ABA Banking Journal
December 23, 2015

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
The next great Silicon Valley disruption is FinTech — tech companies that are changing the way we interact with our money. That could include mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay and Android Pay or apps like Level, which helps track spending. Now, FinTech is starting to move in on a prized area: lending. (Marketplace)
The Stratos Card, one of a handful of devices that attempt to consolidate a person’s various credit cards and loyalty cards into a single card, appears to be shutting down. Founded in 2012, Stratos launched its first product in May of this year. (TechCrunch)
Several major companies across the technology and financial industries — including IBM, Intel and Cisco as well as the London Stock Exchange Group and big-name banks JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and State Street — have joined forces to create an alternative to the blockchain, the global online ledger that underpins the bitcoin digital currency. Overseen by the Linux Foundation, this open source project aims to bring a new level of automation and transparency to a wide range of services in the business world. (Wired)
Ask American bankers the underlying principles of their work and you will hear common themes: stimulating the economy, creating jobs, helping people succeed. Ask bankers in Kenya, Jordan or Albania, and you’ll hear the same thing — but their financial environment is starkly different than that of the United States. The Financial Services Volunteer Corps has a mission to help those countries create and sustain stable financial frameworks and practices. (ABA Banking Journal)
With the zeal and thoroughness that the EMV transition has been discussed and covered over the past six months or so, you’d think it was the only technological innovation hitting payment cards in the marketplace. In fact, there’s another facet of card modernization slated to take a significant step forward to improve consumers’ purchase experiences: contactless cards. (Payments Source)
The trailers for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," have featured plenty of stormtroopers, TIE fighters, and evil-looking guys who are the apparent heirs to the Evil Galactic Empire from the original trilogy. But the last we saw, the Dark Side was vanquished. Now, in a tongue-in-cheek white paper released earlier this month, an economics professor is making the case that the destruction of the Death Star unleashed an economic collapse and financial crisis that overwhelmed the Rebel forces in a way the Empire itself could not. (Wall Street Journal)
Policy News
Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee said it would move to raise interest rates by a quarter percentage point, lifting them from near zero for the first time since the recession. Folllwing the announcement, which was widely expected by both economists and markets, leading economists weighed in. (Wall Street Journal)
Congress has adjourned for the year, after clearing a year-end spending and tax deal that had leaders suggesting it could serve as a harbinger of a more functional Congress next year. The $1.1 trillion spending bill easily passed both chambers, following the week’s earlier passage of a $622 billion tax measure. (Washington Post)
Following Congress’ approval of last week’s spending bill, ABA’s Rob Nichols expressed the disappointment and frustration of the banking industry that Congress failed to include meaningful regulatory relief in the final bill. (ABA Banking Journal)
PULSE, a Discover company
Fire or ice? When expansions end and the economy tips into recession, one or the other is usually to blame. As the Federal Reserve embarks on a new chapter in monetary policy, policy makers are acutely aware of the risks posed by either possibility. (New York Times)
After four years of wrangling, Congress appears on the verge of approving cybersecurity legislation that the White House and lawmakers hope will help reduce the threat to the nation from foreign government and criminal hackers. It would be the first major piece of cyber legislation passed in recent years, but even backers do not pretend it is the silver bullet. Still, they say it is a start to better protecting private sector and government computer systems from costly intrusions. (Washington Post)
ID Analytics, LLC
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