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2 Illinois banks ink $175.1M deal; E*TRADE looks to relaunch brand


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2 Illinois banks ink $175.1M deal; E*TRADE looks to relaunch brand

In government and regulatory news, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., as well as six consumer advocacy groups, filed petitions in a federal court to allow them to intervene on behalf of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its appeal of a decision that deemed the agency's structure "unconstitutional." This comes after concerns intensify that President Donald Trump will dismantle the agency, The New York Times reports.

Also on the chopping block is the Dodd-Frank Act. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said yesterday that he will continue pushing for the replacement of the 2010 financial regulation with the Financial CHOICE Act in the new Congress, according to a report in HousingWire.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the site,, has been "quietly removed," which was created for current and former Wells Fargo & Co. employees to file complaints in the aftermath of the fake-accounts scandal. Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to acting Labor Secretary Edward Hugler after she found that the site read: "Page not found." "Taking down this website enables Wells Fargo to escape full responsibility for its fraudulent actions and the department to shirk its outstanding obligations to American workers," Warren wrote.

Jonathan Marcus, general counsel of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is leaving the agency. Robert Schwartz, deputy general counsel for litigation and adjudication, was named acting general counsel.

In the banking scene, Illinois-based Midland States Bancorp Inc. is buying smaller state peer Centrue Financial Corp. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at approximately $175.1 million.

Customers Bancorp Inc. Chairman and CEO Jay Sidhu said that the Wyomissing, Pa.-based company is hoping to divest its BankMobile division within 60 days and is in "final negotiations with a partner."

Michael Rhodes, Toronto-Dominion Bank's consumer banking head, told American Banker that the bank does not feel the need to do a deal, but added that the bank will be opportunistic if something interesting comes up.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Independent Bank Corp. is interested in expanding its footprint into Ohio, specifically looking at a potential office in the Akron, Ohio, suburb of Fairlawn.

East West Bancorp Inc. CEO Dominic Ng said the Pasadena, Calif.-based company would be able to weather any turbulence from a possible trade war between the U.S. and China. While Ng added that the direction of the new administration is still hard to chart, he asserted that souring relations between the two countries would be unlikely to hurt the company given its balance sheet and business model.

E*TRADE Financial Corp. CEO Karl Roessner described 2017 as a year of transformation for the online brokerage, noting that the company is aiming for a "brand relaunch" around mid-year. During a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter 2016 earnings, Roessner said E*TRADE would become nimbler and leaner than in the past.

Redfin Corp., a discount online property broker based in Seattle, intends to get into the mortgage business. The Wall Street Journal carries a report on this.

Charles Schwab Corp. CFO Joseph Martinetto is transitioning to a different position within the company, with Peter Crawford to succeed him as CFO.

Greenhill & Co. Inc. CEO Scott Bok expects the Trump administration to have a positive impact on the M&A advisory business. The company believes the regulatory and tax reforms suggested by Trump should add momentum to transaction activity in the U.S. and perhaps other parts of the world if they help accelerate economic growth.

Daniel Schulman also looks hopeful following the change in administration. President and CEO of fintech firm PayPal Holdings Inc. said during an earnings call yesterday that the company could see a "small net benefit" from tax changes.

FactSet Research Systems Inc. is buying Interactive Data Managed Solutions from Intercontinental Exchange Inc. for cash consideration. Interactive Data Managed Solutions is a managed solutions and portal provider for the global wealth management industry.

On the earnings front, asset manager Franklin Resources Inc. is slated to report fourth-quarter 2016 results today.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the Financial Post reports that Bank of Canada filed at least 27 cybersecurity incidents serious enough to warrant followup investigations since 2012. But spokeswoman Louise Egan assured that hackers were unable to get hold of any crucial bank data.

And the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is reporting strong overall evidence of problematic housing market conditions nationally for the second consecutive quarter due to overvaluation and price acceleration in the country's housing markets. The country saw house prices grow by 7% year-over-year at the end of the third quarter last year after adjusting for inflation.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Zurich, Bank of China form bancassurance partnership; Fiji maintains policy rate

Europe: UBS profit drops sharply; Sabadell's remains stable; HSH Nordbank sells NPLs

Middle East & Africa: Change of guard at Stanbic IBTC; MENA tops list of world's corrupt

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 0.06% to 23,360.78, while the Nikkei 225 increased 0.34% to 19,467.40.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.06% to 7,157.12, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.33% to 934.39.

On the macro front

The GDP report, the consumer sentiment report and the durable goods orders are due out today.

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