5- Client Report

6 12, 2023


2023-12-06T14:20:19-05:00December 6th, 2023|5- Client Report|

Moderate Democrats Continue to Voice End-Game Doubts

The agencies’ capital proposal (see FSM Report CAPITAL230) unsurprisingly dominated discussion at today’s Senate Banking hearing with big bank CEOs.  Also unsurprisingly, Republicans and the CEOs sharply criticized what they called insufficient economic analysis and downstream lending impact.  Despite positioning themselves for a defense of the Fed’s GSIB surcharge proposal (see FSM Report GSIB22), the proposal received little attention from Committee Democrats or, for that matter, Republicans or the CEOs.


5 12, 2023


2023-12-05T15:39:20-05:00December 5th, 2023|5- Client Report|

HFSC GOP Grills Regulators Over Novel Activities, Third-Party Risk Management Guidance

At today’s HFSC Digital Assets Subcommittee hearing on banking agency financial innovation, Republicans raised concerns about the Fed’s novel activities guidance (see FSM Report FINTECH32), interagency guidance on third-party risk management (see FSM Report VENDOR10), and the SEC’s predictive data analytics proposal. Members on both sides of the aisle also focused on AI, crypto, and CBDC, with Republicans pressing for hands-off crypto policy while Democrats urged faster action to curb AI risk. Pointing to the OCC’s recent hiring scandal, Subcommittee Chairman Hill (R-AR) suggested that more oversight might be necessary.


30 11, 2023


2023-11-30T14:26:00-05:00November 30th, 2023|5- Client Report|

Chopra Breezes Through Senate Banking as Senators Revisit Concerns Over AI, FRC Bidding Process

Today’s Senate Banking hearing with Director Chopra was even more cordial than yesterday’s HFSC session (see Client Report CONSUMER53) even though Republicans continued to criticize the Bureau’s recent rulemakings.  Today’s hearing also showcased renewed focus on JPM’s controversial acquisition of FRC, with Sen. Vance (R-OH) grilling Mr. Chopra about the bidding process.  Director Chopra emphasized that the least-cost test was adhered to and insisted that JPM’s bid was found to be higher than PNC’s, although he promised to provide the senator with more information.  Chairman Brown (D-OH) raised serious concerns over AI lending decisions and explainability, while Sen. Warner (D-VA) called it an issue “tailor-made” for FSOC.


29 11, 2023


2023-11-29T16:04:21-05:00November 29th, 2023|5- Client Report|

CFPB Catches a Break

In sharp contrast to most recent HFSC hearings with CFPB Director Chopra, today’s session was relatively calm.  Republicans did reiterate their strong aversion to the agency’s structure, funding, and recent initiatives, but Chair McHenry (R-NC) supported much in the Bureau’s open-banking proposal (see FSM Report DATA4) and GOP objections to other actions seemed more out of habit than with any intent to press for change.  The exception is the agency’s small-business reporting rule, where action is planned this week for a vote – likely successful – to reverse the agency’s approach.  However, President Biden has indicated he will veto it.  Refuting recent press reports, Mr. Chopra indicated no new plans to ban overdraft fees.


15 11, 2023


2023-11-15T15:58:45-05:00November 15th, 2023|5- Client Report|

Bipartisan Capital Bashing Continues in the House

Following yesterday’s Senate Banking hearing (see Client Report REFORM229), today’s HFSC session with top bank regulators again highlighted growing bipartisan consternation over the unintended consequences of the agencies’ capital proposal (see FSM Report CAPITAL230).  Although Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) echoed Chairman Brown’s defense, Democratic criticism today went beyond concerns about mortgages and green bonds also to address credit availability, new trading and derivatives standards, capital recognition of securities losses, and insufficient review of the proposal’s quantitative impacts.  Republicans continued to bash the proposal for what they said is insufficient economic analysis.  Unlike yesterday, attention to the FDIC’s harassment scandal most notably came from Democrats’ side of the aisle, with Ranking Member Waters using all of her questioning time to criticize the FDIC and request a report from each agency describing how they will review sexual-harassment.  Reiterating concerns he and Subcommittee on Financial Institutions Chairman Barr (R-KY) recently raised regarding regulators’ interactions with international standard-setters, Chairman McHenry grilled Vice Chair Barr and Acting Comptroller Hsu about staff compensation and agency documentation practices at international events.  Mr. Barr emphasized that all Board and staff member compensation comes from the Fed, while Mr. Hsu only said that his agency tracks participation in these bodies to ensure mission alignment.   We continue to expect GOP pressure on the international-agency front but no action until GAO completes its report.  Chair Gruenberg noted broad alignment with a new incentive-compensation proposal, but revised the initial timeline …

14 11, 2023


2023-11-14T15:57:18-05:00November 14th, 2023|5- Client Report|

Capital Proposal Gets Bipartisan Bashing in Senate Banking

Today’s Senate Banking hearing with top bank regulators showcased broad bipartisan concern over the interagency capital proposal (see FSM Report CAPITAL230).  Although Chairman Brown (D-OH), Sen. Warren (D-MA), and Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) staunchly defended the proposal on countercyclicality grounds, other senators on both sides of the aisle sounded the alarm over its impact on credit availability, small-business lending, and shadow-bank migration.  FRB Vice Chair Barr repeatedly defended his agency’s analysis while emphasizing openness to comment, also highlighting that the proposal relates primarily to non-credit activity and would apply to only 37 banks.  Some Republicans also raised concerns over other recent rulemakings, with Sen. Britt (R-AL) asking Vice Chair Barr if the agencies would consider a comment deadline extension for the LTD proposal (see FSM Report TLAC9).  Although Mr. Barr stated that the rule is far simpler than the capital proposal, he also said the agencies would consider a similar extension.  FDIC Chairman Gruenberg drew bipartisan ire over reports of FDIC widespread harassment, with Republicans seizing the occasion to criticize Mr. Gruenberg’s leadership.  Grilled by Sen. Tillis (R-NC) about reports of a Fed leak of confidential supervisory information, Mr. Barr only said that he is deeply concerned.  Separately, Chairman Brown emphasized unfinished work on bank executive accountability and urged Congress to pass the RECOUP Act (see FSM Report COMPENSATION37), which passed the Committee nearly unanimously in July.


31 10, 2023


2023-10-31T10:58:11-04:00October 31st, 2023|5- Client Report|

FedFin Assessment:  New White House AI Policy Promises New KYC Requirements, Banking-Agency Guidance

In this report, we assess the detailed executive order (EO) issued late Monday afternoon after days of private showings of selected versions.  Much in the EO’s binding provisions address near-term AI-related threats to national-security, pandemic-risk, and infrastructure vulnerabilities and much related to AI-related opportunities derive from internal procedures Mr. Biden urges the federal government to develop along with workforce protections and biomedical research.  The EO also reiterates the Administration’s values and presses agencies to work still harder on voluntary industry standards that many have been drafting or disagreeing on since the White House and Congress first called attention to AI risk.  What comes of these provisions in the EO remains to be seen, but the Administration has also used tools such as the Defense Production Act’s authorization for direct economic intervention to mandate an array of new AI commercial and technology safeguards.


23 10, 2023


2023-10-23T11:37:12-04:00October 23rd, 2023|5- Client Report|

FedFin Assessment:  FRB Tries to Link Stability Conclusions to Regulatory Objectives

As promised, this in-depth report assesses Friday’s semiannual financial-stability report from the Federal Reserve.  As in its most recent reports, the Fed again eschews any clear conclusion about financial stability even as it observes that some risks are hard to quantify and thus may be overlooked.  Prior reports of “moderate” risk were shortly followed as in 2020 with considerable systemic challenge, leading the Fed thereafter and in this report to limit itself principally to quantification of emerging issues with few conclusions and, other than with regard to banks, no direct regulatory recommendations.   Where the Fed points to significant systemic challenges, it does so only by citing third-party survey results.


6 10, 2023


2023-10-06T11:45:12-04:00October 6th, 2023|5- Client Report|

FedFin Assessment: Basel Lays Big Plans for Basel V

As we noted yesterday, the Basel Committee’s October meeting concluded not only with plans for new disclosure consultations, but also a report on lessons learned from the 2023 crisis.  We have long considered the “end-game” standards so substantive as to constitute Basel IV; now, as this report details, Basel is laying plans for Basel V via new liquidity, interest-rate, capital, and structural changes to the current construct.  We thus focus on the supervisory and regulatory action steps Basel posits as necessary responses to the financial-market volatility sparked earlier this year by SVB, SBNY, FRC, and CS’s failures.  While Basel states that none of its recommendations necessarily presages near-term global standards, they warrant review not only as likely precursors to at least some new proposals, but also as guides to what is top of mind for national regulators beyond finalizing end-game capital rules and dealing with home-country matters such as resolvability.  If Basel proposes only some of the regulatory revisions it has in mind or, as the Fed clearly intends, the U.S. does so ahead of time, larger banks will face significant revisions to the LCR and NSFR, capital add-ons for interest-rate outliers, and express ring-fencing to prevent a CS repeat – i.e., a case in which the parent company met applicable standards but key subsidiaries fell far short.


14 09, 2023


2023-09-14T14:23:57-04:00September 14th, 2023|5- Client Report|

GOP Blasts Basel End-Game Regs, Dems Seek a Few Changes

With HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) leading the way, GOP Members of the panel’s Financial Institutions Subcommittee today blasted the banking agencies’ end-game proposal (see Client Report CAPITAL234).  Republicans were unanimous in joining leadership’s attack on the proposal’s process and substance, pointing to what they called incomplete impact analyses, an inexplicably short comment period, and adverse macroeconomic and regional-bank implications.  Democrats led by Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) were more restrained and in some cases supported the proposal, but concerns were also noted with specific provisions (e.g., re the treatment of certain mortgage and securitization assets) and the interface with the pending CRA final rule.  We continue to expect the banking agencies to hold firm to the proposal in broad terms and make minimal, if any, changes to the comment deadline.  However, pressure from Republicans and the industry could well force renewed and what many would consider improved impact analyses designed not only to allay political opposition, but also the courts if litigation challenges the final rule.


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