28 06, 2022


2023-01-24T16:10:38-05:00June 28th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC Campaign vs. Chopra May Clear Hsu

Continuing their campaign against CFPB Director Chopra, HFSC Ranking Member McHenry (R-NC) and Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee Ranking Member Luetkemeyer (R-MO) sent him a letter late yesterday accusing him of falsehoods related to legal opinions germane to the battle at the FDIC earlier this year on bank-merger policy (see FSM Report MERGER9).

FinCEN, Commerce Urge Strong Sanction Vigilance from Trade-Financing Banks

FinCEN and the Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security released a joint alert today urging increased financial-institution vigilance regarding Russian and Belarusian attempts to evade import sanctions.

CFPB Sets States Free to Interpret the FCRA

Using one of its new administrative procedures – an interpretive rule, the CFPB today expanded on its prior effort to encourage states to undertake vigorous consumer protection by establishing the principle that states may preempt federal standards pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act except where federal preemption is clearly enunciated in the Act.

FRB Study: LMI Households Pay More for Transaction Accounts, Discrimination Not the Cause

A new FRB study finds that banks in LMI and majority-minority communities charge higher maintenance fees and require higher minimum account balances compared to other census tracts, with fee differences compounded for communities that are both LMI and majority-minority.


22 06, 2022


2023-01-25T15:55:01-05:00June 22nd, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Treasury Issues Stern Sanctions Warning to Foreign Banks

In remarks today to UAE bankers, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo warned that foreign financial institutions are subject to possible sanction if transactions touch sanctioned entities via any U.S.-domiciled point.

CFBP Follows Threats with Credit-Card Action Plan

Consistent with its promises as recently as last week, the CFPB today released an ANPR examining ways to govern what it calls excessive late fees charged by credit-card issuers and announced broader initiatives in this sector.

CBDC Authorizing Legislation Takes Shape

Building on his HFSC subcommittee’s CBDC hearing record (see Client Report CBDC13), Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) today released a white paper outlining legislation he plans to advance to authorize and define CBDC for the United States.

House Set to Report Revised ILC Reform Bill

As anticipated, HFSC seems likely to report H.R. 5912, ILC-reform legislation introduced by Rep. Chuy García (D-IL) (see FSM Report ILC13).  The measure subjects ILCs to bank regulation, rolling back the FDIC’s rule during the Trump Administration providing these charters with unique regulatory advantages (see FSM Report ILC15).


5 04, 2022


2023-03-27T12:44:22-04:00April 5th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC Set to Quiz Yellen on Sanctions, Global Finance

As anticipated, the HFSC memo ahead of tomorrow’s hearing with Secretary Yellen highlights many pending bills designed to increase sanctions against Russia and Belarus, as well as the companies, oligarchs, and others affiliated with them or found to be acting on their behalf.  The memo includes not only a thorough compilation of bills to which we have alerted clients since the invasion began, but also a draft measure to bar an array of investment-banking or brokering activities related to Russia-based or -related obligations regardless of currency and to prohibit any such securities in investment funds.

IMF Official Urges Caution on CBDC Adoption

Bo Li, Deputy Managing Director at the IMF, urged caution today at an East African Finance Conference about building central bank digital currencies, referencing the findings of an IMF study on CBDC pilot programs.

Waters Demands Racial-Equity Action

As anticipated, the HFSC’s Oversight Subcommittee hearing on reparations featured considerable criticism of the financial services industry.  Most notably, Committee Chairwoman Waters (D-CA) said that some banks that provided loans to finance the purchase of slaves are still in operation, solely singling out JP Morgan. She also stated that she was looking forward to discussing the actions of the financial industry and how it will remedy the lingering effects of profiting from slavery.


1 04, 2022


2023-03-27T13:38:11-04:00April 1st, 2022|3- This Week|


Later this week, Janet Yellen will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on the global financial system.  Typically, these hearings are sedate affairs at which Treasury Secretaries are grilled on Chinese exchange rates, foreign banks, the IMF and World Bank, and many other issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with global finance.  This time will indeed be different.


31 03, 2022


2023-03-27T14:51:11-04:00March 31st, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

FSB Stays Its Course

The FSB today officially published its 2022 work plan, making only one change in terms of topics and timing from the plan detailed in a February letter to G20 finance ministers and central bankers.

HFSC Democrats Don’t Like Overdrafts, But No Action Imminent

As anticipated, today’s HFSC Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing reviewed Democratic complaints about overdraft fees and a general Republican defense of the importance of the private sector in setting consumer-finance charges.

Sanctions Now Reach Sectors

Treasury’s OFAC today sharply expanded U.S. sanctions against the Russian Federation.

Gensler Tackles Climate Disclosures, Crypto

Noting that the SEC is focused on disclosures, not the “merit” of what issuers may do, SEC Chairman Gensler today defended the controversial Scope 3 climate-risk disclosures, calling them “layered” because mandatory upstream and downstream disclosures would only be required if exposures are material or if a company had made a risk-reduction commitment.

GOP Bill Would Ban CBDC

Clearly still laying out the CBDC political divide, Sens. Cruz (R-TX), Braun (R-IN), and Grassley (R-IA) have introduced S. 3954, legislation essentially barring a retail-focused CBDC if it serves – as the senators expect – as a “financial surveillance tool.”

Thompson Open to FHLB Inquiry, New Mortgage Product

In the wake of another op-ed questioning the purpose of the home loan bank system, acting FHFA director Thompson said today that the creation of an advisory committee to review the system is a “great idea” to which she is open, saying also …

30 03, 2022


2023-03-27T14:58:35-04:00March 30th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Overdraft Hearing Sure to Raise Fee, Inclusion Concerns

Although the HFSC memo on tomorrow’s overdraft hearing tees up legislation for possible action, we expect the Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing to be a rhetorical exercise pressuring banks which still charge what Democrats, as well as Acting Comptroller Hsu and CFPB director Chopra, view as punitive fees.

FDIC Joins Campaign for Climate-Risk Management Standards

The FDIC today issued a request for comment on climate-risk management similar in many respects to the OCC’s outstanding release (see FSM Report GREEN12).

Senators Urge Treasury, SEC to Close Private Investment Sanctions Gap

Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Whitehouse (D-RI) today asked in a letter to Treasury and the SEC to accelerate closing the AML/CFT gap posed by private investment firms.

CFPB Revs Up Democratic Overdraft Anger

Ahead of tomorrow’s overdraft hearing, the CFPB today put out a strong blog post saying that, while some banks have properly addressed consumer risk, many have yet to do so.

Senate Dems Demand More Small-Business Lending

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Brown (D-OH), Majority Whip Durbin (D-IL), and eight other Democrats today wrote to all the banking agencies demanding that they do something to ensure that banks lend more to small businesses.


28 03, 2022


2023-03-27T15:53:58-04:00March 28th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Hsu Open to New Merger Policy on Inter-Agency Basis

As noted on Friday, the FDIC has now officially released a controversial RFI on bank-merger policy (see FSM Report MERGER9).  Press included a statement from Acting Comptroller Hsu indicating that he supports this public-comment effort, especially with regard to reconsidering financial stability at larger banks.

Progressives Propose a Treasury, not Central Bank, Digital Dollar

As anticipated when we reviewed a Brookings proposal for a “Treasury dollar“, legislation (H. R. 7231) has now been introduced to create what its sponsors call “ECASH” – that is, a digital currency issued by the U.S. Treasury, not the Federal Reserve.  Introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and several progressives, the ECASH program would launch three Treasury pilots under a new high-level Treasury office to create a digital dollar with physical cash’s privacy and anonymity.

House Panel Presses CS on Sanctions Compliance

Signaling a new source of sanctions-related reputational risk, the House Oversight Committee today demanded information from Credit Suisse following assertions that the bank had ordered counterparties to destroy Russia-related documentation.

Chopra Goes after Charters, Activities, Officers for Repeat Enforcement Violations

CFPB Director Chopra today expanded his attack on large financial-services firms, arguing that those who repeatedly violate consumer-protection or other core standards should lose their charters.


24 03, 2022


2023-04-03T12:54:18-04:00March 24th, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

Waller Adds Residential Real Estate to Monetary Policy Criteria

In remarks today, FRB Gov. Waller addressed the impact of what he calls the “red-hot” housing market on monetary and fiscal policy.  Noting that nonbank servicers were able to survive the 2020 crisis due to the refi boom’s liquidity benefit and a Ginnie facility, Mr. Waller reiterates ongoing policy concern about nonbank-servicer resilience without detailing any preferred policy actions.

HFSC Expands Diversity Data Demands to Large Insurers

Chairwoman Waters and Diversity Subcommittee Chairwoman Beatty expanded the committee’s diversity efforts today to include insurers via a letter sent to the largest insurance companies.

IOSCO Decries DeFi, US Regulatory Intervention Likely

Going beyond the general DeFi concerns outlined in a February FSB report, IOSCO today released a detailed report arguing that most DeFi products are directly akin to regulated investment, lending, and clearing products, posing not only the risks otherwise captured within the prudential perimeter, but also numerous additional risks presented by the manner in which DeFi generally operates.

HFSC Wants Names re Russian Business Exposure, Sanctions Compliance

HFSC Chairwoman Waters sent a letter today to financial and business trade associations requesting detailed information on each sector’s efforts to divest from Russia.  The letter applauds current efforts, but states that HFSC must nonetheless seek additional details about exit strategies and sanctions compliance, along with the names of companies continuing to do business within the Russian Federation or with Russian-based firms.


22 03, 2022


2023-04-03T13:01:29-04:00March 22nd, 2022|2- Daily Briefing|

BIS Advances Cross-Border CBDC Settlement

The BIS today announced significant progress accelerating the ability of CBDCs to handle cross-border payments.  Working with central banks in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Africa, the BIS described two prototype platforms for multi-currency international settlement that in their view prove that central banks can transact directly with each other using a shared platform.

ECB Head Criticizes Crypto, Calls for CBDC

Although we have not been able to confirm this by official remarks, press reports today indicate that ECB head Christine Lagarde has concluded that crypto-assets and -currency are significant factors in Russian-sanctions evasion.

CFPB Attaches UDAAP Label to Product-Review Practices

Building on FTC action, the CFPB today issued guidance stipulating that contractual-gag orders and certain other practices (e.g., employee or paid reviews) affecting the integrity of consumer reviews are illegal in credit-card, mortgage, or other consumer-finance marketing.  The law on which this view is premised is a provision in the CFPB’s authorizing statute providing enforcement power for unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP).

Treasury Lays out Digital-Asset Work Plan

In remarks today, Treasury Under-Secretary Liang laid out her agency’s plans to execute President Biden’s digital-asset order (see Client Report CRYPTO26).  Treasury’s report on money and the payment system will address current weaknesses (e.g., high fees for low-balance accounts, slow and costly remittances), recognize the strength of FDIC insurance and other safeguards, build on FedNow, and establish a way for stablecoins to access the payment system.


18 03, 2022


2023-04-03T13:20:59-04:00March 18th, 2022|3- This Week|


Although the Congressional schedule this week (see below) looks light, it will be anything but quiet on Capitol Hill.  We will thus continue to monitor and analyze key developments related to sanctions against Russia, Belarus, their oligarchs, and pretty much anyone else Americans think may be playing a direct or indirect role accelerating geopolitical risk, encouraging aggression, and exacerbating human suffering.  With the House out of session next week, new laws cannot be enacted, but the White House and Treasury will act as fast as possible and as assertively as they think is right, even if their edicts tread on the boundaries of current law when they are convinced that Congress will quickly codify what’s been done, as well as authorize still more.


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