Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.
- What Lies Ahead in 2012 for Community Banks?
American Banker recently gathered four panelists — Fred Cannon at KBW Inc., Scott Siefers at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, Joe Stilwell at Stilwell Group and Brad Whitman at Barclays Capital — to discuss the year ahead for community banks. This is an excerpt of the wide-ranging discussion. How are community banks positioned headed into 2012? SCOTT SIEFERS: I’m afraid it’s not getting any easier. On the plus side there’s the systemic recapitalization we’ve seen over the last couple of years, and credit trends continue to improve.
- FFIEC Guidance: Are Banks Ready?
As 2012 nears and federal regulators prepare to examine financial institutions for conformance with the FFIEC Authentication Guidance, just how prepared are U.S. banks and credit unions? The answer, industry observers say, depends in part on the asset size of the institution. The nation’s largest institutions are working to stay ahead of the updated guidance issued this past June, but smaller institutions are facing stiff challenges to improving online banking security, says Gartner analyst Avivah Litan. “Mid-tier and regional banks are confused about how far to go to meet FFIEC compliance requirements, especially with regard to payment batch-file processing, which can be expensive to re-engineer,” she says.
- Western Union Targets Small Businesses with Payments Portal
A smattering of banks have been rolling out technology to automate interactions with small businesses, ranging from RDC to social media. Western Union recently joined this trend by launching Small Business Payments, an online acceptance and accounts receivable service. Western Union is providing automated invoicing, recurring billing, customer management and reporting. “Small businesses are either sending paper invoices or are going directly to consumers for face-to-face collection,” says David Shapiro, senior vice president of payments for Western Union.
- Banks Should Reveal ‘Full’ Details of Capital, Basel Group Says
Banks should be forced to reveal more data about their financial reserves so that they can’t conceal poor management decisions and excessive risk-taking, global regulators said. Lenders should “disclose the full list” of instruments that they are counting toward meeting their required minimum capital levels, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision said in an e-mailed statement today. “Insufficiently detailed disclosure and a lack of consistency in reporting” may have “hampered” regulators and contributed to the financial crisis that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008, the group said. Banks (SX7P) should also show how they have applied rules forcing them to write down the value of some securities they count as capital.
- Interest rate cuts irk online banking customers
When the online banking site SmartyPig.com dropped its savings interest rates yet again recently, many of the institution’s goal-oriented savers – who joined up to get better interest rates on their cash deposits – watched in dismay. As one of the bigger names in that space, SmartyPig was taking a big step to drop its yield below a line with symbolic meaning: 1 percent. It was the third time since August 2010, when the website (which places savings accounts at BBVA Compass, an FDIC-insured bank) was offering 2.15 percent on savings, that it has cut rates. Interest rates these days are puny, but the latest decline – from a leading position at 1.1 percent to 0.7 percent – rubbed SmartyPig customers the wrong way.
- 12 Great Money Apps That Save Time and Cash
Chances are, you spent a lot of money on your smartphone and you spend (waste?) hours playing games on it. You can recoup some of your losses with our pick of the most helpful mobile financial applications, all of which can save you time and cash and make managing your money fun.