Happy Friday!!!
Ahhh – welcoming the first day of fall this Saturday (autumnal equinox) – but it’s still 100 degrees here in Texas!!! 🥵  Here is the Uncle Sean Update for 9/22/23:
 High-fives all around as the BHB Fund welcomes Legend Bank, Texas First Bank, and National Bank and Trust as community bank investors in the BHB Fund independently managed by Latitude38 Venture Partners!!!! Very important especially for my friends (both bankers AND fintech companies) working on 2024 budgets right now….  It’s Fed Week!!!  As the market expected, the FOMC voted to hold rates steady at the current 5.25% – 5.5% Fed Funds rate..  I admit it, I was among the 1% that thought they would go ahead and raise rates 25 bps – but I broke my crystal ball years ago…. LOL!!!  Hugely important (IMO) – keep in mind that the current quantitative tightening continues (QT – a/k/a “shrinking the Fed Balance Sheet”) related to reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities at the current rate of $60B in Treasuries and $35B in MBS per month per the policy Implementation Note.  Couple of key points:Here is the transcript of Chair Powell’s Press Conference (27 pages); and here is the video (55 minutes).Worth noting the phrase “proceed carefully” was the theme and specifically mentioned multiple times – I don’t think this was unintentional…. 😊And here is the infamous FOMC Summary of Economic Projections (dot plot) that shows the majority of participants believe it will be appropriate to raise rates one more time before YE; and does not show core PCE inflation subsiding to the targeted 2.0% until 2025-2026.Chair Powell has been reiterating “higher for longer” for about a year now…  Pretty sure we should start to believe him now – LOL!!! Some solid macroeconomic analysis coming out of Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group.  Key points:Mild recessionary contraction in 1H2024 remains likely forecast outcome as inflation and labor markets cool.Housing faces mortgage rate headwinds (shocking, right!!!  LOL) but downside appears limited; and personal consumption is outpacing income growth. 👀 All of the above economic updates come during the same week that the U.S. national debt hits $33 trillion for the first time ever….. 😬 DCI partners with Array to offer Array’s credit management and financial progress tools to DCI’s community banks in order to help the bank’s retail customers “monitor their credit, benefit from anti-fraud identity monitoring, and access actionable credit-based offers.” DCI gets a two-fer this week by also announcing a new interface with Hawthorn River to DCI’s iCore360 core platform enabling DCI bankers “to look up customer information in real-time when originating a loan, eliminating the need to rekey information. To further support an integral part of the lending process, when a loan is ready to be boarded on iCore360, the banker can automatically book the loan details with the click of a button. Additionally, a rules engine enables transactions to be automatically coded so that regulatory reports are more accurate.” Cha-ching!!!  Bank of America increases US minimum hourly wage to $23 on its stated path to $25 by 2025. BMO is partnering with DailyPay to provide EWA to employees of BMO’s commercial clients allowing for real-time access to wages earned. Varo Bank (FDIC 59190) announced the launch of Varo to Anyone, an instant fully FDIC insured P2P function at no cost “to anyone with a U.S. bank account, no matter where they bank, by allowing access to phone contacts or inputting the recipient’s U.S. phone number or email manually. After sending the money, the recipient will get a text or email notification about the payment with instructions on receiving their funds by entering their debit card information in Varo Bank’s portal.” Based on my very limited research here, this looks like a “push to card” or “push to debit” application (think of this like a typical debit card transaction – but in reverse) that effectively creates an open-loop P2P transaction.  Many other P2P applications requires both the sender and the receiver to download and use the same app (thus being a closed-loop solution).I’ve been waiting to see broader acceptance of this for a while (many other institutions offer push to card solutions, I just haven’t seen widespread adoption yet).Both Mastercard (via Mastercard Send) and Visa (through Visa Direct) support push to card. Dwolla makes senior leadership changes as current President and COO Dave Glasser replaces Brady Harris in the CEO role; and Skyler Nesheim, previously Dwolla’s SVP of Technology, was named Chief Technology Officer. Square CEO Alyssa Henry is stepping down according to an SEC filing late Monday by Square’s parent company (Block), with co-founder Jack Dorsey to step into the role. Brex announced the launch of Brex Assistant utilizing AI to automate expense information, answer certain questions, and respond to commands with simple prompts. Black Knight Origination rebrands as Dark Matter Technologies after being acquired into the Perseus Operating Group of Constellation Software Inc. Finli announces integration with Q2’s Digital Banking Platform via the Q2 Partner Accelerator Program. The FDIC released SOD data for branch office deposits as of June 2023 for each of the 77,000+ branches in the U.S. Stearns Bank (FDIC 10988) partners with Synctera (BaaS infrastructure platform) to expand their existing BaaS line of business. Notable FinTech funding for the week:Vero Technologies (wholesale financing i.e. “floor plan” and loan servicing platform) raised $8.5M in Series A funding round to accelerate the growth of its lending-as-a-service offering for banks.Flex (f/k/a Flexbase – banking and treasury management for SMBs) raised $120M in new capital consisting of a $20M equity round and $100M in debt financing; and announced the launch of its Flex Credit Card.ZayZoon (EWA platform) raised $34.5M in Series B round. 
Random Uncle Sean stuff:Dumb Uncle Sean story – these are always entertaining (and apparently there is no shortage of these moments – HaHaHa)…. Earlier this week, I had the honor and privilege of attending and presenting at DCI’s Annual Conference (which was amazing) in Overland Park, Kansas.  After an uneventful plane ride from Austin, TX that included an “open-mouth nap” to which I did in fact wake myself up snoring (yep – I was “that guy” – LOL), I landed in Kansas City.  Hopped in my Uber and made my way to the Convention Center to check in to my hotel.  The very nice lady at the desk asked for my ID to check in and that’s when it happened….  I opened my wallet and my drivers license was not there…  After about a second of staring unbelievingly at the empty plastic that once held my license, I remembered that I had taken it out in Austin and put it in my pocket.  Whew…  Now slightly amused with my newfound confidence that I remembered where my ID was, I placed my hand into my pocket and…..  Oh crap….  It’s not there…. Quick check the other pocket (as my pulse begins to increase and I feel a warm sensation in the back of my neck – this is the panic starting to set in)…  Nope not there either.  Check the wallet again just in case it somehow magically reincarnated back to where it was supposed to be….  Nope….  Oh lord….  Yep, my palms are starting to sweat and my mouth is getting dry – LOL…  Now I am frantically digging through my laptop bag to no avail…  Brief moment of reassurance as the nice lady at the hotel desk said I could just show my debit card with my name on it (fortunately I hadn’t lost that too).  She recommended that I call the Uber driver as this happens a lot….  Come to think of it, I remember taking my phone out of my pocket in the Uber and I bet that is when it fell out…  I hope…  Because if not, I’m dead.  So I frantically try to figure out how to contact the Uber driver – you have to go through the app, you cant just call them direct.  Now I am fumbling around trying to figure out how to use the app to tell them I may have left my identification in the car (you have to leave your phone number with permission for the driver to contact you)….  Now we wait….  And now my mind begins to go into anxiety overdrive (overthinking is what I do on a normal day – so you know this just got really special – LOL!!!)…  What if I lost it at the airport?  What if it is on the airplane?  How do I get home?  You can’t get on a plane without an ID.  Heck, you cant rent a car without a drivers license…  Do I pay someone to fly to Kansas to pick me up and drive me home?  Oh lord, how much will Uber charge me to drive me from Kansas to Austin, TX????  (if you can’t tell by this point, I am rather stressed out – heart rate is running about 175 right now).  Wait – my phone is buzzing….  Oh thank God it’s the Uber driver and he has my Drivers License….  WHEW!!!!  Yes, I tipped him very graciously and thanked him to the point that I think I was freaking him out a little…  LOL!!!!  The rest of the trip was fantastic…  Hopefully this true story brightened your day and made you laugh!  😊 😂Rough week in cybercrime….  Caesars paid millions in ransomware…  Hotel and casino giant MGM Resorts has confirmed a “cybersecurity issue” is to blame for an ongoing outage…  Clorox reported that a cybersecurity act causing “widescale disruption” of operations and product availability resulting “material” to the company’s first-quarter financial results.Meanwhile, Cisco announced the acquisition of Splunk, a leading cybersecurity firm, for a cool $28 Billion in cash (Cisco’s largest acquisition ever).Yep – it’s that time….  Time for some Dad / bad jokes:Inflation and interest rates are so high, I’m putting a vending machine in my front yard for Halloween….  Sorry little Johnny – I got bills to pay! 😝If we’re not supposed to have midnight snacks, then why is there a light in the fridge?Pro tip on how to keep cookies fresh – eat them all at once.  🤓I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous…. I have a question about raising teenagers – and that question is….  WTF???  😂🤣 
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.