Finance News Trends: Crypto Turmoil, Holiday Spending, and More
A look at the finance industry news from PR Newswire in November and December that you might have missed.
(Note: This is an edited version of a blog post originally published on prnewswire.com. Read the original for more.)
PR Newswire distributed more than 7,400 finance-related press releases in November and December 2022. We understand it can be difficult to keep up with the headlines, so we’ve done the hard work for you and identified a few common threads among all those releases.
As we moved into the holiday shopping season, many companies examined the impacts of inflation on consumers’ purchasing plans. The economy was also a factor as financial organizations looked forward to 2023 and what it all means for individuals’ financial wellness – and what they can do to improve their situations.
Aside from inflation, shocking crypto news in early November led to a high number of crypto-related news announcements over the period. And with the start of the giving season and the celebration of Giving Tuesday came a wave of releases from finance companies announcing how they were giving back to their communities.
Below, we take a closer look at these trends and some of the best-performing finance headlines in November and December.
Among those 7,000+ finance-related headlines in November and December, these were some of the most-viewed on prnewswire.com:
- Given all the attention surrounding crypto during this period (which we’ll get into more below), it was no surprise to see the release about Binance.US’s acquisition of Voyager Digital’s assets among the most-read stories of the period.
- Speaking of crypto, FTX had several stories that drew readers’ and journalists’ eyes in November and December. They included the company’s plans to review its assets, updates on legal proceedings, and more.
- On the employment front, news consumers were drawn to the announcement of a new J.M. Smucker Co. R&D center in Ohio, which will create new jobs and provide a positive economic impact for the state.
- The co-founders of Peloton launched their new DTC rug company, Ernesta, in early November with $25 million in Series A funding.
Finance News Trends
Here’s a recap of the recurring topics we noticed hitting the wire over the last months of 2022.
Although Cyber 5 sales increased over last year, predictions for 2022 holiday spending indicated consumers would spend less on gifts and travel. The reason, concerns about the economy and the possibility of a recession, came as no surprise.
As the holiday season ended, the predictions proved correct: CBS News reported that sales rose 7.6%, compared to 2021’s 8.5%.
Here are some of the holiday spending headlines that stood out:
- The BMO Real Financial Progress Index found consumers’ financial confidence declined in the fourth quarter, which impacted their holiday spending decisions.
- Bank of America released its Consumer Checkpoint findings which showed debt was increasing during the holiday season but that the American consumer was in good shape heading into 2023.
- The 2022 Aflac Holiday Health Issues Survey showed again that concerns over the economy impacted holiday spending, and also noted that health care and out-of-pocket costs were contributing to consumers’ financial concerns.
- LendingTree’s survey showed just how much debt Americans took on over the holiday season.
- Deloitte correctly predicted a successful Cyber 5 and noted “buy now, pay later” options would increase throughout the holiday spending season.
Even with the current economic state and the threat of a recession making an impact on holiday spending, consumers found alternative ways to enjoy the holiday season.
The two-month period of November and December started off with major news from crypto trading platform FTX and its chief executive, Sam Bankman-Fried (aka “SBF”). Soon after the company’s announcement that it would be bailed out by rival Binance after it suffered mass withdrawals, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said the deal would not go through. The company then declared bankruptcy and SBF resigned and saw his fortune of more than $15 billion tumble to around $1 billion.
The crypto industry was already experiencing a “crypto winter” and over the wire, we saw several companies (including FTX) respond to these disruptions via their news announcements.
During the November-December period, we distributed 286 releases related to cryptocurrency. A third of those releases (33%) hit the wire in the first two weeks of November, when the FTX news broke.
Here are a few examples of recent crypto releases sent via PR Newswire:
- FTX announced the start of a strategic review of its global assets as it prepared for reorganization. The company later announced that it had resumed ordinary course cash payments of salaries and benefits to remaining employees around the world.
- In response to the fallout, and as Black Friday and Cyber Monday approached, MyChargeBack, a transaction dispute services provider, warned consumers of potential fake cryptocurrency recovery firms.
- Binance took steps toward more transparency. “Given recent events, it is understandable that the community will demand more from crypto exchanges, far more than what is currently required of traditional financial institutions,” said Changpeng Zhao ‘CZ’, CEO & Founder of Binance.
- In early December, the Institute of Internal Auditors used the FTX news as an example when it asked Congress to establish new requirements designed to bolster corporate governance at U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges.
As companies and individual investors alike navigate the occasionally tumultuous crypto industry and try to recover their money, we’ll be keeping an eye on pushes for regulation and transparency in 2023 – and crypto companies’ responses to those demands.
The rising costs of living and healthcare are concerns for many people, and they are looking for ways to better their financial wellness.
For one, there is rising concern over how the economy is impacting retirement plans. Recent surveys found that individuals had to use some of their retirement savings to pay for expenses this past year, and some consumers are unable to save anything in today’s economy.
The headlines also indicate that a focus on financial wellness is starting at an earlier stage: high school students have access to courses, and Gen Z, which, according to surveys, plans to retire early, is saving and accessing financial advisors earlier than previous generations.
During the November-December period, these financial wellness releases caught our eye:
- Bank of America and Operation Hope will provide financial counseling throughout the nation with their program HOPE Inside™.
- More Americans feel their financial safety net is threatened, according to a survey by Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company.
- Non-profit Savvy Ladies launched a financial knowledge program specifically for women.
- RetirementInvestments launched several new online financial calculators, available to everyone on their website.
Since January is National Financial Wellness Month, watch for more information to be released on this topic.
The “S” in ESG: Banks Give Back
In our previous roundup of finance news trends, we made note of consumers’ and shareholders’ continued demand for companies to be transparent about their ESG efforts. As the holiday months began — and the giving season with them — we saw financial companies increase their announcements tied to doing good in their communities.
Over the two-month period in November and December, PR Newswire distributed nearly 290 finance-related releases tied to ESG and/or Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. Not surprisingly, November 29, or Giving Tuesday, was the highest-volume day for releases on this topic.
Here are a few of the unique releases that caught readers’ eyes in November and December:
- The Local Initiatives Support Corporation launched a $2 million growth fund for BIPOC-led small businesses in Colorado. The program provides “capital—patient, flexible, financing with repayment tied to profitability and growth rather than a conventional schedule.”
- Union Bank made a landmark gift to The Orange County Hispanic Education Endowment Fund in late November by providing $70,000 in support of first-generation, college-bound scholars.
- Real estate platform Amherst Group launched its inaugural “Day of Giving Back,” which will provide full time employees formal time each year to “participate in various volunteer activities in the local markets the firm has a presence in.”
Looking ahead: A recent ESG survey from Deloitte found that “Sustainability reporting and disclosure is more than a ‘check-the-box’ compliance exercise — it is a business imperative.” As finance companies move from commitment to action, we’re sure to see the number of ESG-related news releases crossing the wire continue to grow in the new year and beyond.
In our previous trend roundup, we noted the high number of releases related to the housing market and employment. In November and December, we continued to see regular dissemination of news related to these two topics.
Over the two-month period, PR Newswire distributed 1300+ real estate releases and 936 releases that mention “employment.”
Here are a just few of those releases:
- Renters now need to work six hours more to pay rent than before the pandemic
- 90% of Recent Home Sellers Have Regrets, Despite Hot Market
- 40% of Employers Changed Benefit Plans During Pandemic, Added Remote Work, Behavioral Health Programs, and Caregiver Leave
- More Than 3 in 4 Americans Say They Plan to Stay Put and Many are Willing to Take a Pay Cut to Avoid Being Laid Off, According to National Survey
After data showed that inflation cooled in November, a sign that the Federal Reserve’s rate increases appear to be working, many are hopeful about what it means for the economy in 2023. Inflation will remain a key focus in news releases moving into the new year, and we’ll be watching how it impacts companies in real estate, personal finance, and other financial industries.
In the crypto space, SBF’s extradition to the U.S. to face multiple criminal charges and a continued focus on regulation for the industry means we’ll expect a steady wave of cryptocurrency press releases in the new year.
And as for ESG, 2023 could be a challenging year for companies, according to Brad Rosen J.D., Senior Legal Analyst at Wolters Kluwer. He says, “With vicious culture wars and political partisanship deepening in the U.S., companies, funds, and their lawyers will face growing exposures and increased challenges as anti-ESG directives continue to clash head on with ESG-related investor and legal demands.”