Happy Friday!!!
For anyone that needs a reminder – DRINK LOTS OF WATER – it is HOT out there!!!!  🔥🥵😓  Here is the Uncle Sean Update for 7/21/23:

It’s here…  The Federal Reserve announced their highly anticipated FedNow® Service is now live.  Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where Chief Engineer, Ray Arnold (played by Samuel L. Jackson) has to reboot the server and has the classic line, “hold on to your butts” as he flips the switch…???  The good news is that nothing bad happened – LOL!!! 😝  Uncle Sean is a fan (no pun intended) of Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group.  Check out their latest research publication titled, Recent Annual Declines in Inflation Likely to Moderate, While Economic Growth Slows Over Second Half – some good insights.  It will be interesting to see how 2H23 CPI numbers come in as June was the last of the very favorable prior year comps.Punchline – YoY CPI deceleration likely to slow (or even stall) as base effects become less favorable (June 2022 was the high water mark with headline YoY CPI at 9.1%)…  AgentIQ announced a partnership with Stanford Federal Credit Union (a $4B FCU) to revolutionize the CU’s digital member experience initiatives through personalized, relationship-based banking utilizing Agent IQ’s Lynq™ platform – check them out at AgentIQ.com.  Baker Hill announced an expanded partnership with BOK Financial (publicly traded bank holding company for BOKF, NA – a $45B commercial bank) whereas the bank will upgrade to Baker Hill NextGen® for SMB loan origination and portfolio monitoring, which “will also equip BOK Financial to comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) regulatory updates to Section 1071.”  NICE!!!  🤘  Nav (SMB fintech) announced the acquisition of Tillful (business credit fintech) and will continue to support both Tillful subscription customers and cardholders.“The acquisition of the Tillful cashflow scoring engine accelerates Nav’s ability to integrate and categorize cash flow data, and create proprietary financial health scores for small businesses.”  In a further divestiture maneuver vying for regulatory approval of their proposed merger, ICE and Black Knight announced they have agreed to sell Black Knight’s Optimal Blue business to a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc. for $700M subject to the closing of Ice’s acquisition of Black Knight.Important to remember that ICE and Black Knight previously agreed (back in March) to sell Black Knight’s Empower loan origination system (LOS) business to Perseus Group (a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc.) – also a divestiture play contingent upon the closing of Ice’s acquisition of Black Knight.  Well that didn’t take long….  Toast (leading restaurant payments and POS company) abruptly reversed course on a recently added $0.99 flat fee for online orders over $10.00 to be charged directly to consumers.  The backlash was quick and harsh, but to Toast’s credit – they were also quick to state they “made the wrong decision” and is removing the fee by the end of this week.  Brex has partnered with Airwallex to accelerate Bex’s international expansion.  Piece by piece….  Apple adds recurring payments via Apple Cash and is currently in public beta testing allowing users to send money (P2P) on weekly, bi-weekly and monthly intervals.  Per the article, the update will make it “even easier for parents to pay allowances or for users to pay back friends and family for regularly shared expenses, such as rent payments,” said Apple spokesperson Alyssa Hayes in an email.  👀 Some higher profile personnel moves this week:Jason Strle has been named Discover’s new Chief Information Officer.  “Strle joins Discover from Wells Fargo, where he served as EVP & Group CIO of its payments, virtual solutions, innovation and community banking business units, and more recently oversaw enterprise functions. During his tenure, he led the development and installation of a next generation digital banking platform and expanded the agile development practice to improve technology productivity and impact…  Prior to Wells Fargo, Strle spent almost 13 years with JP Morgan Chase.”Brian Plum has resigned as the President and CEO of Blue Ridge Bancshares per this Banking Dive article and SEC 8K filing.Uncle Sean isn’t too surprised by that since Blue Ridge hired G. William (“Billy”) Beale as CEO of the bank back in May and is now the successor at the holding company as well.  What was surprising to me was the Banking Dive article also mentioned “the departure of Kirsten Muetzel, president of the bank’s fintech division. Muetzel’s tenure with the bank ends this month, according to her LinkedIn profile.”  Muetzel (former Federal Reserve staffer) was specifically hired in January of this year to “strengthening regulatory compliance, and working to advance Blue Ridge’s fintech strategy as a leading partner of choice for Banking as a Service partners” the bank said in a statement at the time.  In an important first step towards regulation (which is time consuming and certainly feels like an ultimate and unavoidable conclusion), the White House has secured voluntary safety commitments to manage the risks posed by AI from seven leading AI companies (Amazon, Anthropic, Inflection, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Open AI) with the goal of responsible development of AI focused on safety, security, and trust.  Notable FinTech funding for the week:Bureau (AI enabled identity verification platform) raised an additional $4.5M in Series A bringing the total A round to $16.5M.  Valuation was not disclosed, but the article cites an impressive 6X customer and revenue increase over the last 12 months with 300M identities verified through the platform.Karat (financial services for the creator economy) raised $70M in Capital consisting of a $40M equity round plus $30M in debt financing.  
Random Uncle Sean stuff:Just in case you were wondering, it is called “the dog days of summer” for a reason – and it’s not because the dogs just lay around in the shade all day.  Check out this article that references the seasonal alignment of the prominent star Sirius (aka the dog star as part of the constellation Canis Major) with the sun as a marker of the hottest days of summer in the northern hemisphere (due to the more direct rays of the sun).  The legendary Tony Bennett passed away this week at the age of 96.  CBS News has a good article referencing his seven-decade career with 19 Grammy Awards, 60 studio albums, and dozens of live albums and compilations.Okay – some quick Dad Jokes to bring on the weekend!!!!Corn Dogs are basically just meat Twinkies… I went out for a run but came back home after 2 minutes because I forgot something….  I forgot that I am WAY out of shape and can’t run for more than 2 minutes!  LOL!!! 🏃Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like you are aging like a fine banana?!?!“Thank you for calling the Incontinence Hotline.  Please hold….”  😂🤣Me yelling frantically at the squirrel in the street to make a dang decision and get out of the way is probably very similar to how my guardian angel feels at times!!!!  😁😆  
Have a GREAT weekend and please stay safe!!!
Uncle Sean
Sometimes known as Sean Mayo – contact me directly for scope and pricing of custom reports / analysis projects at smayo@fedfis.com | 214-604-6961 – or you can contact FedFis Sales Team at 512-960-0911 | info@fedfis.com #FedFisHasTheData FedFis
FedFis, LLC disclaimer – The views and opinions of Uncle Sean are of his own and may not necessarily represent the views, endorsements, and/or opinions of FedFis, LLC – we all know he’s a little bit different; but that’s why we love him.