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December 17, 2015 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
Fed Raises Its Key Interest Rate from Record Low Near Zero
Republicans Hammer CFPB Over Data Collection Efforts
Govít: New Vehicles Averaged Record 24.3 MPG in í14
VW Names New R&D, Sales, Design, Production and Product Chiefs
Google to Make Driverless Cars an Alphabet Company in 2016
Top Stories
Fed Raises Its Key Interest Rate from Record Low Near Zero

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates from record lows set at the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a shift that heralds modestly higher rates on some loans. The Fed coupled its first rate hike in nine years with a signal that further increases will likely be made slowly as the economy strengthens further and inflation rises from undesirably low levels. Among other things, the Fed's low-interest rate policies have helped jump-start auto sales, which are on track to reach a record 17.5 million this year. And the Fed's first hike may not slow them.

Steven Szakaly, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association, says dealers will press financing companies to keep loan rates low. And competition for buyers will spur them to take other steps to hold down rates, such as accepting lower profits. "The rate squeeze will happen between the dealer and its finance company rather than the dealer and the consumers," Szakaly said. "Consumers won't even feel it."
Source: The Associated Press

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Republicans Hammer CFPB Over Data Collection Efforts

House Republicans attacked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday, arguing the agency is not able to safely secure the anonymous bulk data it collects on consumers' financial activities.

The agency has been gathering data on credit cards, mortgages and other products, but lawmakers said it could potentially be breached and reversed engineered to obtain personal information...

[T]he CFPB could also leverage the data collection for its own political gain, according to Wayne Abernathy, executive vice president for regulatory affairs at the American Bankers Association.

"They gather enormous amounts of information, keep the data in-house and then they parse out only the pieces of it that establish the positions that they have already taken," he said. "It is like being in court case where the prosecutor says here is the information I am going to share that shows that you are guilty but I am not going to share the information I have that might tell a different story."

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, who also testified at the hearing, said the agency's structure, with a single director, makes it vulnerable to abuse.

"When you put total power in one person's hands and they can operate in remarkable secrecy you are creating a natural pattern that leads to very dangerous behavior," he said.
Source: American Banker
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Govít: New Vehicles Averaged Record 24.3 MPG in í14

New cars and trucks averaged a record 24.3 miles per gallon last year, but falling gas prices and America’s rekindled love affair with SUVs could endanger future fuel economy gains. The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that fuel economy rose in 2014 by 0.2 mpg, from 24.1 mpg the year before, as the positive impact of technical improvements were nearly offset by resurgent consumer demand for larger vehicles. That’s a second straight year of modest gains after efficiency improved a more robust 1.2 mpg between 2011 and 2012. Still, automakers exceeded overall federal targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by a healthy margin.
Source: The Detroit News

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VW Names New R&D, Sales, Design, Production and Product Chiefs

Volkswagen Group today named five new leaders for its development, sales, design, production and product divisions as the automaker rebuilds its executive ranks following the upheaval spurred by an emissions cheating scandal. "These structural changes speed up the decision-making process, reduce complexity and increase efficiency," CEO Matthias Mueller said in a statement announcing the appointments. The executives will have responsibilities that cover all group brands from the VW, Skoda and Skoda mass-market marques to the Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini luxury units. Most of the appointments were internal.
Source: Automotive News
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Google to Make Driverless Cars an Alphabet Company in 2016

Google Inc. plans to make its self-driving cars unit, which will offer rides for hire, a stand-alone business under the Alphabet Inc. corporate umbrella next year, a person briefed on the company’s strategy said. The race to develop a self-driving vehicle fleet has intensified since February when Bloomberg reported that Google was developing a rival to Uber Technologies Inc., most likely in conjunction with its driverless-car project. Uber is pursuing its own autonomous capabilities, while automakers are deploying semi-autonomous technologies while experimenting with so-called shared mobility.
Source: Bloomberg
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Quotable
"They gather enormous amounts of information, keep the data in-house and then they parse out only the pieces of it that establish the positions that they have already taken. It is like being in court case where the prosecutor says here is the information I am going to share that shows that you are guilty but I am not going to share the information I have that might tell a different story."

    -- Wayne Abernathy, executive vice president for regulatory affairs at the American Bankers Association, on the CFPB's data collection efforts, American Banker, Dec. 16

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