ABA Banking Journal
April 15, 2016

This ABA Banking Journal newsletter is a free, twice-monthly supplement to the ABA Banking Journal magazine intended to help you stay on top of industry and policy news. You can also stay abreast of banking news by visiting aba.com/BankingJournal, home to ABA Daily Newsbytes and other email bulletins.

Industry News
With more than 22,000 pages of regulations, the destabilizing consequences of the Dodd-Frank Act are numerous. One notable concern is that the law has forced consolidation of the United States banking system. The number of community banks (those with less than $10 billion in assets) shrank 14 percent between Dodd-Frank’s passage in 2010 and late 2014. (New York Times)
 
Farm Credit has blossomed into a nationwide network of banks with $303 billion in assets and 14,000 employees. Its loans include farmland mortgages, harvest equipment and telephone systems. It is also squeezing community banks, the once-lucrative institutions that have seen profits pressured by regulations since the 2008 financial crisis. Community banks want Farm Credit reined in. (Washington Post)
 
The financial-services industry relies on the healthy interdependence of banks of all sizes. While there is powerful temptation in the current economic climate to frame issues as simple stories of big versus small or Main Street versus Wall Street, but the financial-services industry does not conform to simple narratives. It is a complex ecosystem, because there is no other way to effectively serve America’s vast array of customers and clients. (Wall Street Journal)
 
Arch Mortgage Insurance Company
Verint Systems
Fintech is in the midst of a golden age of investment and innovation. According to KPMG and CB Insights, investments in fintech startups doubled between 2014 and 2015, to $14 billion. However, comparatively little of this money has been focused on the $138 billion market opportunity to disrupt alternative financial services in the United States. (TechCrunch)
 
No heart is immune from the uplifting tale of the Little Engine That Could—that plucky optimist who, against the odds, saved the day by chugging a stranded train over a mountain. In the world of economics, our central bankers have become this storybook overachiever. (Bloomberg)
 
Mortgage rates continued to fall this week, pushed down by jitters over the global economy and oil prices. Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund became the latest organization to express concern about the global economy, joining the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. These worries have led many observers to predict that home loan rates will remain low for the near term. (Washington Post)
 
QwickRate
Policy News
Earlier this week, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced an ABA-supported bill intended to rein in the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point, which sought to curtail disfavored businesses by working through regulators to pressure financial institutions to end customer relationships with these businesses. (ABA Banking Journal)
 
In the latest round of public feedback on the "living wills" or resolution plans that the largest banks file to demonstrate they can be wound down in an orderly way, the Federal Reserve and FDIC today deemed the plans filed by five to be "not credible" or inadequate to facilitate an orderly resolution under the Bankruptcy Code. Each of these firms "must remediate its deficiencies" by Oct. 1, 2016, the agencies said. (ABA Banking Journal)
 
The Department of Labor’s newly finalized rule expanding the definition of who counts as a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is estimated to cost $31.5 billion over the next decade, along with requiring nearly 57,000 hours in compliance efforts. The final rule’s cost estimate was significantly higher than the $5.7 billion identified when the rule was proposed last year, according to a new study. (ABA Banking Journal)
 
Computer Services Inc
Thomson Reuters
The U.S. Department of Labor is expected to publish final regulations early this summer that will significantly increase the number of employees in the banking industry that must be paid overtime. The final rule is expected to more than double the salary level required for an employee to be eligible for an exemption from overtime and as a result, many banks will face difficult operational challenges assessing the need to reclassify employees as well as potentially negative employee reactions. (ABA Banking Journal)
 
"A handful of companies have achieved such astonishing size and reach in the past decade that the sudden collapse of any would be potentially catastrophic to the economy." Greg Ip is talking about Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon but could also be talking about J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. "The difference is that no one wants to break up the first group but everyone, it seems, wants to break up the second," he writes, cautioning regulators to consider the costs to customers and the economy before doing so. (Wall Street Journal)
 
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