View from CBA December 5, 2014

RATS!!! CBA and AOL Finance Optimism Index Falls 9.4 Points in October

The CBA/AOL monthly Finance Optimism Index dropped to -5.3 points in October, erasing gains from September, which saw the Index's highest point to date. Americans' level of optimism declined across all four questions of the Index. The percentage of respondents strongly agreeing they were worried about their current financial situation increased by 5 percentage points over the previous month. In addition, fewer Americans perceived the news about personal finances to be positive, and more were worried the current economic and political situation would affect their personal finances. These large shifts in consumer optimism are a very disappointing development as we enter the holiday season. It means consumers are less likely to utilize products and services offered by financial institutions, and may hold off on larger purchases. The Index is measured continuously with results calculated and reported monthly at FinanceOptimism.org.

More Bank M&A on the Way?

The U.S. Federal Reserve released its semi-annual report on the processing of bank applications at the end of November, and it reveals the autonomous agency is not slowing applications for bank mergers or acquisitions. In the first half of 2014 the Fed approved 114 bank merger proposals, while only five were withdrawn. The data show they are on track to approve more mergers this year than in the four prior years, and are doing so quickly by approving applications in (on average) 58 days. With increased regulation and tough interest rates, we may see M&A in the small bank space increasing more than many anticipated.

Louisiana Saturday Night

It may be hard to believe, but one U.S. Senate race is yet to be decided. On December 6, 2014, Louisiana voters will go to the polls one last time to decide the run-off race between incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). On the line is whether Senate Republicans will control 54 or 53 seats when the 114th Congress convenes in January. Of course for Republicans, getting closer to the magical number 60 is integral to end filibusters on legislation in the Senate. Early polls suggest Sen. Landrieu is in a very tough position and is unlikely to win reelection. Either way, the GOP will have to attract bipartisan support in order to get anything out of the Senate and to President Obama for his signature.

Career Advice from TD's Nandita Bakhshi

CBA Board Member and Head of TD's Consumer Bank Nandita Bakhshi recently offered insights on how to advance up the banking career ladder. At an address to the New York Bankers Association's Women in Banking conference this November, she said the top advice, which helped propel her from a part-time teller to head of a $236 billion asset bank, was to have a diverse career and not to be afraid of moving. Experience and a background like hers is something she believes to be a "business imperative." "We need to have people who customers can relate to," she told conference participants.

Upcoming FDIC Webinar on America Saves Week 2015

The FDIC's Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection (DCP) Community Affairs Branch will host a webinar titled: Helping Your Customers Save: America Saves Week 2015 on December 12, 2014, Guest presenters from the Consumer Federation of America and its partners will discuss ways for banks to encourage customers to set and achieve savings goals through the use of insured bank accounts. Initiatives in rural markets will be a particular focus of discussion. This is part of an ongoing series of webinars highlighting strategies institutions can use to promote community development and expand access to the banking system.

Associate Member News

Ingo Money is our fifth new associate member for FY 2015. The company facilitates the immediate, irreversible funding of payment cards, mobile wallets and bank accounts. Learn more about them at http://ingomoney.com/.

Lagniappe

José Antonio Álvarez, Santander's Chief Financial Officer for the past 10 years, has been appointed CEO of the Spanish bank. Santander Holdings USA has named T. Timothy Ryan Chairman of the company and its Santander Bank subsidiary. Ryan most recently served as Vice Chairman for Regulatory Affairs at JPMorgan Chase.