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SRM Perspectives on Key Industry Trends

White House Provides More Clarity on Digital Assets

Posted by Larry Pruss on Sep 27, 2022 12:27:26 PM

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We're beginning to get some clarity from the White House regarding its approach to digital assets, including the potential development of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

With the release of a wide-ranging report, the White House appears to be embracing digital assets and their potential for transparent, cost-efficient, and inclusive financial services. A background press call provided even more insight into the Biden Administration's thinking.

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Topics: Payments, Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets, CBDC, Blockchain, Regulation, Digital Ledger Technology

CFPB’s Buy Now, Pay Later Stance Should Comfort Banks, Credit Unions

Posted by Paul Davis on Sep 22, 2022 11:21:00 AM

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Banks and credit unions interested in offering Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services should be pleased with the latest report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Many FIs have been reluctant to dive into the popular consumer offering, largely due to uncertainty over the regulatory environment. SRM asserted in a recent report that banks and credit unions have the experience and tools necessary to handle regulatory scrutiny.

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Topics: Payments, Vendor Contract, Buy Now Pay Later, BNPL, CFPB, Credit Cards

Education and Trust Matter When Dealing with Digital Assets

Posted by Larry Pruss on Sep 19, 2022 11:24:00 AM

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The Biden Administration's March executive order seeking information on digital assets' usage and security set a flurry of activity into motion. This included a mandate for the Treasury Department to deliver a report on the future of money and payments systems. The agency issued a public request for comment in July, and SRM quickly responded, drawing from our detailed and ongoing coverage of cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

You can read our complete submission here; however, the condensed version below highlights the key points we believe every financial institution should consider as policies toward digital assets take shape.    

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Topics: Payments, Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets, Stablecoins, Blockchain, Regulation, Digital Ledger Technology

OCC Order Serves as Blueprint for Banks, Credit Unions Working with Fintech

Posted by Paul Davis on Sep 9, 2022 11:32:00 AM

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Banks and credit unions have a new roadmap for handling fintech partnerships.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) just issued a written agreement to Blue Ridge Bankshares instructing the Charlottesville, Va., company to improve how it pursues and monitors fintech relationships.

The agreement comes months after the OCC raised issues with Blue Ridge’s ($2.8 billion-asset) proposed merger with FVCBankcorp (the deal was ultimately terminated). While the specific issue was never disclosed, there was speculation it had to do with Blue Ridge’s fintech dealings.

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Topics: Payments, Fintech, Vendor Contract, BaaS, Regulators, BSA

Durbin Bill Aims to Fundamentally Change the Credit Market, Causing Disaster for Industry

Posted by Myron Schwarcz and Keith Ash on Sep 7, 2022 11:16:00 AM

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Ever since the Durbin Amendment upended the debit card industry in 2010, insiders have speculated that Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) would eventually pursue similar changes to the credit card industry.

Sen. Durbin made it known during a May 2022 Senate Judiciary Committee meeting that credit card reform was in his crosshairs. As inflation rose, he found a bipartisan partner in Sen. Roger Marshal (R-Kan.) and introduced bill S.4674, the Credit Card Competition Action of 2022.

This bill reflects many principles Reg II applied to routing, intending to increase competition and reduce merchant costs. If this bill becomes law, it will have significant consequences for issuers and consumers, potentially completely upending credit access as we know it today. It could also lead some issuers to dial back rewards and benefits.

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Topics: Durbin Amendment, Interchange, Fee Income, Credit Cards

5 Things Financial Institutions Should Know About the Metaverse

Posted by Neil Dougherty on Aug 30, 2022 2:24:21 PM

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A Google search for "metaverse" results in roughly 203 million results – an overwhelming number of options for learning more about an emerging digital world.

But what exactly is the metaverse? And what does it mean for financial institutions now and in the future?

As I shared in a recent article, the metaverse is a vision, not just a technology. It's a virtual world driven by the thriving global gaming culture that lets people create an entirely virtual version of themselves.

In that world, users create and pursue unique experiences. Much like the real world, some form of currency is necessary, providing opportunities for banks and credit unions.

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Topics: Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets, Banking in the Metaverse, MetaFi, Metaverse, Crypto Wallets, Virtual Reality

Reflections on Our First 30 Years & the Evolution of Financial Services

Posted by Brad Downs on Aug 16, 2022 11:14:00 AM

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Sometimes it’s hard to believe 30 years have passed since our founder Curtis Downs took the concept of developing contract benchmarks and applying them to help banks, credit unions, and others achieve critical savings – the underlying value proposition behind SRM. That foundation has allowed our clients to add more than $5 billion to their bottom line over the years.

It's fascinating to look back three decades and see the rate of change that has taken place in the financial services industry. As we acknowledge our company’s 30th anniversary this year, I want to highlight some significant changes in financial services that have also challenged and motivated SRM to evolve.

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Topics: Payments, Digital Banking, Vendor Contract, Interchange, Regulation

Crypto, BNPL, and Regulation: Key Trends to Watch in the Coming Months

Posted by Ben Mrva on Jul 28, 2022 11:14:00 AM

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The first half of 2022 was eventful for banks and credit unions, and there’s no reason to expect the pace to slow. Financial institutions must monitor changes to the payments ecosystem while simultaneously dealing with rising interest rates, eroding consumer confidence, and potential cracks in credit quality.

Here’s a quick summary of what the team at SRM sees as the key trends in financial services and how these trends might play out over the balance of the year.

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Topics: Payments, Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets, Overdraft, BNPL, CFPB

Inflation, Rate Hikes & Falling Consumer Confidence: Brace for Uncertainty

Posted by Paul Davis on Jul 26, 2022 11:19:00 AM

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Banks and credit unions must prepare for some consumer payments and credit quality turbulence.

Consumer prices rose by an astounding 9.1% by June from a year earlier – a 41-year high – causing the average American to spend roughly $460 more per month than they did a year ago, according to Moody’s Analytics Senior Economist Ryan Sweet.

Inflation has led the Federal Reserve to get aggressive with interest rates, including a 75-basis-point hike earlier this month. There is talk the Fed could opt for an unprecedented 100-basis-point increase in light of the June data.

Rising rates could deal another blow to consumers already facing higher costs for goods.

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Topics: Payments, Consumer Spending, Credit Cards, Mortgages

Why the Time is Right to Hire Instead of Acquire

Posted by Paul Davis on Jul 19, 2022 11:17:00 AM

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Many financial institutions have decided now is a better time to hire talent rather than buy another bank or credit union, enter new markets, or add business lines. The proof is in several high-profile recruiting announcements from small and midsize financial institutions.

CapStar Financial Holdings in Nashville, TN, will expand outside its home state for the first time after hiring a First Horizon banker in Asheville, NC. Encore Bank in Little Rock, AR, will move into Boulder, CO, after recruiting a former market president at Great Western Bancorp.

IC Federal Credit Union in Fitchburg, MA, hired former Avidia Bank executive CarrieAnne Cormier as its chief operating officer. Citadel Credit Union in Exton, PA, hired a team of bankers from Santander Bank with plans to launch a business banking division in August.

Columbia Banking System in Tacoma, WA, and Western Alliance Bancorp in Phoenix, AZ, are entering Salt Lake City after recruiting bankers from large competitors such as Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, and Zions Bancorp.

Banks are also going after talent to grow or add new lines of business. RBB Bancorp in Los Angeles hired three bankers to beef up its Small Business Administration lending. Encore hired a banker to build a business banking community association.

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Topics: Acquisitions, Loan Growth, Mergers, Hiring, Regulation

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