Real Time Payments Network

The clearing house has released business principles that outline the operation of the real time payments (RTP) Network. A full set of guidelines is here. These are important inasmuch as they set out key points, among them most importantly: TCH runs the RTP network as a utility for the benefit of the industry and RTP fees shall continue to be flat for all participants regardless of size, and shall not include volume discounts or minimum volume requirements. It does though, contains a super-clause, which is typical of the monopolistic “free market” here in America. In an effort to restrain competition, … Continue reading Real Time Payments Network

Stock buybacks rule – Tax breaks enable

As predicted, not by the tweeter in chief, but by almost anyone who understands big companies and executive, stock buybacks hit an all time high in 2018 and are likely to be higher again in 2019. This is a big deal, companies that buyback their stock, are reducing the number of shares available on the market. That generally means the share price goes up. Share prices are often one of the main ways executives are measured, their bonuses are usually dependant on the share price. Also, because the price of each share goes up, it makes it harder for lower … Continue reading Stock buybacks rule – Tax breaks enable

‘Why does a check take as long to clear today as it did in 1982?’

The latest American Banker Podcast mirrors my recent post about Tech taking over the banks. Aaron Klein, a Brookings Institute fellow, makes a compelling argument for why the American banking system needs to be updated, unlike my general frustration, knowing that better is perfectly possible. Among other reasons, Klein points out that people who are unfortunate enough to have their bank account balance at or near zero, deserve better. They need to know how long a check will take to process, how long before the deposit is final, and when they can plan payments for bills based on availability of funds. … Continue reading ‘Why does a check take as long to clear today as it did in 1982?’

Faster Payments – Will tech eat the banks?

At last the big, big tech companies are driving the US Federal Reserve to sponsor and get behind a faster payments initiative. Amazon, Apple, Google, PayPal, Square, Stripe and Intuit, have all co-signed a letter supporting the the Fed being in charge of the development of a system that can connect all the banks and credit unions in the U.S. to speed up payments. I’ve long complained here that the US System is laughably out of date, and the system Automated Clearing House and its associated network is still loosely based on the delivery times of the Pony Express and … Continue reading Faster Payments – Will tech eat the banks?

What’s a #blockchain?

@AARP magazine nails #blockchain #blockchaintechnology pic.twitter.com/vS1d755Czu — Mark Cathcart (@cathcam) October 28, 2018 I posted the above to twitter, but its not really a joke. #blockchain has become the emperor’s new clothes and to some degree, @AARP is right.  The original article may be a little more aimed at humour than technical depth, but it’s not wrong. A few of my friends have already been cold called and offering blockchain backed securities and similar. We know that’s mostly just marketing BS, but they don’t know. So this is, whatever you think, a good way to get them thinking about it. … Continue reading What’s a #blockchain?

Retail vs Investment Banking

I’ve no idea what long term this change will make, but was delighted to receive this notification from my UK Bank, first direct, and HSBC subsidiary. Something we are (very) unlikely to see here in the US in the near future. What is says is We wanted to let you know that in line with new regulations introduced after the global financial crisis, later this year HSBC will be changing the way it’s structured in the United Kingdom (UK). The new rules mean all banks with deposits of UKP 25bn or more will have to keep their “retail banking” business seperate … Continue reading Retail vs Investment Banking

Just checking in…

My disdain for the US Banking system should be obvious to anyone who follows my blog. Their attempts at modernizing, really are just “lipstick on a pig”. While most countries are looking for ways to get out of the check processing business, and many to avoid it all together, using micro-banking and straight-through-processing to enable both a more effective user experience, and also reduce risk inherent in a real-time banking system. The UK even initially announced an end-date for the use of “cheques” in 2018, although that was later withdrawn. It’s still possible to transfer money between accounts in different … Continue reading Just checking in…

Mixed legacy and cultural appropriation

[3/22/17 Edit to add audio from soundcloud] On Friday I had a half-hearted attempt to explain to our 8-year old why I wouldn’t wear green, and why I could NOT celebrate St Patrick’s Day. It’s really quite staggering the level of cultural appropriation St Patrick’s Day has achieved. A celebration of the worst caricatures of the Irish, drunk, leprechauns, and four leaf clovers Then today, on reporting the death of Martin McGuinness, former deputy first minister, and A former Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader. I was listening to BBC Radio, and among the people to be quoted was former … Continue reading Mixed legacy and cultural appropriation

Bring back what jobs?

Look, the jobs that are lost, are not coming back, get over it. When Trump claims he’ll bring back jobs, he either has no idea what he is talking about, or he envisions some dystopian future where Americans are more like slaves than they’ve been since, well, slaves. I will bring our jobs back to the U.S., and keep our companies from leaving. Nobody else can do it. Our economy will “sing” again. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2016 China and Mexico are not the problem, automation is. Even if Trump were able to force companies to bring … Continue reading Bring back what jobs?

Everything wrong with the US Financial System in one man

I’ve been avoiding blogging during the election cycle to stay away from turning my blog into another pile of steaming bile. The more I learn about Strumpf(any coincidence to John Olivers #makdonalddrumpfagain purely coincidental), the former CEO of Wells Fargo, the more he becomes the poster boy for everything wrong with the “too big to fail” banks. The head of any organization sets the strategy, and the tone of the implementation of the organizations strategy. Bad ones do only one, or neither. Strumpf seems to be in the later category based on his testimonial to a House panel on the … Continue reading Everything wrong with the US Financial System in one man