#DFA

20 02, 2024

Karen Petrou: How the OCC Made a Bad Bank Both Bigger and Badder

2024-02-20T09:01:31-05:00February 20th, 2024|The Vault|

As I noted last week, the OCC’s proposed bank-merger policy fails to reckon with the strong supervisory and regulatory powers federal banking agencies already have to quash problematic consolidations and concentrations.  Here, I turn to one reason why the OCC may not trust these rules:  it doesn’t trust itself.  A bit of recent history shows all too well why this self-doubt is warranted even though it’s also inexcusable.

I owe my historical recall to the authoritative Bank Reg Blog, which last week looked at the latest on NYCB.  This included a troubling reminder of the troubled bank’s merger with Flagstar before it thought it snapped up another great deal from the FDIC via acquiring what was left of Signature Bank.

NYCB first sought approval for the Flagstar acquisition in 2021 when its primary federal regulator was the FDIC.  As is often the case with merger applications, this one appeared to go into a dark hole.  Unlike many other acquisitions, the banking companies had a go-to Plan B: charter conversion.

NYCB went to the OCC and got rapid approval not just for converting its charter to a national bank, but also then for acquiring Flagstar via a reverse flip that also involved a Flagstar conversion to a national charter.  The OCC then readily approved the merger in 2022, just in time for some of the super-rapid growth via the Signature deal both the OCC and FDIC approved even though they should have been well aware that rapid-fire mergers almost always …

8 01, 2024

M010824

2024-01-08T11:25:26-05:00January 8th, 2024|6- Client Memo|

Reflections on Regulatory Failure and a Better Way

Earlier today, we released our 2024 regulatory outlook, a nice summary of which may be found on Politico’s Morning Money.  As I reviewed the draft, I realized how much of what the agencies plan is doomed to do little of what has long been needed to insulate the financial system from repeated shock.  This is a most wearisome thought that then prompted the philosophical reflection also to be found in this brief.  It asks why lots more bank rules do so little for financial resilience yet are always followed by still more rules and then an even bigger bust.   I conclude that financial policy should be founded on Samuel Johnson’s observation that, “when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”  That is, redesign policy from one focused on endless, ever-more-complex rules spawning still larger bureaucracies into credible, certain, painful resolutions to concentrate each financial institution’s mind and that of a market that would no longer be assured of bailout or backstop.

m010824.pdf

8 01, 2024

Karen Petrou: Reflections on Regulatory Failure and a Better Way

2024-01-08T11:25:21-05:00January 8th, 2024|The Vault|

Earlier today, we released our 2024 regulatory outlook, a nice summary of which may be found on Politico’s Morning Money.  As I reviewed the draft, I realized how much of what the agencies plan is doomed to do little of what has long been needed to insulate the financial system from repeated shock.  This is a most wearisome thought that then prompted the philosophical reflection also to be found in this brief.  It asks why lots more bank rules do so little for financial resilience yet are always followed by still more rules and then an even bigger bust.   I conclude that financial policy should be founded on Samuel Johnson’s observation that, “when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”  That is, redesign policy from one focused on endless, ever-more-complex rules spawning still larger bureaucracies into credible, certain, painful resolutions to concentrate each financial institution’s mind and that of a market that would no longer be assured of bailout or backstop.

We know in our everyday lives that complex rules backed by empty threats lead to very bad behavior.  For example, most parents do not get their kids to brush their teeth by issuing an edict reading something like:

It has long been demonstrated that brushing your teeth from top to bottom, tooth-by-tooth, flossing hereafter and using toothpaste meeting specifications defined herein will achieve cleaner teeth, a brighter smile, improved public acceptance of the tooth-bearer, and lower cost to …

7 09, 2023

DAILY090723

2023-09-07T16:43:25-04:00September 7th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

FSB-IMF Report Lays Out Crypto-Policy Roadmap

The FSB and IMF today published a joint report synthesizing their policy and regulatory recommendations for cryptoassets, laying out a policy roadmap that breaks no new ground.

Senate Dems Try Again to End State Usury Ceilings

Senate Majority Whip Durbin (D-IL) yesterday introduced another effort (S. 2730) to impose a federal usury ceiling.

NGFS Warns Ecological Risk Could Be Systemic

The Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) today released a report on nature-related financial risk concluding that ecological risk transmission could cause contagion leading to systemic risk.

CFPB Soon to Advance Its Open-Banking Construct

CFPB Director Chopra today announced that the CFPB will be issuing proposed rules next month to reactivate its DFA consumer data rights powers (see FSM Report DATA3).

Global Securities Regulators Craft DeFi Standards

IOSCO today released a DeFi consultation report proposing nine policy recommendations intended to support heightened regulatory consistency and oversight.

Waters Presses Agencies to Change SSN Collection Requirements

HFSC Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) today wrote to the leadership of the banking agencies, Treasury, and FinCEN asking them to consider allowing financial institutions only to collect a SSN’s last four digits to minimize cybersecurity risks.

Fed Staff Suggest Solution to CBDC Privacy Problem

Addressing one of the biggest CBDC challenges in the U.S., Fed staff today published a report arguing that the use of privacy-enhancing technologies preserves digital asset user confidentiality while maintaining enough visibility for official audits in order to prevent illicit finance.

Daily090723.pdf

26 04, 2023

FedFin on: Systemic-Risk Determinations

2023-04-26T16:59:28-04:00April 26th, 2023|The Vault|

Rejecting the Trump Administration’s hands-off approach to designating systemically-important nonbank financial institutions or activities and practices, the Biden Administration’s FSOC has bifurcated this construct with one proposal on designating entities and another that lays out an analytical approach to identifying systemic risk that would then guide firm and activity designation as well as Council staff coordination with primary federal regulators leading to new rules, product or service prohibitions/restrictions, or firm-specific supervisory action. If the final framework is as comprehensive as this proposal and FSOC is as actively engaged as its plan requires, then U.S. systemic standards could extend far more widely than is now the case even if firm-specific nonbank designations are few and far between…

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

26 04, 2023

SYSTEMIC95

2023-04-26T13:51:20-04:00April 26th, 2023|1- Financial Services Management|

Systemic-Risk Determinations

Rejecting the Trump Administration’s hands-off approach to designating systemically-important nonbank financial institutions or activities and practices, the Biden Administration’s FSOC has bifurcated this construct with one proposal on designating entities and another that lays out an analytical approach to identifying systemic risk that would then guide firm and activity designation as well as Council staff coordination with primary federal regulators leading to new rules, product or service prohibitions/restrictions, or firm-specific supervisory action. If the final framework is as comprehensive as this proposal and FSOC is as actively engaged as its plan requires, then U.S. systemic standards could extend far more widely than is now the case even if firm-specific nonbank designations are few and far between.

SYSTEMIC95.pdf

28 03, 2023

REFORM217

2023-03-28T16:28:44-04:00March 28th, 2023|5- Client Report|

Senate Banking Demands Supervisory Accountability, Transparency, Reform

Today’s Senate Banking hearing was extremely well-attended by Senators on both sides of the aisle clearly looking first to understand what precipitated recent bank failures, who is to blame, and what should be done next.  Republicans argued that current law gives the Fed considerable discretion without the need for statutory change.  Although FRB Vice Chairman Barr initially sought to emphasize the need for new rules without blaming old ones, he ultimately admitted that the Fed indeed could and can govern risky banking organizations regardless of size.

REFORM217.pdf

28 03, 2023

FedFin on: Senate Banking Demands Supervisory Accountability, Transparency, Reform

2023-04-03T12:47:49-04:00March 28th, 2023|The Vault|

Today’s Senate Banking hearing was extremely well-attended by senators on both sides of the aisle clearly looking first to understand what precipitated recent bank failures, who is to blame, and what should be done next.  Republicans argued that current law gives the Fed considerable discretion without the need for statutory change.  Although FRB Vice Chairman Barr initially sought to emphasize the need for new rules without blaming old ones, he ultimately admitted that the Fed indeed could and can govern risky banking organizations regardless of size….

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

8 09, 2021

FedFin on: Small-Business Lending Disclosures

2023-08-21T13:45:34-04:00September 8th, 2021|The Vault|

Turning again to a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has issued a sweeping proposal to implement small-business and small-farm lending disclosure requirements akin to those long required under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).  Although the law focuses on lender reports to discern different loan-approval rates based on gender or ethnic/racial groups, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) goes farther also to require extensive detail on loan amounts and pricing on approved loans a borrower chooses not to accept.  Data would be required from all but the very smallest bank and nonbank lenders.

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

8 09, 2021

SBA40

2023-08-21T13:45:46-04:00September 8th, 2021|1- Financial Services Management|

Small-Business Lending Disclosures

Turning again to a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has issued a sweeping proposal to implement small-business and small-farm lending disclosure requirements akin to those long required under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).  Although the law focuses on lender reports to discern different loan-approval rates based on gender or ethnic/racial groups, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) goes farther also to require extensive detail on loan amounts and pricing on approved loans a borrower chooses not to accept.  Data would be required from all but the very smallest bank and nonbank lenders.

SBA40.pdf

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