#Iran

13 12, 2023

DAILY121323

2023-12-13T16:50:12-05:00December 13th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC Oversight Subcomm Revisits Iran Sanctions

Today’s HFSC Oversight Subcommittee hearing focused on the Biden Administration’s recent efforts to limit terrorist funding from Iran.  Chairman Huizenga (R-MI) questioned the need for the November 14th renewal of a waiver that allows Iraq to pay Iran for electricity, calling for increased pressure on Iran following Hamas’s October 7th attack.

SEC Sets Out Treasury Central-Clearing Construct

As anticipated, the SEC this morning voted 4-1 to mandate central clearing for Treasury securities used in many repo and reverse-repo transactions, modifying the proposal in key respects still unsatisfactory to Commissioner Peirce.  The rule addresses continuing concerns about Treasury-market fragility, in part by reducing the number of highly-leveraged hedge-fund transactions.

GAO Reaches Equivocal Verdict on Digital-Asset Crypto Evasion Risk

Addressing Congressional concerns such as those in the Warren-Marshall crypto-compliance bill, the GAO today issued a report finding that digital assets pose risk to U.S. sanction implementation and enforcement despite mitigating factors that may reduce certain risks.

Brown Presses Bank CEOs on Servicemember Rights

A week after the GSIB CEOs came before the Senate Banking Committee (see Client Report GSIB23), Banking Committee Chair Brown (D-OH) today sent a letter to the CEOs of the four largest consumer banks encouraging them to ensure that active-duty servicemembers obtain all the financial benefits to which they are entitled.

Daily121323.pdf

12 12, 2023

DAILY121223

2023-12-12T17:09:22-05:00December 12th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

IMF Calls for Enhanced Climate-Risk Analyses, Stress-Testing

Calling for implementation of the Basel Committee’s climate-related financial risk principles (see FSM Report CLIMATE14), the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department Director, Tobias Adrian, today pressed central banks to enhance their climate risk analyses and adapt stress-testing frameworks to better reflect climate-financial risk transmission and amplification channels.

Agencies Come Under Still More Workplace-Practice Scrutiny, Political Pressure

As we noted last week, House Republicans are now using ongoing assertions of FDIC workplace dysfunction to attack the OCC.

HFSC Subcomm Considers Sanctions Enforcement

Today’s HFSC National Security Subcommittee hearing focused primarily on critiques of US energy sanctions enforcement related to Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.

House Select Committee Calls on Fed to Stress Test China Risk

The House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party today released a bipartisan report urging Congress to direct the Fed to stress-test U.S. banks for their ability to withstand Chinese market risk, produce classified reports on these assessments, and consider the financial market impact of potential sanctions on Chinese financial firms.

Basel Proposes Modest Fix to IRR Standards, Post-SVB Revisions Await

As anticipated, the Basel Committee today released a consultation revising global interest-rate risk (IRR), standards updating current banking-book standards (see FSM Report IRR7) to toughen the IRR-shock calibration.

McKernan Extends Capital Olive Branch

FDIC Director McKernan today offered an end-game compromise that might actually lead to final rules in 2024 that defer some of the …

15 11, 2023

DAILY111523

2023-11-15T16:42:07-05:00November 15th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC Advances Sanctions Bills

HFSC yesterday reported an array of Hamas-sanctions related measures, extending its reach to Iran, China, and other nations deemed to support Hamas.  Bipartisan bills with some hope of advancing include measures to require Treasury to report on financial institution’s involvement with Iranian officials (H.R. 6245), mandate that OFAC develop a licensing program for private firms to conduct nominal transactions with sanctioned entities (H.R. 6370), and to expand secondary sanctions to Chinese banks financing the purchase of Iranian oil (H.R. 5923).

Basel Tackles Digital Fraud

The Basel Committee has released a discussion draft seeking views on supervisory and financial-stability implications of digital fraud.  Discussion papers of this sort are often precursors to more formal standards, and this one appears to be no exception.  While Basel seeks comment on broad questions such as the definition of digital fraud, it also wants views on the prevalence of digital fraud as commenters choose to define it and resulting risks.

Daily111523.pdf

9 11, 2023

DAILY110923

2023-11-09T17:11:08-05:00November 9th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Bowman Outlines Capital-Comment Priorities

In remarks today, FRB Gov. Bowman reiterated many of her longstanding concerns regarding pending bank rules, going on now to lay out key points on which she believes comment are warranted on the capital standards.

OMB Now Demands Distributional Analytics

Following its order to federal agencies now to consider competitive-impact in regulatory assessments, OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) today issued new standards also demanding distributional-impact analyses.  As Karen Petrou’s memo this week made clear, it is our view that these are singularly and unfortunately absent from those accompanying the recent spate of banking proposals.

HFSC Plans Sanctions Markup

As anticipated, HFSC is proceeding next Tuesday to mark up a raft of bills addressing Iran and broader sanctions questions.  Among the bills is one from Reps. Vargas (D-CA) and Hill (R-AR), H.R. 6245, to require Treasury to report on financial institution’s involvement with Iranian officials.

Daily110923.pdf

27 10, 2023

Al103023

2023-10-27T17:00:24-04:00October 27th, 2023|3- This Week|

Take a Deep Breath

But don’t relax too much as newly-minted Speaker Johnson (R-LA) figures out what he’s going to do with the gavel now that he’s got it.  The House has barely three weeks to see if unanimity holds and a shutdown is avoided in favor of yet another can-kicking continuing resolution.  Regardless, with HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) happily freed of his Speaker Pro Tem assignment, HFSC will this week (see below) return to the high-impact hearing schedule if was forced to cancel during the speakership battle, move a raft of bills through mark-up, and work hard to put Mr. McHenry’s plans to realign crypto jurisdiction into must-pass legislation if the House agrees (likely) and the Senate doesn’t object (far less certain).  Among the bills to be marked up and those on the Senate’s agenda will surely be measures reviewed at last week’s Senate Banking hearing to ensure Treasury is super-tough when it comes to Iran and Hamas.  Secondary sanctions are in the works, putting any financial institution doing business in the U.S. on notice that offshore activities so far out of law-enforcement’s reach are about to come in range.  And, if that’s not enough, then there’s all the regulatory action.

Al103023.pdf

26 10, 2023

DAILY102623

2023-10-26T16:48:48-04:00October 26th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Senate Banking Focuses on Rapid-Fire Administration Action to Sanction Iran, Curb Hamas, Govern Crypto

Today’s Senate Banking Hearing on Illicit Finance and Terrorism showcased continued bipartisan support for stronger Iranian sanctions as well as for secondary sanctions on traditional financial institutions and cryptoasset firms facilitating terrorism.  In addition to highlighting their bipartisan measure targeting DeFi-related money laundering and sanctions evasion, Sens. Reed (D-RI) and Warner (D-VA) noted that they are working on a bill that would apply secondary sanctions on banks and DeFi entities that transact with foreign parties that facilitate terrorist financing.

Bipartisan Small-Business Leadership Opens New End-Game Front

Opening a new front of Congressional concern about the capital proposal’s credit impacts, House Small Business Economic Growth Subcommittee Chairman Meuser (R-PA) along with Ranking Member Landsman (D-OH) and two others today sent a letter to FRB Chairman Powell and Vice Chair Barr “imploring” them to commission a comprehensive review of the capital proposal’s effects on small business lending.  They also ask that all the agencies counteract any negative repercussions of the proposal, noting that this might entail significantly easing capital requirements.

Daily102623.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

18 10, 2023

DAILY101823

2023-10-18T17:19:09-04:00October 18th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Treasury Responds to Hamas Sanctions Pressure, More to Come

Reflecting ongoing and high-impact Congressional pressure, OFAC today sanctioned ten Hamas terrorist group members, operatives, and financial facilitators including the virtual currency exchange service known as Buy Cash.

CPMI Wants Faster Payments

The BIS Committee on Payment and Market Infrastructures today submitted an interim report to the G20 with ten initial considerations regarding the structure, design, and oversight of interlinking arrangements for fast payment systems.

Treasury Reiterates CBDC Interest

Treasury International Affairs Under-Secretary Jay Shambaugh yesterday stated that Treasury has a “complementary role” in addressing CBDC’s role in the payment system, reinforcing the likelihood that Treasury continues to press the FRB to go farther into CBDC than the Fed seems willing to do (see Client Report CBDC14).

Senate Sides with Industry versus CFPB Small-business Reporting

Despite a veto threat from the White House, the Senate today voted 53 to 44 to authorize Congressional Review Act withdrawal of the CFPB’s small business reporting rule.

Daily101823.pdf

13 10, 2023

Al101623

2023-10-13T16:28:42-04:00October 13th, 2023|3- This Week|

A Troubling Time

Although federal officials – at least those outside the House of Representatives – are going about their daily business, the awful casualties and looming threat of the Israel-Hamas war hang over a cite that has grown used to other geopolitical risks in Ukraine, Taiwan, and the world’s many other hot spots.  The political situation in Washington is fluid not only because the House can do nothing consequential, but also because conditions on the ground change hourly and the prospects for broader conflict loom large.  In the near term, we expect hard supervisory questions of large banks with Middle East exposures, bipartisan demands for the Administration to do what it’s already one with the $6 billion Iran-fund freeze, more pressure on Senate Banking Chairman Brown (D-OH) to move the Warren/Marshall crypto-crime bill and HFSC action on numerous sanctions bills if Speaker Pro Tem McHenry (R-NC) is able to trade one gavel for another.

Al101623.pdf

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