Capital Conundrum

Early signals indicate that GSIB CEOs summoned this week before Senate Banking will do their best to use the session to solidify Congressional calls for substantive changes in pending capital rules based on a far more transparent, systematic CB analysis.  Signals such as the Brown/Reed letter last week also make it clear that Democrats will push hard for tougher GSIB-specific standards to offset increasingly-likely changes to the capital rules.  Democratic advocates of specific changes – i.e., with regard to LMI mortgages and small-business credit – will also use the session to navigate a path between helping regional banks on key points while looking tough on the overall question of big-bank capital.  Again, sticking it to GSIBs may be their tactic.  Republicans won’t let up against the capital rules, but we suspect they’ll also focus on borrowers and regional banks, side-stepping GSIB surcharges and other top-tier questions wherever possible.