May 24, 2018

Trump eager to sign bill rolling back Dodd-Frank regulations

President Donald Trump indicated Wednesday that he's eager to sign a bill that would dismantle a chunk of the rules framework for banks, installed to prevent recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis that brought millions of lots jobs and foreclosed homes.

The House voted 258-159 on Tuesday to approve legislation rolling back the Dodd-Frank law, notching a legislative win for Trump, who made gutting the landmark law a campaign promise.

The Republican-led legislation, pushed by Wall Street banks as well as regional banks and smaller institutions, garnered 33 votes from House Democrats. Similarly, the bill splintered Democrats into two camps when the Senate voted 67-31 to approve it in March.

"Big legislation will be signed by me shortly," Trump tweeted Wednesday. "Big changes to DODD FRANK."

The bill raises the threshold at which banks are deemed so big and plugged into the financial grid that if one were to fail it would cause major havoc. Those banks are subject to stricter capital and planning requirements. Backers of the legislation are intent on loosening the restraints on them, asserting that would boost lending and the economy. Read more at ABC NEWS
Unbanked Share of Americans Falls to 5 Percent: Fed Survey

As economic growth continued, the number of unbanked Americans fell to 5 percent in 2017, according to the Federal Reserve's 2017 Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households released today. The figure fell from 8 percent in 2015; meanwhile, the number of "underbanked" Americans - those with a bank account but who also use alternative financial services such as money orders or check cashing - fell from 21 percent in 2015 to 18 percent in 2017. The survey showed that 38 percent of Americans who follow a budget keep track of it through an electronic platform provided by their bank, including 41 percent of those aged 18-29.

Nearly three quarters of U.S. households surveyed last fall said they are "doing okay" or "living comfortably." This figure is up more than 10 percentage points from 2013. Meanwhile, just 7 percent said they were finding it difficult to get by, a drop of nearly half since 2013. Thirty-three percent said they were better off than the year before, up six points from last year, while 15 percent said they were worse off, a two-point decline. About half said they were doing about the same.

The survey also saw improvements in savings practices. Fifty-nine percent (up nine points from 2013) said they could cover a $400 emergency expense in cash. Seven in 10 respondents said they could cover three months of expenses from savings alone or from a combination of savings, assets and credit if they lost their main source of income. Sixteen percent said their spending in the previous year exceeded their income, about the same as in 2015. The survey found that 25 percent of non-retired respondents reported having no retirement savings or pension, including just 13 percent of those over 50 - marking progress from previous years.
Employment Skip Tracing
Bureau Acting Director Mulvaney Statement on the OCC Short-Term, Small-Dollar Lending Announcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney issued the following statement in response to a bulletin from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regarding short-term, small-dollar credit:

" I applaud Comptroller Otting's move to encourage national banks and federal savings associations to offer short-term, small-dollar installment loans. Millions of Americans desperately need access to short-term, small-dollar credit. We cannot simply wish away that need. In any market, robust competition is a win for consumers. The Bureau will strive to expand consumer choice, and I look forward to working with the OCC and other partners on efforts to promote access and innovation in the consumer credit marketplace."  
Small Business Financing Demand Weakens, Success Rates Improve: Fed Survey

Small business performance and financing success rates improved in 2017, according to the latest Small Business Credit Survey - a joint effort by the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks - released today. More than half of firms surveyed reported that they were profitable at the end of 2016 and had seen increased revenues throughout the year. Seven in 10 said they expect revenue to grow in 2018, while just less than half expect to add more jobs.

Demand for financing was down from the 2016 survey, through those that applied for financing were more successful in 2017; 46 percent of firms that applied for financing in 2017 received the full amount they requested, compared to 40 percent in 2016. Traditional bank lending remains the primary source of financing for the nation's small businesses, though the survey noted an uptick from the year before in borrowers who applied for financing through online lenders. Small banks approved at least some of the amount requested for 68 percent of credit applicants, while large banks approved credit for 56 percent of applicants.

In terms of borrower satisfaction, community development financial institutions rated the highest at 76 percent. Small banks and credit unions had net satisfaction ratings of 73 and 74 percent, respectively, and large banks had a 49 percent satisfaction rate, up slightly from last year's survey.

Online lenders continued to rate well below banks and credit unions in terms of satisfaction, though they saw a significant year-over-year increase; satisfaction reached 35 percent among online lenders, up from 26 percent a year prior. Consumers cited high interest rates and unfavorable repayment terms as top reasons for dissatisfaction with online lenders. Among banks, long waits for credit decisions and difficult application processes were top reasons for dissatisfaction.
OHIO: Big money, political muscle on display in payday lending clash

Payday lending stores dot the landscape of Ohio's small towns, suburban strip malls and inner-city thoroughfares.

To hear one side tell it, they give their customers - many with b ad credit - much-needed access to quick money for emergencies and everyday expenses.

To hear the other side tell it, they take advantage of the poor by charging the highest interest rates in the country.

One side employs a small army of well-connected lobbyists and gives heavily to political campaigns.

The other side, the one pushing reforms, has fewer financial resources but refuses to back down.

"David didn't stand a chance against Goliath but we know who won that battle," said the Rev. Carl Ruby of Springfield, who is leading a coalition in favor of House Bill 123, which calls for major reforms of the payday lending industry. "We know that we are up against a Goliath, but we believe that this is a case where right will triumph over might. We are going to do everything in our power to expose those who are cashing in on the situation by standing in the way of HB 123."
National Debt Holdings
OHIO amendment capping payday interest rates certified

A ballot proposal to cap Ohio's interest rates on payday loans and impose additional regulations on the industry has cleared its initial hurdle.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified the "Short-Term Loan Consumer Protection Amendment" on Monday. His office found backers' re-submitted petition contained a "fair and truthful" summary of the proposal and the necessary 1,000 valid signatures. An earlier petition was rejected March 9.

The amendment goes next to the Ohio Ballot Board.

Organizers, including the Ohio CDC Association, said in launching the ballot effort in February that they want to see some of the nation's highest interest rates on short-term loans capped at no more than 28 percent.

Ohio voters approved payday lending limits in 2018, but the industry has found ways to bypass those restrictions. Read more at FOX 25 BOSTON
Dreher Tomkies LLP
Why Green Dot Could Be a Winner in the War on Cash

This prepaid card company focuses on the "unbanked" and "underbanked" population.

American society is becoming less and less cash-oriented, and Green Dot's (NYSE:GDOT) products and services are focused on the segment of the population that tends to use cash for more purchases than the average American.

In this clip, Industry Focus: Financials host Michael Douglass and Motley Fool contributor Matt Frankel discuss why Green Dot could be a smart way to play the "war on cash."

A full transcript follows the video.

Michael Douglass: The first one is Green Dot Corporation, ticker symbol GDOT.

Matt Frankel: Yeah. On that note, I'm an American Express shareholder myself, and they're not the best way, we kind of feel, because credit cards are expensive. The trend in financial technology, as we discussed in an episode a few weeks ago, is toward no fees. So, we're looking at companies that offer low-fee payment solutions, Green Dot being the first one. Read more at THE MOTLEY FOOL
Visa: Counterfeit Fraud Drops 76 Percent at Chip-Enabled Merchants

Retailers that have completed their EMV chip card technology upgrades have seen counterfeit fraud drop 76 percent from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017, according to new figures released today by Visa. More than 2.9 million merchant locations accounting for 63 percent of U.S. storefronts now take chip cards.

The figures showed that 67 percent of Visa credit and debit cards now have chips and that nearly all payment volume flows over chip cards. In March 2018, 97 percent of overall U.S. card payment volume was made on EMV-enabled cards. Read more at BANKING JOURNAL
A_S Management
Congress just made credit freezes free

You will soon be able to freeze your credit report for free, a step that can help protect you from identity theft.
Many called on Congress to make freezes free after the massive Equifax breach last year that exposed the personal information of more than 146 million Americans to hackers.

The provision was included in a broader bill passed by the House on Tuesday, which rolled back regulations on banks created by Dodd-Frank. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump's desk.

When you place a freeze on your credit report, it prohibits the credit rating company from disclosing your personal information, effectively preventing anyone from opening a credit card or loan in your name. You'd need to lift the freeze if you want to open a line of credit yourself.

A freeze goes a step further than a credit monitoring or fraud alert service. Those generally notify you of suspicious activity after it happens.

But under current state laws, there is often a fee to place and lift a credit freeze Most security freezes cost between $2 and $10, though several states have already made them free.
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