News

Federal Reserve and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors | Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A survey of community bankers by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors finds banks striving to adapt to new developments in technology and regulation at a time of steady growth. The report also contains insights gleaned from town hall discussions in 30 states. Bankers expressed concern about new qualified mortgage regulations but continue to issue residential mortgages, suggesting the rules may generally be in line with bank practices while still requiring significant changes in operations. Banks are now looking to expand primarily in technology, including mobile banking, online loan applications and remote deposits. Despite an improving economy and talk of merger opportunities, the survey found little actual or planned merger activity.

Wall Street Journal | Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A large data breach at Home Depot has started to trigger fraudulent transactions that are rippling across financial institutions and draining cash from customer bank accounts. The fraudulent transactions are showing up across the U.S. as criminals use stolen card information to buy prepaid cards, electronics and even groceries. Home Depot has said that 56 million cards may have been exposed in a five-month attack on its payment terminals. The size of the Home Depot breach makes the attack significantly larger and lengthier than the 40 million cards that were compromised in the Target hacking that occurred in the three weeks leading up to Christmas last year.

Crain's Chicago Business | Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Former President of Citibank Illinois Darryl Hendricks has come out of retirement to become director of consumer banking at Chicago-based Urban Partnership Bank. A Harlem native, Hendricks spent 30 years with Citibank, the last 10 of them as Illinois president. “I'm going back to the kind of community I once came out of... We want to be a reasonable alternative to payday loans and check cashing operations in our marketplace,” Hendricks said. He's the latest African-American veteran of larger Chicago financial institutions to join Urban Partnership in order to support lending in low-income urban neighborhoods. CEO William Farrow is a veteran of First Chicago Corp. and Chief Banking Officer Levoi Brown came from GE Capital.

American Banker | Monday, September 22, 2014

Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia, Ark. is using mobile technology to offer consumers outside the mainstream a better alternative to payday loans. "The product that strips more wealth and assets from the most vulnerable people in America is predatory lending or payday lending," says Dominik Mjartan, senior vice president of the bank. But payday products have a stubborn appeal; regulatory constraints and disclosure requirements make it difficult for banks to compete with their speed. Now, Southern is closing the convenience gap with a new core-processing system and app developed with help from a company it helped create, Smiley Technologies. Among the app's features are real-time transaction processing and on-demand account information.

CDFI Fund | Monday, September 22, 2014

The CDFI Fund has opened the FY 2015 funding round for the CDFI and NACA Programs. The Administration’s FY 2015 Budget for the CDFI Fund requests $201 million in Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awards, including $151 million for CDFI Program awards, $35 million for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative awards and $15 million for NACA Program awards. The awards support CDFIs providing affordable financing and related services to low-income communities and populations that lack access to credit, capital and financial services. The deadline for submission of the CDFI Program and NACA Program applications is Monday, November 24. An application workshop for the programs will be held Thursday, October 2, 2014.

| Friday, September 19, 2014

Broadway Financial, parent company of Broadway Federal Bank in Los Angeles, plans to raise nearly $10 million through a private placement. The company said it intends to sell about 8.9 million shares of common stock, including 1.9 million voting shares. "Upon consummation of these transactions, we will have completed the restructuring of the company's balance sheet, enhanced the liquidity of the company and positioned the bank for growth," CEO Wayne Bradshaw said. The announcement comes a year after Broadway shed roughly $25 million in troubled loans in an effort to boost its asset quality.

American Banker | Thursday, September 18, 2014

Albina Community Bancorp in Portland, Ore., has filed for bankruptcy. Albina had been deferring interest payments to Hildene Capital Management for five years. The hedge fund invested in a collateralized debt obligation backed by Albina's debt. But the bank has been operating under a written agreement with the Federal Reserve Board that forbids it from paying its trust-preferred debt without regulatory approval. Hildene had threatened to force the company into involuntary liquidation if it defaulted. The company's board resigned as of the bankruptcy filing, which showed $7.5 million in liabilities and $1.3 million in assets. Hildene has raised the possibility of legal action against Albina's directors, as well as Beneficial State Bank, which recapitalized Albina last year.

Forbes | Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The annual Temenos banking survey has found growing anxiety among bankers about competition from tech giants. Respondents say their institutions are taking steps toward innovation, but nevertheless doubt that banks will make major updates to mission-critical systems until regulators force them to. Twenty-three percent of banks identify competition from tech vendors as a concern and 67 percent intend to boost IT spending. Customer loyalty was an even greater concern – and 30 percent of bankers said it was their biggest worry. One solution: building a better branch. Although the importance of branches dropped five points this year, retooling them toward customer support and advice plays a key role in many banks' retention strategies.

Bloomberg | Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A federal judge shut down two online payday lenders operating under the umbrella of the Hydra Group after the CFPB and FTC said they extracted more than $36 million from customers who never agreed to loans. The operations bought personal data about people who were researching loans at other websites, deposited unsolicited money in their accounts and debited finance charges that exceeded the amount of the deposits. When some consumers tried to stop their banks from debiting the money, the companies produced fake loan documents testifying to the debt. The lenders made mostly unsolicited loans totaling $125.3 million while extracting $161.9 million from bank accounts.

The Urban Institute | Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A new analysis of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data by the Urban Institute shows that the current tight credit environment has disproportionately affected African American and Hispanic households. African American and Hispanic borrowers took out a greater share of mortgages as housing prices neared their peak, the worst time to take out a loan. Then, as prices began to drop, tightened credit standards left many unable to obtain or refinance a loan. From 2005 to 2012, the share of loans made to African American and Hispanic households dropped from 23 percent to 12 percent, locking many borrowers out of homeownership and creating an obstacle to building wealth.

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