17 04, 2024


2024-04-17T17:36:07-04:00April 17th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Global Regulators Tackle NBFI Margining, Collateral Transformation

As it has long promised, the FSB today issued a consultation on standards designed to buttress derivatives, commodity, and securities-financing markets under stress through more stringent margining and collateral requirements.

Basel Head Says Go Slow re AI Risk, Supervisory Models

Basel’s Secretary General, Pablo Hernández de Cos, today focused on AI’s risk-reward profile in the banking sector, concluding that it raises a series of profound questions global regulators must work cooperatively to address.

Lummis, Gillibrand Begin Senate Stablecoin Debate

As long anticipated, Sens. Lummis (R-WY) and Gillibrand (D-NY) today introduced a significantly revised version of their 2022 Bill (see FSM Report CRYPTO28) laying out U.S. stablecoin standards.

FIO Subpoena Power Faces Rollback

At HFSC’s mark-up today, the committee began with Rep. Fitzgerald’s (R-WI) Insurance Data Protection Act, H.R. 5335, which would repeal the Federal Insurance Office’s authority to subpoena insurance companies for data collection.

HFSC Likely to Pass RegTech Bill

At HFSC’s extended mark-up today, the committee turned to H.R. 7437, a bipartisan bill that would require federal banking regulators to regularly review and report to Congress on their use of technology to ensure they’re equipped to address threats to the financial system.

HFSC Set to Pass AOCI Recognition, Systemic-Risk Designation Study Measures

Continuing our coverage of today’s mark-up, HFSC was generally supportive of the two bills on the agenda from Democrats, H.R. 4206 from Rep. Sherman (D-CA) requiring large banks with available for sale securities to mark to market …

16 04, 2024


2024-04-16T17:10:39-04:00April 16th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

House GOP Takes on New Merger Guidelines

The House Small Business Committee today sent a GOP letter to the FTC and Justice Department  strongly protesting new merger guidelines (see FSM Report MERGER13) on grounds that they sharply curtail needed small-business capital.

House Hikes Iran Sanctions

Working through a series of sanctions bills in the wake of recent geopolitical developments, the House yesterday voted 294-105 to advance H.R. 5921, a bill introduced by Rep. Huizenga (R-MI) that prohibits Treasury from authorizing transactions by U.S. financial institutions in connection with Iranian imports or exports other than food, medicine, and other humanitarian assistance.

House Passes Bill Targeting China-Iran Petroleum Trade

Continuing its response to recent geopolitical events, the House yesterday voted by a 383-11 margin to pass H.R. 5923, a bill from Reps. Lawler (R-NY) and Gottheimer (D-NJ) that would require the President to periodically determine if any Chinese financial institutions have purchased petroleum or petroleum products from Iran, stating that U.S. financial institutions also may not open or maintain certain accounts with Chinese institutions that have done so.

Warren Again Targets OCC Merger Decisions

Continuing recent attacks on the OCC’s approach to mergers, Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Blumenthal (D-CT) yesterday sent a letter to Acting Comptroller Hsu sharply criticizing the agency’s decision first to allow NYCB to acquire Flagstar bank and then do the same shortly thereafter for Signature.

OCC Toughens LCR, NSFR via New Reporting Requirements

The OCC today sought public comment as required by law for …

22 03, 2024


2024-03-22T16:35:16-04:00March 22nd, 2024|3- This Week|

One Down, Not Out

As we noted, Vice Chair Barr has bowed to the institutional might of the central bank he helps govern, agreeing Friday that the consensus which Chair Powell committed (see Client Report FEDERALRESERVE75) on the capital rules will lead to significant, material changes.  This is a major victory for banks who mustered what Mr. Powell and others said is the most omnipresent, potent regulatory-advocacy campaign they’ve ever seen.  Still, it leaves open what will change, how Acting Comptroller, and – more problematic – FDIC Chair Gruenberg and Director Chopra will join in.  We anticipated this outcome in our January forecast on the future of the capital rule, also laying out just what the concession might look like and what could happen if only the Fed or just the Fed and OCC are able to agree.  We will shortly provide clients with an updated forecast of what’s to come along with a look at a question of almost equal importance:  when changes will come and if that’s enough time to ensure finalization before the political landscape could take a decided change all its own this November.


22 03, 2024


2024-03-22T16:13:11-04:00March 22nd, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Banking Agencies Push Back Key Deadline

Easing a bit of burden and doubtless with litigation in mind, the banking agencies today issued an interim final rule extending the applicability date of facility-based assessment areas and public file provisions of the CRA rule from April 1, 2024 to January 1, 2026.  With this change, the manner in which assessment areas are evaluated is aligned to the same deadline.  The IFR also includes non-substantive revisions to the final rule.

HFSC GOP Calls for GAO Interchange Fee Study

Following introduction of HFSC Subcommittee Chair Luetkemeyer’s (R-MO) bill (H.R. 7531) to require the Fed to conduct a qualitative impact study of the interchange fee proposal, he and Subcommittee Chair Barr (R-KY) yesterday sent a letter to the GAO requesting a study of the potential impacts of the proposal (see FSM Report INTERCHANGE12).  The members state that the proposal would cause banks and credit unions to face “material obstacles” to offset the regulatory, anti-fraud, and operating costs for extending banking services to low-balance consumers, with the proposal also raising “unique concerns” because the Fed offers competing payment services.  The members request that the GAO’s analysis examine the rule’s effects on consumer access to checking account services with regards to minimum balance costs, increases in ancillary fee revenue, LMI population access, and the cumulative impacts of agency rules since January 1, 2023 affecting debit accounts.

Barr Concedes Capital Rules Will Change

Ending speculation that Vice Chair Barr will not accede to Chair Powell’s end-game …

21 03, 2024


2024-03-21T15:27:18-04:00March 21st, 2024|5- Client Report|

Republicans Blast Basel, Global Standard-Setting

Today’s HFSC hearing on global governance featured expected Republican attacks on what they called the opaque nature of U.S. interactions with international organizations, with Chairman McHenry (R-NC) promoting a draft bill requiring regulators to report dealings with global standard-setting groups to Congress.  Much of the hearing otherwise focused on the Basel III Endgame Proposal, with criticism coming not just from the GOP but also some Democrats, especially Rep. Torres (D-NY) who denounced the “Europeanization” of the U.S. financial system.


19 03, 2024


2024-03-20T11:57:36-04:00March 19th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Progressive Dems Keep Pressure on Powell


Ahead of today’s FOMC meeting, progressive Democrats again sent a letter to Chair Powell calling for an interest-rate reduction timeline on grounds that higher-for-longer adversely affects the public good.  Signed by Sens. Warren (D-MA), Sanders (I-VT), and nineteen House Democrats, the letter calls the Fed’s monetary policy “excessively contractionary,” stressing its negative impacts on the housing market and financial stability.

HFSC GOP Takes on GSE Title-Insurance Pilot

Laying pipe before HFSC’s housing hearing tomorrow, Subcommittee Chairs Davidson (R-OH) and Huizenga (R-MI) along with Rep. Garbarino (R-NY) sent a letter to FHFA Director Thompson Friday sharply criticizing her for undue politicization given the President’s recent call for title-insurance reform.  Th

HFSC GOP Takes on GSE Title-Insurance Pilot

Joining attacks against the Basel end-game rules, Republican CFTC Commissioner Mersinger today criticized the proposal for its impact on derivatives markets.  It would, she said, disincentivize banks from offering client-clearing services to derivatives end-users, exacerbate the downward trend in the number of entities offering client clearing services, challenge the portability of customer positions, and increase systemic risk.

KC Fed Study: Vulnerable Crypto Users at Financial Risk

Buttressing calls for cryptoasset standards, the Kansas City Fed today published an article finding that crypto transactors are less financially literate and more risk tolerant compared to nonowners, stressing the importance of improved education regarding cryptoasset risks.  C

HFSC GOP Goes after Climate-Risk Standards

HFSC’s majority staff memo on Thursday’s hearing indicates that the panel of top federal bank supervisors …

7 03, 2024


2024-03-07T16:51:03-05:00March 7th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC GOP Press Discount-Window Reform, Slow-Go on Liquidity Risk

Building on questioning at a recent HFSC hearing (see Client Report LIQUIDITY34), Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chair Barr (R-KY) led all Republican members of his subcommittee in a letter to Chair Powell, Chair Gruenberg, and Acting Comptroller Hsu urging them to address stigma and operational issues associated with the discount window.

Powell Reiterates: Capital Rules Will Change

Today’s Senate Banking hearing with Chair Powell covered much of the same ground as the Chair’s appearance before HFSC (see Client Report FEDERALRESERVE75) with Democrats focusing on housing affordability and Republicans expressing their satisfaction with Mr. Powell’s statement that the Basel III proposal may have to be withdrawn and re-proposed.

House Judiciary Now Says 12 Large Banks Colluded with FinCEN

Prior to the House Judiciary’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing today on large bank “collusion,” the subcommittee yesterday published a report finding that FinCEN and the FBI engaged in backchannel discussions with large financial institutions to gather private financial data.

BCBS Proposes GSIB Window-Dressing Revisions

As anticipated, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision today released a consultation on revisions to the GSIB assessment framework concerning window dressing.

House Republican Targets Interest on Reserves

Following up on yesterday’s HFSC hearing (see Client Report FEDERALRESERVE75), Rep. Davidson (R-OH) has introduced legislation (H.R. 7562) to prevent Federal Reserve Banks from paying interest on excess reserves.


6 03, 2024


2024-03-06T16:07:02-05:00March 6th, 2024|5- Client Report|

Chair Powell Calls Basel III Re-Proposal “Very Plausible”

As expected, Republicans took turns grilling Chair Powell on the Basel III endgame proposal and calling for its withdrawal, and were likely pleased with the results. When questioned by Chair McHenry (R-NC) and Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chair Barr (R-KY), Mr. Powell stated that he expects “broad and material changes” to the proposal and stated that a re-proposal would be a “very plausible option,” calling the amount of negative comments regarding the proposal “unlike anything I have seen.”  Democrats made affordable housing their primary area of attack, following up on previous Democrat-led letters sent to Chair Powell calling for him to cut interest rates to reduce the burden on housing and construction costs.  Mr. Powell responded to housing concerns by acknowledging the structural housing shortage in the U.S. but reiterated the Fed’s dual mandate and stated that targeting the housing market is outside their jurisdiction.  In addition to monetary policy, much of the questioning also addressed fiscal policy, where Mr. Powell again attempted to stay aloof.  Ahead of today’s hearing, Chair McHenry and Subchair Barr led all HFSC Republicans in sending a letter to Mr. Powell, Chair Gruenberg, and Acting Comptroller Hsu demanding the regulators withdraw the capital proposal.  A bipartisan House coalition of 38 lawmakers led by Reps. Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Williams (D-GA) also sent a letter to Mr. Powell criticizing the Fed’s proposal to reduce the debit-card interchange fee cap, warning of the proposal’s impact on LMI and underbanked communities.…

29 02, 2024


2024-02-29T16:41:41-05:00February 29th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

FSB Says Swiss Standards, Not Its Own, Led to CS Chaos

The FSB today released the review of Swiss GSIB regulation announced after Credit Suisse’s failure.

Basel Tackles Private Credit, GSIB Window-Dressing

The Basel Committee today again pressed nations – clearly here focusing on the U.S. – to finalize the end-game rules as quickly as possible.

FinCEN Releases New AML/CFT Hit List

FinCEN today emphasized that the new FATF report has revised countries where strategic AML and CFT measures are deficient, warning U.S. banks to take this into account – i.e., to ensure appropriate de-risking.

CFPB Targets Bank Comparison-Shopping Posts

The CFPB today loosed another attack on bank marketing practices, arguing that key facts are omitted  from credit-card and financial-product descriptions obscuring back-end fees.

Bipartisan HFSC Votes to Repeal SAB 121

At today’s abbreviated markup, HFSC took up H.J. Res. 109, which would repeal the SEC’s Staff Accounting Bulletin 121 requiring banks to keep custody cryptoassets on balance sheet (see FSM Report CUSTODY5).

HFSC Approves Secret Service Cybercrime Bill

As HFSC’s markup continued today, the committee turned to Rep. Fitzgerald’s (R-WI) bipartisan H.R. 7156 expanding Secret Service investigative authorities over cybercrime.

FSB Head Ratchets Up Stablecoin Systemic Worries

In remarks today, FSB Chair Klaas Knot discussed market developments in cryptoassets, suggesting that renewed market interest in stablecoins by bigtechs and financial institutions could have systemic implications.


25 01, 2024


2024-01-25T16:50:12-05:00January 25th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Fed Surprisingly Slams the BTFP’s Doors

At an unusual time and on a day that does not comport with the usual timelines for Fed action, the Board last night unanimously announced it will shutter the Bank Term Funding Program as scheduled on March 11.

Basel Head Backs U.S. Regulators

In response to waves of recent letters pushing back on the Basel III capital rules, Basel Committee Secretary General Esho defended Basel III, arguing that there is little evidence that Basel III implementation will have a detrimental effect on banking and economic growth

FTC Tackles AI Inter-Connections, Concentration

Following remarks by FTC Chair Khan making clear that there is no “AI exception” to lawful behavior, the FTC announced that it has issued orders to Alphabet, Amazon, Anthropic, Microsoft, and OpenAI requiring them to provide their recent investment and partnership information involving gen-AI companies and major CSPs.

CFTC Kicks Off Financial-Agency AI Assessment

Just as it did years ago with climate risk (see Client Report GREEN4), the CFTC took the lead among U.S. financial regulators with respect to AI.


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