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  • OCC head says US banks can't use the pandemic as reasoning to ramp up branch closures

    In an interview with the Financial Times, Brian Brooks, acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), said that banks won't be able to use the pandemic as rationale to accelerate closing branches. Brooks noted that the existing rules that govern branch closures will remain in place, and warned that banks won't see extensions on waivers they've received during the pandemic. For context, banks must give the OCC 90 days' notice before shutting branches, including a detailed reasoning behind their decision.

    Last month, Insider Intelligence predicted that the pandemic will cause banks to speed up branch closures from less than 2% in 2019 to 3% in 2020 — but regulatory attitudes like Brooks' could make them tread more lightly. Here's why:

    Temporary branch closures and lockdown measures are spurring customers to form habits around digital channels as the pandemic stretches on. Seventeen percent of US respondents to a J.D. Power survey from late May said they use their mobile banking app "a lot more often" since the crisis began, up from 11% of respondents who said the same when surveyed in early April. The longer the crisis persists, the more likely those shifts will become permanent.

    These changing behaviors are reportedly leading some banks to hope the pandemic will enable them to accelerate their branch closures, per the FT. Rising digital usage and lessened reliance on branches is making some banks rethink their networks in certain areas, such as those that were already seeing less foot traffic prior to the pandemic. As banks brace for massive loan losses, reducing branch networks could be a key way to reduce costs — and they may have expected they could point to plummeting branch visit numbers as justification to close physical locations.

    But some banks may opt to keep more branches open after all, in order to appease regulators. The US government has encouraged banks to play their part in cushioning the economic blow of the coronavirus crisis, and it has relaxed some regulations to do so, such as temporarily raising Wells Fargo's asset cap. But Brooks' comments to the FT suggest that these aren't long-term changes, and that maintaining branch access in particular will remain under the microscope even after the situation stabilizes. To stay on regulators' good side, banks may fall in line and not try to accelerate branch closures despite moves to digital.
    OCC head says US banks can't use the pandemic as reasoning to ramp up branch closures In an interview with the Financial Times, Brian Brooks, acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), said that banks won't be able to use the pandemic as rationale to accelerate closing branches. Brooks noted that the existing rules that govern branch closures will remain in place, and warned that banks won't see extensions on waivers they've received during the pandemic. For context, banks must give the OCC 90 days' notice before shutting branches, including a detailed reasoning behind their decision. Last month, Insider Intelligence predicted that the pandemic will cause banks to speed up branch closures from less than 2% in 2019 to 3% in 2020 — but regulatory attitudes like Brooks' could make them tread more lightly. Here's why: Temporary branch closures and lockdown measures are spurring customers to form habits around digital channels as the pandemic stretches on. Seventeen percent of US respondents to a J.D. Power survey from late May said they use their mobile banking app "a lot more often" since the crisis began, up from 11% of respondents who said the same when surveyed in early April. The longer the crisis persists, the more likely those shifts will become permanent. These changing behaviors are reportedly leading some banks to hope the pandemic will enable them to accelerate their branch closures, per the FT. Rising digital usage and lessened reliance on branches is making some banks rethink their networks in certain areas, such as those that were already seeing less foot traffic prior to the pandemic. As banks brace for massive loan losses, reducing branch networks could be a key way to reduce costs — and they may have expected they could point to plummeting branch visit numbers as justification to close physical locations. But some banks may opt to keep more branches open after all, in order to appease regulators. The US government has encouraged banks to play their part in cushioning the economic blow of the coronavirus crisis, and it has relaxed some regulations to do so, such as temporarily raising Wells Fargo's asset cap. But Brooks' comments to the FT suggest that these aren't long-term changes, and that maintaining branch access in particular will remain under the microscope even after the situation stabilizes. To stay on regulators' good side, banks may fall in line and not try to accelerate branch closures despite moves to digital.
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  • BREAKING: Senator Oko is dead
    Fred Itua, Abuja

    Cross River female senator, representing Northern Senatorial District of the state, Rose Okoji Oko is dead. She was aged 63.

    The late Senator Oko, who died last night at a UK medical facility, was a second term member of the Red Chamber of the National Assembly and the serving chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment.
    Rose Okoji Oko, was born on September 27, 1956 is a Nigerian politician and senator. She was a member of the Federal House of Representatives from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Yala/Ogoja Federal Constituency in Nigeria’s 7th class of the National Assembly.

    She was elected into office as the first female representative from her constituency in June 2011 and sat as Deputy Chairman House Committee on Education.

    She is the current senator representing the people of Cross River North Senatorial District. She was elected into office as the first female representative from her Senatorial District in June 2015, which is remarkable. And re-elected in 2019.

    Her death brings the number of senators that have died since June, 2019 to three.
    BREAKING: Senator Oko is dead Fred Itua, Abuja Cross River female senator, representing Northern Senatorial District of the state, Rose Okoji Oko is dead. She was aged 63. The late Senator Oko, who died last night at a UK medical facility, was a second term member of the Red Chamber of the National Assembly and the serving chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment. Rose Okoji Oko, was born on September 27, 1956 is a Nigerian politician and senator. She was a member of the Federal House of Representatives from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Yala/Ogoja Federal Constituency in Nigeria’s 7th class of the National Assembly. She was elected into office as the first female representative from her constituency in June 2011 and sat as Deputy Chairman House Committee on Education. She is the current senator representing the people of Cross River North Senatorial District. She was elected into office as the first female representative from her Senatorial District in June 2015, which is remarkable. And re-elected in 2019. Her death brings the number of senators that have died since June, 2019 to three.
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  • Ondo poll: AAC vows to sue INEC for replacing party’s deputy gov’s name

    The African Action Congress(AAC) said it would take legal action against Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for replacing the name of its Ondo deputy governorship candidate with an unknown one.

    AAC said this in a statement in Akure on Sunday by Mr Oluwasunkanmi Oni, State Publicity Secretary and Mr Alex Adeniyi, State Chairman.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that INEC on Friday released the list of candidates of the 17 political parties that would participate in the Oct. 10 governorship election in the state
    The statement read: “AAC Ondo State Chapter wish to register her displeasure on the list released by INEC on Ondo State governorship election of participating political parties.

    “It is ignominious for INEC, a body that is expected to be apolitical, to collaborate with some unrecognized entities for reasons best known to them to tamper with the structure and constitution of our party”.

    It explained that the party on July 25, 2020 held her governorship primary election at the International Culture and Event Centre (DOME) where Prince Adekunle Adeleye was elected by the party delegates as the governorship candidate of the party.
    “Thereafter, Prince Adekunle Adeleye’s name and the Deputy Governorship candidate selected, Mrs Mopelola Evelyn Ibrahim, were duly sent to INEC as governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the party, respectively.

    “It is therefore saddening that INEC went on to manufacture an unknown deputy governorship candidate, namely Samuel Tope Omotosho, who is totally unknown to our party, who is not and have never been a member of our party, AAC, either in Ondo State or anywhere in Nigeria.

    “At this point, we demand INEC to abjure her errors at once and replace the unrecognized name (Samuel Tope Omotosho) with the authentic name (Mrs Mopelola Evelyn Ibrahim) submitted to them by the party or face legal action.

    “Enough of this inglorious act of INEC meddling with and distorting the internal affairs of political parties, AAC inclusive, each time there is an election.

    “We, the African Action Congress (AAC), reject in its entirety the unknown name paired with Prince Adekunle Adeleye, our party’s Gubernatorial Candidate, as running mate,” it said. (NAN)
    Ondo poll: AAC vows to sue INEC for replacing party’s deputy gov’s name The African Action Congress(AAC) said it would take legal action against Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for replacing the name of its Ondo deputy governorship candidate with an unknown one. AAC said this in a statement in Akure on Sunday by Mr Oluwasunkanmi Oni, State Publicity Secretary and Mr Alex Adeniyi, State Chairman. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that INEC on Friday released the list of candidates of the 17 political parties that would participate in the Oct. 10 governorship election in the state The statement read: “AAC Ondo State Chapter wish to register her displeasure on the list released by INEC on Ondo State governorship election of participating political parties. “It is ignominious for INEC, a body that is expected to be apolitical, to collaborate with some unrecognized entities for reasons best known to them to tamper with the structure and constitution of our party”. It explained that the party on July 25, 2020 held her governorship primary election at the International Culture and Event Centre (DOME) where Prince Adekunle Adeleye was elected by the party delegates as the governorship candidate of the party. “Thereafter, Prince Adekunle Adeleye’s name and the Deputy Governorship candidate selected, Mrs Mopelola Evelyn Ibrahim, were duly sent to INEC as governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the party, respectively. “It is therefore saddening that INEC went on to manufacture an unknown deputy governorship candidate, namely Samuel Tope Omotosho, who is totally unknown to our party, who is not and have never been a member of our party, AAC, either in Ondo State or anywhere in Nigeria. “At this point, we demand INEC to abjure her errors at once and replace the unrecognized name (Samuel Tope Omotosho) with the authentic name (Mrs Mopelola Evelyn Ibrahim) submitted to them by the party or face legal action. “Enough of this inglorious act of INEC meddling with and distorting the internal affairs of political parties, AAC inclusive, each time there is an election. “We, the African Action Congress (AAC), reject in its entirety the unknown name paired with Prince Adekunle Adeleye, our party’s Gubernatorial Candidate, as running mate,” it said. (NAN)
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