13 03, 2023

FedFin First Take: Failure Fall-out

2023-03-15T16:50:33-04:00March 13th, 2023|The Vault|

As we noted last night, the President concurred with Treasury, the Fed, and FDIC in deciding that SVB’s Friday failure and imminent runs on Signature Bank and, most likely, others posed a systemic risk.  This determination permits the FDIC to override all the efforts to end the moral hazard feared when uninsured depositors are fully protected in bank resolutions and came with a new Fed facility making it still easier for banks to obtain liquidity from the Federal Reserve.  As we also observed, much effort is being made to assert that none of these backstops is a bailout, a conclusion sure to draw considerable discussion and dissent even from those who concur that the scale of potential run risk Monday morning could not otherwise have been averted.  With this risk hopefully now resolved, much policy and political debate will begin about the Administration’s decision; why Silicon Valley Bank was so vulnerable;…

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

6 02, 2023

Karen Petrou: It’s Game-On for End-Game Capital Regulation

2023-02-06T10:56:45-05:00February 6th, 2023|The Vault|

Many rules determine the terms of combat in key financial markets, but none is as fundamental as bank-capital standards because every decision a bank makes first factors capital costs or benefits.  These are axiomatic because, even if every other business assumption a company makes is good, a financial product or service will still prove unprofitable if capital requirements are high enough to doom returns sufficient for insatiable investors.  Said by some only to be a tidy Basel III clean-up, the Basel IV “end-game” capital rules set to come in the next month or so are actually a substantive recalibration of which businesses make banks how much money compared to all the competitors empowered over the years by the happy – if highly risky – absence of like-kind requirements.  It’s thus no wonder that it’s already game-on for the future of the end-game regulations.

As we’ve noted in recent client updates, Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) now chairs the HFSC subcommittee with power over both financial-institution regulation and monetary policy.  Although one of his first bills in this Congress deals only with loosening capital rules for de novo banks (H.R. 758), he has made it very clear that he fears that the new big-bank capital construct will prove unduly costly and anti-competitive.  Senate Banking Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC) said the same thing in more guarded tones when he released his priorities, making it clear that the GOP has its eyes on the new capital rules.

No coincidence, conservative critics are …

19 12, 2022

FedFin on: FSOC Targets Usual Suspects but Also Points to Big-BHC, Nonbank Mortgage Systemic Risk

2023-01-03T15:56:33-05:00December 19th, 2022|The Vault|

As promised, this FedFin report provides an in-depth analysis of FSOC’s 2022 annual report, focusing on findings with near-term policy implications.  As always, the report is lengthy and includes many observations and market details that provide insight into Treasury and member-agency-staff thought.  Much in it reiterates concerns about short-term funding markets, CCPs, and….

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

11 07, 2022

Karen Petrou: Holistic-Capital FAQs and Some Priority Answers

2023-01-24T15:15:17-05:00July 11th, 2022|The Vault|

Late last week, we released a new issue brief laying out how to quickly take Michael Barr’s suggestion of a holistic regulatory-capital regime from rhetoric to reality.  The American Banker did a fine job summarizing the paper and putting it into the policy context, generating a lot of questions to which I’ll turn in this memo.  By far the most common assertion is that this paper is a stealth big-bank campaign to cut regulatory capital.  If it is, that’s news to all of them, as they saw the paper about the same time the Banker article appeared.  More to the point and as I’ll discuss below, a holistic-capital regime wouldn’t come cheap, it would just be better honed and more effective.

The paper was sparked by what might have been an offhand comment from Mr. Barr at his Senate confirmation hearing for the Fed’s supervision vice chair.  He was asked his views on the “Basel IV” package of regulatory-capital rewrites and said that he favored thinking about capital as a whole rather than finalizing individual standards in the absence of a broader vision.  Or that’s what he seemed to mean because, sensible man that he is, the less said at a confirmation hearing, the better, and talk quickly turned to other matters.  Assuming he meant what we thought he said, FedFin did our best to give it legs.

We did so in part by providing a short taxonomy of key capital requirements showing how they relate to other capital requirements …

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