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21 11, 2022

M112122

2022-11-21T16:48:57-05:00November 21st, 2022|6- Client Memo|

What Will Be Done, Not Just Said, To Fix FTX

The only question left unanswered about FTX is whether it was a purposeful scam as more than a few clients conclude or a case of implacable forces ending the era of easy money that just got the better of another wunderkind whose awesome skills turned out to be largely confined to costumery conveying inspired innovation to all too many vulnerable investors and gullible politicians.  No matter which it is or even – as I think – if it’s a bit of both, FTX is a debacle that will change U.S. financial policy for the better unless FTX drives still more crypto chaos that then spills over to core financial infrastructure and intermediation.

m112122.pdf

21 11, 2022

Karen Petrou: What Will Be Done, Not Just Said, To Fix FTX

2022-11-22T13:18:11-05:00November 21st, 2022|The Vault|

The only question left unanswered about FTX is whether it was a purposeful scam as more than a few clients conclude or a case of implacable forces ending the era of easy money that just got the better of another wunderkind whose awesome skills turned out to be largely confined to costumery conveying inspired innovation to all too many vulnerable investors and gullible politicians. No matter which it is or even – as I think – if it’s a bit of both, FTX is a debacle that will change U.S. financial policy for the better unless FTX drives still more crypto chaos that then spills over to core financial infrastructure and intermediation. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about crypto policy after my brief discussion in last week’s talk on the midterm’s policy impact. Here, more on both the legislative outlook and what regulators may finally bring themselves to do even if Congress can’t get itself together any better next year than in so many before it.

First more on why stablecoins are the cryptoasset most likely to come under a new federal gun. This isn’t because they deserve it more than any other cryptoasset – although they might – but because policy thinking about what to do with stablecoins is most advanced and, thus, bipartisan negotiations in the House are closest to the finish line.

That said, even stablecoin standards aren’t going to be easy. The clearest articulation of how new law might work is S. 4356, the Lummis-Gillibrand …

16 11, 2022

REFORM215

2022-11-22T15:02:46-05:00November 16th, 2022|5- Client Report|

HFSC Session Brings Crypto Action to Fore, “Holistic” Capital Under Scrutiny

HFSC today largely focused bank regulators on the same range of questions posed at yesterday’s Senate Banking session (see Client Report REFORM214).  However, Chairwoman Waters (D-CA) emphasized the importance of federal legislation in sharp contrast to Chairman Brown (D-OH), also announcing a hearing in December on FTX.  Ranking Member McHenry (R-NC), who will become HFSC chairman in the next Congress, concurred with the chairwoman’s views on the need for digital-finance statutory reform.  However, he took strong issue with inter-agency policy with regard to new capital rules, merger restrictions, and third-party relationship constraints.  Republican members also targeted Vice Chairman Barr’s holistic capital review, arguing that banks are currently well capitalized and that additional standards would hamper lending.  Mr. Barr indicated that an SLR rewrite is part of the holistic review but not immediately necessary to quell Treasury-market volatility or illiquidity.  As discussed in more detail below, regulators promised banking-sector crypto rules at least as stringent as Basel’s proposal.

REFORM215.pdf

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15 11, 2022

REFORM214

2022-11-22T15:27:38-05:00November 15th, 2022|5- Client Report|

Crypto, Deposit Rates, Capital Top Senate Discussion

At today’s Senate Banking oversight hearing with the banking agencies, Chairman Brown (D-OH) generally applauded the work of regulators, emphasizing the need for tough standards, like-kind rules for bigtech companies, and an inquiry into why depositor interest rates lag Fed rate hikes along lines posed earlier by Sen. Reed (D-RI).  FDIC Acting Chairman Gruenberg concurred, criticizing banks for sluggish rates.  Ranking Member Toomey (R-PA) reiterated his longstanding complaints about regulators straying outside their mission in areas such as climate change.  He also called for SLR relief to reduce Treasury-market risk and opposed pending large-bank resolution guidance (see FSM Report LIVINGWILL19) on grounds that it is unnecessary.

REFORM214.pdf

14 11, 2022

DAILY111422

2022-11-14T17:00:05-05:00November 14th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

FSB Thinks 2020 Reg Relief Could Go, Stay – It All Depends

In conjunction with the G20 summit, the FSB has released a policy paper assessing the extent to which various pandemic-related regulatory forbearances should be continued.

FSB Reiterates Climate, Crypto, NBFI Plans

The FSB head’s letter to the G20 today reiterates all of the priorities expressed in its October letter to G20 finance ministers.

Regulatory Hearings to Address Last-Gasp 2022 Agenda, Position Panels for a Busy New Year

With GOP House and Democratic Senate control largely assured, this week’s hearings with Messrs. Barr, Gruenberg, Harper, and Hsu will illuminate not only current priorities – most notably what’s next for federal crypto law and rule – but also the very different priorities HFSC and Senate Banking will advance in the next Congress.

FRB-NY Staff: Big U.S. Banks Remain Extremely Resilient

In its latest assessment of the vulnerability of the fifty largest U.S. BHCs, Federal Reserve Bank of New York staff confirmed the overall rosy assessment of bank resilience in the Board’s latest financial-stability report (see Client Report SYSTEMIC94).

OCC Ramps Up Fair-Lending Enforcement

In remarks delivered for Acting Comptroller Hsu, Senior Deputy Comptroller for Bank Supervision Policy Grovetta Gardineer reiterated that ensuring fairness is a top OCC priority.

Gruenberg Finally Gets the Nod

Knowing now that he has secured Democratic Senate control into next year, President Biden today finally and formally nominated Acting FDIC Chairman Gruenberg to assume the chairmanship.

Daily111422.pdf

19 10, 2022

FedFin on: USB/MUFG Orders Point to New Merger, Regulatory Policy

2022-10-19T10:27:40-04:00October 19th, 2022|The Vault|

As promised, this analysis focuses on the OCC and FRB approvals of the acquisition by U.S. Bancorp of MUFG’s Union Bank in California. Derided in a tweet from Sen. Warren (D-MA) as another “rubber-stamp” approval, both the nature of the transaction – which included massive commitments to community support – and the approvals themselves suggest otherwise. We shall continue to evaluate agency action on larger transactions and shortly provide clients with an analysis of the FDIC/FRB advance notice of proposed rulemaking on new resolution standards approved for public comment by the FDIC (see Client Report DEPOSITINSURANCE115). However, while policy and politics formulate new standards, pending….

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

19 10, 2022

MERGER11

2022-10-21T14:03:33-04:00October 19th, 2022|5- Client Report|

USB/MUFG Orders Point to New Merger, Regulatory Policy

As promised, this analysis focuses on the OCC and FRB approvals of the acquisition by U.S. Bancorp of MUFG’s Union Bank in California.  Derided in a tweet from Sen. Warren (D-MA) as another “rubber-stamp” approval, both the nature of the transaction – which included massive commitments to community support – and the approvals themselves suggest otherwise.  We shall continue to evaluate agency action on larger transactions and shortly provide clients with an analysis of the FDIC/FRB advance notice of proposed rulemaking on new resolution standards approved for public comment by the FDIC (see Client Report DEPOSITINSURANCE115).  However, while policy and politics formulate new standards, pending transactions are directly and immediately affected by the new approach epitomized in these orders.  We thus note the financial-stability and resolvability conditions applied to this transaction, which clearly signal those – i.e., “severability” – for near-term deals as well as for future standards.

MERGER11.pdf

14 10, 2022

AL101722

2022-10-14T17:07:31-04:00October 14th, 2022|3- This Week|

Ouch?

Later this week, the FDIC board will decide whether to hike DIF premiums as proposed earlier this year (see FSM Report DEPOSITINSURANCE114).  The banking industry is arrayed against this not only because it’s costly, but also – as our analysis addressed – procyclical.  We will provide clients with an in-depth analysis of the final rule along with the meeting, which now also includes a certain vote in favor of FDIC agreement to the ANPR released late last week by the Fed asking an array of questions on large-bank resolvability.  We will also provide clients with an in-depth analysis of this ANPR along with the accompanying orders setting new merger policy by way of the Fed and OCC decisions on the USB/MSFG transaction.  These actions make it clear that mergers will be approved even in the absence of the formal Fed policy promised by Vice Chairman Barr, but the terms and conditions will be considerably stricter than was the case just a year ago for other super-regional transactions.

Al101722.pdf

14 10, 2022

DAILY101422

2022-10-14T17:04:18-04:00October 14th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Along with a Squeaker Merger Approval, Fed/FDIC Begin Work on Large-Bank Resolvability

As anticipated in Karen Petrou’s speech yesterday, the Fed today unanimously approved and the FDIC will shortly do the same on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking re-enforcing large-bank resolvability.  That this complex rulemaking will not slow near-term merger decisions was made clear today also by the Fed and OCC decisions to clear USB’s acquisition of MSFG’s California banking organization.

Covid Comm Presses CFPB for Still More Credit-Reporting Reform

The Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Rep. James Clyburn (D-NC) sent a letter to CFPB Director Chopra requesting that the Bureau investigate the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies (NCRAs) for failing to properly address credit reporting errors.  Citing data, the Subcommittee obtained from the NCRAs, Chairman Clyburn alleges that reporting errors occurred far more often than previously thought, that the majority of disputes do not result in consumer relief, and that the NCRAs discarded “tens of millions” of submissions without investigation by claiming they came from unauthorized third-parties.

Waller Dismisses Threat To Reserve Dollar Without A CBDC

In remarks today, FRB Governor Waller reiterated his skepticism of foreign-issued CBDCs and stablecoins, arguing that the underlying reasons for dollar dominance are non-technological and CBDCs will not affect them.  He dismisses concerns that foreign CBDCs would undermine dollar dominance because they could neither reduce payment frictions nor prevent illicit finance.

Daily101422.pdf

11 10, 2022

DAILY101122

2022-10-12T10:26:48-04:00October 11th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

FSB Slow-Walks Global Crypto Action

As promised, the FSB today released preliminary recommendations for global cryptoasset regulation and questions for consultation.

FSB Demurs on Crypto Systemic Risk

In its latest letter to the G20, the FSB today leaves its prior global-risk assessment largely unchanged, but refines its action plan.

Hsu Hunts for Reasons to Tolerate Crypto

In two speeches today, Acting Comptroller Hsu has again reiterated his concerns that cryptoassets pose an array of risks, a view of course echoing the FSOC’s findings (see Client Report CRYPTO33) and those in recent Treasury reports (see Client Report CBDC14 and Client Report CRYPTO32).

FRB KC: Better Data, Research Needed to Guide Payment Inclusion

A new research briefing from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City calls for more research and data collection on underserved populations excluded from the payment system as well as more systematic research into public and private payment inclusion initiatives.

HFSC Republicans Press Hsu on Bank-Fintech Partnerships

HFSC Ranking Member McHenry (R-NC) and four other House Republicans today sent a letter to Acting Comptroller Hsu demanding clarification on the OCC’s treatment of bank-fintech partnerships.

Daily101122.pdf

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