banking-and-finance

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.

House panel advances anti-money laundering bill with only some GOP support
Backers hope it’ll be enough to move in the Senate

House Financial Services ranking member Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina was wooed to support an anti-money laundering bill but never signed off. Supporters hope that will not jeopardize its chances in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After holding an anti-money laundering bill for a month in the hopes of winning over the committee’s top ranking Republican, the House Financial Services Committee advanced it without him on Wednesday, in a move that could ultimately undermine the odds of passing it through the Senate.

The legislation would require corporations and limited liability companies to report who actually owns them to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, in the hopes of curbing the use of anonymous shell companies for hiding illicit assets from criminal investigators and tax officials.

Global regulators divide on fintech impact on financial system
New reports highlight inability to reach consensus on best approaches

A new report says regulators of the world’s leading economies need to watch how they oversee cryptoassets and be wary of gaps that could undermine investor protections and anti-money laundering efforts. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

Regulators are divided on the potential impact of financial technology on the global financial system and the need for better coordination and oversight.

As leaders prepare to gather for the G-20 meeting in Japan in late June, their finance ministers and central bankers are getting conflicting advice from regulators on the risks and benefits of fintech.

Ben Carson says Rep. Katie Porter asked ‘Ha! Gotcha!’ questions. She said it was ‘not a joke’
Porter: ‘Start by sending me answers for the American people, not cookies’

Rep. Katie Porter garnered headlines when Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson answered her question about REOs: “Oreo?” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Katie Porter sparred with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Twitter on Wednesday after Carson dismissed his headline-grabbing misunderstanding during testimony as “silly.”

Carson was accused of incompetence in May while testifying to the House Financial Services Committee when he did not recognize a common abbreviation used to describe government-owned foreclosed properties. 

Tester pushes Fed nominee on hemp regulation

Sen. Jon Tester questioned a Fed nominee about how the central bank handles hemp farming. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Federal Reserve Board nominee faced some sharp questioning Wednesday over the Fed’s treatment of hemp farming.

When Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester asked Michelle Bowman, a nominee of President Donald Trump for another Fed term, if Fed regulators had told banks that they could work with hemp growers and suppliers who work with them, Bowman responded, “We have not told them that they cannot bank them.”

A nice chunk of change: Commemorative coins benefit all involved
Coin bills are a surprisingly competitive affair as lawmakers race to get their bills approved

Coin bills are one of the last remaining ways for an individual member of Congress to bring home the bacon. (Courtesy the U.S. Mint)

Two weeks a month, Stephanie Keegan travels from her home in New York’s Hudson Valley to Washington to lobby Congress on a host of veterans’ issues. Of late, she’s spent much of her time working on what would seem like an arcane matter — getting lawmakers to co-sponsor a bill that would create a commemorative coin honoring a museum for Purple Heart recipients.

But it is serious business and she uses a variety of tactics: making constant phone calls, showing up at offices unannounced, provoking moist eyes.

Regulators confront technology that may upend securities trade
Distributed ledgers may remove the need for intermediaries such as stock exchanges.

Distributed ledger technology, including the blockchain system that backs bitcoin, could remove the need for such intermediaries as stock exchanges, regulators and experts say. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images file photo)

New technology could change the way the securities industry has worked for decades by removing the need for trusted central parties such as stock exchanges.

The potentially disruptive technology is known as the distributed ledger, a decentralized database run by its users rather than a single authority. Current and former financial regulators, academics and trading industry experts said during a recent financial technology panel that these ledgers, which in theory can’t be changed, may remove the need for such intermediaries as stock exchanges.

Team Trump’s Harriet Tubman stumble was a missed opportunity for the GOP
But when your slogan is ‘Make America Great Again,’ you’re always stuck in reverse

An original photograph of Harriet Tubman, taken by H. Seymour Squyer, and estimated to have been printed in 1885, is displayed on a cabinet card before a House Administration hearing in 2015. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It would have been so easy, a way for the Trump administration to honor an American icon and reach out to some of those Americans who believe the Republican Party has no use for them. But did anyone honestly think any member of the team leading the country under the direction of Donald J. Trump was going to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill?

Instead Trump and company’s song-and-dance about why a plan put in place before they moved into the White House would be delayed until well after they leave just confirms that they care little for the wishes of Americans who probably did not vote for them, but who are Americans nonetheless, and that they have no knowledge of or interest in the history that has shaped this country.

Report to Congress ponders a future of cryptocurrency over cash
Migration away from cash transactions leaves an opening for digital currencies

A man purchases bitcoin from a bitcoin ATM in Boston in 2014. The use of cryptocurrencies to make payments in the U.S. is still “quite rare relative to cash and traditional systems,” a new CRS report says. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images file photo)

Congress may be beginning to contemplate a country where cryptocurrency — not cash — is the coin of the realm.

The Congressional Research Service examined the decline in cash usage in the United States and the potential rise of alternative payment systems, including bitcoin or other digital assets, in the purchase of goods and services.

AOC and Warren team up to probe Treasury Secretary Mnuchin over Sears bankruptcy
Question Mnuchin's time on the Sears board, connection to CEO Eddie Lampert

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is questioning Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about his ties to the bankrupt Sears. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez teamed up Thursday to blast Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the bankruptcy of Sears.

The Democrats from Massachusetts and New York, respectively, are questioning Mnuchin’s actions as a member of the Sears board and his longstanding ties to Eddie Lampert, the Sears CEO who came into that role after the retailer was purchased by his hedge fund.