Hello! Courtenay, Axios' markets reporter, here. Just a reminder I'll be in your inbox for the next few days while Dion enjoys some time off in Lisbon.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,177 words, or a less than a 4.5-minute read.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Bank failures, mergers, and closures have fueled a drop-off in the number of minority-owned banks.
Why it matters: The institutions seek to provide financial services to communities left behind and underserved by the mainstream banking sector.
The big picture: The entire banking industry has undergone a transformation since the financial crisis. Banks closed branches at the fastest clip in decades last year, per the WSJ.
That, along with the shuttering of minority-backed banks, leaves fewer options for "financial services to low-to-moderate income and minority communities in urban, rural and suburban areas that are often economically distressed," says Rhonda Thomas-Whitley, vice president and regulatory counsel for ICBA, the industry's trade group.
By the numbers: The number of black-owned banks is at the lowest level in recent history, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a government agency that regulates banks.
The bottom line: Minority-backed institutions have been more volatile compared with other types of banking institutions.
The number of minority-backed banks is shrinking, but the banks' assets keep growing — though they're a small sliver of the entire U.S. banking industry's $17.5 trillion in assets.
When they shutter, more than three-fourths of the assets of the closed banks are distributed into other minority-backed banks, per the FDIC.
The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note touched a three-week low on Wednesday after a Reuters report dashed hopes the U.S. and China would sign a "phase one" agreement before the end of the year.
The details: A "[trade] deal is still elusive, and negotiations may be getting more complicated," per Reuters.
What they're saying: "The sooner ... phase one is signed (regardless of the details) the better, because both sides want a deal so the longer it’s delayed, the more the market will begin to assume a deal isn’t possible," Tom Essaye, founder of market research firm Sevens Report Research, wrote in a note to clients.
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
👆 Apple CEO Tim Cook toured the plant where Mac Pros are assembled in Austin, Texas, with President Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump on Wednesday.
Of note: President Trump told reporters that he was “looking at” whether to exempt Apple from tariffs on other imports from China.
Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Hours after General Motors sued rival Fiat Chrysler, the UAW president abruptly resigned amid a corruption scandal.
Why it matters: The developments "embroiled two of the country’s three biggest automakers and the union that represents their workers, a controversy the likes of which the industry has rarely experienced," as the New York Times notes.
The details: On a press call with GM General Counsel Craig Glidden, the company referred to a “pattern of racketeering” by FCA between 2009 and 2015, which resulted in GM paying higher wages than FCA. The company alleges it also allowed FCA to use more temporary workers and lower-paid second-tier workers than GM.
Target and Amazon have different approaches to appease impatient customers who want same-day delivery.
The bottom line: Companies are racing to get people stuff faster, but that comes at a cost.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Axios Managing Business Editor Jennifer A. Kingson writes: Next year could be "one of the strongest years on record" for the U.S. commercial real estate industry, according to a market outlook released Wednesday by CBRE, the world's biggest commercial real estate servicer and investment firm.
Why it matters: Commercial real estate activity is to be a leading economic indicator, and growth in the sector translates to more jobs and investments in local communities.
Details: "Amid slower economic growth and global uncertainty, U.S. commercial real estate will remain a haven for investment in 2020," the report predicts.
Yes, but: "Uncertainty surrounding trade negotiations, weakness in manufacturing and the approach of the presidential election season," are risks to the industry's growth, according to a release.
If this newsletter was forwarded to you, sign up here. See you tomorrow!