Interbank market news scan: Archegos Capital is the management firm that banks are watching this morning …

Banks. Shares of Europe’s largest banks dropped on Monday after extending credit to a major client that couldn’t meet its obligations. Banks tumble after U.S. fund wilts (msn.com)

Banks. U.S. stock futures edged lower Monday after a large investment fund unwound billions of dollars in holdings, triggering concerns that stocks in the portfolio and banks who dealt with the firm could face sharp losses. Stock Futures Drop as Banks Warn of Losses | Fox Business

Banks. Swiss financial watchdog FINMA said on Monday it has been informed by Credit Suisse CSGN.S about its involvement in an international hedge-fund case involving several banks. Swiss watchdog says several banks involved in hedge-fund case | Nasdaq

Federal Reserve. Federal Reserve governor Christopher J. Waller addresses the importance of Federal Reserve independence this morning at 11:00 EST. Federal Reserve Board – Calendar

Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve releases data on foreign exchange rates and selected interest rates today at 4:15 pm EST. Federal Reserve Board – Calendar

Currency pair29 March 2021 7:18am
EUR/USD1.770
AUD/USD0.7648
GBP/USD1.3832
USD/JPY109.5600
NZD/USD0.6997
USD/CHF0.9395
USD/NOK8.5782
USD/SEK8.6867
USD/CAD1.2592

Could we see in the near future international banks operating everywhere via blockchain?

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Issues Interpretation of 12 U.S.C. § 25b

Press Release

WASHINGTON—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today issued an interpretation of 12 U.S.C. 25b, which codifies preemption standards and establishes procedural requirements for certain preemption actions by the agency.

Federal preemption derives from the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and has been recognized as fundamental to the federal government and the operation of the federal banking system. In the landmark case of McCulloch v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court held that under the Supremacy Clause, states “have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control, the operations” of an entity created under federal law.

Federal preemption permits national banks and federal savings associations, many of which operate across state lines, to operate under a uniform set of rules to support nationwide banking. The agency has concluded that the federal banking system, and its customers, would benefit from a comprehensive interpretation of these provisions, which sets out a consistent framework for compliance.

Source: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

In a 5G world, can an individual be their own bank?

A thought ….

That Covid-19 has sped up the exposure of workers to the possibility of automation replacing them is a saying that is becoming almost cliché. Television commercials remind us that we are “all in this together” and that we should wear masks and safely social distance. Meanwhile, telecommunications companies are promoting 5G technology that when fully deployed will help alleviate the downsides of working from home with a technology that moves data faster and can help connect all your devices and appliances so that you can better manage the data flowing through your home. But what if, in addition to connecting your mobile phone to your refrigerator which may allow you to determine whether to buy more milk, that 5G also helps to turn you into a micro bank by taking a real-time audit of the assets in your possession and using them as a basis for issuing your own coin?

The thought came to me today while conversing with two friends about the probability of Facebook becoming its own “nation.” Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, is backing a group that plans to issue a cryptocurrency next month called Diem. Diem will hopefully help people send money around the world almost instantaneously. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Diem will be a “stable coin” meaning it will be backed by reliable fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar or the euro.

But what if we could take the Facebook macro-model and make it micro to you? For example, with 5G-driven internet of things and block chain technology, why couldn’t a real time audit of a person’s possessions be taken and instead of the individual issuing digital fiat currency or even stable coin, the individual could issue their own personal currency. Tom Steyer, for example, could digitally tally up his cash, land, securities, and other holdings and issue a digital certificate that could be used in the digital marketplace. A man of his wealth could take a position in a number of different currencies but should he choose to engage exclusively in the digital world on his own dime, he could do so without any rules or regulations that come along with currency issued by a nation-state, a social media platform, or a corporation.

The advantages to such a scheme compound when more people with the material means decide to go digital and trade either the social media platform’s coin or, if affluent enough, their own coin. This would be true personal banking.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta creates commercial real estate index to assist risk assessment.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta yesterday announced the development of a new commercial real estate index designed to provide banks with a better assessment of momentum and risks in the commercial real estate market. The press release has been reproduced below.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

9 November 2020

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta announces the release of the U.S. Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Momentum Index which combines economic and real estate market data for more than 300 metro areas to provide insight into the momentum of change in CRE markets across the country.

A new interactive market analysis tool will enable users to track the CRE Momentum Index over time to identify CRE trends and assess market risks for the four major property sectors—apartment, office, retail, and industrial—as well as view the underlying variables that affect the index’s movement. One of the intended uses of the tool is to help small and medium-sized banks more quickly identify and accurately gauge risk as they are actively engaged in commercial real estate lending.

The CRE Momentum Index combines publicly available economic data such as employment, e-commerce, retail sales and others, with third-party, market-specific data such as occupancy trends and construction forecasts. The tool also provides a running quarter-to-date analysis as data are released in order to improve tracking in between quarterly data releases.

“Exploring both economic and commercial real estate dynamics in tandem helps users understand the movements in commercial real estate markets, and it is particularly helpful to look at these dynamics by property type,” said Lauren Terschan, senior data analytics and real estate specialist in the Atlanta Fed’s Supervision, Regulation, and Credit division, who helped develop the tool. “By looking at changes in overall market momentum, this tool will help users track market undulations and help identify potential risks.”

According to NAIOP Research Foundation, commercial real estate contributed more than $1.1 trillion to the U.S. GDP and supported nine million American jobs in 2019.

“Commercial real estate is a hugely important sector to the overall economy and contributes significantly to job creation, investment and lending,” said Brian Bailey, CRE subject matter expert in the Atlanta Fed’s Supervision, Regulation and Credit division, who developed the index’s methodology. “It is critical that industry participants, lenders and regulators have an excellent understanding of economic drivers and risks, and we believe the CRE Momentum Index will help with that understanding.”

The CRE Momentum Index is available in the Data and Tools section of the Atlanta Fed website.

Contact: Karen Mracek | 470-249-8348

No, the banks are not the bad guys …

Alton Drew

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System begin their two-day meeting next Wednesday, one day after the general election. No changes in inter-bank rates are expected, but what will be of interest is a likely repeat of the plea that Congress and the Executive implement a fiscal policy that keeps the economy on life support during the pandemic. Depending on who wins the Electoral College, Chairman Jerome Powell’s post-meeting comments will be either soothing or raise more hairs on the back of the public’s necks.

Mr Powell will reiterate the need for fiscal policy because monetary policy can only do so much. Monetary policy has as one of its goals the backstopping of its member banks, providing needed liquidity when the credit pipes become clogged by opening the flow of credit to businesses via the banks whose inability to lend could stem from not having enough capital to support additional lending.

Fiscal policy, the Fed chairman will likely remind us next Thursday, does a better job of getting cash into the hands of consumers resulting in increased personal expenditures. Consumer spending has historically driven around seventy percent of national income, and that the kind of spending that is needed now.

But this relief is going to be temporary. The more sustaining stimulus will come from an economy that opens back up. If the polls continue to hold and Joe Biden takes office in January 2021, he could take actions to keep needed capital in the United States that probably props up the economy. Would Mr Biden want to tax this capital as part of his promise to bring about an equitable tax environment where the affluent pay their fair share of taxes or will he back pedal on taxing captured capital in order to quell any attempts at tax avoidance while ensuring the availability of stimulative spending?

Mr Biden may also be reminded that in an economy that is credit driven, where banks are the information search agents that help capital seek out higher returns by identifying worthwhile investments, he could also leave banks, their investors, and their depositors off of his tax hit list thus helping the Federal Reserve further unclog the credit pipes.