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28 11, 2022

DAILY112822

2022-11-28T16:52:04-05:00November 28th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Fed Staff Paper Counters CBDC First-Mover Arguments

Supporting the Fed’s decision not to move quickly on CBDC (see FSM Report CBDC10), a new Fed staff paper found little evidence of any national first-mover advantages, running counter to many lawmakers’ concerns about the US falling behind China or Europe (see Client Report CBDC13).  The paper argues that the speed of technological innovation, the ability of large economies to dictate technology standards, and the ability of subsequent movers to improve on the design of first movers minimizes any early advantages gained in international payments.  It also reiterates the Fed’s view that the dollar’s position as the global reserve currency is not at risk, citing the slow nature of historical financial transitions.

Basel Turns Focus To NBFI Interconnectedness, Leverage-Ratio Risk

Continuing the global-regulatory focus on nonbank financial intermediation (see Client Report NBFI2), the Basel Committee last week concluded that continued NBFI sector growth poses financial-stability concerns and highlighted interconnectedness risks and inadequate management practices.  Specific concerns center on due-diligence failures, margining practices, and limit frameworks.  The Committee also identifies regulatory arbitrage regarding the leverage ratio, providing no explanation of what this might entail.  Additional areas of concern include NBFI counterparty exposure through derivatives and securities financing, leveraged lending, prime brokerage, and cryptoasset services.

Daily112822.pdf

23 11, 2022

DAILY112322

2022-11-23T12:42:48-05:00November 23rd, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

OFAC Updates Guidance For Price-Cap Sanction Compliance

Reflecting ongoing negotiations about the level of the oil-price cap, OFAC last night provided updated guidance to banks and insurers about when transactions may violate this latest sanction.  The new guidance identifies “covered services” for financing; this means a commitment for the provision or disbursement of debt, equity, or economic resources related to the maritime transport of Russian oil.  However, and as before, U.S. persons are authorized to provide covered services if the Russian oil is purchased at or below the price cap.

FDIC Signals Tougher GSIB Resolution Reviews

With the FDIC signaling a tough new approach to resolution plan approval, the FRB and FDIC today announced the results of the resolution plans filed by U.S. GSIBs in July, 2021.  All the banking organizations saw their plans approved except for Citigroup, which had noted shortcomings due to data quality and management concerns; the bank now has until January 31, 2023 to submit a revised plan.  FDIC Acting Chairman Gruenberg noted that, going forward, the agencies will conduct more detailed reviews of internal testing results and independent capability assessments.

Daily112322.pdf

18 11, 2022

DAILY111822

2022-11-18T16:59:14-05:00November 18th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

GAO Study Hikes Pressure on SEC Process

Adding to the Chairman Gensler’s woes, the GAO today released a report finding that the SEC Division of Enforcement did not document its work reviewing staff procedure assessments, hindering future internal reviews.  Republicans have been harshly critical of SEC procedures and processes, as well as of the Commission’s enforcement-focused approach to cryptoassets.  The GAO’s finding adds fuel to a campaign sure to gain force next year, recommending as it does that the Division Director ensure that information is collected and reported in its memorandum as required by Dodd-Frank.

Fed Study Endorses Bank Supervision

A new Fed staff study uses their unique access to bank examination reports from banks with less than $10 billion in assets to evaluate the extent to which supervisory reports and associated CAMELS ratings predict bank outcomes.  Looking at reports from 2004 through 2016 and thus capturing the great financial crisis, the study concludes that ratings for capital, assets, management, and earnings are effective even after controlling for factors including the ratings themselves.  Ratings are also associated with bank improvement in areas censured in earlier supervisory reports.  The analytical method is textual – i.e., based on a reading of supervisory reports then run through various models to determine impact.

Daily111822.pdf

17 11, 2022

DAILY111722

2022-11-17T17:18:13-05:00November 17th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Warren, Durbin Demand Answers about FTX Collapse

Following FTX’s collapse, Majority Whip Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Warren (D-MA) sent a letter today to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried demanding a detailed accounting of the company’s decisions and business practices.  We doubt they will get an answer anytime soon, with this letter joining a flood of Congressional inquiries and likely hearings (see Client Report REFORM215).

Jefferson Supports Limited Fed Mandate

In remarks today, FRB Gov. Phillip Jefferson disputes those – including many progressive Democrats – who believe that racial equity and economic equality are an intrinsic part of the Fed’s mission.  Specifically, he states that, while consumer protection, community development, and financial stability can promote inclusive growth, monetary policy cannot directly address it or why low-income households are more acutely affected by inflation.

Fed CBDC Survey Suggests Possible CBDC Upside

A new Fed literature review evaluating the macroeconomic implications of CBDC focuses on the financial inclusion and payment system impacts CBDC would have in the U.S. and advanced economies.  As is usually the case with surveys, it reaches cautious conclusions, including that CBDC could increase financial inclusion for the unbanked.  It might also reduce financial frictions in deposit markets, enhance retail payment-system efficiency, facilitate international transactions, and spur private-sector banking and payments innovation.

Daily111722.pdf

10 11, 2022

DAILY111022

2022-11-10T17:35:13-05:00November 10th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Inter-Agency Treasury-Market Rewrite Progresses

Treasury’s Inter-Agency Working Group on Treasury Market Surveillance (IAWG) today released a progress report on its efforts to guide action to stabilize the Treasury marketplace.

Fed Reg Report Highlights Future Priorities

The Fed today released its semiannual Supervision and Regulation Report, reiterating that banks entered 2022 in historically sound financial shape and outlined its priorities based on the potential risks of changing market conditions.

FSB NBFI Report Highlights Liquidity, Systemic Risk

The FSB today released a progress report on improving the resilience of non-bank financial intermediation (NBFI), recommending a number of enhancements to the current policy toolkit to better mitigate liquidity and financial stability risk.

CFPB Spotlights Cryptoasset Complaints

The CFPB today published a bulletin analyzing cryptoasset complaints the Bureau has received since 2018, observing a large spike in these complaints over the past two years and concluding that fraud, theft, hacks, and scams are widespread problems affecting participants in crypto markets.

CFPB Continues Furnisher Accountability Campaign

The CFPB today continued its campaign for furnisher accountability by issuing a circular upholding the Bureau’s belief that consumer credit reporting agencies and furnishers must conduct a reasonable investigation of non-frivolous consumer disputes and that failure to do so may subject them to CFPB enforcement under the FCRA.

CFPB Modifies Nonbank Financial-Company Standards

The CFPB today acted again by fiat to amend what it calls its procedural rule (see FSM Report CONSUMER41) revising its “dormant” authority and, as we noted in our analysis, creating a sweeping …

9 11, 2022

PAYMENT26

2022-11-09T12:46:45-05:00November 9th, 2022|1- Financial Services Management|

Master-Account Transparency

Although the Fed characterized its final payment-system access guidelines as “transparent,” FedFin’s analysis and other assessments concluded that the Federal Reserve Banks retained considerable discretion to pick and choose those granted master accounts and there would be no ready way to identify which institutions had or lost this essential status for any provider of retail or wholesale deposit-taking services or their equivalent.  The Board is now seeking to counter criticism with a revision to the guideline obliging Reserve Banks to create a quarterly list of institutions holding or ceasing to hold master-account privileges.

PAYMENT26.pdf

7 11, 2022

DAILY110722

2022-11-07T17:22:53-05:00November 7th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Toomey Calls for More Fed Transparency

Sen. Toomey (R-PA) continued Republican demands for still more Fed transparency, sharply criticizing the Fed’s Friday proposal to provide some transparency into which institutions are granted master accounts.

Sweeping CFPB Fee Restrictions Now Effective

The Federal Register today includes the CFPB’s circular on Unanticipated Overdraft Fee Assessment Practices and a bulletin now effective on Unfair Returned Deposited Item Fee Assessment Practices.

CFPB Advances Bigtech Market Power Campaign

Continuing its campaign against bigtech’s market power, the Federal Register today includes the CFPB’s notice and request for comment on what fees bigtech payment operators levy on users for violations of acceptable use policies and whether their policies include provisions to restrict user platform access.

Fed Staff Paper Tries To Gauge Social Welfare Impact Of Liquidity, Capital Regs

A new Fed staff study attempts to lay out the social costs and benefits of large-bank liquidity and capital regulation.

Warren Continues Campaign Against Wells Fargo, Zelle

Sen. Warren (D-MA) today continued her campaign against Zelle by sending letters to its parent company and Wells Fargo, taking particular aim at what she deems the latter’s failure to provide adequate claims and reimbursement data and labelling responses to previous letters “insulting.”

Warren Denounces Fed “Culture of Corruption”

Sen. Warren (D-MA) today also continued her campaign against Chairman Powell, sending him a letter alleging “another set of egregious and embarrassing ethics breaches.”

Daily110722.pdf

7 11, 2022

SYSTEMIC94

2022-11-07T12:43:37-05:00November 7th, 2022|5- Client Report|

Fed Systemic-Risk Fears Cloaked in Cautious Financial-Stability Report

As we noted Friday afternoon, the Federal Reserve then released its semi-annual financial-stability report in an effort not only to comply with its protocols, but likely also to attract as little attention as possible, with the release and even the report saying only as much about growing risk as the Fed thinks is essential to preserve its credibility.  In this report, we provide an in-depth assessment not only of the Fed’s latest risk landscape, but also of the steps it recommends be deployed to mitigate it to the extent these are also noted in a largely statistical analysis.  As is often the case, the Fed uses aggregate or average data to assess household financial risk, a methodology we fear obscures distributional effects for the majority of households.  The data – e.g., re non-financial business leverage – are also often as of the end of the report’s data run, not forward-looking.  Where projections are forward-looking – e.g., re non-investment grade or private business leverage – the Fed report generally notes concerns without making clear how acute these may be or the probability that drivers that could significantly and adversely affect them.  Still, as noted earlier today, its discussion of residential-mortgage risk is surprisingly sobering.  The Fed also remains deeply troubled by prime and tax-exempt MMF run risk.

SYSTEMIC94.pdf

4 11, 2022

DAILY110422

2022-11-04T17:11:14-04:00November 4th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Big Banks Pressed on Sluggish, Inequitable Deposit-Rate Hikes

Advancing an initiative with political “legs,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) has demanded answers from the nation’s largest banks on why small-deposit rates have barely budged even as the Fed sharply hiked interest rates now reflected in higher loan costs.

FRB-NY Official Details Wholesale CBDC Prototype

Remarks today from a senior FRB-NY official, Michelle Neal, continued the Fed’s ambivalent stand on a CBDC (see FSM Report CBDC10).

Fed Fixes Advanced-Approach Glitches

The FRB is proposing to implement three changes to Regulation Q data collection/disclosure rules governing advanced-approach capital adequacy at BHCs, SLHCs, and state member banks.

Fed to Name Master-Account Names

Reflecting ongoing concerns on Capitol Hill, the Fed is proposing to make what our analysis suggests were opaque payment-system access guidelines (see FSM Report PAYMENT24) “a bit more transparent.”

Toomey Presses for SLR Rewrite

Ranking Senate Banking Member Toomey (R-PA) today released his letter to Chairman Powell cautioning the central bank not to handle any Treasury-market liquidity events with new backstop facilities.

Waters Adds To Fed’s Political Woes

In a letter today, HFSC Chairwoman Waters (D-CA) joined Sens. Warren (D-MA), Brown (D-OH), and Hickenlooper (D-CO) in sharply criticizing the recent Fed “super-sized” rate hike.

Fed Worry Level Goes Up

The Federal Reserve likely hoped for the torpor of a Friday afternoon to quell frightened replies to the latest financial-stability report released today.

Daily110422.pdf

1 11, 2022

DAILY110122

2022-11-01T16:53:18-04:00November 1st, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Progressives Target Fed Attack Directly on Powell

With a new letter from progressive Democrats ahead of the FOMC release, it is clear that the campaign  not just against Fed rate hikes, but now also Chairman Powell, is gaining strength on the left.  Long-time Fed critic Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is joined here by Sens. Sanders (D-VT) – who has spoken out before and Sens. Whitehouse (D-RI) and Merkley (D-OR).  The letter is also signed by seven progressive House Democrats – a small minority of Democrats to be sure, but still significant in terms of the Democratic base.  All of them urge the Fed to forbear on grounds that higher rates are already having adverse employment and global-growth consequences.

Daily110122.pdf

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