ABA Banking Journal
September 16, 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
Americans last year reaped the largest economic gains in nearly a generation as poverty fell, health insurance coverage spread and incomes rose sharply for households on every rung of the economic ladder, ending years of stagnation. The median household’s income in 2015 was $56,500, up 5.2 percent from the previous year — the largest single-year increase since record-keeping began in 1967. (New York Times)
During the past two years, we have seen signs that wage pressure is building as the economic recovery grinds on. Enough evidence has now accumulated to suggest that it is already happening. (Bloomberg View)
Think you can do a better job leading the nation’s monetary policy than Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen? Here’s your chance. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released "Chair the Fed" on Thursday, a web-based game that lets players take the reins of the nation’s central bank. (The Hill)
Fifty-eight percent of U.S. adults use a mobile device at least once a month to manage their bank account, according to results released this week from a survey conducted by Ipsos for the American Bankers Association. Thirty-seven percent use mobile banking at least three times per month. (ABA Banking Journal)
Verint Systems
An overwhelming majority — 87.5 percent — of small business owners say they’re investing more in their business in this year than in 2015, and most are borrowing funds in order to do so, according to a study published today by fintech company BizFi. More than 9 in 10 said they would borrow money to invest, with 38 percent planning to borrow more than $40,000. (ABA Banking Journal)
When it comes to mixing convenience and security at the cash register, we still have a long way to go. Credit cards with security chips have more or less become the norm, but that doesn't mean that people are happy about it. While transactions made with the chip-enabled cards are more secure, a survey from the mobile payments firm Square has found that 91 percent of debit card users and 87 percent of credit card users are frustrated with the new cards. (Washington Post)
iGen Is Coming. Prepare Now.
Harland Clarke
The first wave of iGen (aka Generation Z) turns 21 in 2018. Their relationship with technology, combined with the expectations this relationship has fostered, poses big challenges for financial institutions.
Learn More
Policy News
The House Financial Services Committee has approved the Financial Choice Act, a major regulatory reform bill introduced by committee chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). It passed by a vote of 30 to 26, with no Democrats voting in favor and one Republican, Bruce Poliquin of Maine, voting against as well. ABA EVP James Ballentine thanked Hensarling for introducing the bill. "It is clear that regulatory reforms are needed to stop banks from continuing to disappear—including 1,708 institutions since the passage of Dodd-Frank—and allow them to continue to serve their customers and communities," he said. (ABA Banking Journal)
Last week, the Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC issued a long-awaited report mandated by Section 620 of the Dodd-Frank Act in which they called for sweeping changes to banks’ powers. Notably, the Fed recommended that Congress repeal the following: merchant banking authority for financial holding companies; grandfathered authority for physical commodities activities for certain FHCs; regulatory exemptions for industrial loan companies; and regulatory exemptions for grandfathered unitary savings and loan holding companies. (ABA Banking Journal)
Lael Brainard, a Federal Reserve governor and a leading proponent of the Fed’s efforts to stimulate the economy, said in a speech on Monday that she still favored "prudence" in raising interest rates despite recent signs of economic progress. (New York Times)
Computer Services Inc
Thomson Reuters
The Department of the Treasury is proposing a ban on gold jewelry for banks. Investing in gold jewelry and certain other precious metals does not fall within the "business of banking," the Treasury Department said this week in the "Federal Register." As such, the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is looking to block national banks and federal savings associations from buying and selling metals that are "primarily suited for industrial or commercial use," such as gold jewelry, copper cathodes, and aluminum T-bars. (The Hill)
It is unfortunate to see market participants and observers obsess so much over the exact timing of the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate hike. Speeches and comments by Fed governors and regional presidents are dissected for any hint: Will it be next week or will central bankers wait until December? Although this focus creates unnecessary financial volatility, a calm examination of lasting drivers of economic activity and asset prices tells us that the timing of the next rate hike shouldn’t matter that much. (Bloomberg View)
New Year, New Growth!
With 2017 here, banks are strategically planning how to reach new audiences, grow market share, and stay competitive. Is your core banking platform helping or hindering your progress? Download the free ebook, Digital Growth: The Paradox of Legacy Platforms, to learn more about the current state of digital banking and why banks are changing cores.
Learn how.
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