Senior members of the Trump administration are sending conflicting messages about how the US should handle national security concerns related to social media app TikTok. Trade advisor Peter Navarro says US companies should stay away from the Chinese-owned app, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a US company, reportedly Microsoft, should buy TikTok. Meanwhile, President Trump said he would ban TikTok in the US on or around Sept. 15 and that any US company that buys TikTok should pay a fee to the US government for forcing the deal.
Modern Money Murmurs: Wow ... what a shakedown. It sure would be nice to be on the Microsoft side of this deal negotiating the acquisition price.
The coronavirus disruption has increased demand for alternative data as investors find traditional financial market indicators less indicative of the economic slowdown.
Google has signed up six more partners including Bank Mobile, BBVA USA and BMO Harris for the planned launch of digital banking on its Google Pay platform next year. The Google product aims to diverge from similar offerings by handing a more prominent co-branded role to the partner providers, which now number eight in total.
Banks should be flexible when dealing with businesses and consumers struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said in a joint statement.
As many as 25,000 US retail stores are expected to close this year, most of them in shopping malls, according to Coresight Research, while around 25 major retailers have announced bankruptcy since January. Coresight analyst Deborah Weinswig expects retailers to opt mainly for direct liquidation rather than attempting a debt restructure.
Banks are likely to determine which of their branches will remain closed based on location rather than deposits, according to a report from Globest.com. Bank branches tend to carry higher rent rates than other businesses and their locations are often part of brand visibility strategy, notes Noah Shaffer, senior director of asset management for Confidant Asset Management.
Top executives from major US companies are asking Congress to extend aid beyond the Paycheck Protection Program and offer long-term loans to the hardest-hit businesses. Congress is also being asked to consider allowing PPP borrowers to receive a second round of funds.
Citigroup will offer its credit card customers the option to pay off Amazon purchases of $100 or more over a longer period of time with a lower interest rate, the bank said. Citi's US consumer banking head Anand Selva said the move is aimed at giving customers more flexibility "given the current environment."
Many business owners ended or phased out their relationships with big banks that failed to secure Paycheck Protection Program loans for them, while a significant number obtained PPP loans via a bank that had not been their primary lender, says a survey from Barlow Research Associates. Banks with less than $10 billion of assets constitute only 14% of the industry total, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., but they approved about 52% of the PPP loans, says the Small Business Administration.
Wells Fargo had to sell off assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars at the height of the coronavirus crisis to avoid violating Federal Reserve restrictions on its holdings, sources say. A surge in customers drawing down lines of credit reportedly grew the bank's balance sheet close to the $1.95 trillion asset cap imposed by the Fed.