the Wall Street newspaper

Stricter is better

MoneyGram International, “one of the world’s largest money transfer companies, is putting its weight behind an effort by regulators that would require financial institutions to collect and report sender and recipient details on more transactions,” a proposal “which has raised concerns among many people.” companies on compliance costs. “

The company ”says a a stricter standard would help the money transfer industry improve protections to customers against fraud and other illicit activities, similar to what the company already has in place internally. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Federal Reserve Board proposed in October an amendment to the anti-money laundering rules that would require financial institutions to collect, store and transmit to other institutions certain information relating to international transfers and transactions. remittances over $ 250, down from $ 3,000. “

Training effect

In what “would be one of the SEC’s most publicized actions against a cryptocurrency pioneer,” the Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to sue Ripple, claiming that “the company violated investor protection laws when it sold a bitcoin-like digital asset called XRP.” Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said the SEC was “wrong in law and in fact” and that Ripple intended to defend itself.

“The lawsuit revolves around whether XRP, a digital asset the company launched in 2012, is in fact a security that should have been registered with the SEC.”

Not out of the woods yet

The US Treasury Department’s Foreign Assets Control Office has closed its investigation into the money laundering scandal at Danske Bank’s Estonia branch, the Danish lender said. But “the closure of the investigation” by the agency, “which is responsible for the civil application of American sanctions, does not signal the end of the legal woes resulting from the Estonia scandal. “

“Danske is still under investigation by the US Department of Justice, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and criminal law enforcement and regulatory agencies in Denmark and France,” the bank said. Danske was investigated for money laundering after admitting that it failed to properly verify around $ 230 billion in transfers by non-Estonians through its branch in Tallinn, Estonia, mainly by Russians, between 2007 and 2015. “

Financial Times

No thanks

“The demand for consumer credit in the United States has fell dramatically during the Covid-19 crisis, with credit card applications dropping to low levels for several years”Says the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s survey of consumer expectations. “The proportion of households requesting any form of credit in the past 12 months fell by 11 percentage points, to 35%, between February and October. But the drop in demand was greatest for new credit cards, where the demand rate fell 10 points to just under 16%, the lowest level since the Fed started collecting credit cards. demand data in 2013.

“Credit card balances held by U.S. banks have fallen from about $ 100 billion to $ 750 billion since the start of the pandemic, and credit card networks have recorded spending declines for much. of the year, as lockdowns dampened activity – although Visa and Mastercard said full recovery in U.S. payment volumes by October. “

Ban BaFin?

Germany should close its financial regulator, BaFin, following its failures in the Wirecard scandal, supports an editorial in the FT.

“Not only did BaFin fail to effectively supervise Wirecard. He had actively thwarted attempts by critics to expose the fraud. With an unprecedented short-selling ban, it had prevented a growing group of skeptical investors from betting that Wirecard’s stock price would fall. And he had launched a criminal complaint against journalists at the Financial Times, who had spent years unearthing the scandal.

“Now more details have emerged on BaFin’s shortcomings in the case. Dozens of employees had traded Wirecard shares, some in accordance with the regulator’s disclosure rules, others in violation. In recent months understandable questions have been raised by parliamentarians over whether BaFin CEO Felix Hufeld should remain in his post. But is it also time to abolish BaFin itself? “

New York Times

Second help

The $ 900 billion stimulus bill being negotiated in Congress “commit $ 285 billion for additional loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and allow particularly affected companies to obtain a second loan. It “would also remove the restriction that left over $ 100 billion unspent over the summer.”

“According to the outline of the bill circulating among congressional officials on Monday, hotels and restaurant businesses would be eligible for larger loans this time around, up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll. The other borrowers would again be limited to 2.5 times their payroll. The new bill would also expand the list of expenses a loan could be used to pay, which previously were mostly limited to payroll, rent and utilities. “

“But the biggest change would be to reopen the program to some companies that had already received help. Many business owners who had received the money said they would gladly take another loan, but program rules prevented them from getting a second help. The new relief bill offers a second injection of funds for those who meet more stringent conditions. “

The new version of PPP “tick most items on bankers wishlistsAmerican Banker reports.

Extended stay

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development “a extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on real estate mortgages he insures against failures until February 28. It was due to expire at the end of the month. “

“The foreclosure moratorium applies to mortgages backed by the Federal Home Administration. HUD is also extending the deadline for cash-strapped homeowners to request a stay on their mortgage payments in full for up to six months. “

Elsewhere

Gathering of banks

Led by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, both of which rose around 6%, “US bank stocks outperformed the market as a whole on Monday after the Federal Reserve said stress test results meant the sector could resume share buybacks for the first time since the coronavirus downturn.

“The regulator’s move came faster than many investors expected and suggested investors at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs were in line for larger buyouts than the majority of the industry,” Jeffery told Reuters Harte, analyst at Piper Sandler. “Overall, the amount of share buybacks that the Fed’s calculations suggest the big banks will be able to do in the first quarter of 2021 is good news for the group,” he said.

To quote

“Much of the government money that has been given to individuals is enough to pay off the credit card and car debt. ” – Charles Peabody, Banking Analyst at Portales Partners, explaining the decline in consumer credit demand in the United States

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