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View from CBA November 15, 2013
CFPB Examining Credit Card Rewards
The CFPB is looking to make business more difficult for banks and consumers. They are expanding their reach by looking into credit card rewards programs. This is an area where oversight currently does not exist and the logic for the greater scrutiny is because rewards programs are the top reason why a consumer selects a particular card. Regulation in this area will likely come in the area of disclosures, not the particular rewards. As you know, millions of consumers value these programs and we do not want to see the CFPB harm this benefit.
Yellen Hearing Smooth Sailing
Federal Reserve Vice-Chair Janet Yellen appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on November 14, 2013 and had a pretty uneventful hearing on her nomination to be the next Chair of the Federal Reserve. Questions from Senators focused on too big to fail, the Fed’s economic stimulus plans, and calls to audit the Fed. A vote to send the nomination to the full Senate could come as soon as next week. The real news there is how much Republican support she picks up from Committee members. She is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate.
Banks Continue to Consolidate
An analysis by SNL Financial found banks collectively reduced their total branches by a net of 390 locations across the U.S. during the third quarter. This continues a trend we have observed over the past few years as banks find ways to save money and allocate resources to areas like technology – where customer use is increasing. Branch closures should not come at the expense of consumer experience.
CBA Membership Director, Liz Terry and I spent time this week with the team from IBERIABANK in New Orleans, LA. Thank you to Daryl Byrd, President and CEO, Michael Brown, COO and Vice Chairman, Bob Worley, EVP and General Counsel, Barry Berthelot, EVP and Director of Organizational Development, and CBA Board Member Bob Kottler, EVP - Director of Retail and Small Business Banking, as well as many of our committee members for pulling together a great team to discuss the current regulatory environment. It was a fantastic opportunity to hear their perspective on developments in interchange, arbitration, and possible CFPB action in the next quarter.
Last week, the Graduate School of Retail Bank Management (GSRBM) held several meetings to plan for 2014. The Education Council met to discuss 2014 goals and outreach. The yearly all-faculty meeting was held, and each curriculum year met to hone content and schedule for the next session. GSRBM’s dedicated faculty is the cornerstone of the program, and we appreciate the additional time they put into the program throughout the year.