The abnormally low market volatility of 2017 is unlikely to return for the foreseeable future, several strategists say. However, strategist Michael Purves says the bull market is not necessarily over because stocks can still range higher during volatility, while strategist Phil Orlando says current conditions give skillful stock pickers an opportunity to show their expertise.
Some market participants have warned that the 2-year-old Sheltered Harbor initiative, which has evolved into a "buddy" system in which banks store one another's data in safekeeping overnight, is still vulnerable to cyberattacks. Technology provider Synechron is proposing a blockchain-based model, which it says would greatly improve security, but the model has not yet been evaluated by industry bodies involved in Sheltered Harbor, including FSR.
Banks and credit unions could make more small installment loans to help consumers who face unexpected expenses, and they could do so with much lower interest rates than payday lenders charge, a report from Pew Charitable Trusts said. Pew's Alex Horowitz said such options could keep borrowers in the "financial mainstream."
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, laid the blame for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's needing Treasury funding on Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt. Hensarling has demanded an explanation from Watt by Friday that lays out "how your decision to require continued GSE payments to the [Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund] despite the need for a new draw on Treasury funds does not directly contradict your previous written and verbal guidance from 2014 and 2015, and how the FHFA intends to limit your ability to exercise your discretion in the future so that it can establish a consistent policy on this subject that provides both clear and reliable guidance to Congress and the GSEs."
A group of Democrats has written Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting Director Mick Mulvaney to seek information on changes to the agency's fair-lending office. The letter asks Mulvaney to submit documents and to name people with whom the CFPB has discussed the reorganization by March 1.
First Horizon National has increased hourly minimum wage to $15 as a result of savings from the tax law. The bank gave $1,000 bonuses to 70% of workers at the end of last year.
The finance sector experienced 471 security breaches in 2016, more than any other industry, according to a report from the Council of Economic Advisers. Cyberattacks cost the economy $57 billion to $109 billion that year, the report says.
David Evans, president and CEO of machining company TESSEC, and Jenell Ross, president of Bob Ross Auto Group, have been named board directors of the Cincinnati branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
The Virginia House and Senate have passed bills that would create an ombudsman to help consumers with student-loan problems and would establish a borrower's bill of rights. More than 1 million residents owed student loans worth more than $30 billion last year, state officials say.
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