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House Dems seek break up of G-SIBs; 2 Indiana banks merging

Citing Wells Fargo & Co.'s string of consumer abuses and banking regulators' failure to come down hard enough on the company and hold its executives accountable, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said that she and other House Democrats intend to introduce a bill that would pressure regulators to break up global systemically important banks for repeated violations of consumer protection law. Aside from Wells Fargo, Waters "absolutely" feels that the three other G-SIBs — JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., and Citigroup Inc. — should also be broken up.

In regulatory news, the Securities and Exchange Commission has started a search for an agencywide chief risk officer as part of efforts to ramp up the agency's cybersecurity following a breach of the EDGAR filing system. In his appearance yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee, Chairman Jay Clayton said that he only found out this August about the 2016 cyberattack, and that there was "no indication" that then-chair Mary Jo White was informed of the incident, the Financial Times reports.

For the third day in a row, former Equifax Inc. Chairman and CEO Richard Smith will be grilled by lawmakers regarding the recent massive data breach — this time at a House Financial Services Committee hearing at a 9:15 a.m. ET. Yesterday, Smith defended his retirement package before the Senate banking panel: "I told the board at the time I stepped down I will not take a bonus, there's no severance [and] I'll work for as long as the company needs for free." Smith added, "What I walk away with is a pension that I've earned over my career and unvested equity that was given to me and I've earned in the past."

In preparation for Brexit, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will lease space at the Marienturm tower currently being built in Frankfurt's financial district, Bloomberg News reports. The space, sources told the news service, could house about 1,000 employees.

New York-based Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp. filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering.

On the deal front, Muncie, Ind.-based MutualFirst Financial Inc. is acquiring Bloomfield, Ind.-based Universal Bancorp in a cash-and-stock deal valued at approximately $65.6 million.

Specialty lender Navient Corp. is buying financial technology and education finance company Earnest for $155 million in cash. Following deal completion, Earnest will continue as a separate brand and will be led by its current management team.

Vancouver-based payment processor PacNet Group — which was slapped with sanctions in September 2016 after the U.S. accused it of being a third-party money launderer for schemes that ripped off the elderly and the vulnerable — has ceased its business operations and is already winding down, The Wall Street Journal reports.

And Toronto-based Bank of Montreal, along with three European banks, joined an initiative launched by UBS Group AG and IBM Corp. in 2016 to build a blockchain-based global trade finance platform called Batavia, Reuters reports.

In other parts of the world

Asia Pacific: Prudential seeks Vietnam consumer biz sale; Bangladesh, India ink financing deal

Europe: Theresa May's Brexit warning; Novo Banco gets key approval; Banca Carige concern

Middle East & Africa: Qatar says reserves enough to boost banks; no bad loan concerns in Saudi

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was closed on account of a public holiday. The Nikkei 225 climbed 0.01% to 20,628.56.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.20% to 7,482.17 and the Euronext 100 was up 0.11% to 1,045.34.

On the macro front

The international trade report, the jobless claims report, the factory orders report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.