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Thursday Express: AmEx eyes China; Fed's Brainard reveals alternative CRA plan

* The People's Bank of China accepted an application from a unit of American Express regarding establishing operations in China, Reuters reports, citing an official social media post from the Chinese government.

* Financial services company Jefferies Financial Group reported net income attributable to common shareholders of $195.5 million, or 62 cents per share, for the fiscal quarter ended Nov. 30, 2019. The numbers primarily reflect the company's $205 million pretax gain from the sale of its remaining 31% interest in National Beef Packing Co.

* Speaking at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 8, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard presented the central bank's own plan to put some changes to the Community Reinvestment Act. The plan nixes the earlier proposal of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to have a single ratio in testing banks' CRA activities, as this, Brainard said, runs the risk of not really meeting local needs.

* Digital wealth management platform YieldStreet has partnered with Citigroup to access investment opportunities across private credit markets, including real estate, aviation, shipping, telecommunications and other structured credit products.

* JPMorgan is raising the annual fee for its Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card to $550 from $450 while introducing new perks with partners like DoorDash and Lyft, Bloomberg News reports, citing the bank's spokesperson, Ashley Dodd.

* Wells Fargo is stepping up hiring on tech jobs while winding down on positions related to risk, regulatory and compliance, probably indicating the bank is almost done cleaning up after its sales practices scandal, according to an analysis of the bank's job-listing by Jefferies and data provider Thinknum, Business Insider reports.

* At least 36 partners, more than half of whom are from the securities division, left Goldman Sachs last year while more might be leaving soon, Business Insider reports.

* Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could operate under a consent order or with additional regulatory safeguards once they get out of government control to ensure the government-sponsored enterprises raise enough capital to fully return to private status.

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