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Richard's Rapid Fire - January 27, 2017
Busy First Week for the Trump Administration
The new Administration is off and running. During President Trump’s first week in office, he announced a “regulatory freeze” for all executive departments and agencies. He also signed a host of executive orders on issues ranging from health care to immigration. With former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley confirmed as U.N. Ambassador and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) confirmed as CIA Director this week, the nomination process is expected to continue in the coming weeks. However, one key appointment has yet to be made: Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision. Reports indicate David Nason, a Treasury official under President George W. Bush, is the front-runner for the top bank oversight job at the Fed.
You may view a complete overview of President Trump’s White House Staff, and cabinet and agency nominations here.
Companies Begin to Push Back against CFPB
Those in the Trump Administration are not the only ones busy in Washington, D.C. With 15 enforcement actions in the past two months, the CFPB has been quite busy as well. As we have said, we believe the Bureau will focus more on enforcement actions rather than new rule makings in the coming year. The agency’s actions over the past couple months appear to confirm this belief. The CFPB is experiencing pushback on recent lawsuits from Navient and TCF. Both companies disputed the Bureau’s charges, and their application of facts and data. Could we begin to see more companies challenge the CFPB? One thing is for certain: According to Director Richard Cordray, the agency has no intention of changing its approach or its agenda under the new administration.
CBA Board Member Michael Rhodes Shares Top Consumer Strategies
In an interview with American Banker, CBA Board Member Michael Rhodes of TD Bank discussed his bank’s strategy for meeting consumer needs in an increasingly digital world. Michael explained how TD uses technology to innovate while also maintaining personal relationships with customers. All in all, it is a great interview and I’d encourage everyone to read Michael’s take.
Sen. Warren Faces Reelection Battle
Given recent polling, a tough reelection battle may be looming for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in a traditionally Democratic state. The poll revealed 46% of voters believe Sen. Warren should not seek reelection and only 44% believe she should be reelected. While we still are less than two years away from the election, these numbers should be of concern to Democrats.
Department of Education Admits Errors During Final Hours
In the final days of the Obama Administration, the Department of Education revealed an error in their reporting of the three-year repayment rate on federal student loans. As it turns out, the rate was 20% lower than originally thought. The WSJ Editorial Board points out, three-year repayment rates on these loans are a meager 46%. To say the least, students deserve better. Private student lenders, including several of CBA’s member banks, boldly and clearly display essential loan information, such as interest rates, loan fees, and APRs for consumers to analyze before they take out a loan. This helps borrowers understand the terms and prepare to meet their loan repayment needs. Loans provided by the Department of Education provide consumers with no such clarity. As I discussed in my recent op-ed, it is time the federal government help students “know before they owe” by providing them with clear disclosures.
New Year, Same Story: M&A Activity Continues
With just under 6,000 banks operating today, it is hard to believe we once had more than 15,000. Following Pinnacle Bank’s recent purchase of Bank of North Carolina, the total number of banks continues to decline. News also broke this week identifying Green Dot Corp as a potential buyer of UniRush. The reasons for increased consolidation: economic uncertainty, over regulation, and advancements in technology all have played a significant role in bank consolidation. Consumers will continue to live in a world of consolidation unless the economy sees greater growth, more balanced regulation, and the ability for banks to innovate and meet consumer demands through innovation.
CBA’s Run-in with DC Protesters
Last week, I attended many of our member bank’s inauguration day events. The city was bustling, and I was dodging protesters left and right as I made my way around the city. If you saw some of the news coverage, CBA’s building was damaged by protesters as they smashed the window of the Starbucks and Bank of America located downstairs. They also damaged a few other buildings in the area, such as Bobby Van’s Grill and McDonalds. Just another day in our Nation’s Capital.
The Starbucks on the ground-level of 1225 I (Eye) Street, NW, where CBA Headquarters in located, was among several businesses in the area vandalized by Inauguration Day protestors.
Member Spotlight: Banks Deliver for Consumers
In a new study of their customers, TD Bank found 61% visit an ATM at least once a month, including 65% of Baby Boomers. TD’s study goes to show bank customers from all walks of life crave the benefits of fast and convenient services.
In an effort to provide consumers with desired services, BBVA Compass launched a pilot program to provide customers with an “Amazon Locker” for package pick-up. To meet the needs of Amazon shoppers who prefer not to have packages delivered to their homes, BBVA has installed these lockers at 11 branch locations granting customers 24/7 access to their deliveries. Despite a changing landscape, it is great to see banks continuing to find solutions to meet the ever-growing needs of consumers.
EverFi Joins CBA’s Associate Membership
A warm welcome to Washington, D.C.-based EverFi, CBA’s newest associate member. I look forward to seeing them engage with and provide insight to our entire membership.
Three Things to Know to Be In the Know
Beth McDonnell was promoted to senior vice president and chief marketing officer by U.S. Bank.
Don Pearson, regional president at Wells Fargo, was named chairman of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.
This week, CBA's OnSite Education Team touched down in Phoenix, Arizona to teach BankCom to 26 Wells Fargo employees.