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Two suburban banks test new ways to court urban residents

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By  John Reosti, The American Banker Newspaper. Published March 07 2018, 3:10pm EST
Howard Bancorp in Maryland and Bryn Mawr Bank Corp. in Pennsylvania, both banks with suburban roots, have marketing challenges on their hands after recent acquisitions in more urban areas. Their goals — to raise their profiles in new, diverse neighborhoods — are identical, but their approaches are very different. The $2.1 billion-asset Howard is so committed to Baltimore that it moved its headquarters downtown from suburban Ellicott City after completing the purchase of First Mariner Bank on March 1. Now, the merged company plans to increase its philanthropy budget and focus it on projects that will benefit what CEO Mary Ann Scully termed “stressed” communities; job training will be a top priority. Bryn Mawr deepened its presence in Philadelphia after acquiring Royal Bank American in December. The resulting $4.5 billion-asset company has established a multicultural advisory board made up of a dozen pro…

On tarriffs, Goldman Sachs, economics and why the right is wrong

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Probability of a Fed Rate Hike in March, 2018 is 92.3% by Hongcheng Chen, Creative Investment Research

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New Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell (above) showed up at the Rayburn House Office Building on February 27 to deliver his first semiannual testimony before the Committee on Financial Services. Before he dug into the details of monetary policy, Powell described the outlook for the U.S. economy as bright androbust: “The U.S. economy grew at a solid pace over the second half of 2017 and into this year.” setting an optimistic tone for his interpretation of the current economy and prospects for the future. He emphasized that U.S. economy, from his perspective, is getting better, stating that, “my personal outlook for the economy has strengthened since December.” Apparently, the new Chairman of the Fed has full confidence in this country’s economy despite the Dow Jones’s plunge of more than 600 points in the same month.
EconomicOutlook
Here are some highlights from Powell’s testimony.
Labormarket:job growth since last year has been solid enough to lower the unemployment rate to 4.1%;…

If you own these mutual funds and ETFs, you own guns...

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CNBC recently noted that:

"Major funds invested in gun stocks include the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF, iShares Russell 2000 ETF and Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF."

They went on to state that:

"Last week's mass killing of 17 people at a public high school in Parkland, Florida, has caused some major pension funds and institutions to investigate the extent of their investments in gun makers.

Some of Wall Street's largest exchange-traded funds are currently invested in American Outdoor Brands — formerly Smith & Wesson — and Sturm, Ruger & Co., designers, makers and retailers of firearms for domestic buyers.



Fierce scrutiny has pushed New Jersey state lawmakers to restrict the state's public pensions from investing in the stocks of gun manufacturers, while the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, said it would 'engage' with (gun) companies on their response to the shooting." 

We have come to expect large investment funds, like Blackrock…

Cryptocurrency regulation is a job for Treasury | American Banker

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As Congress considers new rules for digital currencies, lawmakers should consider putting responsibility in the hands of the Treasury Department, given its role in handling traditional currency. 

https://www.americanbanker.com/opinion/cryptocurrency-regulation-is-a-job-for-treasury

Forget Bitcoin, Let’s Talk about Food Safety by Hongcheng Chen, Impact Investment Analyst, Creative Investment Research

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The "Killer" Blockchain Application?
On February 14, four witnesses (an analyst in Cybersecurity Policy from the Congressional Research Service, the director of NIST's  Information Technology Laboratory, the vice president of food safety of Walmart, the vice president of blockchain technologies of IBM and the Associate Clinical Professor of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law) showed up in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building, to testify about blockchain technology before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Research and Technology. The witnesses answered questions from members of the two subcommittees.
Summary
I attended this hearing and below are my summarized findings, in case you didn’t have the time to attend this mind-blowing hearing.
Mr. Chris A. Jaikaran, analyst in Cybersecurity Policy, covered blockchain applications in cryptocurrencies, healthcare, identity management, and supply chain management. He discussed certain pitfalls of the technology.
Dr. Ch…

Regulators at Senate Bitcoin Hearing Missed Opportunity to Protect Public

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We noted, with interest, testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, February 6th concerning cryptocurrencies. The heads of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, J. Christopher Giancarlo and Jay Clayton, respectively, testified about cryptocurrencies. Their comments focused on fraud in the initial coin offering marketplace. An initial coin offering uses crowdfunding to issue cryptocurrency, which is then used as capital for a startup. Blockchain is a new technology used to structure cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. It is believed to have a structure in which falsification is extremely difficult relative to conventional centralized-management systems and is expected to be applied to a wide variety of fields. Of course, this hearing was not about protecting the public: It was about turf. The SEC does not have direct authority over cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Congress will probably explicitly give the agency direct authority to re…

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