Mortgage applications fell 0.2% last week, dropping for the fourth time since mid-March. Thirty percent of existing-home sales in March involved first-time buyers, down from 32% in March 2017, the National Association of Realtors said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission's proposed new rules call for financial advisers to meet continuing education requirements. This is important in a rapidly changing industry, writes Nir Kaissar, who notes that the average age of advisers is 50, and less than 12% are younger than 35.
Democrats are criticizing Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting Director Mick Mulvaney for saying that when he was a congressman, he wouldn't speak with lobbyists who didn't donate to him. Lobbying is "one of the fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy," Mulvaney said as he urged bankers to continue the practice.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is putting forward a bill that would turn US Postal Service branches into banking centers offering loans and checking and savings accounts. The services would be designed for those who have limited access to traditional banking, Gillibrand said.
Global remittances reached nearly $600 billion in 2016, Moody's Investors Service says. Helping people send money to others has big potential for banks, financial-technology companies and even social media companies, Moody's says.
Person-to-person payment system Zelle is dealing with fraud threats, growing demand and technical challenges. Lou Anne Alexander, an executive at Early Warning Systems, which runs Zelle, said that although Zelle users are vetted, they cannot be given a "dishonesty test."
Visa has reported a 16.3% increase in debit card spending and a 13.7% increase in credit card spending for its fiscal second quarter. "Revenue growth was better than anticipated, and many of our key business drivers accelerated compared to the first quarter, including strong growth in cross-border and payments volume," CEO Al Kelly says.
Nearly 8% of job seekers became an entrepreneur in the first quarter, the highest quarterly average since 2013, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas. Low unemployment likely has made people more comfortable about founding a company, Vice President Andrew Challenger says.
Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting purchased financial stocks while a nominee, according to the Office of Government Ethics. The trading activity is legal but puts Otting's ethics into question, experts say.
Regions Financial CEO Grayson Hall will be succeeded by President John Turner on July 2. "With John's broad range of experience and exceptional leadership skills, Regions will be well-positioned to continue growing ... while also maintaining our focus on meeting the needs of our customers," Hall says.
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