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Wednesday Express: Fifth Third EPS jumps YOY; bank deals in Tennessee, Virginia

* Fifth Third Bancorp reported fourth-quarter 2019 net income available to common shareholders of $701 million, or 96 cents per share, compared with $432 million, or 64 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

* Ally Financial and Northern Trust are also expected to report their most recent financial results today.

* In Tennessee, FB Financial is set to acquire Franklin Financial Network in a deal worth $611 million. The move is part of FB Financial's plan to expand its footprint in the Nashville region, which is expected to help the bank jump to No. 6 from No. 12 in terms of market share in the metro area.

* Meanwhile in Virginia, Pinnacle Bankshares and Virginia Bank Bankshares have agreed to combine in a strategic merger, which is expected to close in the third quarter. Upon completion, Pinnacle Bankshares shareholders will have a 71% stake in the combined company.

* In an effort to expand its development-oriented activities in emerging markets, JPMorgan has created J.P. Morgan Development Finance Institution, which will utilize rules-based criteria in identifying business activities and opportunities that produce financial and developmental returns.

* During a recent interview, Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said the modernization of the lender's app and digital banking won't necessarily lead to job cuts in its retail bank, Bloomberg News reports.

* U.K.-based telecom operator Vodafone Group is stepping back from Facebook's Libra Association, becoming the eighth member of the group to abandon the cryptocurrency project, CoinDesk reports, citing a statement from a Libra representative. Vodafone will instead put the resources it had planned for Libra into its digital payment service M-Pesa.

* Under the new current expected credit loss accounting standard, or CECL, Capital One Financial will add $2.87 billion to its allowance for credit losses in the coming years. The company plans to slowly increase its reserves by 40% in the years to come.

* Richmond, Va.-based Atlantic Union Bankshares is looking at capitalizing on the marketplace disruption from the merger of equals between BB&T and SunTrust Banks. The company has boosted its hiring efforts and is now strategizing on how to gain more customers through its latest initiative called "Project Sundown."

* Apart from security concerns, issues related to responsibility over data, the physical location where information is stored and legacy technology still remain to be considered by banks in deciding whether to migrate to the cloud, American Banker reports.

* Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger intends to extend the "qualified mortgage" patch for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, American Banker reports, citing Kraninger's letter to lawmakers obtained by Politico. Under the patch, which is set to expire on Jan. 10, 2021, any loan meeting Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac standards automatically qualifies as a "qualified mortgage" and provides safe harbor from legal liability for the originating lender.

* The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner has fined two Chubb units, ACE American Insurance and Indemnity Insurance Co. of North America, $950,000 for overcharging 18,000 customers in the state for nearly five years.

* Centene and WellCare Health Plans said they have fulfilled all regulatory requirements as per their merger agreement, including a review by the U.S. Department of Justice. The transaction is expected to close on or about Jan. 23.

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