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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Fed Governor Michelle Bowman gives speech discussing banking regulatory reforms and concerns

Bank Regulatory CRA Basel Bank Supervision

On November 9, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle W. Bowman delivered a speech on the economy and prioritization of bank supervision and regulation. Governor Bowman highlighted recent developments in banking regulatory framework reform. Governor Bowman began by highlighting the proposed reforms to capital requirements for banks with more than $100 billion in assets. She mentioned the central concern raised is the potential inadequacy of the quantitative and analytical foundations of these reforms. Governor Bowman questioned whether Basel III reforms effectively address regulatory deficiencies and emphasized the need for a thorough understanding of both the benefits and costs of implementing such changes. Governor Bowman discussed the actions taken by the agencies, including an extended comment period and efforts to gather more information on the proposal's potential impact. Several areas are identified as necessary to address, such as redundancy in the capital framework, calibration of the Market Risk Capital Rule, the inefficiency of two standardized capital stacks, and the punitive treatment of fee income. Governor Bowman also highlighted the missed opportunity to review leverage ratio requirements, which could have implications for market functioning in times of stress.

Shifting the focus to the CRA, Governor Bowman acknowledged the importance of improving access to credit, especially in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. However, the Governor mentioned concerns raised about the new final rule implementing the CRA. She explained some criticism for it being unnecessarily complex, overly prescriptive, and disproportionately burdensome for banks, especially community banks. It applies the same regulatory expectations to small and large banks, failing to recognize the differences among banks in terms of size, risk, and business models, she added. Governor Bowman’s remarks underscore the need for a balanced, data-driven, and risk-focused approach to regulatory reforms.