Our take on the latest trending events:

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testified before lawmakers on Tuesday, Feb. 24, providing greater clarity on the central bank's timeline for boosting benchmark interest rates. 
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Many banks have been focusing on deposits in the current environment, building up these resources instead of taking on additional credit risk. This approach reflects a more conservative stance, as financial institutions are unsure when the Federal Reserve will opt to push its benchmark interest rates higher. 
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Major banks, already facing a tough environment, have been encountering an additional headwind stemming from the dollar's sharp rally. The currency's recent appreciation, along with proposed capital guidelines, could make US banks seem bigger relative to their European counterparts. 
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Doral Financial's problems only seem to be getting worse. While the Puerto Rico-based holding company was able to improve its financial position late last year by attaining a legal victory, it has been encountering rising pressure from regulators, according to American Banker. 
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Mergers and acquisitions activity involving banks has been increasing, and this momentum has grown to include not only smaller banks in the U.S., but also midsize and international financial institutions. 
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Banks could run into challenges generating revenue growth as their ability to tap into loan-loss reserves deteriorates. 
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Subprime lender Santander Consumer USA Holdings (SCUSA) recently announced a smaller provision for credit losses amid otherwise general concerns that deteriorating lending standards could impact credit quality. The company cut this reserve to $560 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 from $770 million during the prior period.
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Lending Club recently announced a partnership with Alibaba Group whereby the peer-to-peer lender will provide small businesses with lines of credit for purchasing Chinese goods through the e-commerce giant's online marketplace. 
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Bank of America recently moved a $2.7 billion student loan portfolio to hold-for-sale status, chief financial officer Bruce Thompson told analysts during a conference call in January. 
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While many bemoan the challenges less-experienced borrowers face, San Francisco-based startup Earnest has been using an innovative new approach to assess their creditworthiness.
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BlackRock is planning to securitize loans purchased via internet origination channels. 
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New York Community Bancorp, Inc. has been generating many benefits by selling assets, keeping its balance sheet below the $50 billion mark and improving its financial results in the process. 
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The U.S. economy encountered some challenges during the fourth quarter, as weakness abroad and tepid business spending combined to limit fourth-quarter growth.
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While many banks have bemoaned the industry regulations created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, smaller financial institutions in particular could benefit from the government agency's latest mortgage proposal.
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The recent announcement that Los Angeles-based City National has agreed to be acquired by Royal Bank of Canada could be a game changer for other banks in the region, providing them with stronger opportunities to find clients or buyers.
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Two groups of peer-to-peer consumer loans collectively worth more than $300 million recently obtained ratings from Moody's Investors Service, which represents a first because major credit ratings agencies have never before evaluated P2P securitizations.
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A handful of innovative banking startups have been working on creating lending algorithms that consider more than the traditional variables such as one's credit score. Amid this push, companies are developing risk evaluation methods that account for how much time an applicant spends reading terms and conditions or whether they only use capital letters when filling out forms, The New York Times reported.
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