How tax cuts will drive strategy in 2018 and beyond
It’s the question that’s dominating fourth-quarter earnings calls.
What, analysts want to know, do banks plan to do with the substantial sums of money they’ll be saving each year now that the federal corporate tax rate has been slashed to 21%?
They especially want to know — even if they’ve been a little coy in the way they ask — if banks plan to return more capital to shareholders. To their delight, the answer has been a resounding yes. Investors and analysts are curious, too, if banks plan to accelerate expansion plans or invest more heavily in technology, or if they might be tempted to use the savings to lower rates on loans in an effort to steal business from rivals.
It’s all made for some spirited discussion about what the future of banking looks like in an era of lower taxes. Here are some of the most interesting things we’re hearing this earnings season.