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So far Eliza Allen has created 324 blog entries.
3 02, 2023


2023-02-03T17:00:56-05:00February 3rd, 2023|3- This Week|

Artillery Heading to the China Financial Front

As we noted last week, the House Financial Services Committee plans a wide-ranging hearing on Tuesday establishing a legislative history for seventeen bills that would in one way or another attack China by limiting its access to U.S. and global financial markets.  The hearing comes at a time of tensions heightened first by alarming memos from senior U.S. military commanders and then reports of a Chinese espionage balloon surveilling key U.S. facilities.  It also comes in concert with creation of a House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party designed to hold hearings and recommend U.S. policy across the financial, military, trade, and intelligence arenas in which Republicans believe China is already engaging in “soft” warfare against Taiwan and the U.S.  So far, the HFSC hearing features only private-sector witnesses and the bills we have seen so far generally carving a careful path between harsh words about China and mandatory actions with minimal adverse consequences to the flow of finance, goods, and even diplomacy.


3 02, 2023


2023-02-03T16:59:55-05:00February 3rd, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

House GOP Bill Sanctions Digital Yuan

Ahead of a major HFSC anti-China push next week, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions Luetkemeyer (R-MO) today introduced H.R. 804 to bar money servicing businesses from engaging in any transaction involving Chinese CBDC.

HFSC Plans Wide-Ranging China Attack

Emphasizing the priority Republicans have placed on U.S.-China policy, HFSC’s staff memo for Tuesday’s full committee hearing details numerous initiatives the panel may advance to isolate China and the Communist Party from the U.S. and global financial system.

HFSC Anti-Woke Group Targets SEC, Proxy Voting

Following his promise to go after “woke” policies during the HFSC organizational meeting, Chairman McHenry (R-NC) today announced the formation of a Republican ESG working group.  It has no legislative jurisdiction and will instead combat the “far-left” influence over capital markets by addressing SEC regulatory “overreach,” reinforcing the materiality standard for disclosures, and preventing the misuse of the proxy process.


2 02, 2023


2023-02-02T17:01:46-05:00February 2nd, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Scott Seeks Innovation, Competitiveness, Responsibility, Administrative Neutrality

Announcing his priorities for this Congress, Senate Banking Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC) struck the guarded stance in favor of bipartisan cooperation expressed yesterday by HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC).  His top priority is increasing credit availability, with a mention of global competitiveness suggesting perhaps some interest in the Basel proposals as well as the need to advance fintech expressly mentioned in his release.  Like Rep. McHenry, Sen. Scott also highlights regulatory accountability; unlike the HFSC chairman, he cannot call hearings to achieve this although he can of course ask committee witnesses pointed questions.

GAO Presses Need For MMF Reform

As required by the CARES Act, the GAO today issued a study on the March 2020 MMF runs that led the SEC to propose reforms last February (see FSM Report MMF19).  It finds that the SEC’s current MMF liquid assets rules (see FSM Report MMF13) not only failed to prevent MMF runs during the pandemic, but also may have contributed to them by encouraging preemptive MMF share redemption.  It also finds that, even though no MMF imposed a fee or gate in March 2020, their possibility likely contributed to redemption incentives.


1 02, 2023


2023-02-01T16:53:57-05:00February 1st, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

CFPB Set To Quash Credit-Card Late Fees

Taking action as anticipated following its June ANPR (see FSM Report CREDITCARD35), the CFPB today released an NPR that would curtail credit card late fees the Bureau calls “excessive,” moving ahead also with one aspect of the White House competition agenda.

Comment Deadline Set For CFPB Contract Registry Proposal

The Federal Register today includes the CFPB’s form-contract registry proposal.  As noted (see FSM Report CONSUMER48), the Bureau’s NPR would establish a public registry requiring nonbanks to post contract provisions which the agency believes threaten consumer legal or free-speech rights.

Brown, Democrats Press Thompson On Enterprise Loan Sale Programs

Ahead of a housing hearing as soon as next week, Senate Banking Chairman Brown (D-OH) and four other Democrats today sent a letter to FHFA Director Thompson requesting a review of Fannie and Freddie’s nonperforming and reperforming loan-sales programs.

McHenry Confirms Privacy, Crypto Priorities; Rewrites HFSC Rules

At an HFSC organizational meeting, Chairman McHenry (R-NC) today emphasized that he wants to work with Democrats, but much of what he said is unlikely to facilitate this.  For example, he noted with regard to crypto legislation that he wants to end the SEC’s enforcement-focused policy; as previously noted, any crypto legislation curtailing the SEC will run afoul of Democratic views in both the House and Senate.


1 02, 2023


2023-02-01T11:05:29-05:00February 1st, 2023|1- Financial Services Management|

State Member Bank Powers

In conjunction with rejecting an uninsured crypto bank’s application for Federal Reserve membership, the Federal Reserve issued a policy statement conforming state member bank powers only to those authorized for national banks even if the state member is an uninsured depository institution. While it is possible for state member banks to gain greater powers following Fed deliberations, the new approach sharply limits the ability of states to empower uninsured charters not only focused on cryptoasset activities, but also other non-traditional ones such as those involved in certain fintech “partnerships.” Payment-system access now will be more circumscribed, limiting the comparative advantage non-traditional charters have or hope to enjoy as well as reducing competitive disparities between state-member and national charters.


31 01, 2023


2023-01-31T16:58:29-05:00January 31st, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

BIS Finds Digital Payments Have Yet to Conquer Cash

In a brief today, the BIS Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) found that digital payments, while rapidly growing, have not supplanted cash.  CPMI does report a record high value and volume of cashless payments, crediting this to changing consumer preferences, increasing prevalence of fast payments systems, and COVID, noting that cashless options may also bolster financial inclusion.  However, the brief also finds a deceleration in the decline of cash withdrawals, concluding there is still a significant ongoing, if diminishing, demand for cash.

Warren, GOP Allies Grill Silvergate on FHLB Loan, Fed Supervision

Signaling bipartisan plans to take on crypto banking and now also the FHLBs as quickly as possible in the new Congress, senator Warren (D-MA) was joined yesterday by Sens. Kennedy (R-LA) and Marshall (R-KS) in sending another letter to the CEO of Silvergate Bank.  Following an earlier inquiry which they said led to an insufficient response, the letter now focuses on the bank’s use of a $4.3 billion FHLB loan as a liquidity backstop.  As in Karen Petrou’s recent memos and today’s podcast, the letter focuses on the System’s prior lien ahead of all other creditors (including the FDIC) and the extent to which this puts taxpayers at risk.


30 01, 2023


2023-01-30T16:59:06-05:00January 30th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

FDIC Sets New Comment Deadline For Advertising NPR

The FDIC today extended the comment deadline for its NPR modernizing restrictions on the agency’s official sign and logo, advertising statement, and misrepresentations of deposit insurance coverage by 45 days until April 7.

Banking Agencies Report No Material Differences in Capital, Accounting Rules

Ahead of efforts later this winter to rewrite large-bank capital standards, the banking agencies today submitted their annual report to HFSC and Senate Banking assessing the differences between the agencies’ accounting and capital standards.

HFSC Lays Out Initial Action Plan

HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) is moving forward, today announcing plans for a meeting on Wednesday to set the committees’ rules and near-term oversight priorities.

Controversial CFPB Initiatives Advance

The Federal Register today includes the CFPB’s nonbank enforcement action registry proposal as well as its circular regarding negative option marketing practices.

FHA Expands Loan-Mod Options, Incentives

The FHA today announced it will extend incentive payments to mortgage servicers that complete COVID-Recovery loss-mitigation options, also releasing several other changes to help struggling borrowers avoid foreclosures regardless of the nature of repayment hardship.


30 01, 2023


2023-01-30T11:28:34-05:00January 30th, 2023|6- Client Memo|

M&Ms, McHenry, and the Making of Financial Policy

It’s a sad commentary on American politics to observe, as I feel we must, that the experienced chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Patrick McHenry, has followed M&M’s “spokescandies” as a target of Tucker Carlson’s bilious, yet widely-watched, wrath.  The fundamental frivolity of this contrast is self-evident, but that has yet to dampen the credibility of this combustible commentator with his super conservative acolytes.  That Mr. Carlson matters so much to public discourse is deeply distressing given some of his other targets – Nancy Pelosi’s husband after a brutal attack is only one that comes immediately to mind.  Unlike him and many other Carlson targets, Mr. McHenry can more than take care of himself.  Still, going after him means super-conservatives will blast any Member or measure that falls short of purity on their rightward-loaded scale.  Since nothing these folks like can be enacted into law, all this does is reduce the hopeful odds we cast earlier this year for constructive financial-policy legislation.  Too bad – the nation could use some.


27 01, 2023


2023-01-27T17:11:36-05:00January 27th, 2023|3- This Week|

FHLBs Face the Footlights

FHFA Director Thompson will shortly take questions about the future of the Federal Home Loan Banks after a series of recent revelations cast these GSEs out of the obscurity they have long enjoyed at considerable advantage.  Karen Petrou recently pointed to developments such as the System’s decision to serve as a wide-open window for downward-diving and arbitrage-seeking banks and she’ll talk more about it this Tuesday on a podcast with Rob Blackwell.  Among the questions Mr. Blackwell asked was whether FHFA intends seriously to tackle FHLB reform after three hearings last year.  As we noted at the time, these hearings were largely opportunities for FHLB fans to show their appreciation and FHFA to bide its time.  Director Thompson may well wish to do the same, but she likely didn’t accept the invitation to speak just to say nothing.


27 01, 2023


2023-01-27T17:09:47-05:00January 27th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

IOSCO Report Calls for More Hedge-Fund Liquidity Data, Studies Continue on MMFs/OEFs

IOSCO today released its Investment Funds Statistics Report, consisting almost entirely of data on matters such as leverage, portfolio liquidity, and fund exposures.  The paper also mentions recent SEC proposals to amend the investment adviser reporting form and to require more frequent portfolio reporting.

Fed Takes Tough Stand Against Wyoming Crypto Charter

The Federal Reserve today took two policy-making actions cracking down on non-traditional charters.  We will shortly provide clients with an alert and then an in-depth analysis of a new Fed policy redefining state-member bank charter powers.

Fed Not Only Quashes Custodia, But Also Constrains Non-Traditional Charter Powers

In addition to rejecting Custodia’s member application (see prior FedFin alert), the Fed today issued a sweeping policy statement scuttling efforts to use uninsured state member banks for activities  impermissible for state IDIs and, in most cases, those allowed for national banks.

White House Expands Crypto Legislative Demands

In a new White House crypto “roadmap,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese largely reiterated actions such as those by the Fed today and ongoing efforts to block AML and sanctions violations in this volatile sector.


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