House lawmakers trying to ban Bank of Wal-Mart

The US House Financial Services Committee introduced a bill today that will ban commercial companies from owning a bank. Specifically, it bans them from owning an industrial loan company. The bill was co-sponsored by both the top Democrat and Republican in the committee.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out. Wal-Mart shoppers have a "common bond", don’t they?


Well ShareBuilder and SogoInvest need to move over; here comes Zecco.

Backed by one of the early backers of Skype, Zecco is bringing $0 commission trading to the stock market. Not only are the trades free (up to a limit of course), but they also have a “community” of investors that haves blogs, forums, etc. They’re trying to bring the social web to trading.

I’ve been participating in CAPS, a stock market game put on by The Motley Fool (see previous post here), and I love the interaction and participation that is being generated by the participants.

If Zecco can efficiently combine the community feeling of CAPS and the easy of trading that ShareBuilder brings, it’ll be worth a try.

Prosper’s API

Prosper has recently released a new API that enables developers to access all of their public information. In the past, you have been able to download all of Prosper’s listings, loans, bids, and user profiles but with this new API, they’ve opened the door to allow people instant access to this data.

At first it sounded pretty cool that a company would make things so easy, but now I’m struggling with ways I can use it (I am a Prosper lender) or ways that I can help my CU use the data.

But this is what I’m thinking so far (for my CU):

  • We could compare the lists of name, both lenders and borrowers, to our membership and see who’s borrowing and who’s lending.
  • Use the zip codes from member profile to see how the population of our region is taking on to P2P lending.
  • Compare Prosper’s unsecured default rates to our default rates and see if we can find any gold nuggets in that info.

What are some other innovative ways that the I, or anyone in the CU industry, can use this data?

Black Rock Federal

I stumbled up Black Rock Federal Credit Union, or soon to be, from Jesse Robbins recent comment on my blog.

It chronicles a small group of individuals efforts to start a credit union. I’m anxious to see how their interactions with the NCUA and vendors work out in their start-up.

I love the fact that Black Rock is starting from a close knit community of Burning Man participants and supporters. So many CU’s are converting to community charters to continue their growth that I’m relived to see a CU start-up that will have such a strong sense of shared ideals, not zip codes or counties.

Aside from a little hiccup about capital ratios and reserve requirements, they appear to be off to a good start.

I’m hoping to see the CU industry drastically change in the next decade and go retro: start CU’s for people with common ideals, not common geographic proximity. Technology proliferation, the spread of high-speed Internet, and recent changes in how people use their money (think ING Direct, Wesabe, or Prosper) should be fuel to change the credit union landscape.