#Yellen

8 02, 2024

FSOC31

2024-02-08T14:30:15-05:00February 8th, 2024|5- Client Report|

NonBank Mortgage Companies Are Prime SIFI Target

Treasury Secretary Yellen’s hearing today before Senate Banking followed the path set in Tuesday’s HFSC session (see Client Report FSOC30), with Ms. Yellen refusing to take a stand on matters such as the capital rules and banking-agency supervisory effectiveness.  Republicans in sparse attendance used the session to reiterate their critique of FSOC’s systemic-designation standard (see FSM Report SIFI36) and the capital rules; Democrats were most focused on defending Bidenomics.  However, questioning touched on NBFI risk with a particular focus on nonbank mortgage companies; the secretary reiterated conclusions about possible systemic risks laid out in FSOC’s most recent report (see Client Report FSOC29), now going further to say that one or another nonbank mortgage company could fail under market stress.  As we noted when FSOC standards were released, nonbank mortgage companies are top targets for systemic intervention, with Ms. Yellen’s comment today focused on individual companies suggesting that this might come via designation, not activity-and-practice standards.  There was little focus on NYCB today, but much attention to CRE risk; the secretary reiterated that it is worrisome for smaller banks, but not systemic.

FSOC31.pdf

6 02, 2024

FSOC30

2024-02-06T15:01:20-05:00February 6th, 2024|5- Client Report|

Yellen Ducks Capital Question, Further Threatening Finalization

As anticipated, today’s HFSC hearing with Treasury Secretary and FSOC Chair Yellen showcased sharp Republican criticism of the Council’s nonbank designation authority (see FSM Report SIFI36), with Chairman McHenry (R-NC) and Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chairman Barr (R-KY) citing the guidance as yet another example of regulatory politicization, calling FSOC a “rogue” and “roving” regulator.  Digital asset regulatory gaps were a top GOP concern, with Chairman McHenry also joined today by Reps. Hill (R-AR), Johnson (R-SD), and Thompson (R-PA) in sending a letter to Ms. Yellen requesting much greater attention to SEC and CFTC collaboration on digital asset oversight.  The hearing also continued to raise doubts about the viability of the agencies’ capital proposal (see FSM Report CAPITAL230), with Ms. Yellen repeatedly refusing to endorse it and emphasizing that the rule’s final form is the purview of the banking agencies.  Democratic opposition to the proposal was most starkly captured by Rep. Scott (D-GA), who said not only that it would be economically “terrible,” but that the majority of Committee members shared this opinion.  Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) strongly countered this view, but Democratic support today was muted.  Rep. Waters was also joined last night by Reps. Green (D-TX), Lynch (D-MA), Cleaver (D-MO), and Foster (D-IL) in sending a letter to Chairman McHenry requesting a hearing examining what they argue are racial disparities in mortgage approval rates at Navy Federal Credit Union.

FSOC30.pdf

2 02, 2024

Al020524

2024-02-02T16:12:41-05:00February 2nd, 2024|3- This Week|

Systemic Show-Down

As seems always the case, the Treasury Secretary’s appearance before Congress this week reporting on FSOC’s work will feature a lot more partisan wrangling than policy insight.  We will nonetheless glean what we can, with snippets possibly of greater import than usual because Democrats are pushing FSOC harder than ever to be more than the “book-report club” described by CFPB Director Chopra (see Client Report CONSUMER54).

Al020524.pdf

18 12, 2023

FSOC29

2023-12-18T11:36:07-05:00December 18th, 2023|5- Client Report|

FedFin Assessment: FSOC Worries A Lot, Watches, Waits

This year’s FSOC report trods much old ground with two exceptions.  The first pertains to a new focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and new, generative technologies.  That said, the report does little beyond highlight this risk and include it among all the others federal agencies are told to monitor.  Private credit now also alarms FSOC, with insurance company investment in this sector of particular systemic concern in concert with the sectors’ CRE and junk-bond exposures, offshore reinsurance, and PE ownership.  As detailed in this report, banks are found to be resilient and have ample capital even as the report supports consideration of pending regulatory revisions.  Banking agencies are also asked to monitor uninsured-deposit levels and assess run-risk in light of social media and other accelerants.  In sharp contrast to more alarmist statements in the past and extensive Treasury reports (see Client Report CRYPTO32), this year’s report downplays cryptoasset risk because federal regulators are said to have taken steps to contain it.  The report also reiterates FSOC’s continuing focus on cyber and climate risk, with the closed session preceding the meeting considering a framework being developed by the OCC to measure and monitor financial risks and bank exposures.  Agencies are also encouraged to pursue comparable, “decision-useful” climate disclosures.  The LIBOR transition is considered a success and no longer poses a systemic risk.

FSOC29.pdf

3 11, 2023

DAILY110323

2023-11-03T17:39:35-04:00November 3rd, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

FSOC Advances Designation Framework, Ready to Deploy

The FSOC today voted unanimously to finalize the Council’s analytic framework for financial stability risk identification (see FSM Report SYSTEMIC95) and guidance on nonbank financial company systemic designations (see FSM Report SIFI35).  FedFin will soon provide clients with in-depth reports on each item.  In addition to minor clarifications to the analytic framework, the Council importantly decided not to add cost-benefit analysis.  Further, the final nonbank designation guidance is unchanged from the proposal, meaning that designation standards will not require a determination of imminent threat to financial stability.

Daily110323.pdf

26 10, 2023

DAILY102623

2023-10-26T16:48:48-04:00October 26th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Senate Banking Focuses on Rapid-Fire Administration Action to Sanction Iran, Curb Hamas, Govern Crypto

Today’s Senate Banking Hearing on Illicit Finance and Terrorism showcased continued bipartisan support for stronger Iranian sanctions as well as for secondary sanctions on traditional financial institutions and cryptoasset firms facilitating terrorism.  In addition to highlighting their bipartisan measure targeting DeFi-related money laundering and sanctions evasion, Sens. Reed (D-RI) and Warner (D-VA) noted that they are working on a bill that would apply secondary sanctions on banks and DeFi entities that transact with foreign parties that facilitate terrorist financing.

Bipartisan Small-Business Leadership Opens New End-Game Front

Opening a new front of Congressional concern about the capital proposal’s credit impacts, House Small Business Economic Growth Subcommittee Chairman Meuser (R-PA) along with Ranking Member Landsman (D-OH) and two others today sent a letter to FRB Chairman Powell and Vice Chair Barr “imploring” them to commission a comprehensive review of the capital proposal’s effects on small business lending.  They also ask that all the agencies counteract any negative repercussions of the proposal, noting that this might entail significantly easing capital requirements.

Daily102623.pdf

25 09, 2023

DAILY092523

2023-09-25T16:05:07-04:00September 25th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

IMF Report: CBDC Designs Could Boost Financial Inclusion

On Friday, the IMF released a report concluding that a well-designed CBDC could foster financial inclusion and act as an entry point for the unbanked to the broader financial system.  This will strengthen Democratic demands for a U.S. CBDC, but we expect GOP opposition to remain firm and the Fed’s posture to retain its current focus on wholesale CBDCs.

FRB-NY: Stablecoins, MMFs Have Same Dynamic Runs

An FRB New York study today concludes that stablecoin investors behaved similarly to MMF investors in numerous recent runs.  Staff found that investors consider a stablecoin to have been effectively depegged once its price drops below $0.99 which triggers a run and mirrors the dynamics of MMFs “breaking the buck.”

Senate Dems Target SIFI Designation, Scenarios to Curb Climate Risk

Senator Warren (D-MA) along with Sens. Sanders (I-VT), Heinrich (D-NM), Markey (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI), and Merkley (D-OR) today released a letter dated last Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Yellen and Climate Counselor Zindler calling on the Department to significantly increase the urgency with which it targets climate-related financial risk.

Daily092523.pdf

15 09, 2023

DAILY091523

2023-09-15T16:55:06-04:00September 15th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Warren Adds Interest-Rate Risk to Fed Concerns

Heightening her attack on Fed interest-rate hikes, Sen. Warren (D-MA) yesterday pressed Treasury Secretary Yellen for FSOC action addressing interest-rate risks.  Those she highlights include unrealized bond losses, CRE hazard, and challenges in the leveraged-loan market.  Citing Moody’s recent credit downgrade of 10 regional banks, Ms. Warren voiced concern that interest rate risk still poses a systemic threat in these three areas and urged FSOC to act quickly to mitigate risk without suggesting specific actions.

Daily091523.pdf

14 09, 2023

DAILY091423

2023-09-14T16:47:09-04:00September 14th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

IOSCO Proposes Leveraged Loan, CLO Best Practices

IOSCO today released a consultation report proposing best practices for leveraged loans and CLOs that address origination and refinancing, EBITDA and documentation transparency, aligning interests from loan origination to end investors, managing conflicts of interest throughout the intermediation chain, and disclosures.

Durbin, Marshall Press Credit-Card Interchange Bill

Reiterating concerns expressed last month and comments yesterday on the Senate floor, Senate Whip and Judiciary Chairman Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Marshall (R-KS) were joined this time by Sen. Welch (D-VT) and four House Members calling on Visa and Mastercard to reverse planned fee hikes.

GAO Presses for FSOC Power to Regulate, Not Just Designate

The GAO today issued a report recommending that Congress consider legislation allowing FSOC to compel regulatory action, arguing that this would better accomplish the Council’s mission because FSOC currently has limited power to respond to systemic risk.

HFSC GOP Highlight CBDC Privacy Concerns

As anticipated, HFSC Digital Assets GOP Members continued their staunch opposition to a U.S. CBDC, with Subcommittee Chairman Hill (R-AR) and Majority Whip Emmer (R-MN) asserting that private innovation can modernize payments without the risk of government surveillance.

Brown Doubles Down on Opposition to House Crypto Bill

Making it still more clear that he is not supportive of pending House cryptoasset legislation, Senate Banking Chairman Brown (D-OH) today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen, SEC Chairman Gensler, and CFTC Chairman Benham asking for views on where new authority may be needed.

Daily091423.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

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