#justice department

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

18 12, 2023

DAILY121823

2023-12-18T17:12:20-05:00December 18th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

House Dems Press Tax-Equity Bond Capital Fix

Emphasizing their strong support for the capital proposals, 107 Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) have sent a letter to Chair Powell, Chair Gruenberg, and Acting Comptroller Hsu again asking for revised treatment for clean energy tax-equity bonds.

Updated GSIB Indicator Amounts Now Effective

The Fed today published updated Aggregate Global Indicator Amounts pursuant to its GSIB surcharge rule (see Client Report GSIB5).

FSB Finds U.S. NBFI Assets Continue to Dwarf Banks

The FSB today released its 2023 Global NBFI monitoring report, finding that NBFIs continue to hold a larger percentage of financial assets than banks in the U.S.

DOJ/FTC Stand Firm on New Anti-Concentration Merger Policy

Justice and the FTC today released the final version of new merger guidelines, softening but not clearly weakening the agencies’ draft (see FSM Report MERGER12).

Warren, Allies Attack Hsu’s Preemption Policy

Making it clear that Acting Comptroller Hsu will have challenges from Democrats should the White House ever nominate him as Comptroller, seven Democrats led by Sen. Warren (D-MA) sent him a letter today accusing the agency of overstepping and abusing its preemption authority.

McHenry Asks CFPB to Change Open-Banking Secondary Data Approach

HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) today sent a comment letter to CFPB Director Chopra reiterating the support expressed at a recent hearing (see Client Report CONSUMER53), for the agency’s open banking proposal (see FSM Report DATA4), but now asking for changes related to …

15 12, 2023

DAILY121523

2023-12-15T17:31:25-05:00December 15th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Crypto Measures Await Next Session

As anticipated, HFSC Chair McHenry (R-NC) was able to fend off concerted efforts by Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Warren (D-MA) to add the Warren-Marshall crypto bill to the National Defense Authorization Act.

FSOC to Target Hedge Funds, Nonbank Mortgage Companies

The readout from Treasury on yesterday’s FSOC meeting provides insight into the Council’s executive session suggesting significant near-term systemic action regarding hedge funds.

FSB Plans Broad Rewrite of Public Backstops, GSIFI Resolvability, Operational Readiness

The FSB’s 2023 Resolution Report today advises banks and public sector authorities to be prepared to access public sector funding in resolution, with the Board planning to review whether existing public sector backstops are adequate to meet potential failure scenarios.

Brown Renews Bipartisan Quest to Constrain Nonbank Banks

Advancing the big-tech concerns he most recently voiced before GSIB CEOs (see Client Report GSIB23), Senate Banking Chairman Brown (D-OH) has introduced S. 3538, bipartisan legislation to impose bank regulation on non-bank parent companies of insured depository institutions.

DOJ Targets Fraudulent Microtransactions

Cracking down on unauthorized bank account charges, the DOJ today announced multiple actions against “sham” companies alleged to have used misrepresentations or unauthorized charges to steal money from consumers’ financial accounts.

CRS Warns Credit Card Act Could Result In Risky Retailer Payment Networks

The CRS this week issued a report analyzing the Durbin-Marshall Credit Card Competition Act, S.1838 (see FSM Report INTERCHANGE10), projecting that fee caps will have a greater impact on transaction fees than competition, with …

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

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

12 10, 2023

DAILY101223

2023-10-12T17:09:17-04:00October 12th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

FSB Calls for More Private Climate Disclosures

Expressing considerable satisfaction with climate-risk disclosure progress, the FSB today released a report finding that all member jurisdictions either have or plan climate disclosure regimes, but there still needs to be greater private-sector self-reporting.

Pressure Builds for Heightened Iran, China Sanctions

Ahead of the hearing we anticipated earlier this week, HFSC Republicans have introduced several bills designed to increase financial pressures on Iran to punish it for the Hamas attack.

EU Regulators Add ESG Considerations to Regulatory, Supervisory Standards

In a bit of gold plating for what it believes to be the public good, the European Banking Authority today issued a report pressing for Pillar 1 capital charges for activities posing ESG risks with particular attention to climate.

OMB Redesigns Federal Rulemaking to Consider, Increase Competition

Acting under the President’s competition executive order (see Client Report MERGER6), OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs yesterday issued new guidance governing federal rulemaking stipulating express assessment of the impact of new or prospective rules to enhance market competition.

CFPB, DoJ Issue Immigration Discrimination Warning

Taking action that may in some cases put lenders in conflict with state law, the CFPB and DoJ stated today that “unnecessary or overbroad reliance” on immigration status in a credit decision may violate the ECOA.

Daily101223.pdf

5 10, 2023

DAILY100523

2023-10-05T16:36:40-04:00October 5th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Kanter, Khan Mount Stout Defense of Draft Merger Guidelines

FTC Chair Khan and DOJ Assistant AG Kanter today defended the agencies’ draft merger guidelines (see FSM Report MERGER12) on grounds that they are faithful to congressional intent, reflect core legal principles, are more accessible and easier to apply, and better reflect the modern competitive landscape.

Basel Plans NBFI Ops-Risk Supervisory Standards, Continuing Review of Bank Supervision, New Disclosures

The Basel Committee today released its long-awaited report on 2023 vulnerabilities, deciding based on it to prioritize new supervisory approaches and additional analytical tools.

Bipartisan Bill Provides Transaction Account Deposit Insurance

Following Chairman Gruenberg’s remarks yesterday highlighting targeted deposit insurance reform, Sens. Manchin (D-WV), Braun (R-SD), and Hickenlooper (D-CO) yesterday introduced legislation to reinstate the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program, expanding deposit insurance to non-interest bearing transaction accounts up to $10 million.

FDIC Proposes Public-Good Policy for IDI Corporate Governance

The FDIC today announced the Board’s 3-2 approval of an NPR establishing guidelines on corporate governance and risk management for FDIC-supervised IDIs with over $10 billion in assets.

Daily100523.pdf

9 08, 2023

DAILY080923

2023-08-09T16:35:20-04:00August 9th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Brown, Other Senate Dems Demand Fast Action on Fed Merger Policy Rewrite

Building on Sen. Warren’s (D-MA) longstanding Fed criticism, Chairman Brown (D-OH) along with Sens. Warren, Reed (D-RI), and Fetterman (D-PA) today directly demanded a substantive and speedy rewrite of Fed merger policy to ensure that statutory requirements related to financial-stability impact are met.  The letter not only criticizes past mergers Sen. Warren has long said are “rubber-stamped” and JPMorgan’s acquisition of First Republic, but also cites the Fed’s decision to allow UBS to acquire Credit Suisse.

Waters Doubles Down On Opposition To GOP Stablecoin Bill

In stark contrast to HFSC Chairman McHenry’s (R-NC) comments praising PayPal’s new payment stablecoin, Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) today sharply criticized the product and the risks its poses  given that the HFSC GOP has advanced a bill she thinks both highly problematic and unlikely to be enacted.

Daily080923.pdf

26 07, 2023

DAILY072623

2023-07-26T16:37:20-04:00July 26th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Senate Democrats Stand Firm On “Junk Fee” Campaign

Today’s lightly-attended Senate Banking Financial Institutions Subcommittee hearing on banking and consumer fees showcased broad Democratic alignment with the Administration’s “junk fees” campaign and persistent Republican aversion to this effort as well as to the CFPB.

CFPB Flags UDAAP, Other Problematic Practices for Enforcement

The CFPB’s latest supervisory report not only details recent actions and priorities, but also expressly stipulates that certain activities identified in the course of supervision that have yet to be addressed by formal agency action are UDAAP.

SEC Targets AI Advice

Acting as anticipated following Gary Gensler’s fiery talk last week about AI risk, the SEC today voted 3-2 to propose new rules curtailing what it believes to be broker dealer and investment-adviser conflicts of interest due to predictive analytics.

Crypto-Jurisdiction Bill to Advance; Stablecoin Measure Likely to do so Tomorrow

Chairman McHenry (R-NC) and Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) announced at today’s HFSC markup that bipartisan negotiations on the committee’s stablecoin bill continue and despite the absence of any breakthrough.

DOJ Officials Seeks Merger Answers

In remarks today, Policy Director David Lawrence of DOJ’s Antitrust Division went beyond new, draft DOJ/FTC merger guidelines (see FSM Report MERGER12) to lay out questions on which the agencies particularly seek answers.

Powell Stresses Bank Discount Window Readiness

FRB Chairman Powell’s press conference today focused almost entirely on monetary policy, but the chair agreed that the discount window performed badly during the recent crisis and that banks need to …

25 07, 2023

FedFin Analysis: U.S. Merger Policy

2023-07-25T17:18:51-04:00July 25th, 2023|The Vault|

Building on a request for comment, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have now proposed specific revisions to U.S. merger policy that significantly redirect the manner in which M&A transactions – even if only for minority positions – will be considered.  Although this is only a draft statement, it tracks much of what President Biden laid out in his 2021 executive order on U.S. competition policy and actions since then by the DOJ and the FTC.  As a result, the guidelines are more of a roadmap providing clarity than a new approach unless the final version differs substantively in any major way or future Administrations adopt a different policy.  Near-term U.S. merger policy makes it considerably more difficult to finalize horizontal, vertical, and even minority holdings, a challenge likely to be particularly acute in U.S. financial services where government agencies believe there is …

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