All Articles Finance While You Were Working - June 28

While You Were Working – June 28

Banks beat CCAR, Central banks ponder virtual currency, an "Enigma" in Hong Kong, and how to optimize airport security

3 min read



Which central bank will go first on virtual currency? (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Banks went 34-0 against the Fed’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review

In what is unequivocally good news bank shareholders, all 34 banks subject to the Federal Reserve’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review cleared the regulatory hurdle (Well, Capital One needs to re-submit its plan, but the Fed will probably approve what Capital One has in its wallet).

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has previously joked that bank shareholders should thank him for their share prices. Now it looks like he will have to share some glory with the Federal Reserve as banks are likely to increase dividends to shareholders

No, you go first.

It is not really breaking news that central banks from around the world are exploring the use of virtual currencies. It is going to happen. The real mystery is about which major central bank is going to go first. No offense to Vietnam or Denmark, but their central banks pondering Bitcoin doesn’t really move the needle.

The real brinksmanship is among the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the People’s Bank of China, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank. Among them, I’d bet on the Swiss. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of the above coordinate and take the virtual currency plunge together.

Space for rent

The malls of America are a bit more vacant than they used to be. And unless the entire concept of malls undergoes a complete metamorphosis to include attractions other than shopping, then vacancies will only increase.

Optimizing airport security

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is going to open a security express lane for passengers who are traveling light. Air travel is tough enough these days (even when you don’t get dragged off the plane), so this is a step in the right direction. However, a better solution is something I experienced at Schiphol in 2013: security at the gate! That’s right. I walked all the way to my gate before having to do the X-ray machine song and dance.

The capital expenditure to install one X-ray machine at each gate wouldn’t be cheap, but the economic benefits are massive. Imagine not losing an hour by having to arrive at the airport early to cram through centralized security like cattle.

As for staffing, the screening at my gate was done by the flight crew. That might seem weird, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at an X-ray monitor. Plus, who is better motivated to make sure a weapon or bomb doesn’t make it onto the plane than someone who is actually going to be on the flight?

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