Big Banks Big Winners In “Debate Of the Century”
According to The Hill newspaper, the “Debate of The Century” lived up to its billing. If that’s true then my increasing pessimism about the future of this country is totally justified. I’m not joking.
From the perspective of the financial services industry, the biggest winner in last night’s reality T.V. show masquerading as a Presidential debate was the banking industry. I know people are busy constructing their own alternate realities, and that we had to get to the real important stuff like Clinton’s stamina and Trump’s comments to Howard Stern and talk show host Sean Hannity. But was I really expecting too much for thinking that moderator Lester Holt would ask something along the lines of: “Eight years ago the country suffered its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and the nation’s largest banks had to be bailed out with taxpayer dollars. Do you believe that more needs to be done to prevent us from bailing out banks in the future?” I’m also more than a little surprised that we didn’t hear one mention from Hillary about the Wells Fargo Account scandal or that Trump didn’t point to the CFPB as over-regulator #1.
Instead, we got Trump’s standard dribble about the Fed keeping interest rates down for political reasons and a willingness to list the many banks that help the “underleveraged” (his words) real-estate tycoon and marketing genius finance his far-flung business interests. There was also not a mention of Hilary’s Goldman Sachs speeches, which is quite surprising given the fact that they almost derailed her primary run.
There are, however, two more debates to go. Why we could even have a discussion about what to do with the housing market, in general, and the GSE’s, in particular.
But none of this would make for particularly good TV.
NY Signs Gift Card Law
Governor Cuomo struck a blow for all of us who have the habit of losing holiday gift certificates when he signed legislation enhancing gift card protections. The legislation (S.4771E / A.7610E) increases from 13 to 25 months the amount of time that must pass before dormancy fees can be charged. The catch is that dormancy fees “shall be waived and the gift certificate replenished to its value where the holder of the gift certificate presents the certificate within three years of issue. Finally no certificate can expire in less than five years. It takes effect in 90 days, just in time for the holidays.
AMEX Wins Credit Card Appeal
Yesterday afternoon, the Court Of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a lower court ruling that Amex violated the antitrust laws by entering into agreements containing nondiscriminatory provisions barring merchants from offering customers any discounts or non-monetary incentives to use credit cards less costly for merchants to accept; expressing preferences for any card; or disclosing information about the costs of different cards to merchants who accept them.