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August 29, 2014

Consumer Finance Optimism Drops in July
The CBA/AOL monthly Finance Optimism Index dropped back into negative territory to -3.0 for July 2014. The drop of 6.8 points follows the first positive results for the index since January 2014. Contributing factors to this decline include turmoil across the globe, increased concern about personal financial outlooks, and a decrease in positive economic news. Full details on July's findings are available at www.financeoptimism.org.
 
American Banker Looks at Future Senate Banking Committee Leaders
With the mid-term Congressional election less than 70 days away, Washington watchers are speculating what will happen if there is a flip in power in the Senate, or if the status quo remains. American Banker profiled Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who is expected to take the U.S. Senate Banking Committee gavel if the Democrats retain power, and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), who has previously chaired the Committee and would do so again for two years if Republicans shift the balance of power. Because of Republican Conference term limits, Shelby would be limited to the single term and would have a short period of time to accomplish his goals before making way for a new chairman in 2017. Meanwhile, Sen. Brown would have a much longer period of time to plot his strategy for leaving his mark on the Committee and the industry.
 
Bankers Still Leary of Some Mortgage Lending
Recently we heard J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon state, "Until they come up with a safe harbor or something, we are going to be very, very cautious in that line of business," when asked about mortgage lending. Now Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has stated his bank would avoid providing home loans to consumers with low credit scores to protect themselves from overzealous government backed agencies. "If somebody makes a payment for – let's say – three years, the risk ought to transfer then to the insurance company," Stumpf told the Financial Times this week. Actions by these government backed entities and other governmental actors are by default restricting credit to consumers who are in need. They should be encouraging the responsible extension of credit, not hindering it.
 
CBA Associate Members
CBA is pleased to welcome two new associate members for FY 2015. First is Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, a law firm which serves as counsel for a broad range of lenders and financial services clients across the United States. They advise banks, mortgage servicers, and other consumer finance companies on strategic legal issues, including regulatory compliance, litigation, governmental investigations, business transactions, and multi-state settlements. Also joining CBA is VeriFacts, a skip tracing and asset location company delivering location information to creditors, student loan entities, buyers, agencies, and law firms.
 
Lagniappe
Ricky Brown has been named President of BB&T, succeeding the recently retired Rob Greene. Brown will also remain as BB&T's President of Community Banking.
 
Wells Fargo's CEO John Stumpf took the ALS ice bucket challenge. Check out the video here.
 
Team CBA was glad to welcome Jennifer Sanfilippo, VP of Government Affairs at First Niagara Financial Group, to our world headquarters on August 26, 2014. Jennifer met with members of our Government Relations team to cover all things CFPB and what we expect out of Congress during the short September session.