#payment-system

5 03, 2024

FedFin on: Consumer-Financial Product Marketing Practices

2024-03-05T16:34:22-05:00March 5th, 2024|The Vault|

The CFPB has issued a circular essentially banning digital and perhaps all other consumer-finance comparison-shopping and lead-generation tools for credit cards and other products not covered by prior orders.  These activities could continue, but only as long as the comparison or lead is completely objective as the Bureau may come to judge it under complex and sometimes conflicting standards.  The circular follows similar CFPB actions outside the Administrative Procedure Act even though the agency clearly intends to enforce its new approach both directly and in concert with other state and federal agencies….

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

5 03, 2024

CONSUMER56

2024-03-05T14:27:57-05:00March 5th, 2024|1- Financial Services Management|

Consumer-Financial Product Marketing Practices

The CFPB has issued a circular essentially banning digital and perhaps all other consumer-finance comparison-shopping and lead-generation tools for credit cards and other products not covered by prior orders.  These activities could continue, but only as long as the comparison or lead is completely objective as the Bureau may come to judge it under complex and sometimes conflicting standards.  The circular follows similar CFPB actions outside the Administrative Procedure Act even though the agency clearly intends to enforce its new approach both directly and in concert with other state and federal agencies.

CONSUMER56.pdf

26 02, 2024

M022624

2024-02-26T11:06:35-05:00February 26th, 2024|6- Client Memo|

The Unintended Consequences of Blocking the Credit-Card Merger

There is no doubt that the banking agencies have approved all too many dubious merger applications along with charter conversions of convenience.  However, the debate roiling over the Capital One/Discover merger harkens to an earlier age of thousands more prosperous small banks all operating strictly within a perimeter guarded by top-notch consumer, community, and prudential regulators.  Whether this ever existed is at best uncertain.  What is for sure is that all this nostalgia for a halcyon past will hasten a future dominated by GSIBs and systemic-scale nonbanks still operating outside flimsy regulatory guardrails.

M022624.pdf

26 02, 2024

Karen Petrou: The Unintended Consequences of Blocking the Credit-Card Merger

2024-04-12T09:46:02-04:00February 26th, 2024|The Vault|

There is no doubt that the banking agencies have approved all too many dubious merger applications along with charter conversions of convenience.  However, the debate roiling over the Capital One/Discover merger harkens to an earlier age of thousands more prosperous small banks all operating strictly within a perimeter guarded by top-notch consumer, community, and prudential regulators.  Whether this ever existed is at best uncertain.  What is for sure is that all this nostalgia for a halcyon past will hasten a future dominated by GSIBs and systemic-scale nonbanks still operating outside flimsy regulatory guardrails.

The best way to demonstrate this awkward certainty is to run a counter-factual – that is, think about what the world would look like if opponents of the Capital One/Discover deal get their way.  Would we quickly see a return to card competition housed firmly within a tightly-regulated system?  Would the payment system be loosed from Visa and Mastercard’s grip?  Would merchants see the dawn of a new era of itsy-bitsy interchange fees?  Would card rates plummet and rewards stay splendiferous?  I very much doubt it.  Space here does not permit a detailed assessment of the analytics underlying my conclusions, so let’s go straight to each of them.  

First, banning the CapOne/Discover deal would not ensure robust card competition under strict bank regulation.  JPMorgan’s and American Express’ formidable stakes could grow because credit-card lending is a business dependent on economies of scale and scope vital to capital-efficiency through the secondary market.  However, large banks will

20 02, 2024

DAILY022024

2024-02-20T17:06:56-05:00February 20th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Waters Fails to Muster Meaningful Democratic Capital-Proposal Protest

Late Friday, HFSC Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) released another letter from Democrats protecting the pending capital proposals.

Fed Study: CBDC Impact on Dollar Dominance, Payment System Depends on Many Decisions

A new Fed staff study finds that a U.S. CBDC would have only a marginal impact on the dollar’s role as the reserve currency and within the payment system, although this conclusion depends on a raft of decisions now being made about other CBDCs and the cross-border payment system.

Sanders Targets BlackRock’s Market Power

We will shortly provide clients with an update on Congressional reaction to the C1/Discover merger earlier today, but here draw client attention to a new letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), sure also to be among the credit-card consolidation’s fiercest critics.

Brown Presses Powell for Enforceable Ethics Standards

Senate Banking Chair Brown today renewed his campaign against Fed conflict-of-interest policies, sending another letter to Chair Powell arguing that the Fed’s recent internal-investment and ethics standards are unenforceable.

Initial Response to C1/Discover Merger Starts M&A Debate

With Congress in recess, political response to the Capital One/Discover merger has been muted in terms of sparse comments, but fiery when it comes to Sen. Warren (D-MA).

Daily022024.pdf

15 02, 2024

DAILY021524

2024-02-15T17:13:22-05:00February 15th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Bowman Focuses on Inclusive Cross-Border Payments

FRB Gov. Bowman today emphasized that national and global payment-system improvements must not only work for the financial system and payment providers, but also for end-users and broader inclusive growth.  This is a policy challenge that, she said, cannot be resolved only by technology.

Senate Dems Resume Attack on Zelle

Retreating from his stand during a recent hearing that seemed to absolve Zelle (see Client Report PAYMENT28), Senate Banking Chairman Brown, (D-OH) along with Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Reed (D-RI), today sent a letter reiterating calls for Zelle to clarify its reimbursement policy for impostor scams.  The letter also demands that Zelle revise its reimbursement policy to cover other scams and to and streamline its reporting process, demanding a new public commitment to doing so.

Waller Sees Impregnable Dollar Dominance

FRB Gov. Waller today mounted a strong defense not only of the dollar as the globe’s reserve currency under current conditions, but also even as digital currencies become more widely deployed.  This stand is consistent with those at the FRB opposing proposals in Congress to advance a CBDC on grounds that it is essential to preserve reserve-currency status (see FSM Report CBDC10) and signals no interest in the U.S. central bank to making any other payment-system changes to press sanctions policy with the dollar’s dominance in mind.

Daily021524.pdf

5 02, 2024

DAILY020524

2024-02-05T16:54:06-05:00February 5th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Bowman Opposes Tech Self-Regulation, Highlights Emerging Risks

In remarks Friday on the future of banking, FRB Gov. Bowman joined Acting Comptroller Hsu in expressing concern over supervisory and governance complacency, especially when it comes to interest-rate and liquidity risk.  The speech picks up on Karen Petrou’s memo last week, pointing to the way in which regulators now appear focused principally on new rules, not emerging risks including those from fraud-renewed threats and third-party vendors.  Ms. Bowman thus urges greater accountability for banks based on third-party actions not only to enhance risk management, but also to reduce migration risk.

House GOP Expands Attack on Fed Work With Global Bodies

Continuing previous attacks on Federal Reserve Banks and federal banking agencies’ work with global entities, HFSC Chair McHenry (R-NC) and Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chair Barr (R-KY) sent letters today to the San Francisco and New York Reserve Banks disputing what they describe as undue cooperation with the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

Daily020524.pdf

17 01, 2024

DAILY011724

2024-01-17T16:21:16-05:00January 17th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

CFPB Tries to Bring Overdraft Fees Under New Benchmark

Arguing that overdraft fees are a big-bank “junk-fee harvesting machine,” CFPB Director Chopra today released a long-awaited proposal to cap fees to what the agency considers a reasonable threshold.

Bowman Expands Basel Critique, Key Dem Now Points to Problems

In remarks today, FRB Gov. Bowman did not go quite as far as her colleague Chris Waller yesterday, but she nonetheless urged that the end-game rules be re-proposed after comments are taken into account.

Senate Banking GOP Again Urges Capital Proposal Withdrawal

Senate Banking Ranking Member Scott (R-SC) along with all Committee Republicans late yesterday sent a letter to FRB Chair Powell, FDIC Chairman Gruenberg, and Acting Comptroller Hsu once again calling on the regulators to withdraw the capital proposal (see FSM Report CAPITAL230).

Biden, Brown Praise CFPB Overdraft Proposal

Following the CFPB’s announcement of its proposed rule regarding overdraft fees today, President Biden again denounced “junk fees” as “exploitation,” and included the CFPB’s proposal in his administration’s efforts to lower costs for American consumers.

FRB/FDIC Provide Limited-Time Resolution-Plan Filing Flexibility

Reflecting a problem we identified in our assessment of the resolution-plan proposal (see FSM Report LIVINGWILL22), the FRB and FDIC today extended the resolution plan submission deadline for categories II and III banks from July 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025.

Global Regulators Turn to OTC-Derivative Margin Improvement

Following yesterday’s release with the CPMI focused on CCPs and clearing members, the Basel Committee and IOSCO today …

12 01, 2024

DAILY011224

2024-01-12T15:31:11-05:00January 12th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Emmer, HFSC GOP Reintroduce FSOC Oversight Measure

Following a hearing earlier this week at which GOP Members reiterated longstanding FSOC criticism, House Majority Whip Emmer (R-MN) has reintroduced legislation along with ten other HFSC Republicans to bring FSOC under congressional appropriations.

HFSC Bipartisan AI Task Force Already Divided on Key Priorities

Reflecting growing concern about AI’s risks (see Client Report FSOC29), HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) and Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) yesterday announced the creation of a bipartisan AI Working Group to be led by Digital Assets Subcommittee Chairman Hill (R-AR) and Ranking Member Lynch (D-MA).

House Passes Measures to Check Chinese Economic Power

The House today passed several bills addressing the role of China in IMF and World Bank policy and a renewed attempt to limit what many Members of Congress consider Chinese currency manipulation (H. R. 839).

The Fed Becomes a Big Loser

The Federal Reserve System today released its preliminary FY23 financial results, the first look into the System’s operating condition above and beyond its significant mark-to-market losses.

Daily011224.pdf

21 12, 2023

DAILY122123

2023-12-21T16:29:00-05:00December 21st, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

OFR Nomination Scuttled

Although Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) recently called for his confirmation, Ron Borzekowski’s appointment as Director of the Office of Financial Research was scuttled yesterday in the Senate.

Treasury Payment-System Policy Addresses Resilience, Reserve-Currency Status, Inter-Operability

Providing an update on Treasury’s working group on the future of money and payments, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Financial Markets Nicholas Tabor yesterday indicated that the working group is considering the implications of new payment technologies for smooth international financial system functioning, U.S. national security, privacy, and financial inclusion.

Reserve Banks Promise a Peek

Tidying up, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released a new “Transparency and Accountability” policy on behalf of all of the System’s Banks.

Regulators Clarify Bank BOI Expectations

FinCEN was today joined by the FDIC, FRB, OCC, NCUA, and State Bank and Credit Union Regulators in an interagency statement clarifying that FinCEN’s beneficial ownership information Access Rule does not create new regulatory requirements or supervisory expectations for banks to access BOI from the beneficial ownership IT System.

Daily122123.pdf

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