Huntington Bancshares is among regional banks doing well this year. "The regional economy is really coming back robustly in the Midwest," said Huntington Chairman, President and CEO Steve Steinour. The bank's commercial lending has increased for 10 quarters, and it has been an industry leader in branch openings recently, he said. "We're investing in our businesses in a contrarian fashion," Mr. Steinour said.
The service sector is taking the lead in boosting economic expansion, after manufacturing has been a primary driver. The shift "provides a broader base for the economic expansion and actually is a source of more sustainable growth," said Richard DeKaser, deputy chief economist at Parthenon Group.
Wall Street banks appear to be gaining traction in their coordinated campaign to change the proposed Volcker rule, as regulators and legislators acquiesce to delays and possible changes. Several regulators have signaled planned delays in recent weeks, and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is calling for a simpler version of the rule.
Wells Fargo has launched the NeighborhoodLift program to educate those who want to participate in down-payment-assistance programs. Borrowers attend eight hours of financial-education classes through NeighborWorks America affiliates.
The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are seeking public comment on stricter rules for high-risk, high-yield loans. Volumes of these leveraged loans were up 59% last year, and the regulators said that "prudent underwriting practices have deteriorated."