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Monday Express: Stifel, i-banking firm in deal; IEX to levy connectivity fee


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Monday Express: Stifel, i-banking firm in deal; IEX to levy connectivity fee

* Stifel Financial agreed to acquire certain assets of George K. Baum & Co., a privately held investment banking firm focused on public finance and taxable fixed-income sales and trading. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

* The Family Farmer Relief Act, which would increase the maximum debt levels farmers can carry into a Chapter 12 bankruptcy filing, now moves to President Donald Trump's office for his signature, American Banker reports. The American Bankers Association has gone against the legislation, arguing this would weigh heavily on community and regional banks whose agricultural loan books have already begun seeing negative impacts due to the trade war with China.

* Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said banks may no longer get credit for mortgages extended to high-income customers living in low-income areas under a proposed amendment of the Community Reinvestment Act, American Banker reports. Otting made the remarks during his tour of Atlanta.

* The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected Denmark-based Danske Bank's plea to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed against it related to a complaint from investors in the lender's American depositary receipts.

* Toms River, N.J.-based OceanFirst Financial CEO Christopher Maher said in a conference call that he expects the bank to cross the $10 billion asset threshold in the first quarter of 2021. The $10 billion mark is critical for banks, as it has come with a raft of new regulatory requirements and compliance costs. Executives said they will take their time to cross that threshold after announcing two acquisitions that will put them just under that mark.

* Investors Bancorp CEO Kevin Cummings said the proposed acquisition of Gold Coast Bancorp is a push to get the company to $40 billion in assets, American Banker reports. While it has not been easy for the bank since regulators issued it an order related to the Bank Secrecy Act, Cummings said Investors Bancorp still evaluates and considers potential transactions if it means bringing more value to shareholders.

* New York-based IEX Group will charge brokers an additional connectivity fee of $100 for each logical port in excess of its limit of five free ports, the Financial Times reports. Brokers use such ports to gain market access and place orders on the exchange.

* The New York Department of Financial Services reduced the 2020 overall premium rates requested by health insurers for individuals and small group plans to 6.8% from 9.2% and to 7.9% from 12.2%, respectively. The reduction will help consumers save over $50 million, while small businesses can save more than $313 million.

* Ambac Financial Group President and CEO Claude LeBlanc is urging the PROMESA oversight board to incorporate recent economic and political progress in Puerto Rico in its fiscal plan for the commonwealth.

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