* U.S. Bancorp is set to remove thousands of its branch employees, a "difficult decision" made to adjust to changing customer behaviors, leaning toward digitalization, Bloomberg News reports, citing a person briefed on the decision and a memo from CEO Andy Cecere.
* Salt Lake City-based Zions Bancorp will also cut 5% of its workforce to improve its operating efficiency. The move will result in a temporary increase of about $25 million in noninterest expenses for the fourth quarter due to severance packages and other similar efficiency-related charges, CEO Harris Simmons said on the bank's third-quarter earnings call. On another matter, the company is expecting up to a 15% decrease to a 5% increase in its reserve levels following the implementation of the current expected credit loss standard on Jan. 1, 2020.
* Puerto Rico-based First BanCorp has agreed to buy Banco Santander Puerto Rico for about $1.1 billion in cash in a deal set to close in mid-2020.
* Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Oct. 21 that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency cannot issue bank charters to companies that do not take deposits. OCC spokesperson Bryan Hubbard said the agency is assessing its next steps. The OCC is expected to appeal the ruling.
* Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, a ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, sent a joint letter to the heads of the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Commodity Futures Trading Commission condemning the regulators' backrolling of the financial safeguards set by Congress after the 2008 financial crisis. The lawmakers sought more information on the 2019 changes to the Volcker rule and urged the agencies to protect taxpayers instead of Wall Street.
* Bank of Hawaii Corp. is willing to pay $8.0 million as part of a tentative agreement reached to settle a putative class-action lawsuit claiming that Bank of Hawaii improperly assessed overdraft fees on certain account transactions.
* Financial services company Raymond James will remove transaction fees for stocks, exchange-traded funds and options in its Investment Advisors Division, affecting registered investment advisers and the fee-based accounts they offer that do not have direct trades by the client, CNBC reports. The move comes shortly after Bank of America announced that its Merrill Edge Self-Directed platform will offer commission-free stock, exchange-traded funds and options trading to clients in all tiers of its Preferred Rewards Program.
* Fidelity Investments has cut ties with its money manager Fisher Investments after its CEO, Kenneth Fisher, allegedly made sexist comments.
* Economist Stephen Moore, who recently failed to join the Federal Reserve Board, is set to launch with partners his own cryptocurrency called Frax, Fortune reports.
* Regions Financial, Fifth Third Bancorp and CIT Group today released their third-quarter financial results.
* On the insurance front, the California Department of Insurance has denied Applied Underwriters' application that sought to effect a change in control of subsidiary California Insurance.
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