#Hsu

20 05, 2024

Karen Petrou on: How FSOC Enables Systemic Risk

2024-05-20T11:37:05-04:00May 20th, 2024|The Vault|

One can and should debate the extent to which nonbank mortgage companies (NBMCs) are as systemically-risky as FSOC says they are.  But it’s indisputable that, if FSOC believed what it said, then the paltry and politically-improbable recommendations it announced are proof of only one unhappy conclusion:  all FSOC can meaningfully think to do when it sees a systemic risk is figure out how to bail it out.  This is certainly what taxpayers have learned the hard way and investors have come to expect.  Or, as humorist Dave Barry pointed out after the mid-March systemic deposit bailout, “Eventually the financial community calms down, soothed by the reassuring knowledge that American taxpayers will, as always, step up and cheerfully provide billions of dollars to whichever part of the financial community screwed up this time.”

As we noted in our detailed analysis of FSOC’s report, the Council lays out the rapid-fire growth of NBMCs, the role regulatory arbitrage played in pushing banks to the sidelines of the residential-mortgage business that once defined so many charters, and the direct taxpayer and resulting systemic risk of NBMC liquidity shortfalls.  Asked about this at Wednesday’s HFSC hearing, Acting Comptroller Hsu said that NBMC stress could lead to “widespread contagion risk” that could prove “severe.”

Could NBMCs be pulled off the brink under current law?  In a little-noticed aside, FSOC says no because NBMCs lack the assets that would make viable orderly liquidation by the FDIC under its systemic authority even if the FDIC finally figured out …

20 02, 2024

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

2024-04-12T09:48:06-04:00February 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 lead …

20 11, 2023

Karen Petrou: The Fate of the End-Game Rules Does not Lie in the FDIC’s Hands

2023-11-20T12:16:01-05:00November 20th, 2023|The Vault|

It’s a hard fact of life that nothing good comes to federal agencies caught up in scandal even when scandal is misplaced.  So the real question for the FDIC is whether the bad already all too evident at the divided banking agency will grow still worse, threatening the FDIC’s ability to participate in pending rulemakings or, even worse, resolutions.  It likely will be no accident if the FDIC comes unglued and the capital and other proposals fall apart.  I think new rules will proceed, but the FDIC’s threat is far from out of the blue.

Is this cynical?  I prefer to think of it as an observation born of experience, but this is a city about which Harry S. Truman famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

FedFin reports last week tracked Marty Gruenberg’s travails before Senate Banking and then again at House Financial Services, with Ranking Member Waters surprisingly aligning herself with her usual GOP enemies when it came to castigating Mr. Gruenberg over sexual-harassment problems at the agency reported by the Wall Street Journal as the week of hearings broke two days before.

And, as the hearing went on, Mr. Gruenberg found himself in even more of a pickle.  In another uncoincidental moment, Chairman McHenry got wind of 2008 allegations against the chair, allegations Mr. Gruenberg belatedly recalled when prompted by yet another poke from the Journal.  Now, Mr. McHenry has opened a formal investigation even as a statement from GOP members of …

30 05, 2023

FedFin on: Enforcement Policy

2023-05-30T17:09:49-04:00May 30th, 2023|The Vault|

Following a speech earlier this year by the Acting Comptroller arguing that some banks are “too big to manage” and the furor caused by recent failures, the OCC has significantly revised its enforcement policy.  The new framework requires examiners promptly to intervene if any of a bank’s CAMELS scores slips to 3 for unsatisfactory or if the bank is what CFPB Director Chopra would call a “repeat offender” of law, rule, or express supervisory actions or found deficient in practices necessary to ensuring safety and soundness.

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

11 04, 2023

FedFin Assessment: Top Brainard, Gruenberg Regulatory Rewrites

2023-04-11T16:52:14-04:00April 11th, 2023|The Vault|

In this report, we drill down on prior forecasts (see Client Report REFORM219) of near-term regulatory action to identify the revisions sure to be prioritized as NEC Director Brainard and FDIC Chairman Gruenberg seek to reverse rules finalized over their objections when they were in the minority.  Ms. Brainard does not have a direct role dictating what the Fed will do given central-bank independence, but she has a good deal of influence as evidenced most recently by the White House action list.  Acting Comptroller Hsu was not casting formal votes over these years, but he was an influential staff leader in this area and clearly has his own list – see for example his efforts on bank merger and resolution policy (see FSM Report RESOLVE48).  We expect he will concur with Vice Chairman Barr and Mr. Gruenberg if they all advance the rewrites to the tailoring rules to which Ms. Brainard and Mr. Gruenberg so strongly objected….

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

18 10, 2022

FedFin on: FDIC Hikes Premiums, Presses Resolvability

2022-10-24T11:21:49-04:00October 18th, 2022|The Vault|

The FDIC board today voted 3-0 to increase DIF assessment rates by 2bps, finalizing its proposal (see FSM Report DEPOSITINSURANCE114) and rejecting industry arguments on grounds that a small DIF premium increase now would make a more damaging procyclical assessment increase under adverse economic conditions less likely. Unsurprisingly, the FDIC also joined the Fed in approving the ANPR that bears its name, with Acting Comptroller Hsu praising the ANPR’s balance between protecting financial stability and competition among the largest banks. CFPB Director Chopra used his remarks…

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

28 06, 2022

FedFin on: DIF Premium Assessments

2023-01-25T13:58:14-05:00June 28th, 2022|The Vault|

The FDIC is proposing to raise base Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) assessments by two basis points (BPS) to replenish the DIF by the statutory deadline to reflect deposit inflows that the FDIC no longer expects to be temporary.  Even after the DIF reaches its minimum ratio, the added assessments would continue to restore the fund to a more ample reserve.  This will increase costs at insured depository institutions (IDIs), in some cases likely by sizeable amounts likely to alter business strategy in ways that might dampen economic growth….

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

16 05, 2022

Karen Petrou: When the Fed Goes from Whatever-It-Takes to Anything-We-Can-Think-Of

2023-02-21T15:11:51-05:00May 16th, 2022|The Vault|

On Thursday, the Washington Post included an article on all the ways in which inflation hurts middle-income families, the acute shortage of baby formula, and the cooking-oil shortage’s cost impact in places ranging from a D.C. shop selling doughnuts to sub-Saharan Africa.  Other articles chronicled stablecoins’ instability even as stock markets wobbled precariously above going so deeply into correction that investors are not just chastened, but also cudgeled.  The same day, Chairman Powell won his second term by a wide margin even as he told Marketplace that he couldn’t promise a soft landing, didn’t mean to commit the FOMC to only fifty basis-point hikes, and knows how hard inflation hits for most households while being unsure that the Fed can do much about it.  What markets make of this muddle remains to be seen by those not too faint of heart to look.  What I know it means is that a White House under acute political pressure will ultimately do its best to transfer blame from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to 20th and Constitution at considerable cost to coherent policy.

One might discount my prediction of a political reckoning for the Fed by pointing to President Biden’s stout defense of his central bank last week when he tried to show the nation how much he was doing to quell inflation.  But a careful read of Mr. Biden’s statements shows a focus more on the Fed’s independence than on its skill.  So far, Secretary Yellen has persuaded White House …

12 01, 2022

FedFin Forecast: Prudential Regulatory Framework Set for Structural Change Largely Built on Current Standards

2023-04-24T15:49:23-04:00January 12th, 2022|The Vault|

As promised, FedFin begins our 2022 forecasts with this in-depth report on bank regulation. In general, we conclude that the context of decisions in 2022 and beyond will shift from a focus on tailoring efficiencies and burden relief to one emphasizing risk mitigation, fairness, equity, and — for the very biggest banks — a smaller systemic footprint. This report looks at the impact of pending personnel decisions as well as the outlook for climate-risk, new capital rules, FBO standards, and other key issues….

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

16 12, 2021

FedFin: Bank Merger Policy

2023-05-22T16:11:59-04:00December 16th, 2021|The Vault|

Released in a highly-controversial fashion (see below) by two Democrats on the FDIC’s board, this RFI posits the need for a significant review of mergers involving insured depository institutions (IDIs) due to many changes in the financial industry and, so it says, the lack of substantive competitive analysis over past decades even of the largest transactions.

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

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