Sustainable finance has expanded to include bonds, loans and even receivables finance as the financial sector is increasingly asked to play a role in addressing climate change and other issues. Central banks are starting to devise ways to steer banks toward giving more weight to climate concerns when making investment decisions.
Collecting payment remains a pain point for freelancers even as the gig economy and freelance work become increasingly common. Unlike employees on payroll, freelancers typically invoice for work periodically, adding a separate set of processes for payers.
US bank stocks are being valued by the market as if a recession is imminent, Morgan Stanley analyst Ken Zerbe says, writing, "The carefree days of rising rates and pristine credit quality could be coming to an end." Morgan Stanley has lowered its price targets and 2020 estimates for earnings per share.
Newly sworn-in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger said in a news conference that her focus would be on consumers, but when asked about specific bureau policies, she said she was waiting to be briefed by staff. Kraninger did indicate she would review a proposed name change for the bureau, adding that she cared more about what the bureau does than what it's called.
John Hancock's annual Financial Stress Survey found that 69% of more than 1,350 retirement plan participants were stressed about their finances, with more than 75% saying a lack of retirement savings was the leading reason. The survey report said the stress could lead to behaviors that cost employers about $2,000 in excess labor costs per employee.
Mick Mulvaney, in his last days as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, proposed new measures to relax enforcement in financial services. He moved to make it easier for companies to obtain no-action letters, and he proposed a "product sandbox" as a safe harbor in which companies can create and test products and services.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Jelena McWilliams says consideration of brokered deposits and the streamlining of regulations are on her agenda in 2019. The FDIC will also look at outdated rules and the supervision of small banks.
Limitations on presidential authority to remove the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should be eliminated, but the entire Supreme Court should decide that, the Justice Department says in a court filing related to State National Bank of Big Spring v. Mnuchin. Justice Brett Kavanaugh would need recusal from the case because he ruled on it while a member of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Associated Bank in Wisconsin has agreed to acquire 32 branches from Huntington Bancshares in a deal scheduled to close during the first half of 2019. Huntington obtained the branches through a 2016 purchase of FirstMerit.
Banks are adding branches and making improvements in Washington, D.C., which has become a hot spot for attracting customers. JPMorgan Chase is adding 70 branches in Washington and Baltimore, and Bank of America, the top bank in Washington, is remodeling offices.