Stories by Courtenay Brown

Fed chairman talks up importance of apolitical Fed

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference
Fed chair Jerome Powell speaking at a news conference earlier this month. Photo: Sha Hanting/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell laid out the importance of the Fed's political independence during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Tuesday, saying the central bank is "insulated from short-term political pressures." It was one of his most direct acknowledgements of President Trump's criticisms.

"Congress chose to insulate the Fed this way because it had seen the damage that often arises when policy bends to short-term political interests. Central banks in major democracies around the world have similar independence."
— Jerome Powell

Dude, where's my cash?

Adapted from a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network report; Chart: Axios Visuals

More banks and credit unions are offering checking and savings accounts, wire transfer services, and even loans to marijuana companies — and, so far, regulators have been watchful but accepting.

What's going on: Since marijuana is considered a criminal substance under federal law, banks that handle marijuana-linked money risk of being charged with money laundering. So they charge high fees for the privilege.

Wall Street plays nice with shareholder activists

Illustration of the Wall Street sign with peace sign stickers all over it
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Big companies have been cutting deals with activist shareholders, putting away the boxing gloves as a way to dodge negative publicity.

Why it matters: While activists are making a lot of noise, the silence —and behind-the-scenes dealmaking — is more representative of what's really going on.