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Tuesday Express: Goldman's new investments group; FHFA eyeing stress test change


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Tuesday Express: Goldman's new investments group; FHFA eyeing stress test change

* In a memo to staff, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon disclosed an alternative investments group akin to Blackstone, called Alternative Capital Markets and Strategy Group, in order to attract funds from outside investors, the Financial Times reports. The group will be run by two Goldman Sachs partners, Chris Kojima and Mike Koester. More details about the plan will be unveiled in the company's investor day in January 2020, the news outlet said.

* The Federal Housing Finance Agency has proposed to increase the stress test minimum threshold for companies overseen by the agency from $10 billion to $250 billion of total consolidated assets, thus exempting Federal Home Loan Banks from conducting stress tests. Government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would still conduct stress tests under the proposal.

* The California Department of Business Oversight finalized a settlement with auto title lender TitleMax of California for allegedly charging "excessive and illegal interest rates and fees." Under the agreement, the lender is required to pay nearly $700,000 in refunds to more than 21,000 of its customers. The company will also pay a $25,000 penalty to resolve allegations related to the matter. TitleMax of California advised the regulator that it will stop making new loans in California as of Jan. 1, 2020.

* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to introduce changes to relax auditor independence rules, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The planned changes are expected to be considered by April 2020, according to a biannual agenda of rules to be considered by the agency.

* The Credit Union National Association filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Seila Law case, which questions the constitutionality of having a single director removable only by cause leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CUNA stated that the creation of a multimember leadership commission at the CFPB would remedy this constitutional defect.

* Financial technology lenders have tightened lending standards in the past year, seeking households with higher incomes, favorable credit scores and those with less debt compared to their wages, Bloomberg News reports. Following the financial crisis, online lenders had offered cheaper loans and easy credit. However, these companies are now starting to follow banks' practice of lending and are becoming more selective, according to the news outlet.

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