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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Agencies: Cease LIBOR-based contracts as soon as practicable

Federal Issues LIBOR Federal Reserve OCC FDIC

Federal Issues

On November 30, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and OCC issued a joint statement encouraging banks to cease entering into new contracts that use LIBOR as a reference rate as soon as practicable, but by December 31, 2021 at the latest. The statement notes that entering into new contracts that use LIBOR as a reference rate after December 31, 2021, would create safety and soundness risks given the range of consumer protection, litigation, and reputation risks at stake. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the agencies announced that they do not intend to recommend a specific credit-sensitive rate for use in place of LIBOR. Instead, the agencies encourage banks to “either utilize a reference rate other than LIBOR or have robust fallback language that includes a clearly defined alternative reference rate after LIBOR’s discontinuation” for all new contracts prior to December 31, 2021, in order to “facilitate an orderly—and safe and sound—LIBOR transition.” Additionally, the statement recognizes certain instances in which it would be appropriate for banks for enter into LIBOR contracts after December 31, 2021, including novations of LIBOR transactions executed before January 1, 2022.