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Financial Services Industry News: March 2016

In this edition of our Financial Services Industry News – a compilation of recent happenings within the industry, combined with thought leadership from Merkle's broad and experienced strategy team – we find that there is significant focus on technology to bring convenience and an enhanced customer experience to consumers.

Voice command access and IoT (the Internet of Things) are evolving into the financial service industry and will, no doubt, improve user experiences. There is also good information on the consumer lending front as the CFPB is turning a regulatory eye to marketplace lenders – something that may begin to curb competition from alternative lending sources that currently have had free reign. Additionally, Black Knight Financial Services reports through the Mortgage Monitor Report that those qualifying for mortgage re-finances rose 30% since January. Finally, our thought leadership section features a recent insights report dedicated to mortgage and equity lending from Dan Moore, Senior Director of Merkle's financial services strategy team. The full report provides recent trends on alternative lenders and the changing market.

Merkle is dedicated to providing critical thinking and problem solving around the industries that we serve along with products and services to facilitate solutions to current and future marketing challenges. We hope that you enjoy this edition of the Financial Services Industry News. 

This month’s edition includes the following topics:

  • Interest Rate Overnight Averages
  • General Industry: Capital One Links with Amazon Echo for Voice Banking
    U.S. finance giant Capital One has announced an integration with Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices, including Echo, that will let consumers access key facets of their finances using just their voice.
  • Technology & Innovation: Google Goes “Hands Free” for Mobile Payments
    Google’s new payments app, Hands Free, aims to eliminate the need for consumers to pull out anything at the point of sale. At merchants where Hands Free is enabled, consumers who have the app on their iOS or Android smartphones would only have to say, “I'd like to pay with Google”.
  • Cards & Payments: U.S. Bank Debuts Real-Time P-to-P via clearXchange
    U.S. Bank is one of the first in the Early Warning clearXchange network — which includes Bank of America, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo — to make the real-time, person-to-person payments service available to customers.
  • Consumer Lending: Borrowers Who Qualify for Refinance Increased by 30% Since January
    The number of mortgage borrowers who qualify for refinancing rose during the first two months of 2016 as interest rates fell 30 basis points. The number of borrowers who could qualify and benefit from refinancing surged 30%, or 1.5 million, according to the Mortgage Monitor Report from Black Knight Financial Services.
  • Small Business: The Coffee-Break Loan: Business Owners Promised Money in Five Minutes
    Many banks are taking a fresh look at conventional procedures and becoming more aggressive about pleasing customers. Long wait times and cumbersome applications are big sources of aggravation for many small-business owners seeking bank financing.
  • Investments & Wealth Management: Majority of Retirees Roll Funds Out of 401(k) Plans
    According to a recent survey released by the Center for Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services, the majority of baby boomers who work with financial advisers are opting to move their retirement savings to an individual retirement account in an attempt to improve their investment performance and consolidate their assets rather than letting their money stay put in their former employer's 401(k) plan.
  • Insurance: Mutual of Omaha Introduces Income Advantage IUL
    Mutual of Omaha recently introduced Income Advantage Indexed Universal Life (IUL), its first product in the IUL market. This life insurance product provides an opportunity to accumulate cash value — based on market performance — for the policyholder’s future use. Income Advantage includes three indexed interest crediting strategies, all of which are based on the annual point-to-point performance of the S&P 500.
  • Regulation & Security: CFPB Takes First Step Toward Regulating Marketplace Lenders
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced on March 7 that it is accepting complaints about marketplace lenders. Observers say this is a sign that the CFPB is moving toward regulating the industry, citing its use of the complaint database in the past to lay the groundwork for new regulations involving credit cards, student loans, and payday lending.
  • Economy: Net Worth of U.S. Households Rose to Record $86.8 Trillion in Fourth Quarter, Fed Says
    U.S. households ended 2015 with their home equity at the highest level in a decade. The net worth of U.S. households and nonprofits reached a record $86.8 trillion in the fourth quarter, according to a report released on March 10 by the Federal Reserve. Wealth climbed by more than $1.6 trillion from the third quarter.
  • Thought Leadership: Marketing Insights: Mortgage & Equity
    As the market moves toward a purchase-based mix, some traditional mortgage companies are seeking growth outside the singular mortgage product set. To that end, recently Quicken Loans and Loan Depot took advantage of the success of peer-to-peer lenders and started offering personal loans.

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