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Big Bank Troubles and Trending Towards Community Banking or Fintech?

“The so-called Sons and Daughters Program was nothing more than bribery by another name,”

-Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.

Today the Department of Justice issued a Press Release – JP Morgan’s Investment Bank in Hong Kong has agreed to pay a $72 Million Penalty for Corrupt Hiring S2015-11-26-13-04-02cheme in China.


A couple of thoughts:

1. The Department of Justice is out there holding Big Banks Accountable. 

Someone has to. It’s not going to be the average consumer, (Wells Fargo appears to be an exception). It’s also not going to be the small business owner taking out a construction loan. Big Banks have the leverage.

2. Local Community Banks are More Appealing Than Big Banks.

Consumers and businesses alike are looking for banks they can trust. From my perspective, as a lawyer and an adviser to business owners – I am only interested in referring my clients to professionals that I trust.

Looking at the news headlines, an average individual or small business owner might conclude that they need a local banking relationship they can trust.

In West Michigan there are a lot of good local community banks. I know good commercial lenders who care about their business clients.

Does this mean that big banks are going away? Nope.

As its been said – some of the largest banks are simply able t
o offer better deals at lower risks.

Regardless, the headlines certainly give you pause to think.

On the Topic of the value of Community Banks…

Last year Thomas J. Curry, Comptroller of the Currency gave remarks before the ABA Mutual Community Bank Conference in Washington D.C. You can read the remarks here

Mr. Curry had this to say in favor of community-based banks:

“These community-based institutions extend credit to farms and families and local businesses in towns and cities across America, and they serve their customers in a way that large banks just can’t match. They are small enough to be able to know their customers, and they work with them in good times and bad. But they are also large enough to provide the services communities need. Mutual savings associations fit firmly in that tradition”

In further support:

“You are free to do what is best for your customers, and that means you provide services and price those services in a way that puts people first – ahead of quarterly profit targets and ahead of investor interests.”

Those are pretty glowing remarks for community-based lenders.

They are certainly attributes I like to see when I am referring any of my business clients to a commercial lender – particularly a start-up entrepreneurial type client.

Mr. Curry also commented that “big banks”:

“offer a variety of important services to companies and consumers, from commercial loans to credit cards, and they present a number of challenges from a supervisory perspective.” 

I’d say the “supervisory challenge” was an understatement.


FinTech Poses Challenges to Community Banking…

[UPDATED] Just today, November 18, Mr. Curry gave remarks before the 11th Annual Community Bank Symposium.  You can read the remarks here.

Mr. Curry notes: “One particular issue testing banks’ strategic risk today is the tectonic shift underway regarding innovation and financial technology.

fintechs have emerged to provide financial products and services through alternative platforms and delivery channels. As of 2015, the number of fintech companies in just the United States and United Kingdom alone had reached 4,000.

Mr. Curry notes:

“One factor in the growth of fintech companies is the 85 million millennials entering the financial marketplace who have demonstrated more willingness than earlier generations to change financial service providers or use multiple providers to meet their needs.”

It’s interesting to note the Trend away from Big Banks – and now to Fintech.

Certainly, millennials will continue to play a large role in the growth of fintech companies like Prosper Loans. Coupled this with the fact that millennials are increasingly attracted to business that does social good – fintech appears to have an advantage with millennials.

Questions? Comments? 

email: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com


Twitter: @JeshuaTLauka

Questions? Comments? 

email: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com


Twitter: @JeshuaTLauka


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