Editor's Note: This is a monthly publication on economic trends and financial policy issues. In this publication you can read "The Longbrake Letter", an analysis of economic trends and conditions written by Bill Longbrake, as well as commentary on financial regulation and policy written by members of the law firm Barnett, Sivon & Natter, P.C., a Washington, DC based law firm that specializes in financial services law. The lawyers in the firm are also counsel to the international law firm, Squire Patton Boggs.

ISSUE: #80, March 2017

The Longbrake Letter
- Bill Longbrake
Optimism and hope continue to reign that the U.S. economy will strengthen, but some doubts are beginning to surface. Hard economic data have been mixed. Political turbulence and daily drama in Washington may delay or sidetrack tax reform and infrastructure spending. In this month’s letter, Bill Longbrake examines the long-term potential rate of real GDP growth and explains why the lackluster 1.7 to 2.0 percent annual growth expectation may turn out to be overly optimistic. He also discusses why the labor market might not be as tight as most believe, why inflation might not reach the Fed’s 2 percent target, and why annual wage growth may top out at less than 3.35 percent. In Bill’s discussion of monetary policy, he muses about whether the Fed is “behind” or “ahead of the curve,” and explains possible approaches to reducing the Fed’s bloated balance sheet.

Present Status of PHH Case and Next Steps
- Bob Barnett
The PHH case continues to wend its way through the courts. At the en banc rehearing in the DC Circuit, some questions may be answered or more questions raised; either way, we can expect a fairly rapid review.

OCC Releases Draft Chartering Manual for FinTech Banks
- Matthew Cutts, Jim Sivon, Katie Wechsler, Brandon Roman, and Patrick Kirby
In March, the OCC released its draft licensing supplement on “Evaluating Charter Applications from Financial Technology Companies. This Squire Patton Boggs Client Alert reviews the OCC’s draft supplement and explores the public policy implications.

     
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