ABA Banking Journal
January 18, 2019

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 thousands of federal employees and government contractors affected by the longest shutdown in U.S. history, America’s banks are working to support these individuals and their families that may be experiencing financial hardship. (ABA Banking Journal)
The government shutdown is now the longest in American history, officially hitting that mark over the weekend. Though only a partial shutdown, it is having an outsize impact on banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders across the country. (American Banker)
Wth the partial federal government shutdown now the longest in history, several federal agencies have suspended all but essential operations. Federal banking regulators—the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, FDIC, Federal Reserve, and OCC—remain open, as their funding does not come from congressional appropriations. But many federal lending programs and other functions that relate to mortgage origination and servicing have been curtailed or otherwise affected. (ABA Banking Journal)
Data Center, Inc. (DCI)
With the London Interbank Offered Rate not guaranteed to be sustained after 2021, what should banks be doing now to prepare for a transition away from the widely used benchmark? On the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast, Federal Reserve official David Bowman and ABA staff expert Hu Benton discuss the path forward. (ABA Banking Journal)
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are mystifying to many people today. The good news is that recent enforcement actions and court decisions are starting to untangle the regulatory and legal complexities surrounding them. (ABA Banking Journal)
Banks are giving the nod to blockchain to aid in speeding trade finance, especially in Asia, where the government and industry associations have launched efforts. Elsewhere, South Korea is eying tax breaks to foster innovation in the sector. (PYMNTS)
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Policy News
In her first major speech as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Maxine Waters highlighted the priority issues she will focus on in her new role. Among other things, she noted that the evolution of fintech, housing reform and encouraging diversity and inclusion in financial services would be points of focus during the 116th Congress. (ABA Banking Journal)
Responding to a recent American Banker op-ed calling for the expansion of the Farm Credit System, Leonard Wolfe, president and chairman at United Bank and Trust in Marysville, Kan., said that any effort to do so would “fundamentally ignore the reality on the ground in agricultural lending today” and ultimately do little to help rural America. (ABA Banking Journal)
Computer Services Inc
Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said today that he hopes that the current conflict between state and federal laws that inhibits banks from serving cannabis-related businesses will be resolved by 2020. While ABA has not taken a position on the legalization of marijuana or its derivatives, the number of states that allow its sale and use raises practical challenges for banks. (ABA Banking Journal)
A group of House Democrats rolled out legislation this week that would require the Treasury Department to provide loans to federal employees hurt by the government shutdown. Under the bill, federal employees impacted by the current shutdown and any future funding lapses would be able to receive interest-free loans from Treasury of up to $6,000 if they request them. (The Hill)
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