#Federalreserve

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

16 02, 2024

DAILY021624

2024-02-16T15:55:14-05:00February 16th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Barr Points to Tough New Fed Supervisory Strategy

FRB Vice Chair Barr today updated FRB efforts to enhance bank supervision since its SVB post mortem revealed severe failings (see Client Report REFORM221).  Various internal efforts are under way, but the talk indicates no specific new initiatives beyond far greater focus on near-term CRE risk with an eye in particular to adequate provisioning.  The System is now improving supervisory rigor, coordination, and escalation protocols, with Mr. Barr also laying out how Fed supervision has become significantly more rigorous in the last year.

CFPB Report Continues Credit Card Attack

Buttressing its controversial credit-card late-fee proposal (see FSM Report CREDITCARD36), the CFPB today issued a report finding that the 25 largest credit card issuers charged interest rates eight to ten percentage points higher than small-and-medium-sized banks and credit unions. The report states that higher rates among large issuers persist across credit scores, with large issuers also more likely to charge annual fees.

House GOP Tries to Speed Bank M&A

Following up a letter sent to the federal banking agencies in October, HFSC Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chair Barr (R-KY) and Rep. Fitzgerald (R-WI) today introduced the Bank Failure Prevention Act, a bill to require the Federal Reserve to act on bank merger applications within ninety days.  The bill would also require the central bank to acknowledge the application’s completion within thirty days, with approval automatically granted for any application not serviced within the ninety-day window.

Daily021624.pdf

15 02, 2024

DAILY021524

2024-02-15T17:13:22-05:00February 15th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Bowman Focuses on Inclusive Cross-Border Payments

FRB Gov. Bowman today emphasized that national and global payment-system improvements must not only work for the financial system and payment providers, but also for end-users and broader inclusive growth.  This is a policy challenge that, she said, cannot be resolved only by technology.

Senate Dems Resume Attack on Zelle

Retreating from his stand during a recent hearing that seemed to absolve Zelle (see Client Report PAYMENT28), Senate Banking Chairman Brown, (D-OH) along with Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Reed (D-RI), today sent a letter reiterating calls for Zelle to clarify its reimbursement policy for impostor scams.  The letter also demands that Zelle revise its reimbursement policy to cover other scams and to and streamline its reporting process, demanding a new public commitment to doing so.

Waller Sees Impregnable Dollar Dominance

FRB Gov. Waller today mounted a strong defense not only of the dollar as the globe’s reserve currency under current conditions, but also even as digital currencies become more widely deployed.  This stand is consistent with those at the FRB opposing proposals in Congress to advance a CBDC on grounds that it is essential to preserve reserve-currency status (see FSM Report CBDC10) and signals no interest in the U.S. central bank to making any other payment-system changes to press sanctions policy with the dollar’s dominance in mind.

Daily021524.pdf

15 02, 2024

STRESS32

2024-02-15T15:42:00-05:00February 15th, 2024|5- Client Report|

FedFin Assessment: New Fed Stress Tests are a lot Like the Old Fed Stress Tests

In this report, we assess the strategic and policy implications of the Fed’s new stress-test regime.  Released today, it incorporates new “exploratory” scenarios previewed by Vice Chair Barr as a response to the significant stress-test omissions laid bare in the March banking crisis.  However, these exploratory tests will not directly factor into the SCB, which will also be calibrated to current capital rules since the banking agencies are now most unlikely to finalize these in time for SCB calculations later this year.  We nonetheless expect bank supervisors to run bank results against internal models premised on new capital requirements, using supervisory discretion to address any capital shortfalls they feel warrant distribution restrictions regardless of formal test results.  Similarly, we think supervisors will take near-term action if any of the exploratory scenarios points to near-term risk.

STRESS32.pdf

14 02, 2024

DAILY021424

2024-02-14T17:29:47-05:00February 14th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Global Regulators Propose Ways to Limit Variation-Margining Stress

As promised, CPMI and IOSCO have issued a discussion paper on CCP and clearing-member variation-margin practices.  The global agencies propose eight principles to enhance the likelihood that margins will be covered in stress situations, a continuing challenge based on a recent IMF paper finding that up to a third of EU active-derivatives users would not be able to meet variation-margin calls under stress and would thus turn to liquidating MMF shares or other assets in a manner likely to amplify market stress.

HFSC Deploys Power of the Purse to Pressure FinCEN

As anticipated, today’s HFSC hearing with Treasury and FinCEN was highly partisan, with Republicans continuing to blast FinCEN for what they call SAR surveillance and now threatening to block any increased funding for FinCEN until it also improves beneficial-ownership reporting to the GOP’s liking. Rep. Loudermilk (R-GA) also criticized FinCEN for failing to release the statutorily-mandated BSA review and the $10,000 threshold review.

Barr Sees Banking System as Strong, Liquid

In remarks today, FRB Vice Chair Barr emphasized that, despite pockets of risk and CRE worries, the banking system is sound and he sees no liquidity-risk concerns across the financial system.  Still, March 2023 taught hard lessons, he said, with banks since taking significant steps to reduce HTM holdings and enhance liquidity resilience.

Daily021424.pdf

13 02, 2024

DAILY021324

2024-02-13T17:42:19-05:00February 13th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Durbin Tries Another Approach to Advance Card-Fee Limits

After trying various ways to bring his credit-card fee bill to the floor, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair and Majority Leader Durbin (D-IL) has scheduled a hearing on this controversial bipartisan measure (see FSM Report INTERCHANGE10).

FinCEN Reaches SEC Agreement to Bring Investment Advisers Under AML/CFT Standards

As it has repeatedly promised, FinCEN today revised a 2015 proposal and issued a new one to subject investment advisers to AML and CFT requirements similar to, but still less restrictive than, those that have long governed banks.

HFSC Rallies to Crypto AML/CFT Defense

The HFSC staff memo on Thursday’s Digital-Assets Subcommittee hearing makes it clear that cryptoasset entities will be given a strong platform from which to resist calls in the Senate to subject cryptoasset transactions to AML and sanctions law.

Gensler Reinforces AI Concerns

In remarks today, SEC Chair Gensler acknowledged AI’s benefits in a manner consistent with the President’s executive order (see Client Report AI3), but then launched into a sharp critique of its risks in line with the agency’s pending rule in this arena.

Bowman Takes Fed Accountability, Transparency to Task

In an essay today, FRB Gov. Bowman emphasized that regulatory accountability does not undermine the independence also essential to a sound, innovative banking system.

Gensler Turns to Bank/Hedge-Fund Interconnection

In addition to his speech on AI earlier today, SEC Chair Gensler today engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of key financial policy questions.

Daily021324.pdf

6 02, 2024

DAILY020624

2024-02-06T16:33:54-05:00February 6th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Agencies Begin Pro Forma Reg Review Likely to Take on New Urgency

The FRB, FDIC, and OCC today released the first of the requisite ten-year request for comment on the extent to which existing rules are outdated or unduly burdensome.  We will shortly provide clients with an in-depth analysis of the request if it goes beyond the nominal inquiries in the past that led to little meaningful regulatory reform.

Senate GOP Turns to FHFA, FHLB on “Woke” Standards

Criticizing what they call the FHFA’s and FHLBs “politically contentious social agendas,” Senate Banking Republicans Hagerty (R-TN), Tillis (R-NC), Britt (R-AL), and Vance (R-OH) sent a letter to FHFA Director Thompson late yesterday arguing that several FHLB pilot programs are “racially discriminatory” and defy congressional intent.  They also argue that the pilot programs highlight a potential gap in FHFA oversight because the final rule governing Fannie and Freddie pilot programs does not also apply to the FHLBs.

SEC Finalizes Contentious Treasury-Market Registration Standards

The SEC today voted 3-2 to approve a revised version of an earlier proposal subjecting certain hedge funds and other Treasury-market participants to registration and SRO regulation, thus reducing their competitive advantages vis-à-vis banks in the secondary-dealer arena.  The new approach uses a qualitative test based on the extent to which a covered entity acts as a market-maker as well as Treasury investor.

Daily020624.pdf

2 02, 2024

DAILY020224

2024-02-02T16:21:33-05:00February 2nd, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Powell, Hsu Add to Pressure on SEC Crypto-Custody Standards

As we noted yesterday, Congressional Republicans are now mounting a Congressional Review Act effort to repeal the SEC’s staff accounting bulletin (see FSM Report CUSTODY5) requiring balance-sheet recognition of crypto-custody deposits at considerable cost to banking institutions.

Trump to Dump Powell

As we expected, Donald Trump today said that, if elected, he will not reappoint Jerome Powell.  This decision will not present itself to the next president until Mr. Powell’s term ends in January of 2026, but we do not think either of the candidates is likely to reappoint Mr. Powell should he seek a third term.

GOP Bill Challenges Capital Proposal

Echoing long-held concerns of other HFSC Republicans, Rep. Ogles (R-TN) along with Rep. Donalds (R-FL) have introduced legislation (H.R. 7143) forcing regulators to withdraw the capital proposal (see FSM Report CAPITAL230).

Senate Presses for Anti-Hungary Sanctions

In a statement that may lead financial institutions to review their exposures, Senate Foreign Relations Chair Cardin (D-MD) called on the Biden Administration to consider sanctions against Hungary due to its government’s refusal until late yesterday to support EU efforts for Ukraine and its broadly anti-democratic program in general and with specific regard to pressuring the U.S. and its ambassador to Hungary.

HFSC Republicans Take Another Shot at FDIC

Continuing their campaign against FDIC Chair Gruenberg, HFSC Chair McHenry (R-NC) along with Subcommittee Chairs Barr (R-KY) and Hill (R-AR) sent a letter today to the FDIC questioning …

30 01, 2024

DAILY013024

2024-01-30T17:13:26-05:00January 30th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

FinCEN Estimates High Bank-BOI Reporting Costs

FinCEN via the Federal Register today requested comment on the estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden for new Access Rule beneficial ownership information (BOI) reporting requirements (see FSM Report AML135).

Brown Puts More Pressure on Powell

Following Sen. Warren’s rate-cut demands and affordable housing concerns yesterday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Brown (D-OH) today sent a letter to FRB Chair Powell also calling for less restrictive monetary policy on grounds that elevated rates negatively impact home affordability, limit the housing supply, restrict small business growth, and dampen wages.

HFSC Targets China Sanctions, Outbound Investments

Today’s HFSC National Security Subcommittee Hearing focused on China sanctions and restrictions on outbound investments.

GOP Demands Retraction of CFPB Tech-Payment Proposal

Reiterating their opposition to the Bureau’s pending digital-payment rule (see FSM Report PAYMENT27), HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) alongside Digital Assets Subcommittee Chairman Hill (R-AR) and Rep. Flood (R-NE) sent a letter today urging the CFPB to reopen and extend the comment period and reconsider finalizing the rule as proposed.

Daily013024.pdf

29 01, 2024

DAILY012924

2024-01-29T16:36:27-05:00January 29th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

White House Advances AI Governance, Government Adoption

Following the President’s AI executive order (see Client Report AI3), the White House today released an update following a steering-group meeting.

BIS Study Examines Stablecoin Run-Risk

A new BIS study supports pending U.S. legislation and possible rules related to stablecoin reserve assets and run-risk, finding that transparency increases stablecoin stability when reserve assets are of high quality, but decreases stability when reserves are perceived to be low quality or when there are low transaction costs to convert to fiat.

Hsu Sets Course to New OCC Merger Policy with No Fed Companion in Sight

In remarks today emphasizing the need for a more transparent bank-merger process, Acting Comptroller Hsu announced that the OCC will today release an NPR eliminating the possibility that merger applications will be approved solely by the passage of time.

Warren Starts the New Year with Political Pressure on Fed Policy

Reiterating concerns about high interest rates, Sen. Warren (D-MA) along with Sens. Hickenlooper (D-CO), Rosen (D-NV) and Whitehouse (D-RI) today sent a letter to Chair Powell calling on him to reverse rate hikes, citing its impact on the current affordable housing crisis.

Daily012924.pdf

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