#GAO

1 11, 2023

DAILY110123

2023-11-01T16:52:56-04:00November 1st, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Vance, GOP Seek to Reverse New Immigration Credit Ruling

Following a joint CFPB-DOJ statement asserting that financial institutions’ “unnecessary or overbroad reliance” on immigration status in a credit decision may violate the ECOA, Sen. Vance (R-OH) along with all Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee today sent a scathing letter to CFPB Director Chopra and DOJ AG Garland urging the regulators to retract it on legal and financial stability grounds.

Congress Takes on SEC Custody Construct

Members of Congress are mobilizing against the SEC’s custody proposal (see FSM Report CUSTODY5) following yesterday’s block-buster GAO ruling against the SEC’s SAB 121 ruling, a ruling with considerable impact also in the broader custody rewrite.  Republicans responded to the GAO with anticipated demands for rapid Congressional Review Act repeal.

Powell Pledges Fed Capital Consensus

In the midst of much monetary-policy discussion today, Chair Powell now said more publicly that the Fed will work towards consensus on controversial capital rules.  Rep. Barr (R-KY) previously said Mr. Powell assured him that the final rule will reflect the Board of Governors as a whole, encouraging Rep. Barr and others that Vice Chair Barr will need to modulate some of the proposal’s most controversial provisions.

Daily110123.pdf

31 10, 2023

DAILY103123

2023-10-31T17:02:58-04:00October 31st, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC GOP Turns to Merger-Policy Demands

Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chair Barr (R-KY) and Rep. Fitzgerald (R-WI) last night sent the federal banking-agency heads a stiff letter demanding to know when they plan finally to issue the long-promised bank-merger policy following public notice and comment.

China Leads New BIS CBDC Pilot

In a new CBDC project sponsored by the BIS’s Innovation Hub, central banks either directly associated with China or within its ambit will focus on multi-CBDC wholesale cross-border payments.

White House, Labor Turn to Retirement Advice “Junk Fees”

Building on its “junk-fee” initiative, the White House today expanded Obama-era “best-interest” standards to retirement advisers to close what it believes are loopholes in the SEC’s jurisdiction under its broker-dealer best-interest standard.

BIS CPMI: Even Sound Stablecoins May Not Be Worth the Effort

A new report from the BIS Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures finds that properly designed and regulated stablecoins could improve cross-border payments by increasing speed and transparency while lowering costs, especially in emerging markets and developing economies.

GAO Vacates Key SEC Crypto Ruling

The GAO today released a report finding that the SEC’s staff accounting bulletin (SAB) 121 is a rule subject to the Congressional Review Act, throwing a key Gensler anti-crypto ruling into immediate ineffectiveness and an uncertain future.

Daily103123.pdf

24 10, 2023

DAILY102423

2023-10-24T17:18:54-04:00October 24th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

McHenry, Barr Blast Basel Adherence in End-Game Regs

Although today’s hearing challenging regulatory actions aligned with global regulators was postponed, HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) and Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chairman Barr (R-KY) today kept up the pressure, releasing a letter to the GAO commissioning a study of the end-game rules.

New CRA Reg Sets Controversial, Complex Standards

Leading the way to certain inter-agency approval, the Federal Reserve today voted 6-1 to approve a final version of their 2022 controversial proposal (see FSM Report CRA32).

FDIC OIG: Supervisors Missed So Much, Acted So Slowly re SBNY

The FDIC’s OIG report today on SBNY’s failure follows much of the line the Fed’s OIG took when it came on the material-loss review of SVB’s collapse.

House Republicans Pressure Biden on $6 Billion Iran Ransom

Although HFSC continues to cancel all its hearings as the speakership battle continues, its Oversight Subcommittee today optimistically released a memo outlining goals for Thursday’s Iran-sanctions hearing.

Treasury Presses CSPs to Negotiate With Banks

Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Graham Steele today highlighted Treasury’s work with cloud service providers (CSPs) to improve transparency and security.

Divided FDIC Advances CRA Rewrite, Climate-Risk Principles

As anticipated, the FDIC on a 3-2 vote joined the Fed in approving a 1400+ page final CRA rule.

Daily102423.pdf

23 10, 2023

DAILY102323

2023-10-23T16:37:02-04:00October 23rd, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC Plans Fintech-Friendly Legislation

Wednesday’s HFSC Digital Assets Subcommittee hearing on electronic payments will consider the state of various electronic payments offerings and lay the groundwork for several GOP measures to override current standards or give providers greater leeway.  As a result, these bills are unlikely to advance in the Senate.  Measures to be covered include a bill to be introduced by Rep. Steil (R-WI) to create a federal framework for the earned-wage lending programs the CFPB has recently criticized.

HFSC Plans Sanctions Review

As anticipated, Wednesday’s HFSC National Security hearing on Middle East sanctions will consider an array of bills designed to punish Iran, sanction Hamas, and – at least as far as Republicans plan – criticize the Biden Administration for actions such as agreeing to release $6 billion to Iran in exchange for several hostages.  We have noted many of the bills on which a record will be built in prior client alerts, with the panel planning for example to advance H.R. 5923, a Lawler (R-NY) bill to extend current secondary sanctions related to Iran to all transactions with Chinese financial institutions and sanctioned Iranian banks related to oil purchases.

Daily102323.pdf

25 09, 2023

Al092523

2023-09-25T11:00:27-04:00September 25th, 2023|3- This Week|

Systemic Steps

We held this weekly update on Friday because Washington was awash with rumors that FSOC would issue final versions of proposed systemic-evaluation standards (see FSM Report SYSTEMIC95) along with a new designation methodology (see FSM Report SIFI35).  As it turned out, FSOC said so little in its closed-door meeting readout that it didn’t suffice even for a client alert, let alone a weekly.  Still, something is coming soon and, when it does, it will start yet another partisan and sometimes even emotional debate over financial regulation redefining the sector’s strategic landscape.

Al092523.pdf

14 09, 2023

DAILY091423

2023-09-14T16:47:09-04:00September 14th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

IOSCO Proposes Leveraged Loan, CLO Best Practices

IOSCO today released a consultation report proposing best practices for leveraged loans and CLOs that address origination and refinancing, EBITDA and documentation transparency, aligning interests from loan origination to end investors, managing conflicts of interest throughout the intermediation chain, and disclosures.

Durbin, Marshall Press Credit-Card Interchange Bill

Reiterating concerns expressed last month and comments yesterday on the Senate floor, Senate Whip and Judiciary Chairman Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Marshall (R-KS) were joined this time by Sen. Welch (D-VT) and four House Members calling on Visa and Mastercard to reverse planned fee hikes.

GAO Presses for FSOC Power to Regulate, Not Just Designate

The GAO today issued a report recommending that Congress consider legislation allowing FSOC to compel regulatory action, arguing that this would better accomplish the Council’s mission because FSOC currently has limited power to respond to systemic risk.

HFSC GOP Highlight CBDC Privacy Concerns

As anticipated, HFSC Digital Assets GOP Members continued their staunch opposition to a U.S. CBDC, with Subcommittee Chairman Hill (R-AR) and Majority Whip Emmer (R-MN) asserting that private innovation can modernize payments without the risk of government surveillance.

Brown Doubles Down on Opposition to House Crypto Bill

Making it still more clear that he is not supportive of pending House cryptoasset legislation, Senate Banking Chairman Brown (D-OH) today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen, SEC Chairman Gensler, and CFTC Chairman Benham asking for views on where new authority may be needed.

Daily091423.pdf

11 09, 2023

M091123

2023-09-11T09:40:12-04:00September 11th, 2023|6- Client Memo|

The PCA Cure for Much That Ails New Banking Rules

It’s a cliché, but it’s also true that one can’t beat something with nothing, especially in Washington.  This is an axiom well worth remembering when it comes to all of the new capital and resolution rules befalling the nation’s biggest banks.  I don’t think they need to be beaten back in their entirety – much in the proposals fixes vital flaws.  But the agencies have done a remarkably poor job conjuring the impact of each of these sweeping proposals, let alone their cumulative impact in the context of all the other rules and the grievous supervisory lapses that contributed to recent failures no matter all the rules that could well have sufficed if enforced.  Thus, the most obvious problems with this new construct are opacity, complexity, and most importantly reasonable doubts that, even with all these sharpened arrows, supervisors will still fail to draw their bows and then fire early and often.  All too much in the new rules is false science, as even a cursory read of the impact analyses makes painfully clear.  Instead of setting standards on lofty, unproven models, safeguards should rely on an engineering axiom:  use warning lights that force prompt and corrective action.  Think of the ground warning in an airplane followed by urgent “pull-up” commands and then go to work on the banking dashboard with clear, enforceable rules and new PCA thresholds forcing supervisory action and accountability.

M091123.pdf

11 09, 2023

Karen Petrou: The PCA Cure for Much That Ails New Banking Rules

2023-09-11T09:40:05-04:00September 11th, 2023|The Vault|

It’s a cliché, but it’s also true that one can’t beat something with nothing, especially in Washington.  This is an axiom well worth remembering when it comes to all of the new capital and resolution rules befalling the nation’s biggest banks.  I don’t think they need to be beaten back in their entirety – much in the proposals fixes vital flaws.  But the agencies have done a remarkably poor job conjuring the impact of each of these sweeping proposals, let alone their cumulative impact in the context of all the other rules and the grievous supervisory lapses that contributed to recent failures no matter all the rules that could well have sufficed if enforced.  Thus, the most obvious problems with this new construct are opacity, complexity, and most importantly reasonable doubts that, even with all these sharpened arrows, supervisors will still fail to draw their bows and then fire early and often.  All too much in the new rules is false science, as even a cursory read of the impact analyses makes painfully clear.  Instead of setting standards on lofty, unproven models, safeguards should rely on an engineering axiom:  use warning lights that force prompt and corrective action.  Think of the ground warning in an airplane followed by urgent “pull-up” commands and then go to work on the banking dashboard with clear, enforceable rules and new PCA thresholds forcing supervisory action and accountability.

The need for new PCA triggers is even more urgent than I thought when I first outlined

8 08, 2023

Daily080823

2023-08-08T16:56:31-04:00August 8th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

IMF Staff Presents New CCyB Trigger

A new IMF paper weighs into an important question inherent in the new construct of U.S. regulatory capital:  how to set the counter-cyclical capital buffer (CCyB) to anticipate financial stress.  As noted in a recent Karen Petrou memo, the Basel CCyB (see FSM Report CAPITAL173) is linked to a ratio of credit growth to GDP; the Fed’s CCyB (see FSM Report CAPITAL213) gives the Fed unlimited discretion to sound the capital alarm or release the buffer.

GAO Asks Banking Agencies To Focus On Blockchain, Alternative Data, PCA

The GAO today issued its annual policy recommendations to the federal banking agencies and the SEC.  All of the agencies are asked to coordinate policy on blockchain to better address risks; the agencies neither agreed nor disagreed, each flagging routine interagency engagement.  GAO maintains that coordination efforts have failed to address cryptoasset risks in a timely manner.

Warren Presses Goldman Hard on SVB Conflicts

Not letting one letter to Goldman Sachs suffice when it comes to SVB, Sen. Warren (D-MA) yesterday sent another letter to the bank taking serious issue with its response, particularly regarding the steps it took to avoid conflicts of interest.

OCC Targets Fintech Partnerships

Continuing its fintech-partnership crackdown, the OCC today clarified that its legal lending-limit standards apply to purchased loans and particularly to those purchased from nonbanks.

IMF Reiterates Need for U.S. Mid-sized Bank Regs, Better Contingency Funding

Building on its prior assessment of U.S. performance in …

24 07, 2023

DAILY072423

2023-07-24T17:00:47-04:00July 24th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

FDIC Clamps Down On Uninsured Deposit Reporting

Likely reacting to mid-size bank accusations that large banks are under-counting uninsured deposits, the FDIC today posted a financial institution letter highlighting that some financial institutions have incorrectly estimated uninsured deposits on their Call Reports.

Fed Archegos Order Lays Out Broader FBO Issues

Joining the U.K.’s record-breaking order, the Federal Reserve added $268.5 million to the $387 million fine imposed on Credit Suisse for governance and numerous other risk-manage failings related to its $5.5 billion Archegos loss.  The Fed’s order is an important reminder that FBO branches may be held to full account for failings tolerated at the time by U.S. or home-country regulators (who today also joined in this enforcement action).

GAO Anticipating Mark-Ups, Calls for Stablecoin, Crypto Spot Market Legislation

Ahead of HFSC’s mark-up, GAO today released a report sure to be cited as it calls for statutory change to address regulatory gaps in stablecoins and spot markets.  It notes that the lack of stablecoin reserve, disclosure, and redemption requirements may pose consumer-protection and financial-stability risks.

Daily072423.pdf

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