ABA Banking Journal
July 21, 2017

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
Americans overwhelmingly believe that our economy needs banks of all sizes, and a majority is concerned about the falling number of banks, according to a recent survey conducted for ABA by polling company Morning Consult. According to the survey, 89 percent said that it is very important or somewhat important to the U.S. economy that banks of all sizes continue to operate. Only 5 percent said it was unimportant or not too important. (ABA Banking Journal)
 
The rate of new U.S. single-family home construction bounced back in a big way in June as low interest rates and and a strengthening jobs market rekindled demand for homes. Housing starts rose 4.8 percent to 1.19m in June from the previous month when they slid by a revised 1.7 percent, the Commerce Department said this week. (Financial Times)
 
House-hunting starts online these days, with a visit to Google or Zillow. That initial search might lead to a FaceTime "open house" or uncover a 3D house tour. But put in an offer, and the process quickly turns analog. But that may be changing. Entrepreneurs steered clear of the highly regulated mortgage industry in the years immediately following the 2008 financial crisis, now they see potential to transform a slow and expensive process, and at the same time serve first-time homeowners accustomed to managing their financial lives via smartphone. (Fast Company)
 
Data Center, Inc. (DCI)
Verint Systems
if history repeats itself, we might ask: "Are we witnessing a farm decline similar to what we saw in the 1980s?" The short answer: no. The current agriculture climate is a challenge, but comparing it to the 1980s farm crisis would be a mistake. (ABA Banking Journal)
 
When the government-controlled mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae agreed this year to guarantee a $1 billion financing deal for one of the biggest private-equity-backed landlords in the United States, the move prompted an outcry. Now, Freddie Mac is gearing up for its own financing deal to provide tens of millions of dollars in financing to midsize landlords. (New York Times)
 
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Policy News
Members of the House and Senate today introduced legislation that would block the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s controversial arbitration final rule from taking effect. The action is permitted under the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the ability to reject new federal regulations within 60 legislative days of publication in the Federal Register. (ABA Banking Journal)
 
A coalition of housing and financial trade associations including ABA wrote to members of the House and Senate last week, in support of the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act. The bipartisan bill—which has been introduced in both houses of Congress—would provide consumers with private-sector alternatives to the National Flood Insurance Program. (ABA Banking Journal)
 
In an op-ed for The Hill, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols argued that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recently finalized arbitration rule was actually anti-consumer—"a regulatory windfall to trial lawyers at consumers’ expense." (The Hill)
 
Computer Services Inc
LexisNexis Risk Solutions
As tax reform discussions continue on Capitol Hill and with legislation potentially moving in the coming months, American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols this week shared the association’s views on tax reform in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). (ABA Banking Journal)
 
The acting chief of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) this week defended his agency’s plan to issue national banking charters to financial technology companies that offer banking services. (The Hill)
 
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