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Home » Daily Briefing » Daily briefing - 19 May 2017

Daily briefing - 19 May 2017

In the United States, a revival of Glass-Steagall laws to keep commercial and investment banking entirely separate appears to be dead in the water today with President Trump's treasury secretary telling lawmakers on Capitol Hill that any such break-up would be a "huge mistake". Secretary Mnuchin made it clear that no break-up is in the offing: "We do not support a separation of banks from investment banks — we think that that would have a very significant problem on the financial markets, on the economy, on liquidity."


Turkey's national card payment system, TROY, has reached a milestone this month, with the necessary infrastructure now in place for mass distribution. The ambition is to have all banks in the country issuing cards with the TROY logo by the end of the year. Dr. Soner Canko, chief executive of the Interbank Card Center (BKM) that enables and manages TROY, noted that TROY cards are now accepted at all of the country's POS terminals, ATMs and e-commerce websites. As of today, he observed, more than 200,000 cards with the TROY logo are in use: "Sixteen financial institutions, fifteen banks and one non-bank, are currently ready to provide debit cards, prepaid cards and credit cards with the TROY logo. As we look to achieve our goal of a 100 percent cashless society, our aim is to have all the banks to be providing their customers with cards with the TROY logo and place a TROY card in each and every wallet."

With US entertainment titan, Netflix, booed yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival for releasing features that bypass French cinema screens and Facebook now fined €110 million by the European Commission for data privacy violations, it seems clear that transatlantic differences in commercial culture are coming into ever-sharper conflict as digitally propelled globalisation brings the two sides of the Atlantic closer together. At bottom is a clash of cultural expectations: Continental Europeans, steeped in humanism, tend to resist disintermediation, while American law, steeped in individualism, is inclined to put the needs of entrepreneurs above those of users. Data is the front line in this clash and, with consumer rights online and off under attack from the Trump administration, the European authorities seem to have now taken the leading role worldwide in customer advocacy. Since data has become the lifeblood of a rejuvenated payments scene, this is no longer a purely philosophical debate for our industry.

With data comes responsibility: not only to customers but also in terms of security. Such are the dangers posed by cybercriminals that it is no exaggeration to say that for many firms black hat hackers now represent an existential threat. Two stories in the news today show that the challenges involved are not easily surmounted. The first comes to us from a BBC reporter, whose twin was able to fool HSBC's voice recognition security shield and access account information. (Even though computers have been sifting information about our behaviours for decades now, we remain an unpredictable species.) In Washington, meanwhile, an official inspection body has found that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has failed to adequately protect confidential information in its dealings with Wells Fargo. As so often with human beings, our dreams (nowadays of digital utopia) can quickly lead us away from material realities (we are analogue creatures and persistently prone to error).

Ex-RBS chief executive to face investors in court
Investors criticise Deutsche Bank at fiery meeting [FT paywall]
Bank of America opens debate on lowering mortgage downpayments
Synchrony Financial to buy back up to $1.64 billion in shares, hikes dividend

Quotes of the Week

A selection of quotes that have caught our eye of late at Lafferty News.

  • "While the debt doesn't pose the risks that toppled the financial system nine years ago, there are still some signs of potential trouble, notably high student loan debt and delinquencies."
    "Household debt tops 2008 peak", USA Today
  • "There really was a Murphy, and the law that bears his name is not an admission of defeat. It is a call to excellence."
    Corinne Purtill, Quartz
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