#Democrats

29 03, 2024

DAILY032924

2024-03-29T12:07:52-04:00March 29th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Treasury, FinCEN Pulled Into Firearm MCC Fray

Following her December letter to major payment networks, Sen. Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Dean (D-PA) lead 31 Democratic lawmakers urging Treasury, FinCEN, and the banking agencies to issue clear guidance instructing financial institutions and payment-card networks to implement the new Merchant Category Code (MCC) for firearm and ammunition retailers.   Notably, they now press Treasury to use powers they seem to presume Treasury has to set a federal mandate for code use that would then preempt state prohibitions on transaction identification in this high-impact political arena.  The letter also calls on FinCEN to issue an advisory about acts that may precede gun crime and firearm-purchase scenarios that should trigger SARs.  Answers to questions pressing these policies are due by April 11.

Daily032924.pdf

28 02, 2024

DAILY022824

2024-02-29T11:26:05-05:00February 28th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC Dems Press for New Bank-Merger Policy

Although she issued a statement strongly opposed to the CapOne/Discover merger after it was announced, HFSC Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) today led a letter instead focusing on the need for the banking agencies and DOJ to quickly issue updated merger policies.

US Standards Complicate Transborder Personal-Financial Data Flows

The President plans later today to issue an executive order banning the transfer of sensitive data to “countries of concern” and certain persons subject to their jurisdiction.

Fed Worries About Regional-Bank Risk

Anna Kovner, Director of Financial Stability Policy Research at the New York Fed, today outlined four sources of systemic risk that worry the central bank even though the Fed still sees risks as manageable according to the analyses released last October (see Client Report SYSTEMIC97).

Daily022824.pdf

26 02, 2024

DAILY022624

2024-02-26T16:36:24-05:00February 26th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

BIS: More Bank Competition Leads to Increased Credit Risk

A new BIS paper looks at a question critical to the debate over bank-merger policy:  the extent to which competition drives bank risk-based pricing decisions in corporate lending and, by extension, other credit markets.

OCC Proposes Changes to FOIA Procedures

The OCC today proposed several changes to its FOIA procedures, including allowing expedited processing requests and appeals of denials of these requests and those for fee waivers.

Warren, Progressives Expand Blast on CapOne/Discover Deal to Encompass OCC Merger Proposal

Following other Democratic attacks on the CapOne/Discover merger and her own, Sen. Warren (D-MA) continued her challenge in a letter also signed by twelve House Democrats.

CFPB Takes Precedent-Setting Step Bringing Nonbanks Under Supervision

The CFPB late Friday released its first contested finding that a nonbank is subject to its supervision following the establishment in 2022 of a process for bringing nonbanks under its supervisory wings (see FSM Report CONSUMER44).

Senate Republicans Introduce Anti-CBDC Bill

Sen. Cruz (R-TX) alongside Sens. Hagerty (R-TN), Scott (R-FL), Budd (R-NC) and Braun (R-IN) today introduced a bill to prohibit the Fed from directly or indirectly issuing a CBDC or even using CBDC as a monetary-policy tool.

Daily022624.pdf

20 02, 2024

DAILY022024

2024-02-20T17:06:56-05:00February 20th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Waters Fails to Muster Meaningful Democratic Capital-Proposal Protest

Late Friday, HFSC Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) released another letter from Democrats protecting the pending capital proposals.

Fed Study: CBDC Impact on Dollar Dominance, Payment System Depends on Many Decisions

A new Fed staff study finds that a U.S. CBDC would have only a marginal impact on the dollar’s role as the reserve currency and within the payment system, although this conclusion depends on a raft of decisions now being made about other CBDCs and the cross-border payment system.

Sanders Targets BlackRock’s Market Power

We will shortly provide clients with an update on Congressional reaction to the C1/Discover merger earlier today, but here draw client attention to a new letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), sure also to be among the credit-card consolidation’s fiercest critics.

Brown Presses Powell for Enforceable Ethics Standards

Senate Banking Chair Brown today renewed his campaign against Fed conflict-of-interest policies, sending another letter to Chair Powell arguing that the Fed’s recent internal-investment and ethics standards are unenforceable.

Initial Response to C1/Discover Merger Starts M&A Debate

With Congress in recess, political response to the Capital One/Discover merger has been muted in terms of sparse comments, but fiery when it comes to Sen. Warren (D-MA).

Daily022024.pdf

5 02, 2024

M020524

2024-02-05T10:42:05-05:00February 5th, 2024|6- Client Memo|

Why Lower Rates Won’t Lead to More Affordable Housing

As Politico rightly pointed out last week, the inability of anyone who doesn’t already own a home to get one is turning into a significant political problem for incumbents of all persuasions.  It might also come to be one for the Federal Reserve based on a call I got from a senior senator a couple of weeks ago.  This is not exactly what the Fed needs given how hot a political potato it’s already become.

m020524.pdf

5 02, 2024

Karen Petrou: Why Lower Rates Won’t Lead to More Affordable Housing

2024-04-12T10:31:58-04:00February 5th, 2024|The Vault|

As Politico rightly pointed out last week, the inability of anyone who doesn’t already own a home to get one is turning into a significant political problem for incumbents of all persuasions.  It might also come to be one for the Federal Reserve based on a call I got from a senior senator a couple of weeks ago.  This is not exactly what the Fed needs given how hot a political potato it’s already become.

Having read my economic-inequality book, the senator called to ask if I thought the Fed had any responsibility for the acute shortage of affordable housing.  As in all too many other states, his has seen a migration of teachers, first responders, and the middle class as a whole from cities and resort areas, with these vital workers forced to live hours from their jobs and thus in a state of perpetual commuting which they fear puts their children at risk.

This isn’t news, but it’s worse than ever and thus not just a daily grind for many Americans, but also a serious political threat to this moderate Democrat.  His state is deep purple and he believes it’s getting redder by the minute thanks to Donald Trump’s ability to mobilize voter anger on day-to-day economic challenges such as the critical one facing those who cannot find affordable, desirable housing within reasonable distance of their jobs.

As might be expected, the senator wasn’t calling to ask an academic question; he wanted to know not just …

18 01, 2024

DAILY011824

2024-01-18T16:58:16-05:00January 18th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Basel Head Backs U.S. End-Game

In an FT interview today, the Basel Committee’s chair, Pablo Hernández de Cos, unsurprisingly endorsed the U.S. end-game proposal, indirectly but firmly rebutting assertions that it is at variance with global norms.

The Shape of Liquidity Rules to Come

Previewing the construct of what may soon be the anticipated inter-agency proposal addressing liquidity-risk lessons-learned, Acting Comptroller Hsu today argued that the liquidity coverage ratio’s treatment of retail depositors (see FSM Report LIQUIDITY17) does not address likely depositor herding as they run for the exit.

Rounds, Sinema Press for SIFI-Designation Rollback

Senate Banking Committee Member Rounds (R-SD) alongside Sen. Sinema (I-AZ) introduced S.3601, legislation to codify 2019 standards (see FSM report SIFI35) adding significantly more obstacles to systemic designation compared to FSOC’s new approach (see FSM report SIFI36).

Steele’s Good-Bye Presses for More Tough Standards

In his last speech in office, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Graham Steele today called for reassessment of the treatment of unrealized gains or losses not just under the capital rules, but also in the liquidity standards (where they are in fact to some degree now captured).

House Democrats Damn Capital Proposal With Faint Praise

In this report, we begin our assessment of Congressional end-game comment letters.

Senate Letters Slam Capital Proposal’s Tax-Equity Risk Weight Changes

Here, we turn to several Senate letters on the end-game proposal.

Daily011824.pdf

18 12, 2023

DAILY121823

2023-12-18T17:12:20-05:00December 18th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

House Dems Press Tax-Equity Bond Capital Fix

Emphasizing their strong support for the capital proposals, 107 Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) have sent a letter to Chair Powell, Chair Gruenberg, and Acting Comptroller Hsu again asking for revised treatment for clean energy tax-equity bonds.

Updated GSIB Indicator Amounts Now Effective

The Fed today published updated Aggregate Global Indicator Amounts pursuant to its GSIB surcharge rule (see Client Report GSIB5).

FSB Finds U.S. NBFI Assets Continue to Dwarf Banks

The FSB today released its 2023 Global NBFI monitoring report, finding that NBFIs continue to hold a larger percentage of financial assets than banks in the U.S.

DOJ/FTC Stand Firm on New Anti-Concentration Merger Policy

Justice and the FTC today released the final version of new merger guidelines, softening but not clearly weakening the agencies’ draft (see FSM Report MERGER12).

Warren, Allies Attack Hsu’s Preemption Policy

Making it clear that Acting Comptroller Hsu will have challenges from Democrats should the White House ever nominate him as Comptroller, seven Democrats led by Sen. Warren (D-MA) sent him a letter today accusing the agency of overstepping and abusing its preemption authority.

McHenry Asks CFPB to Change Open-Banking Secondary Data Approach

HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) today sent a comment letter to CFPB Director Chopra reiterating the support expressed at a recent hearing (see Client Report CONSUMER53), for the agency’s open banking proposal (see FSM Report DATA4), but now asking for changes related to …

15 12, 2023

DAILY121523

2023-12-15T17:31:25-05:00December 15th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Crypto Measures Await Next Session

As anticipated, HFSC Chair McHenry (R-NC) was able to fend off concerted efforts by Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Warren (D-MA) to add the Warren-Marshall crypto bill to the National Defense Authorization Act.

FSOC to Target Hedge Funds, Nonbank Mortgage Companies

The readout from Treasury on yesterday’s FSOC meeting provides insight into the Council’s executive session suggesting significant near-term systemic action regarding hedge funds.

FSB Plans Broad Rewrite of Public Backstops, GSIFI Resolvability, Operational Readiness

The FSB’s 2023 Resolution Report today advises banks and public sector authorities to be prepared to access public sector funding in resolution, with the Board planning to review whether existing public sector backstops are adequate to meet potential failure scenarios.

Brown Renews Bipartisan Quest to Constrain Nonbank Banks

Advancing the big-tech concerns he most recently voiced before GSIB CEOs (see Client Report GSIB23), Senate Banking Chairman Brown (D-OH) has introduced S. 3538, bipartisan legislation to impose bank regulation on non-bank parent companies of insured depository institutions.

DOJ Targets Fraudulent Microtransactions

Cracking down on unauthorized bank account charges, the DOJ today announced multiple actions against “sham” companies alleged to have used misrepresentations or unauthorized charges to steal money from consumers’ financial accounts.

CRS Warns Credit Card Act Could Result In Risky Retailer Payment Networks

The CRS this week issued a report analyzing the Durbin-Marshall Credit Card Competition Act, S.1838 (see FSM Report INTERCHANGE10), projecting that fee caps will have a greater impact on transaction fees than competition, with …

14 12, 2023

DAILY121423

2023-12-15T17:22:54-05:00December 14th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Top Senate Democrats Heighten Payment App Scrutiny

Continuing to shift their focus from Zelle to payment-service providers, Senate Banking Chairman Brown (D-OH) along with Sens. Reed (D-RI) and Warren (D-MA) today sent letters to Paypal and CashApp urging them to adopt new scam-reimbursement policies.

Treasury Defends Russian Sanctions, Economic-Warfare Clout

Facing increasing assertions that U.S.-led sanctions are not meaningfully affecting Russia, Treasury today issued a blog stoutly defending sanctions effectiveness.

Reed Presses OFR to Subpoena Shadow-Bank Data

The principal sponsor of the Dodd-Frank provisions creating the Office of Financial Research, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), today defended the agency on grounds that it lacks a confirmed director, promising to push the appointment on the floor as quickly as possible.

Basel Targets Stablecoin Reserve-Asset Risk

Moving forward with “targeted” changes to current standards, the Basel Committee today outlined revisions to its crypto standards with significant practical implications.

Liang Disputes Over-Arching Need for New AI Regs

Treasury Under Secretary Liang today argued that AI is not fundamentally different than other financial innovations and is already subject to existing consumer-protection, safety-and-soundness, illicit-finance, and financial-stability guardrails.

FRB-NY Official Highlights AI Promise, Problems, Policy Action

Summarizing a recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York AI conference, the Bank’s chief risk officer, Mihaela Nistor, concluded that AI can now identify GSIB and GSIFI risk due to its ability to detect tail behavior not now captured by relevant models.

Democrats Urge CFPB to Take Second Stand Against Forced Arbitration

Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Sanders (I-VT) were today …

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