#Discover

8 04, 2024

DAILY040824

2024-04-08T16:31:06-04:00April 8th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Schumer Weighs In Against CapOne/Discover Deal

Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) made it clear that the Capital One/Discover merger faces an unusually high hurdle:  strong opposition with the power to pack even more of a political punch than concerns voiced so far by progressive Democrats.

Treasury IMF Presses for Bank Insurance, Pension, Bond-Fund Rules Restricting Private-Credit Interconnection

The IMF continued its pressure on private credit, finding that the sector clocked in last year at $2.1 trillion with three quarters of this in the U.S. and soon to eclipse syndicated lending and high-yield bonds.

GOP Introduces CRA Resolutions Challenging Climate-Risk Rules

Splitting the issue among various GOP sponsors, GOP members have introduced Congressional Review Act resolutions to overturn climate-risk rules finalized by the OCC (H.J. Res 124 by Rep. Donalds [R-FL] et al.), the FRB (H.J. Res 125 by Rep. Fitzgerald [R-WI] et al.), and FDIC (H.J. Res 126 by Rep. Houchin [R-IN] et al.).

CFPB Criticizes Credit Report Inaccuracies for Victims of Human Trafficking, Identity Theft

A CFPB report criticized furnishers for providing false or fraudulent information to consumer reporting companies and accused consumer reporting agencies of failing to ensure the accuracy of credit reports related to victims of human trafficking and identity theft, finding significant non-compliance with its 2022 rule requiring reporting companies to block adverse information.

FRB-NY Finds that Brokers with BHCs are Better, But Are They?

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s blog today posted a brief about a May 2021 study …

21 03, 2024

DAILY032124

2024-03-21T17:00:13-04:00March 21st, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

FDIC Plans Merger Squelch

Both the policy and politics of the FDIC’s proposed merger policy follow that of its 2022 RFI (see FSM Report MERGER9), a very stringent approach to bank-merger review that split the FDIC 3-2 on party lines.  We will shortly provide clients with an in-depth analysis of the proposed approach, approved on a 3-2 vote.  It tracks much in the OCC’s proposal (see FSM Report MERGER14) but is still more stringent in several key areas.  Notably, it does not rely on qualitative financial-stability considerations, instead setting a $100 billion threshold for additional scrutiny.

Chopra Wants Far Tougher Bank-Merger Policy

CFPB Director Chopra elaborated today on his comments at the FDIC meeting, saying that he thinks the proposal is fine as far as it goes but that federal policy should go considerably further to curtail bank consolidation.  Actions he advocates include hard caps on bank growth and size (presumably meaning a limit on organic growth as well as via acquisition) and a roll-back of the systemic exemption in failing-bank acquisitions to block any future JPM/FRC-style transactions.

Daily032124.pdf

1 03, 2024

Al030424

2024-03-01T17:07:55-05:00March 1st, 2024|3- This Week|

A Central Bank Very Much in the Middle

As always, we will provide clients with in-depth analyses after Chair Powell comes before Congress later this week to face the usual fusillade of political inquiry along with policy questions.  As before (see Client Report FEDERALRESERVE74), Mr. Powell will face hard questioning from Republicans on the pending capital rules, with many now trying to pin him down on likely changes and the extent to which Mr. Powell’s promise of consensus before a final rule still holds.  A lot of questions will also come from both sides of the aisle on bank mergers, with House Democrats demanding a new merger policy, Sen. Warren (D-MA) trying to get Mr. Powell to signal disapproval of the CapOne/Discover deal – he won’t, and Republicans trying to get Mr. Powell to say that deals such as this one must get done to ensure regional-bank survival – again, he won’t.  We also expect a new grilling from the GOP on Fed emergency-liquidity powers, along with continuing questions on climate risk, CBDC, and the quality of bank supervision.  The fate of NYCB by the time of the hearing will also be a major preoccupation on both sides of the aisle even if bad doesn’t immediately go to worse.  Democrats will try to shore up CBDC but many are also troubled by emergency-liquidity powers.  All sides will of course take much of the hearing’s bandwidth by pushing Mr. Powell to go one way or …

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

26 02, 2024

M022624

2024-02-26T11:06:35-05:00February 26th, 2024|6- Client Memo|

The Unintended Consequences of Blocking the Credit-Card Merger

There is no doubt that the banking agencies have approved all too many dubious merger applications along with charter conversions of convenience.  However, the debate roiling over the Capital One/Discover merger harkens to an earlier age of thousands more prosperous small banks all operating strictly within a perimeter guarded by top-notch consumer, community, and prudential regulators.  Whether this ever existed is at best uncertain.  What is for sure is that all this nostalgia for a halcyon past will hasten a future dominated by GSIBs and systemic-scale nonbanks still operating outside flimsy regulatory guardrails.

M022624.pdf

26 02, 2024

Karen Petrou: The Unintended Consequences of Blocking the Credit-Card Merger

2024-04-12T09:46:02-04:00February 26th, 2024|The Vault|

There is no doubt that the banking agencies have approved all too many dubious merger applications along with charter conversions of convenience.  However, the debate roiling over the Capital One/Discover merger harkens to an earlier age of thousands more prosperous small banks all operating strictly within a perimeter guarded by top-notch consumer, community, and prudential regulators.  Whether this ever existed is at best uncertain.  What is for sure is that all this nostalgia for a halcyon past will hasten a future dominated by GSIBs and systemic-scale nonbanks still operating outside flimsy regulatory guardrails.

The best way to demonstrate this awkward certainty is to run a counter-factual – that is, think about what the world would look like if opponents of the Capital One/Discover deal get their way.  Would we quickly see a return to card competition housed firmly within a tightly-regulated system?  Would the payment system be loosed from Visa and Mastercard’s grip?  Would merchants see the dawn of a new era of itsy-bitsy interchange fees?  Would card rates plummet and rewards stay splendiferous?  I very much doubt it.  Space here does not permit a detailed assessment of the analytics underlying my conclusions, so let’s go straight to each of them.  

First, banning the CapOne/Discover deal would not ensure robust card competition under strict bank regulation.  JPMorgan’s and American Express’ formidable stakes could grow because credit-card lending is a business dependent on economies of scale and scope vital to capital-efficiency through the secondary market.  However, large banks will

23 02, 2024

AL022624

2024-02-23T16:40:22-05:00February 23rd, 2024|3- This Week|

Anniversary Party

March 10 is the one-year anniversary of Silicon Valley Bank’s costly failure, although one might better date the beginning of the end of regional-bank regulation as we knew it to March 8, the date Silvergate bit the digital dust.  Congress has talked much of these failures ever since, but actually done nothing but chide the banking agencies from different sides of the political spectrum based on what Members think of the massive regulatory rewrite proposed in SVB’s wake and ongoing internal work at the banking agencies to improve woefully-inadequate supervision.  We would add the value also of focusing on the FDIC’s inability to resolve troubled banks to the urgent to-do list, but Congress has yet to turn to it and so neither does the FDIC.  Still, lack of action does not mean lack of talk.  There will in fact be much, much talk about recent failures when Chair Powell comes to Congress next week and even, we expect, a bit of legislative action that just might change a little bit of banking law.

Al022624.pdf

22 02, 2024

DAILY022224

2024-02-22T17:00:09-05:00February 22nd, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

CapOne Deal Draws GOP Fire

Late yesterday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) joined Democrats in strongly opposing the CapOne/Discover merger, doing so not only via a short statement, but also a letter to Assistant AG Kanter.

CFPB Buttresses Calls to Block CapOne Deal

Adding still more heat to the fire it built Friday on credit-card industry practices, the CFPB today reported that the average APR margin for credit-cards has reached an all-time high.  APR margins were also found also to account for about half of the absolute card rate, which rose from 12.9 percent in 2013 to 22.8 percent in 2023.

Hsu Presses Cross-Border Cryptoasset-Platform Regulation

Speaking before the FSB’s Crypto Working Group today, Acting Comptroller Hsu made it clear that multi-function cryptoasset intermediaries require a home/host-country regulatory construct akin to that adopted in the U.S. and around the world after BCCI’s money-laundering scandal and failure in 1991.

Daily022224.pdf

21 02, 2024

DAILY022124

2024-02-21T17:03:29-05:00February 21st, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Hsu Identifies Near-Term Microprudential Options to Curtail Systemic Risk via Bank Inter-Connections

Acting Comptroller Hsu warned that the risks of blurred lines between commerce and banking pose financial-stability risks, especially when it comes to payment systems and private equity.

Waters Adds to Democratic CapOne/Discover Merger Opposition

Building on Democratic opposition, HFSC Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) made it clear that she vigorously opposes Capital One’s acquisition of Discover, arguing that it not only validates her view that tough new capital rules are essential, but also the significant risks large regional banks continue to pose.

Daily022124.pdf

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