An American Banker article, "Big Banks Keeping Choicest Mortgages Rather than Sell to GSEs," jumped off the page at me when I saw in the opening paragraph the perennial deep-pocket fall guys Chase and Wells neatly lined up and castigated for doing exactly what they should be doing: making quality mortgages and guarding deposits. Best of all, this time it was not for their treatment of consumers but for their treatment of government-sponsored enterprises established not to make a profit but to help make homes more affordable.
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This week, Merrill Lynch launched Merrill Clear, a new client discovery app designed to enable conversations between advisors and clients about seven life priorities: family, work, home, leisure, healthcare, finances, and giving. I had the opportunity to attend the launch event, a unique NYC-based media event where attendees could interact with the various components of the app through seven stations, each focused on one of the life priorities.
I attended a reconciliations conference this week organized by FTF—one panel on balancing reconciliations and outsourcing, and one on outsourcing reconciliations.
The first discussion started out with a statistic based on an Aite Group report that forecasts spending on reconciliations to reach GBP1.13 billion by 2015. A main issue discussed was the difficulties in evaluating whether to outsource a particular function. Outsourcing was perceived as particularly dubious a few years ago, mainly because a lot of companies were outsourcing activities that they shouldn't have.
I have the privilege of attending the Cartes America conference this week in Las Vegas. It’s going to be a great opportunity to connect with people and to understand what’s new in the world of payments. I’m staying at the conference hotel, and it’s my routine when I’m traveling to get up really early to work out. After working out I get myself a latte, buy a USA Today and a Wall Street Journal, and go to my room to read up on the news, sip my coffee, and cool down before I get going for the day. I love my routine.
Why should you care about my silly travel rituals? Because my routine was disrupted this morning, and I think the anecdote has significant meaning for emerging payment technologies. Here's what happened: Worked out? Check. Got latte? Check. Papers? Not quite.
I managed to make it to some useful discussions at last week's SWIFT Business Forum, the most interesting of which was on big data. Big data has made for some controversial and fascinating opinions recently. Some are unable to agree on a definition, and others comprehensively deny big data's existence. Is it really a revolutionary idea which will transform the way we do business, or is it just a figment of the imagination?