banking-and-finance

FHFA head sees plan this year to change Fannie, Freddie status
Mark Calabria also wants Congress to act

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been under federal control since they accepted bailouts in 2008 during the housing market collapse. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria said he hopes to have a roadmap for ending the federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by the end of the year.

Speaking at a National Association of Realtors event Tuesday, Calabria said it was his job as FHFA director to develop a plan for recapitalizing and releasing the government-sponsored entities, or GSEs. The two mortgage giants have been under federal control since they accepted bailouts in 2008 in the wake of the housing market collapse.

These Senate Democrats want to ban stock trading by members of Congress
Sens. Brown and Merkley introduce legislation last week to prohibit trading in most cases

Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., left, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, want to ban stock trading by members of Congress in most cases. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two Democratic senators want to prevent a recurrence of ethically dubious stock trades by members of Congress by banning them altogether.

Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Sherrod Brown of Ohio want to bar lawmakers and senior aides from buying and selling individual securities. The reality is that many members of the House and Senate do own and trade stock in publicly-traded companies.

Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders promote cap on credit card interest rates
First major legislative proposal from Ocasio-Cortez gets backing from 2020 presidential hopeful

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.,is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:25 p.m. | Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez teamed up with Sen. Bernie Sanders Thursday to pitch a cap on credit card interest rates as part of new legislation.

“There is no reason a person should pay more than 15% interest in the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said in a tweet confirming the proposal. “It’s common sense — in fact, we had these Usury laws until the 70s.”

New York regulator’s conflict with fintech firm spills into view
Tensions grow over enforcing rules designed for traditional financial institutions

New York state regulators in April denied applications by Bittrex for licenses to run a virtual currency business and to engage in money transmission activity. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

The battle over the benefits and risks of new financial technology is escalating, in the form of a dust-up between New York state and a Seattle-based virtual currency business that, to the surprise of fintech followers, took the fight public.

The disagreement between regulators at the New York Department of Financial Services and Bittrex Inc., a cryptocurrency exchange, highlights the growing tension between fintech innovators and regulators enforcing rules designed for older, traditional financial institutions.

Why Fannie and Freddie need newer credit scoring models
Competition for FICO would foster a more sustainable housing system

The Las Vegas area was hit especially hard by the housing crisis a decade ago. Innovation and competition in mortgage credit scoring can foster a more sustainable housing system, Lockhart writes. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Housing policy is suddenly back in the news. The Senate Banking Committee held hearings on housing finance reform recently and the Trump administration wants federal agencies to draft reform plans for mortgage securitization giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But after 10 years in conservatorship, winding down these government-sponsored enterprises and restructuring the mortgage market will be herculean tasks.

We can start by revisiting a proposed regulatory rule on credit scoring.

Online lenders put small banks in a bind
It’s cost them business but could also help them compete with bigger rivals

A new study shows small commercial banks losing business to online lenders, forcing many to make riskier loans that are more prone to delinquency and default. (Courtesy Shutterstock)

The boom in internet lending is taking a toll on traditional commercial banks, especially smaller ones, suggesting that they’re going to have to find ways to adjust to the changes wrought by financial technology.

New academic research says more than a quarter of the “peer-to-peer” dollars loaned over the internet today would’ve traditionally been handled by small commercial banks before the advent of online lenders.

In a volatile crypto market, stable coins find increasing appeal
Banks, regulators mull virtual currency with less risk

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has introduced a JPM Coin, a stable coin linked to the dollar. Such a form of virtual currency has the potential to speed up payments and cut money transfer costs for consumers, advocates say. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The cryptocurrency rollercoaster, with its price peaks and valleys, has financial technology proponents looking to a new type of virtual currency that promises the benefits of being virtual while limiting the risk.

Banks, regulators and industry leaders are studying, or have already started to implement, so-called stable coins. They tout the potential to speed up payments, cut money transfer costs for consumers, and help citizens of foreign countries whose currencies are under duress.

Banks seek Congress’ help to block fintech path to ‘industrial’ charters
Industry group expects efforts to have bipartisan support on Hill

A bank industry group accuses financial technology firms like payment processor Square Inc. of trying to exploit a banking law loophole. (Courtesy Shutterstock)

A bank industry group is lobbying Congress to block financial technology firms, such as online lender Social Finance Inc. and payment processor Square Inc., from obtaining an obscure form of a state bank charter that would let them operate nationally with little federal supervision.

The Independent Community Bankers of America last week distributed a policy paper around Washington calling for an immediate moratorium on providing federal deposit insurance to industrial loan companies, or ILCs, which are chartered by only a few states — most notably Utah.

Regulators warn Congress not to pre-empt state fintech rules
“Investor protections must not be diminished at the state or federal levels”

The North American Securities Administrators Association is calling on lawmakers to be cautious when implementing fintech laws. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

State securities regulators are concerned Congress could pre-empt state laws governing financial technology such as blockchain and cryptocurrency that are designed to protect consumers.

The North American Securities Administrators Association on Wednesday issued its legislative priorities for the 116th Congress, calling on lawmakers to be cautious when implementing fintech laws.

Democrats hammer CFPB head for being soft on lenders
Democrats grilled Director Kathy Kraninger and GOP lawmakers for supporting recent agency changes

Kathy Kraninger, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is seen before testifying at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in the Rayburn Building on March 7. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats sharply criticized on Thursday the head of America’s consumer finance watchdog for decisions Republicans say are entirely under her purview.

In the first Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight hearing, Financial Services Democrats repeatedly hammered Director Kathy Kraninger and GOP lawmakers for supporting recent changes at the agency.