#Rounds

31 01, 2024

DAILY013124

2024-01-31T16:57:15-05:00January 31st, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Senate Banking Turns to AI’s Impact on Housing Finance

 

Today’s lightly-attended Senate Banking Subcommittee hearing on AI and Housing focused principally on AI governance issues including accountability, model explainability, transparency, and bias.  Sen. Warnock (D-GA) called for action on S. 3692, legislation to prohibit use of algorithmic systems to coordinate – and it is believed thus inflate – rental prices or reduce supply.  Although Subcommittee Chairwoman Smith (D-MN) lauded AI for its potential to boost the housing supply, she and other Democrats raised serious concerns that AI reinforces biases in lending decisions.

Democrats Remain Dubious About the Capital Proposal

Today’s Financial Institutions Subcommittee hearing on the capital rules made it still more clear that more than a few Democrats share at least some GOP concerns.  Chair Barr (R-KY) reiterated points he has frequently made about the poor analytics behind the proposal; Full Committee Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Green (D-TX) were unequivocal in their support.  Other Democrats raised concerns many had previously expressed in comment letters, with Rep. Sherman (D-CA) pointing to problems with the proposal’s impact on capital markets and its lack of credit for private mortgage insurance and Rep. Beatty (D-OH) highlighting concerns with small business credit availability.

Daily013124.pdf

18 01, 2024

DAILY011824

2024-01-18T16:58:16-05:00January 18th, 2024|2- Daily Briefing|

Basel Head Backs U.S. End-Game

In an FT interview today, the Basel Committee’s chair, Pablo Hernández de Cos, unsurprisingly endorsed the U.S. end-game proposal, indirectly but firmly rebutting assertions that it is at variance with global norms.

The Shape of Liquidity Rules to Come

Previewing the construct of what may soon be the anticipated inter-agency proposal addressing liquidity-risk lessons-learned, Acting Comptroller Hsu today argued that the liquidity coverage ratio’s treatment of retail depositors (see FSM Report LIQUIDITY17) does not address likely depositor herding as they run for the exit.

Rounds, Sinema Press for SIFI-Designation Rollback

Senate Banking Committee Member Rounds (R-SD) alongside Sen. Sinema (I-AZ) introduced S.3601, legislation to codify 2019 standards (see FSM report SIFI35) adding significantly more obstacles to systemic designation compared to FSOC’s new approach (see FSM report SIFI36).

Steele’s Good-Bye Presses for More Tough Standards

In his last speech in office, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Graham Steele today called for reassessment of the treatment of unrealized gains or losses not just under the capital rules, but also in the liquidity standards (where they are in fact to some degree now captured).

House Democrats Damn Capital Proposal With Faint Praise

In this report, we begin our assessment of Congressional end-game comment letters.

Senate Letters Slam Capital Proposal’s Tax-Equity Risk Weight Changes

Here, we turn to several Senate letters on the end-game proposal.

Daily011824.pdf

14 11, 2023

REFORM229

2023-11-14T15:57:18-05:00November 14th, 2023|5- Client Report|

Capital Proposal Gets Bipartisan Bashing in Senate Banking

Today’s Senate Banking hearing with top bank regulators showcased broad bipartisan concern over the interagency capital proposal (see FSM Report CAPITAL230).  Although Chairman Brown (D-OH), Sen. Warren (D-MA), and Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) staunchly defended the proposal on countercyclicality grounds, other senators on both sides of the aisle sounded the alarm over its impact on credit availability, small-business lending, and shadow-bank migration.  FRB Vice Chair Barr repeatedly defended his agency’s analysis while emphasizing openness to comment, also highlighting that the proposal relates primarily to non-credit activity and would apply to only 37 banks.  Some Republicans also raised concerns over other recent rulemakings, with Sen. Britt (R-AL) asking Vice Chair Barr if the agencies would consider a comment deadline extension for the LTD proposal (see FSM Report TLAC9).  Although Mr. Barr stated that the rule is far simpler than the capital proposal, he also said the agencies would consider a similar extension.  FDIC Chairman Gruenberg drew bipartisan ire over reports of FDIC widespread harassment, with Republicans seizing the occasion to criticize Mr. Gruenberg’s leadership.  Grilled by Sen. Tillis (R-NC) about reports of a Fed leak of confidential supervisory information, Mr. Barr only said that he is deeply concerned.  Separately, Chairman Brown emphasized unfinished work on bank executive accountability and urged Congress to pass the RECOUP Act (see FSM Report COMPENSATION37), which passed the Committee nearly unanimously in July.

REFORM229.pdf

20 10, 2023

DAILY102023

2023-10-20T17:21:03-04:00October 20th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Senate AI Measure Tackles Financial Services

The text of the key Senate AI bill, S. 3050, has now become available.

Banking Agencies Offer Olive Branch

Reflecting strong pressure and recent FRB Chair Powell statements, the FRB today announced the launch of an open data collection assessing the rule’s effects – an issue on which many bank comment letters and Congressional Republicans have been scathing.

GOP Renew Funding Campaign vs. CFPB via Fed Losses

HFSC Vice Chairman Hill (R-AR) yesterday reintroduced legislation pressuring both the Fed and CFPB by prohibiting the Fed from transferring its earnings to the Bureau if the Fed incurs an operating loss.

FinCEN Highlights Hamas Sanction Red Flags

Reflecting ongoing Congressional pressure and recent Treasury sanctions, FinCEN today issued an alert reminding financial institutions to remain vigilant for suspicious activity related to Hamas funding sources.

Fed Stays Stoic on Financial-Stability Outlook

The FRB today released is semiannual financial-stability report differing little from the relatively-sanguine outlook in its May report (see Client Report SYSTEMIC94).

Daily102023.pdf

20 09, 2023

DAILY092023

2023-09-20T17:11:25-04:00September 20th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Brown, Rounds Agree: AI Credit-Underwriting Warrants Regulatory Attention

At today’s Senate Banking hearing on AI in financial services, Chairman Brown (D-OH) argued that AI should be governed by the same rules as the rest of the financial system, with new law necessary if existing rules prove inadequate.

HFSC FinCEN Bills Draw Bipartisan Support

HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) at today’s markup praised the scope of bipartisan support on today’s FinCEN, sanctions, and other national security bills.

HFSC Delays Bipartisan Sanction Bill Vote

Today’s HFSC markup also considered two bills addressing sanctions policy: H.R. 5512 from Rep. Sherman (D-CA) to require bank subsidiaries to comply with sanctions on Russia and Belarus and H.R. 760 from Rep. Barr (R-KY) imposing blocking sanctions on Chinese defense or surveillance companies and the third-party companies that supply them.

HFSC Dems Continue Strongly Opposing GOP Anti-CBDC Measure

The bipartisan spirit of today’s HFSC markup dissipated as Members fiercely debated H.R. 5403 from Majority Whip Emmer (R-MN), a bill that would bar the Fed from issuing a CBDC to individuals.

Gruenberg: New Shadow Bank Standards Would Cure a Capital Proposal Problem

FDIC Chairman Gruenberg today gave remarks arguing that FSOC along with OFR should establish a new reporting framework to assess the financial stability risks posed by nonbanks and ensure that public reporting is sufficient for market participants to understand nonbank counterparty risk.

HFSC Reports FinCEN, Sanctions, CBDC Bills

HFSC today unanimously reported H.R 760 sanctioning Chinese defense companies, H.R. 5512 requiring bank subsidiaries to comply with sanctions …

19 07, 2023

DAILY071923

2023-07-19T16:57:05-04:00July 19th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

FTC/DOJ Propose Sweeping M&A Rewrite

Following an extensive inquiry into a new U.S. merger construct, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission today released a draft formal policy statement that would codify issues previously raised in areas such as a transaction’s implications for workers.

White House Leaves Bank “Junk Fee” Attack As Is

Acting on President Biden’s competition executive order (see Client Report MERGER6), the White House today announced a slate of actions aimed at lowering consumer costs and promoting competition.

Bipartisan Senators Introduce New DeFi-AML/Sanctions Framework

Senator Reed (D-RI) yesterday introduced legislation along with Sens. Warner (D-VA), Rounds (R-SD), and Romney (R-UT) targeting DeFi-related money laundering and sanctions evasion.

Dems Reintroduce Bill Requiring Instant Consumer Deposit Access

Sens. Van Hollen (D-MD) and Warren (D-MA) and Reps. Pressley (D-MA) and Lynch (D-MA) have reintroduced the Payments Modernization Act, which requires financial institutions to recognize deposited funds in real-time and clarifies the moot point of whether the Fed has existing authority to build a real-time payments system.

Daily071923.pdf

12 07, 2023

DAILY071223

2023-07-12T17:05:21-04:00July 12th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

SEC Concedes, Drops MMF Swing Pricing

In a startling bow to industry comments, the SEC today finalized MMF rules for institutional prime and tax-exempt funds that dispense with the proposal’s swing pricing (see FSM Report MMF19).

HFSC Bickers Over ESG, SEC Authority, Investor Rights

Today’s ESG hearing was the partisan show-down we anticipated – indeed, Rep. Sherman (D-CA) denounced the GOP for “waging war” against capitalism like Leon Trotsky.

Fed Nominations Advance

As anticipated, Senate Banking today approved the nominations of all three Federal Reserve Board nominees for the full Senate.

Warren Heightens Anti-Merger Campaign

Republicans were absent today from Senate Banking’s Economic Policy bank-merger hearing.  Chair Warren (D-MA) reiterated her strong opposition to virtually all mergers, indicating her plans to reintroduce anti-merger legislation from prior Congresses (see FSM Report MERGER8).

Daily071223.pdf

3 03, 2022

DAILY030322

2023-04-04T12:53:47-04:00March 3rd, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

LIBOR Transition Rescue Advances

Advancing a long-delayed effort to clarify the LIBOR transition, a bipartisan group of Senate Banking Members today introduced legislation dictating replacement rates for legacy contracts.  The language is a companion to a revised version of House-introduced standards (see Client Report LIBOR5)  that among other things reflects Sen. Toomey’s (R-PA) concerns that the bill be narrowly tailored to a defined class of legacy contracts rather than, as some feared, stipulating new benchmark rates across the financial market for new contracts.  The bill is supported by virtually all financial-industry advocacy organizations and should now advance quickly to the Senate floor since the Senate Banking Committee has already held hearings on this issue.  At today’s hearing (see FedFin’s report), Chairman Powell strongly endorsed the bill and reiterated the need for rapid action.

Powell Defends Fed’s Institutional Legitimacy, Continuing Function as Nominations Stall

Today’s Senate Banking hearing with Chairman Powell featured continuing partisan wrangling over stalled Fed nominations showed no sign of resolution after Republicans essentially forced Mr. Powell to concur that his powers to act pro tem ensured continuing central-bank function.  Ranking Member Toomey (R-PA) also renewed his campaign against Reserve Banks, arguing that they are anachronistic and have strayed from core mandate concerns.

Daily030322.pdf

15 02, 2022

FedFin: Stablecoin Legislative Consensus in Sight, But from a Distance

2023-04-04T15:59:02-04:00February 15th, 2022|The Vault|

Despite fierce partisan fighting over pending Fed nominations, today’s Senate Banking hearing on stablecoin regulation was considerably more bipartisan that last week’s HFSC session (see Client Report CRYPTO24).  Both Chairman Brown (D-OH) and Ranking Member Toomey (R-PA) are in broad agreement on a two-tier structure in which stablecoins are issued either by banks or by nonbanks subject to strict reserve-asset, AML, and related regulation.

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

15 02, 2022

CRYPTO25

2023-04-04T15:58:50-04:00February 15th, 2022|5- Client Report|

Stablecoin Legislative Consensus in Sight, But from a Distance

Despite fierce partisan fighting over pending Fed nominations, today’s Senate Banking hearing on stablecoin regulation was considerably more bipartisan that last week’s HFSC session (see Client Report CRYPTO24).  Both Chairman Brown (D-OH) and Ranking Member Toomey (R-PA) are in broad agreement on a two-tier structure in which stablecoins are issued either by banks or by nonbanks subject to strict reserve-asset, AML, and related regulation.  That said, we think it may prove difficult for Democrats and Republicans to agree on key details in the construct of a U.S. private stablecoin regime, with the thorniest issue likely to prove the extent to which the federal construct preempts state regulation.  Further, Sen. Brown signaled that there will be more stablecoin hearings before any action occurs, making it unlikely that time will permit resolution of outstanding differences of opinion within the Senate and then with the House before the end of this session.

CRYPTO25.pdf

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