banking-and-finance

Lawmakers hint at regulatory models for Facebook cryptocurrency
Libra: ‘Which is it, fish or fowl?’

“This looks exactly like an exchange-traded fund,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House members suggested Wednesday that Facebook Inc.‘s proposed cryptocurrency could be deemed an exchange-traded fund, a currency or a commodity, all of which could require some degree of regulatory oversight.

“What we’re struggling with is: What are you?” said Democratic Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter summing up a four-hour House Financial Services Committee grilling of a company executive about the proposed cryptocurrency known as Libra.

Debt limit may be reached before end of August recess, Mnuchin says
Treasury secretary formally notified Congress of the uncertainty on Friday

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the debt limit may be breached before Congress gets back from August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin put his request on paper for Congress to act on the debt ceiling before the August recess, writing to congressional leaders Friday that there’s a chance Treasury could run out of cash in early September.

“Since there is a reasonable uncertainty in projecting government cash flows, it is impossible to identify precisely how long extraordinary measures will last,” Mnuchin wrote in his four-sentence letter, referencing accounting maneuvers Treasury can engage in to carve out room under the $22 trillion debt limit.

Facebook cryptocurrency stirs worry and support in both parties
Top Democrat urges Fed and regulators to protect consumers and economy from Facebook’s ‘monopoly money’

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, right, was peppered with questions about how the Fed would deal with Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook Inc. got a preview Wednesday of what to expect next week when executives come to testify about plans to launch Libra, a digital currency and online payment system.

At a hearing Wednesday morning, Democrats and Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee peppered Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell with questions about how the central bank would respond to Libra.

No one argues for keeping marijuana illegal, but next step divides House panel
As Democrats focus on racial impact, Republicans argue for incremental steps

Rep. Karen Bass said decades of marijuana prosecutions have given millions of citizens second class status. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At a hearing on marijuana Wednesday, no one on the House subcommittee who helps write the criminal code spoke out in clear support of continuing the prohibition that has been part of federal law for decades.

“Personally I believe cannabis use in most cases is ill advised, but many things are ill advised that should not be illegal,” said California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, the panel's acting ranking member.

GOP senators sound optimistic about Trump’s new Fed picks
They’re at least faring better than the president’s last two picks

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spoke highly of Federal Reserve nominee Christopher Waller. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A week after President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board, GOP senators are expressing cautious optimism about both picks, despite Shelton’s unorthodox views on monetary policy.

They’re at least better than the president’s previous two picks — Stephen Moore and Herman Cain dropped out before they were officially nominated — said Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Alabama. “Well, we haven’t evaluated them yet, but the previous two were lacking in a lot of things,” he said.

How Facebook's new cryptocurrency could reshape the global economy
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 9

Facebook's announcement that they are launching a new cryptocurrency has created a stir in the world of financial technology . (Jack Taylor/Getty Images file photo)

The financial technology trade wars
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 5

(iStock)

What's in your crypto wallet? And how to keep it safe
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 3

(iStock)

A conversation with the CFTC regulator — Christopher Giancarlo
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 2

Chris Giancarlo. (Photo courtesy Commodity Futures Trading Commission)

Mobile payments up but pace of growth slows
23 percent of smartphone owners used a mobile wallet app in 2018

U.S. consumers spent $64 billion through mobile wallet apps or dedicated apps from a retailer last year. (Courtesy iStock)

Payments made through mobile apps like Apple Pay are rising, but at a slower rate than in past years, according to a report by the Electronic Transactions Association.

U.S. consumers spent $64 billion through mobile wallet apps or dedicated apps from a retailer last year, up from $45 billion in 2017, the ETA said. The 42 percent rate of growth in 2018 was down from 51 percent in 2017. The pace is expected to slow to 37 percent in 2019, resulting in $88 billion in consumer spending by such means.