounting regulatory and risk obstacles."
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<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/law-regulation/is-dodd-frank-really-killing-community-banks-1076157-1.html" target="_blank">Is Dodd-Frank <em>Really</em> Killing Community Banks?</a>
"While it's clear that the banking industry continues to shrink, how big a role Dodd-Frank is playing in the decline is debatable. … Other economic and market forces … are contributing to industry consolidation."
<a href="http://www.americanbanker.com/news/bank-technology/nasdaq-signals-confidence-in-bitcoin-not-just-the-blockchain-1074405-1.html" target="_blank">Nasdaq Signals Confidence in Bitcoin, Not Just the Blockchain</a>
"Critics often pay Bitcoin a backhanded compliment by calling it the Napster of finance. The underlying technology may change how business is done, they say, but the system itself isn't long for this world. Now the Nasdaq stock exchange is challenging that conventional wisdom by not only testing Bitcoin's much-vaunted blockchain technology, but doing so on the Bitcoin network." (Editor's note: Months later, the Nasdaq shifted gears and went with a private blockchain.)
"In a series of private documents that were reviewed by American Banker, CFPB officials repeatedly acknowledge its methodology could overcount the potential discrimination by firms, but say they prefer that to the alternative where bias is underestimated. … '[A[lthough there may be some risk of overestimating disparities, the alternative presents an equal (and perhaps greater) risk of underestimating disparities and thus consumer harm,' Patrice Ficklin, assistant director of the CFPB's Office of Fair Lending, stated in a memo to agency officials."