Increasing Pell Grants, changing the name of award letters and clarifying what they include, and simplifying the loan repayment system would improve higher education financing, write Brad Conner, a vice chairman at Citizens Financial Group and former chairman of the Consumer Bankers Association, and William Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former staff director of the Senate Budget Committee. Roughly 90% of student loans are made by the federal government, which reports a delinquency and default rate in the double digits.
Enforcement actions taken by US state securities regulators in 2017 led to 1,985 years of prison time and probation, 47% higher than in 2016, according to a North American Securities Administrators Association report. More than $486 million in restitution was ordered to be given back to investors, and fines reached $79 million, the report said.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, saw several of his sponsored bills fail during his tenure as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, including legislation that would have dismantled the Dodd-Frank Act and weakened the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Hensarling, who is leaving Congress at the end of this term, said the changes were worth pursuing and noted that several provisions in his failed Financial CHOICE Act ended up in a successful bipartisan economic bill.
First Interstate BancSystem in Montana has agreed to purchase Idaho-based Community 1st Bank and Idaho Independent Bank. Shareholders and regulators must approve the stock transactions, which could close during the first half of 2019.
Some banks are closing or consolidating branches as teller and ATM transactions decline, while other banks are adding branches. Wells Fargo is cutting 800 branches by 2020, while JPMorgan Chase is among banks adding branches, with 400 planned during the next five years.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has given extensive support to Democratic candidates nationwide. Some efforts have been aimed at early-primary states, but Warren says she will "take a hard look" at a presidential run after midterm elections.
Los Angeles voters will decide on an amendment to create a city-owned bank, but some say the idea is risky. Advocates cite the success of state-run Bank of North Dakota, one of only two government-owned banks in the US.
Investors will search for indications on trends such as interest-rate direction, stock market movement, lending growth and loan defaults as banks release earnings reports for the third quarter.
A reporter asked President Donald Trump whether Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell's job was on the line after Trump expressed disappointment in the Fed's pace of rate hikes, and Trump said no. The law under which the Fed was created specifies that members of the board can be removed only "for cause," a phrase that the Supreme Court has said prohibits politically motivated dismissals.
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