US financial regulations are already fragmented, and financial-technology firms challenge the boundaries at every turn, writes Jason Kratovil, FSR's vice president of government affairs for payments. "We need to identify the right tools to more fully reshape the regulation of financial services to fit the innovations that are driving the industry in the 21st century," he writes.
Consumer confidence hit its highest level in 16 years when it increased to an index reading of 125.6 in March from 116.1 in February, the Conference Board reports. Economists had expected the index to fall.
The number of bank tellers is declining, but their job won't disappear, experts say. Tellers will take on a hybrid role that includes include helping customers with loans, cashing checks and dispensing funds and will extend banking hours by being available online, says CBA Vice President and Senior Counsel Dong Hong.
Congress must decide how to address a Dodd-Frank Act provision that caps the amount debit card companies collect from each transaction. The banking industry, which opposes the cap, and retailers, which support it, are lobbying heavily in Washington.
Major banks intent on lowering operational costs are discussing a joint venture to share trade technology and processes, sources say. Early talks reportedly have happened among banks including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Congressional Republicans are looking to roll back a safe-harbor clause that keeps automated individual retirement accounts run by states from being subject to certain federal rules, and FSR supports the repeal effort. "The states should be able to offer anything to private-sector employees that are subject to the same standards and requirements," said Jill Hoffman, an FSR vice president, adding that "if it's good enough for the private sector, it should be good enough for the state."
BlackRock and Vanguard say the fiduciary rule should be delayed beyond its current April 10 effective date, citing confusion among investors and burdens on the industry. Vanguard suggests that the rollout be pushed back at least 12 months.
A centuries-old investment vehicle known as a tontine fell out of use long ago but may be poised for a return, as it provides a simple method of retirement saving, says professor Moshe Milevsky of York University in Toronto. In a tontine, members invest equally in a fund and draw annual payments from it, with payments increasing for surviving members as each member dies, and the last remaining member taking the whole pot.
Democrats are divided on whether to work with Republicans to overhaul the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Several House Democrats think a commission structure is preferable to an agency run by an appointee of President Donald Trump.
A federal court has dismissed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's complaint that Intercept violated a law that bars financial institutions from unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices. "The court's reasoning in Intercept suggests a higher pleading standard under UDAAP, which may be a new factor to consider when mounting a possible defense to a CFPB claim," said Joann Needleman, a member of the CFPB's advisory board.
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