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FOMC sets 2013 meeting schedule

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WASHINGTON (1/2/13)--The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)--the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve--has set its 2013 calendar.

The FOMC will meet on these dates:

  • Jan. 29-30;
  • March 19-20;
  • April/May 30-1;
  • June 18-19;
  • July 30-31;
  • Sept. 17-18;
  • Oct. 29-30; and
  • Dec. 17-18.
The March, June, September and December meetings will be associated with the Fed's Summary of Economic Projections and a press conference by the chairman, said the Fed's website.

The FOMC is the body responsible for setting the fed funds targeted interest rates and for taking measures, such as its recent string of quantitative easing measures involving buying back bonds, to adjust to the nation's economic conditions.

Market News (01/02/2013)

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MADISON, Wis. (1/2/13)

  • The U.S. is on pace for the slowest decade of population growth since the 1930s, as the country emerges slowly from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, according to the Census Bureau ( Dec. 30). Roughly 315.1 million people were estimated to live in the U.S. on New Year's Day, a 7.3% increase from last year's estimate and 2.05% more than the most recent census report in April 2010. If the current pace of growth continues, that means the nation's population will grow by 7.3% during the decade. That would be the lowest level recorded since the 7.25% growth between 1930 and 1940, said Bloomberg. In the aftermath of the 2007-2009 recession, the nation's birth rate and immigration dropped. Between 2000 and 2010, the nation's population grew by 9.7%. Five Mountain states in the West--Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona--were among the top 10 growth states. Two states--Vermont and Rhode Island--lost population during 2012 …
  • Holiday shoppers were more likely to use smartphones for mobile assistance this year, said GfK Roper, which asked smartphone owners how they used their devices for holiday shopping (eMarketer Dec. 31). Every activity surveyed increased in percentages: 82% said they used smartphones for research and browsing of products (up from 67%); 74% bought something (up from 55%); 62% used an e-mail offer from a retailer (up from 45%); 56% used a consumer rating site to help decide to buy a product (up from 40%); 35% used a global positioning system/location feature on their phone to help with shopping (up from 31%); 27% used a QR code to find more information about a product (up from 19%);  33% used a mobile coupon (up from 18%).  In addition, 9% said they used a Black Friday or Cyber Monday mobile app, and 7% said they purchased something on their tablet …

News of the Competition (01/02/2013)

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News of the Competition

MADISON, Wis. (1/2/13)

  • Bank of America (BofA) has sold 21 branches in Iowa and Maine since March, and the Charlotte-based megabank has made deals to sell an additional 38 branches in the central U.S. Community banks are set to purchase all of the branches, which total about $1.5 billion in assets (American Banker Dec. 31). Northwest Bank has sought to acquire BofA branches for several years, according to Greg Post, Northwest president/CEO. Northwest wanted the branches for what they offer in customer relationships, employees and real estate, Post said. Locations that are irrelevant for BofA are meaningful for community banks, said Chris Marinac, an analyst with FIG Partners …
  • Banks paid a record $1.2 billion in fines to U.S. and state authorities this year. About half of that amount was related to improper mortgage practices. A $1.5 billion mortgage settlement with major home lenders was announced in February to create a fund to pay borrowers whose homes were improperly sold or taken into foreclosure (CNNMoney Dec. 31). Another $3.5 billion was awarded to state and federal governments to fund counseling and legal aid. Wells Fargo paid $175 million in July to help minority homeowners who were sold subprime loans when they qualified for traditional mortgages. Also, UBS agreed in December to pay $1.2 billion for manipulating the London interbank offered rate …
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) has agreed to pay $149.5 million to settle a claim with the estate of Lehman Brothers related to collateralized mortgage obligations that led to the failure of the Wall Street bank (Reuters Dec. 31). The estate claimed had Lehman Brothers contracts that gave it senior payment priority on derivatives and collateralized debt obligations, but that the bankruptcy improperly placed the priority of the payments. The claims were filed against CIBC and numerous other financial institutions in September 2010, two years after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. CIBC previously recognized a $841 million gain and reduced its financial commitment to zero after Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September 2008 …