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In This List

Morgan Stanley Q4'19 EPS up 63%; bank deals in Massachusetts, Florida

Digital Banking Battles Will Play Out In Southeast Asias Shopping Cart

Street Talk Episode 56 - Latest bank MOE shows even the strong need scale to thrive

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Morgan Stanley Q4'19 EPS up 63%; bank deals in Massachusetts, Florida

Taunton, Mass.-based Bristol County Savings Bank agreed to acquire Greenville, R.I.-based Freedom National Bank in a deal expected to close in the second quarter. Following the completion of the deal, Bristol County Savings Bank will have consolidated assets of about $2.4 billion. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Elsewhere in Florida, Beach Community Bank is merging with Florida First City Banks Inc. unit First City Bank of Florida The combined company will have approximately $675 million in assets and the deal is expected to close by the early second quarter.

Morgan Stanley's fourth-quarter 2019 EPS grew 63% year over year to $1.30 from 80 cents.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. reported an EPS of $1.52 for the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to 84 cents in the year-ago quarter.

Home BancShares Inc. and Charles Schwab Corp. are also expected to report quarterly results today.

An internal analysis done by Citigroup Inc. showed that the median pay for its female employees globally was more than 73% of the median for men, representing an increase from 71% in the last year, the banking giant disclosed in a blog post. When adjusting for factors such as job function, level and geography, Citi's women employees globally were paid on average more than 99% of what men were paid at the company, it said. The bank plans to increase representation at the assistant vice president through managing director levels to at least 40% for women globally and 8% for black employees in the U.S. by the end of 2021, Sara Wechter, head of human resources at Citi, said in the blog.

During a speech at The Economic Club of New York, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan said that he wants the Fed to figure out a way to temper balance sheet growth while still adequately managing repo operations. The Fed should continue with its monthly purchases of about $60 billion in Treasury securities, through March or April, and then "find a way to curtail the balance sheet" while using other tools, such as a standing repo facility, that would activate when a spike in the repo rate occurs, Kaplan said.

The Fed's latest Beige Book showed that during the last six weeks of 2019, the U.S. economy continued to grow at a modest pace and the expectations for the near-term outlook remained modestly favorable across the nation. The Federal Reserve System publication about current economic conditions across 12 Federal Reserve Districts found that the Dallas and Richmond Districts noted "above-average growth," whereas Philadelphia, St. Louis and Kansas City reported "sub-par growth."

Moody's said the current expected credit loss standard is unlikely to change its assessment of a bank's credit strength. According to Moody's analysis of banks' preliminary estimates in third-quarter 2019 SEC filings, CECL will have a "limited impact" on the loan loss reserves of most large listed banks in the U.S.

In a letter to the House Financial Services subcommittee on investor protection, entrepreneurship and capital markets, the Credit Union National Association urged lawmakers to use their authority to improve the Financial Accounting Standards Board's CECL standard or at least ensure there is adequate information about the impact of CECL so that appropriate decisions could be taken in the future.

House Committee on Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., sent letters to Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting and Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Jelena McWilliams, asking for information on the regulators' systems and policies for receiving and reviewing comments during the Community Reinvestment Act rulemaking process.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: MUFG to get new head; Australia raises levies on financial firms

Europe: TSB enlists IBM for IT revamp; Latvia OKs sale of Danske's unit to Citadele

Middle East & Africa: Fitch affirms UAE banks; Bank Muscat FY'19 profit up; Allianz Cameroon names CEO

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

JPMorgan leads bank branch openings in December '19: U.S. banks and thrifts shuttered 138 branches in December 2019 but also opened 135 locations, resulting in just three net closures, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. By comparison, a net 77 branches were closed in November 2019 and 43 in October 2019.

FDIC looking to end industrial bank charter purgatory: The handful of companies that have applied for an industrial loan company charter in recent years have been stuck in limbo waiting for regulators' response. With an application filed as recently as October 2019, the long-running debate of industrial banks' legality has resumed on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers of both parties are questioning the ILC charter.

Community banks expected to offer CECL color during Q4'19 earnings: While analysts will continue to be interested in community banks' net interest margins, they will also be on the lookout for earnings-season disclosures related to the current expected credit loss standard. On core operations, analysts predict lower NIMs for community banks when they report 2019 fourth-quarter earnings while industry headwinds have left investors "rightly cautious," one analyst said.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 0.38% to 28,883.04, while the Nikkei 225 was up 0.07% to 23,933.13.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.43% to 7,609.75, and the Euronext 100 decreased 0.10% to 1,156.67.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey, the retail sales report, the import and export prices report, the business inventories report, the housing market index, the EIA natural gas report, the treasury international capital, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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