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March 30, 2011 by John Jay

The top five largest U.S. home-loan mortgage-servicers, many of which are bank-owned, are scheduled to meet in Washington, D.C. today, with state attorneys general and U.S. agencies, about mortgage-servicing practices. It is expected that any financial penalties levied against these firms as a result of poor servicing practices will be applied to principal reductions of certain defaulting borrowers. As such, mortgagors will be champing at the bit for a free lunch.

March 30, 2011 by Christine Barry

As a growing number of U.S. financial institutions begin to once again focus on growth initiatives, others are not yet out of the woods. As of last Friday, 26 banks have already closed this year. While the rate of closures is expected to slow compared to the prior two years, many banks remain on the Troubled Bank List. Banks in Georgia, California, Nevada, and Florida have been the hardest hit, but banks around the country have been impacted.

March 29, 2011 by Javier Paz

A complex yet impressive picture of retail FX traders is emerging from Japan. A recent Aite Group report sizes the retail FX market in Japan at 3.6 million, using data from the country’s Financial Futures Association (FFA) and data compiled from almost 40 medium and large retail FX brokers. An estimated 597,000 traders were considered active during Q4 2010.

The relevance of understanding Japanese active-trader patterns resides on the direct correlation that trading volumes and currency pair preferences have with retail FX broker revenue.

March 28, 2011 by Adam Honore

Forbes Magazine put out a brief article suggesting it might be time for a new stock exchange to help small companies raise capital. The article ignores obvious problems like onerous Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, but let’s pretend the U.S. Congress deregulated enough to make listing worthwhile. One of the biggest challenges for small companies is a lack of coverage. When I was at Tucker Anthony, we talked about hiring a bunch of junior and retired analysts to cover OTCBB (over-the-counter bulletin board) companies. We didn’t get that off the ground before RBC bought the firm, but 10 years later the challenge still remains.

March 28, 2011 by Gwenn Bézard

Amex is launching a new mobile payment solution that enables consumers to consolidate all of their cards onto one and choose via mobile which funding method they use at the point of sale. We view the launch as the first credible move by a major card network and issuer to build an early-stage mobile-payment wallet, independent of the telcos, in the United States.

We call the solution elegant and intermediary. Intermediary because it involves getting consumers in the habit of using their mobile phones to drive their payments without being a true mobile payment solution. Elegant because it means that Amex can focus on selling it to consumers, and need not worry about selling it to merchants, telcos, payment processors, or any other value chain stakeholder.