#White House

22 12, 2023

DAILY122223

2023-12-29T10:01:49-05:00December 22nd, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

President Imposes Sweeping Secondary Sanctions

Responding to ongoing evidence that sanctions are not working as hoped despite recent Treasury assurances they are, the President today issued a sweeping executive order and Treasury laid out secondary sanctions for financial institutions found to facilitate Russian Federation finances related to its “war machine.”  We will shortly provide clients with an in-depth analysis of these actions which pose significant threats to dollar-clearing access for financial institutions that have so far been largely outside the reach of existing sanctions.

Treasury Requests Feedback for Financial Inclusion Strategy

Following a statutory directive, Treasury today issued an RFI to develop a national strategy for financial inclusion.  We will shortly provide clients with an in-depth report on the RFI.  Noting significant disparities in banking-system access for LMI, low-wealth, Black, and Hispanic households as well as discrepancies in rates of stock and business ownership between white, Black, and Hispanic households, the RFI invites recommendations for policy, government programs, financial products, technology, and other tools and market infrastructure.

Brown Prioritizes Housing, ILC Bill, AI in 2024

The Senate Banking Committee today released its policy outlook entering 2024 prioritizing affordable housing, enacting the ILC-powers bill (see FSM Report ILC17), and AI financial-sector policy (likely here picking up the Warner-Kennedy bill we will shortly assess in depth).

Daily122223.pdf

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21 12, 2023

DAILY122123

2023-12-21T16:29:00-05:00December 21st, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

OFR Nomination Scuttled

Although Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) recently called for his confirmation, Ron Borzekowski’s appointment as Director of the Office of Financial Research was scuttled yesterday in the Senate.

Treasury Payment-System Policy Addresses Resilience, Reserve-Currency Status, Inter-Operability

Providing an update on Treasury’s working group on the future of money and payments, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Financial Markets Nicholas Tabor yesterday indicated that the working group is considering the implications of new payment technologies for smooth international financial system functioning, U.S. national security, privacy, and financial inclusion.

Reserve Banks Promise a Peek

Tidying up, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released a new “Transparency and Accountability” policy on behalf of all of the System’s Banks.

Regulators Clarify Bank BOI Expectations

FinCEN was today joined by the FDIC, FRB, OCC, NCUA, and State Bank and Credit Union Regulators in an interagency statement clarifying that FinCEN’s beneficial ownership information Access Rule does not create new regulatory requirements or supervisory expectations for banks to access BOI from the beneficial ownership IT System.

Daily122123.pdf

20 12, 2023

DAILY122023

2023-12-20T16:49:55-05:00December 20th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

CFPB Small-Business Reporting Reg Remains

In conjunction with his expected veto last night of legislation that would have overturned the CFPB’s small-business reporting rule, President Biden indicated that the Bureau’s rule is central to CRA implementation and would bring transparency to small-business lending.

FSB, IOSCO Try Get-Tough Approach to OEF Illiquidity

As promised, the FSB and IOSCO today finalized recommendations designed to enhance OEF resilience.

HFSC GOP Demands CFPB Nonbank Delay, Clarification

HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) and nineteen Committee Republicans sent a letter to CFPB Director Chopra urging the Bureau to extend by thirty days the comment deadline for its proposal to supervise large nonbank payment providers (see FSM Report PAYMENT27).

FERC Passive-Ownership Inquiry Poses Challenges to Funds, Banks

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has opened another avenue scrutinizing the extent to which large asset managers may control the companies in which they invest.

FDIC Approves Significantly Revised Sign, Advertising Standards

The FDIC Board today unanimously approved a final rule modernizing requirements for use of the FDIC’s official sign and clarifying what constitutes misrepresentation and misuse of the FDIC’s name or logo.

Daily122023.pdf

11 12, 2023

Daily121123

2023-12-11T16:51:51-05:00December 11th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Treasury Broadens Illicit Finance Scope to CRE, Investment Advisors

In connection with an order sanctioning two Afghanis for transnational corruption, Treasury and FinCEN today issued a fact sheet on actions under way to address corruption and other illicit transactions.

White House Threatens Veto on Bill Curtailing OCC, Other Agencies

The House Rules Committee is expected today to clear H.R. 357 for floor action as soon as tomorrow, prompting the White House to issue a veto threat.

Warren Presses Case for Crypto Standards in NDAA

Strengthening her position ahead of a fight with HFSC Chair McHenry (R-NC) over crypto provisions in the NDAA, Sen. Warren (D-MA) today announced that Sens. Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Luján (D-NM) alongside Senate Banking Committee members Warnock (D-GA), Butler (D-CA), and Van Hollen (D-MD) joined Sen. Warren and 14 other Senators as co-sponsors of the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act.

CGFS Wants LTV-Related Capital Rules Adjusted to Reflect House Prices

Reviewing the link between housing finance and systemic risk, the BIS Committee on the Global Financial System’s report today focused on the need for automatic stabilizers that provide macroprudential controls in this high-risk sector.

Daily121123.pdf

7 12, 2023

DAILY120723

2023-12-07T16:42:01-05:00December 7th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

BIS: CCP Collateral Holdings Pose Systemic Risk

A new BIS study looks at the risk that the transformation of OTC markets to centrally-cleared ones has in turn transformed markets based in part on know-your-counterparty into those dependent principally on collateral backing margin positions – an inherently more fragile market structure.

White House Presses FHLB Affordable-Housing Action

In remarks today, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard not only highlighted the Biden Administration’s actions to address housing affordability, but also mentioned plans for new financing programs.

Ambitious CFPB Regulatory Plans Come Into View

The CFPB’s fall 2023 regulatory agenda provides status updates for several significant rulemaking items.

Basel to Set IRR, Window-Dressing, Crypto Standards

The Basel Committee’s year-end meeting advanced plans to address interest-rate risk (IRR) with a concrete agreement to issue a new consultation later this month updating current global IRR standards (see FSM Report IRR7).

BIS Points to MMF Risk When Rates Rise

Another new BIS paper concludes that the record size of MMFs poses significant threat to dollar-funding market stability.

OCC Warns Banks of AI Risk, Possible Supervisory Action

Reflecting growing Congressional, regulatory, and industry concerns over AI, today’s OCC semiannual risk assessment for federal banks states that national banks should be mindful of AI risks as these fall under current supervisory procedures.

Senate GOP Goes for Gruenberg’s Jugular

Despite efforts by the FDIC to reassure critics about its independent investigation, Senate Banking Republicans today fired off a ferocious letter demanding that FDIC Chair Gruenberg immediately resign …

17 11, 2023

Al112023

2023-11-17T16:34:27-05:00November 17th, 2023|3- This Week|

That’s Different

As we noted in our in-depth reports last week, Congressional hearings with top bank supervisors are always eventful, but rarely game-changers.  This proved to be the case when FRB Vice Chair Barr, Acting Comptroller Hsu, and FDIC Chair Gruenberg came before Senate Banking (see Client Report REFORM229) and HFSC (see Client Report REFORM230).  One surprising takeaway affects policy and the other is political, but each has the potential to change the end-game landscape as well as that of the Biden Administration’s financial rulemaking for the rest of the President’s term.

Al112023.pdf

17 11, 2023

DAILY111723

2023-11-17T16:32:11-05:00November 17th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

FDIC Special Assessment to Cost Still More

After abruptly cancelling its open meeting, the FDIC late yesterday released its final special-assessment rule.

GOP Tries to Force Gruenberg Out

Following HFSC Chairman McHenry’s (R-NC) decision yesterday to begin a formal investigation of FDIC Chair Gruenberg are not only a raft of Senate Republicans putting pressure on the increasingly-beleaguered long-time FDIC official, but also top Democrats.

Senate Dems, HFSC Intensify FDIC Scrutiny

Building on earlier comments, bipartisan scrutiny of the FDIC and Chairman Gruenberg grew this afternoon with two new letters from Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress.

Chopra Wants DIF Redesign

Although the most contentious issue on the agenda for yesterday’s cancelled FDIC meeting was the special assessment, the board was also to consider the Deposit Insurance Fund’s status and progress on its designated reserve ratio (DRR).

Daily111723.pdf

13 11, 2023

M111323

2023-11-13T12:07:05-05:00November 13th, 2023|6- Client Memo|

How Inequitable Rules Stoke Financial Crises and What the Banking Agencies Should do to Cut This Link

Last week, OMB issued another edict redesigning the way most of the federal government writes rules, going beyond its earlier directive to consider competitive impact now also to demand detailed consideration of the broader public good, especially when it comes to economic equality.  I focused on public-good regulation in last week’s memo because it is sadly alien to federal financial regulation even though, as OMB says, “the benefits and costs of a regulation are ultimately experienced by people.”  I grant that economists are people, but some are also people who don’t like people, at least when qualitative assessment of what people need challenges the quantitative conclusions they cherish.  Pending banking rules thus ignore the public good in favor of complex market constructs, rationalizing them on assertions that, whatever else befalls finance, crises are less likely.  This is a methodology fraught with perverse consequences, the most important of which is that the agencies’ standards will hike the risk of financial crises precisely because they omit distributional analysis.

M111323.pdf

13 11, 2023

Karen Petrou: How Inequitable Rules Stoke Financial Crises and What the Banking Agencies Should do to Cut This Link

2023-11-13T15:41:25-05:00November 13th, 2023|The Vault|

Last week, OMB issued another edict redesigning the way most of the federal government writes rules, going beyond its earlier directive to consider competitive impact now also to demand detailed consideration of the broader public good, especially when it comes to economic equality.  I focused on public-good regulation in last week’s memo because it is sadly alien to federal financial regulation even though, as OMB says, “the benefits and costs of a regulation are ultimately experienced by people.”  I grant that economists are people, but some are also people who don’t like people, at least when qualitative assessment of what people need challenges the quantitative conclusions they cherish.  Pending banking rules thus ignore the public good in favor of complex market constructs, rationalizing them on assertions that, whatever else befalls finance, crises are less likely.  This is a methodology fraught with perverse consequences, the most important of which is that the agencies’ standards will hike the risk of financial crises precisely because they omit distributional analysis.

A demand for distributional consideration is not – repeat not – a plea for the banking agencies to go easy on banks.  It’s a plea for them to be as sure as they can that none but banks that need to be reined in are throttled.  As OMB now also says, “some alternatives may change distributional effects even without significantly changing stringency.”  The extent to which this is the case with bank standards is unknown because not one regulator has ever asked a distributional …

9 11, 2023

DAILY110923

2023-11-09T17:11:08-05:00November 9th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Bowman Outlines Capital-Comment Priorities

In remarks today, FRB Gov. Bowman reiterated many of her longstanding concerns regarding pending bank rules, going on now to lay out key points on which she believes comment are warranted on the capital standards.

OMB Now Demands Distributional Analytics

Following its order to federal agencies now to consider competitive-impact in regulatory assessments, OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) today issued new standards also demanding distributional-impact analyses.  As Karen Petrou’s memo this week made clear, it is our view that these are singularly and unfortunately absent from those accompanying the recent spate of banking proposals.

HFSC Plans Sanctions Markup

As anticipated, HFSC is proceeding next Tuesday to mark up a raft of bills addressing Iran and broader sanctions questions.  Among the bills is one from Reps. Vargas (D-CA) and Hill (R-AR), H.R. 6245, to require Treasury to report on financial institution’s involvement with Iranian officials.

Daily110923.pdf

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