#mergers

15 03, 2023

FedFin Assessment: Post-SVB Deposit Insurance Reform

2023-03-15T16:58:47-04:00March 15th, 2023|The Vault|

Cementing prior denouncements of 2018 Dodd-Frank “rollbacks” into legislative action, 17 Democratic senators and 31 House Members today took direct aim at Trump-era banking policy by introducing legislation that would repeal Title IV of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.  But, while this initiative is gaining considerable attention, its legislative prospects are dim – indeed, even Senate Banking Committee Chairman Brown (D-OH) suggested as much

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15 03, 2023

DEPOSITINSURANCE118

2023-03-15T12:48:33-04:00March 15th, 2023|5- Client Report|

FedFin Assessment: Post-SVB Deposit Insurance Reform

As promised in our first post-SVB impact assessment (see Client Report RESOLVE49), this report begins a series of analyses of specific policy issues.  We start here with possible changes to FDIC insurance based on comments from Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), and other arguing either that the $250,000 limit for FDIC coverage needs to be eliminated or sharply increased.  We also analyze the prospects for shifting the burden of higher DIF premiums to large banks as recommended by the ICBA, ending the FHLB’s super-lien due to the resulting, significant increase in FDIC resolution costs in recent failures, changes to the treatment of brokered deposits, and revisions to the FDIC’s overall risk-based assessment system (see FSM Report DEPOSITINSURANCE96).  Other resolution issues – e.g., the future of proposed regional-bank standards (see FSM Report RESOLVE48) and bank merger policy will be covered in future reports along with the prospects for significant changes in bank capital, liquidity, and other prudential standards.

DEPOSITINSURANCE118.pdf

10 03, 2023

DAILY031023

2023-03-10T16:57:08-05:00March 10th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Anti-Woke Is Worse Than Woke When It Comes To Financial Distortion

A new study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago concludes that anti-woke policies distort financial outcomes by looking at 2021 Texas law prohibiting municipalities from conducting certain businesses with financial institutions that violated the law’s anti-woke criteria.

CFPB Opens Mortgage Servicing to Regulatory Rewrite

The CFPB today published an RFI seeking the effect of TILA mortgage loan originator rules on small businesses as part of a regular ten-year review.

FedFin Assessment: SVB’s Failure And Its Aftermath

As clients will recall, we predicted Silvergate’s failure, but not its contagion risk for Silicon Valley Bank, which failed earlier this morning following the combination of a run and capital shortfall.

SVB Rumors Stoke Treasury Response

Following the sudden failure of Silicon Valley Bank, Treasury Secretary Yellen today convened the heads of the Fed, FDIC, and OCC to discuss its ramifications.

Congress Begins SVB Inquiry

In the first of a series of statements sure to come from Congress, HFSC Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) today said that she was alarmed by the collapse of SVB and that she is monitoring and convening Committee members with regulators.

Daily031023.pdf

3 03, 2023

Al030623

2023-03-03T17:17:37-05:00March 3rd, 2023|3- This Week|

Gloves Off

When Chairman Powell comes before HFSC and Senate Banking this week, we’ll see if FedFin’s forecast for newly-rough going plays out, but all signs say it will.  In the lead-up to the midterm, Democrats other than Sen. Warren (D-MA) who weren’t all that sympathetic to many Fed actions held their tongues in order to protect a central bank that, for all its putative independence, seemed aligned with Biden Administration statements promoting American prosperity and the near-term chances of reduced inflation.  With the 2024 election looking even uglier than the midterm and Republicans in control of the House, Mr. Powell may find himself squeezed hard from both sides of the aisle, taking lots of heat on issues ranging from monetary policy and the debt ceiling to a panoply of Fed regulatory and payment-system decisions along with the pending nomination of a new vice chair.

Al030623.pdf

2 03, 2023

DAILY030223

2023-03-03T17:11:19-05:00March 2nd, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Senate GOP Reiterates Anti-Woke Demands

At the same time as the Senate passed a resolution overturning the Labor Department’s rule authorizing pension ESG investments, Sens. Rubio (R-FL), Cruz (R-TX), Cramer (R-ND), Cotton (R-AR), Blackburn (TN), and Scott (R-FL) reintroduced legislation (S. 583) to permit the FDIC to terminate the insured status of depository institutions refusing to provide services to Federal contractors.

HFSC GOP Reams CFPB Late-Fee Proposal

Seventeen HFSC Republicans sent a letter late yesterday to CFPB Director Chopra strongly protesting the Bureau’s recent NPR targeting credit card late fees (see FSM Report CREDITCARD36).

Gensler Boosts SEC Custody Rewrite

SEC Chairman Gensler today reiterated and emphasized his strong support for the agency’s proposal to rewrite the rules governing custody services (see FSM Report CUSTODY5), arguing that they would strengthen safeguards and provide a much-needed expansion to the protections qualified custodians provide.

Bipartisan Senators Target Another Crypto Culprit

Following Sen. Warren’s (D-MA) pledge to introduce bipartisan legislation extending AML protections to crypto firms (see Client Report CRYPTO39), Sens. Warren, Van Hollen (D-MD), and Marshall (R-KS) sent letters yesterday to the leadership of the crypto platform Binance, alleging that the company built an intentionally opaque corporate structure to circumvent securities and AML laws and facilitate money laundering and sanctions evasion.

Brown Demands Branch-Closure Hearings, Merger Policy

In the midst of what may well be negotiations over the nomination of Michael Hsu as Comptroller and continuing controversies over big-bank mergers, Senate Banking Chairman Brown (D-OH) today wrote

15 02, 2023

DAILY021523

2023-02-15T17:02:30-05:00February 15th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

GOP Launches Anti-SEC Climate-Risk Legislative Attack

As anticipated, House Republicans have gone beyond blasting the SEC’s pending climate-risk disclosure proposal to laying out a consensus bill to force Chairman Gensler in fact to retract it.  H.R. 1018 has been introduced by HFSC member Lucas (R-OK) and 55 Republicans to prohibit climate-risk disclosures under securities law.

FDIC Adds Punch to FDIC-Misrepresentation Enforcement Promise

Building on its insurance misrepresentation final rule (see FSM Report DEPOSITINSURANCE113), the FDIC today issued four cease and desist orders demanding the removal of false claims and thus made it clear that it is surveying the marketplace to take far more rapid action than has been the case thus far.

Calling Out Hsu, Warren Demands Merger Reform

In a wide-ranging speech urging tough U.S. antitrust policy, Sen. Warren (D-MA) today reiterated her claims that banking agencies “rubber-stamp” mergers and pressed for immediate reform.  She took particular aim at Acting Comptroller Hsu, urging him to prepare new guidelines for the banking industry and to block anticompetitive mergers.

Will SEC Custody Rules Kill Crypto?

Conceding that rulemaking is needed on at least one crypto question, the SEC today voted 4-1 to approve proposed changes to investment-advisor asset custody regulation.  The measure would expand assets subject to custody requirements and the protections custody affords as well as revise related record-keeping requirements.

Daily021523.pdf

13 02, 2023

Daily021323

2023-02-14T15:50:52-05:00February 13th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Bowman: Large-Bank Supervisory Guidance to Come, Capital Reform to Exempt Smaller Banks

FRB Gov. Bowman today acknowledged that, while Fed supervision and regulation must be independent of political objectives, they must also be accountable and therefore transparent, predictable, and tailored.

Daily021323.pdf

10 02, 2023

DAILY021023

2023-02-10T17:02:31-05:00February 10th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Waller Reiterates Fed’s Wary Cryptoasset Policy

In remarks today, FRB Governor Waller reiterated the Fed’s wary approach to cryptoassets, repeating the Fed’s requirements (see FSM Report CRYPTO31) for banks that wish to engage with crypto customers or activities.  Following the collapse of FTX and its ripple effect on banks such as Silvergate (see Client Report CRYPTO38), Mr. Waller stressed that banks engaging with crypto customers must have a thorough understanding of their client’s business models, risk management systems and corporate governance.

Hsu Reprises, Expands Bank Merger Reform

In remarks today, the OCC Chief Counsel on behalf of Acting Comptroller Hsu stressed the need to update competition metrics, financial stability considerations, and community assessments in bank merger reviews, but gave no indication of when new merger policy may be finalized.  Mr. Hsu argued that while HHI is an objective and transparent metric, it is no longer suitable for measuring competition because its deposit share-based approach fails to capture the competitive effect of nonbanks and online banking.

FHFA Outlines Substantive FHLB Reform Agenda

As anticipated earlier this week, FHFA Director Thompson today called the status quo of the FHLB system unacceptable and said that FHFA will make “meaningful” recommendations to improve the sector.  This will take shape in a report following completion of FHFA’s roundtable series concluding in March.  FHFA’s report will make statutory recommendations to Congress and lay out its own regulatory objectives, perhaps starting with an ANPR and/or regulatory guidance or supervisory actions.

Daily021023.pdf

7 02, 2023

DAILY020723

2023-02-07T16:53:41-05:00February 7th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

CFPB Extends Digital Marketing Reach To “Pay-To-Play” Platforms

Expanding its reach to other forms of digital marketing (see FSM Report FINTECH30), the CFPB today issued an advisory opinion stipulating that what it calls “pay-to-play” consumer platforms presenting mortgage and settlement options are likely to violate the law.

High-Impact Fed Charter Policy Takes Effect

The Federal Register today includes the FRB’s policy statement rejecting the “states as laboratories for change” construct by conforming state member bank powers largely only to those authorized for national banks.  The statement is now effective.

GOP, Democrats Vie for Toughest Anti-China Stance

As we anticipated, at today’s full HFSC Committee hearing on China, Chairman McHenry (R-NC) made it clear that he intends action addressing emerging financial and economic risks, reiterating principles such as a commitment to free markets, opposing policies that stifle innovation, and preventing “malign” financial activities or interests.

Barr Backs Short-Term, Small Dollar Lending, Flexible Public-Welfare Option

In remarks today, Fed Vice Chair Barr stressed the need to eliminate discrimination in banking, noting the importance of the CRA rewrite (see FSM Report CRA32) to address redlining and community development.  However, he was silent as to the date by which the agencies are likely to issue the long-awaited final rule.

Daily020723.pdf

23 01, 2023

DAILY012323

2023-01-23T16:47:01-05:00January 23rd, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

BIS: How Low Can Central-Bank Equity Go?

An historical examination of central-bank negative equity was published last week by the BIS.  Doubtless undertaken as central banks such as the Fed record losses, the paper assesses how low central-bank equity can fall before it adversely affects confidence in fiat money.  Noting as Karen Petrou’s book does that money is a “social convention,” the paper describes wide fiat-money acceptance depends in part on central-bank credibility based largely on the collapse of the Bank of Amsterdam in 1820.  This has limited application to the Federal Reserve and other modern central banks in that the Bank of Amsterdam largely lacked fiscal backing and thus could not print money to rebuild equity.

Bank Big-Bank Merger Opponent Joins Justice Antitrust

With Jeremy Kress now in place as senior counsel to Jonathan Kanter in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, it seems likely that pending big-bank mergers will get still more skeptical scrutiny.  It is also possible that Mr. Kress was brought on to press Justice to finalize long-promised bank-merger guidelines that have been on hold since 2020 (see Client Report MERGER5).  Mr. Kress is also a former colleague of Fed Vice Chairman Barr, who has indicated concern with larger-bank consolidation both directly and indirectly via the Fed/FDIC super-regional resolution proposal (see FSM Report RESOLVE48).

Daily012323.pdf

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