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Essential Fintech Reading: July 11 - 17

Banks Hand Fintechs The Keys To Keep Up, Expose APIs

Citigroup, BBVA Compass, Bank of America and Capital One are just a few of the large U.S. banks that are sharing their proprietary software with outside developers so they can build applications, reports American Banker. The theory is that by sharing APIs with fintechs, banks can innovate much faster than they would by limiting application development to their own IT departments. When working with aggregators APIs present a cleaner way of accessing needed data than screen-scraping, notes Andres Wolberg-Stok, global head of emerging platforms and services at Citi.

Government Accountability Office Shines A Light On Financial Wellness

A recent forum on financial literacy run by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stressed the importance of improving financial wellness programs, reports BenefitsPro. Since they already provide retirement and health benefits, employers can play a crucial role in providing comprehensive financial wellness programs, notes GAO, including a push into "everyday budgeting and money management, building an emergency savings fund, and understanding the financial impacts of healthcare." GAO suggests that effective practices can include automatic enrollment in retirement plans, financial health checks and offering personal financial coaching to employees.

Bank of America Continues Mobile Banking Migration, Closes Branches And Reduces Headcount

With more than 17.6 million customers now using its mobile platform to deposit checks and transfer funds, Bank of America sees little need to keep as many physical branches open. The bank continues to "experience a shift in consumer behavior patterns away from branches and towards more self service," said Bank of America CFO Bruce Thompson during a Wednesday conference call with analysts. CNN reports that Bank of America had 5,328 U.S. branches two years ago, a number that has since shrunk by 10 percent to 4,789. The bank's workforce has also dropped by nearly 16 percent. Other banks are following the same course, as JPMorgan Chase has cut its branch count by 2 percent in the last year to 5,504. Wells Fargo remains an exception to the rule, maintaining a steady branch count.

Millennials Saddled With Debt Yet Afraid To Ask For A Raise

A study by iQuantifi reveals that nearly a third of millennials - ranging from 18 to 35 years old - have student loans and that debt loads increase for older millennials. Those between the ages of 21 and 25 had an average debt load of $13,116, followed by $46,622 for those in their late 20s and $69,552 for millennials in their early 30s. Mortgage and credit card debt are the primary culprits as these debt burdens increase, reports CNBC. Aside from using income-driven repayment plans to reduce monthly student loan payments and refinancing to lower their interest rate, millennials are encouraged to negotiate for higher pay. A recent PayScale report notes that only 37 percent of millennials have ever asked for a raise, compared to 48 percent of Baby Boomers and 45 percent of Generation X.


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