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On December 16, the FHFA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the stress testing requirements for Federal Home Loan Banks (FHL Banks), consistent with changes made by Section 401 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the Act). Specifically, the NPRM will (i) increase the minimum threshold for regulated entities to conduct stress tests from $10 billion to $250 billion in total consolidated assets; (ii) remove the requirements for FHL Banks subject to stress testing, as none of the banks meet the minimum threshold (notably, under the proposal, the Director will maintain the ability to require any regulated entity with assets below the minimum threshold to conduct stress tests at his or her discretion); and (iii) reduce the number of stress test scenarios from three to two by removing the “adverse” scenario. According to the FHFA, while the “adverse” scenario provides value in limited circumstances, “the ‘baseline’ and ‘severely adverse’ scenarios largely cover the full range of expected and stressful conditions.” As such, the FHFA believes removing the “adverse” scenario will reduce the supervisory burden for FHL Banks. The FHFA further proposes that the Enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac)—who remain subject to stress testing under the NPRM—be required to conduct stress tests on an annual basis, as Section 401 changed the required frequency from “annual” to “periodic,” but did not define the term “periodic” in the Act.
Comments on the NPRM are due January 13, 2020.
On October 15, the FDIC approved the final rule revising stress testing requirements for FDIC-supervised institutions, consistent with changes made by Section 401 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The final rule remains unchanged from the proposed rule, which was issued by the FDIC in December 2018 (previously covered by InfoBytes here). The final rule (i) changes the minimum threshold for applicability from $10 billion to $250 billion; (ii) revises the frequency of required stress tests for most FDIC-supervised institutions from annual to biannual; and (iii) reduces the number of required stress testing scenarios from three to two. FDIC-supervised institutions that are covered institutions will “be required to conduct, report, and publish a stress test once every two years, beginning on January 1, 2020, and continuing every even-numbered year thereafter.” The final rule also adds a new defined term, “reporting year,” which will be the year in which a covered bank must conduct, report, and publish its stress test. The final rule requires certain covered institutions to still conduct annual stress tests, but this is limited to covered institutions that are consolidated under holding companies required to conduct stress tests more frequently than once every other year. Lastly, the final rule removes the “adverse” scenario—which the FDIC states has provided “limited incremental information”—and requires stress tests to be conducted under the “baseline” and “severely adverse” stress testing scenarios. The final rule is effective thirty days after it is published in the Federal Register.
As previously covered by InfoBytes, on October 4, the OCC issued its final rule incorporating the same revisions as the FDIC.
Federal Reserve finalizes capital and liquidity requirement rules for large firms; proposes changes to assessment fees
On October 10, the Federal Reserve Board approved final rules, consistent with changes made by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, to establish a framework that revises the criteria for determining the applicability of regulatory capital and liquidity requirement for large U.S. banking organizations and U.S. intermediate holding companies (IHC) of certain foreign banking organizations with $100 billion or more in total assets. The framework—jointly developed with the FDIC and the OCC—establishes “four risk-based categories for determining the regulatory capital and liquidity requirements applicable to large U.S. banking organizations and the U.S. intermediate holding companies of foreign banking organizations, which apply generally based on indicators of size, cross-jurisdictional activity, weighted short-term wholesale funding, nonbank assets, and off-balance sheet exposure.” According to the Fed, while the framework is “generally similar” to proposals released for comment over the past year (see InfoBytes coverage here and here), the final rule further simplifies the proposals by applying liquidity standards to a foreign bank’s U.S. IHC that are based on the IHC’s risk profile instead of the combined U.S. operations of the foreign bank. For larger firms, the framework applies standardized liquidity requirements at the higher end of the range that was originally proposed for both domestic and foreign banks.
The following categories are established under the framework: (i) Category I will be reserved for U.S.-based global systemically important banks; (ii) Category II will apply to U.S. and foreign banking organizations with total U.S. assets exceeding $700 billion or $75 billion in cross-border activity that do not meet Category I criteria; (iii) Category III will apply to U.S. and foreign banking organizations with more than $250 billion in U.S. assets or $75 billion in weighted short-term wholesale funding, nonbank assets, or off balance sheet exposure; and (iv) Category IV will apply to other banking organizations with total U.S. assets of more than $100 billion that do not otherwise meet the criteria of the other three categories.
The framework will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Additionally, the Fed separately issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to raise the minimum threshold for being considered an assessed company and to adjust the amount charged to assessed companies. The notice also announces the Fed’s intention to issue a capital plan proposal that will “align capital planning requirements with the two-year supervisory stress testing cycle and provide greater flexibility for Category IV firms.” Comments on the proposal are due December 9.
On October 2, the OCC issued the final rule revising the stress testing requirements for OCC-supervised institutions, consistent with changes made by Section 401 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The final rule remains unchanged from the proposed rule, which was issued by the OCC in December 2018 (previously covered by InfoBytes here). The final rule (i) changes the minimum threshold for applicability from $10 billion to $250 billion; (ii) revises the frequency of required stress tests for most FDIC-supervised institutions from annual to biannual; and (iii) reduces the number of required stress testing scenarios from three to two. Specifically, OCC-supervised institutions that are covered institutions will “be required to conduct, report, and publish a stress test once every two years, beginning on January 1, 2020, and continuing every even-numbered year thereafter.” The final rule also adds a new defined term, “reporting year,” which will be the year in which a covered bank must conduct, report, and publish its stress test. The final rule requires certain covered institutions to still conduct annual stress tests, but this is limited to covered institutions that are consolidated under holding companies required to conduct stress tests more frequently than once every other year. Lastly, the final rule removes the “adverse” scenario—which the OCC states has provided “limited incremental information”—and requires stress tests to be conducted under the “baseline” and “severely adverse” stress testing scenarios. The final rule is effective November 24.
Federal Reserve seeks comments on capital assessments and stress testing reporting for U.S. subsidiaries of foreign banking organizations
On July 31, the Federal Reserve Board published two notices and requests for comments in the Federal Register seeking input on information collections that would affect reporting requirements for bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $100 billion or more as well as U.S. intermediate holding companies with $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets that are subsidiaries of foreign banking organizations. The Fed uses the information in the Capital Assessments and Stress Testing Reports (FR Y-14A/Q/M) to help ensure that these firms implement “strong, firm-wide risk measurement and management processes [that support] their internal assessments of capital adequacy and that their capital resources are sufficient given their business focus, activities, and resulting risk exposures.” These reports are also used to support the Fed’s annual Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review exercise.
The first notice announces several proposed schedule changes, as well as the Fed’s intent to modify and clarify instructions for existing data items in the FR Y-14A/Q/M reports. These changes, the Fed notes, are designed to reduce reporting burdens, clarify reporting requirements, address inconsistencies between FR Y-14 reports and other regulatory reports, and account for revised rules and accounting principles. The Fed proposes to implement these revisions as of September 30.
The second notice addresses, among other things, the revised accounting for credit losses under the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-13 and will implement the current expected credit loss accounting methodology across all of the FR Y-14 reports. According to the Fed, these revisions will “address the broadening of the scope of financial assets for which an allowance for credit losses assessment must be established and maintained, along with the elimination of the existing model for [purchased credit-impaired] assets.”
Comments on both notices must be received by September 30.
On July 23, Ginnie Mae published a Request for Input (RFI) seeking feedback on its plan to monitor and support the sustainability of the Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market, by developing a stress test framework for its non-bank issuer base. The RFI notes that, after reviewing two approaches to the stress test framework, Ginnie Mae elected to adopt a framework that forecasts an issuer’s financial performance over the next eight quarters under a base and adverse scenario. The framework would provide the following outputs: (i) a balance sheet, income statement and cashflow statement; (ii) a “Projected Issuer Risk Grade” (Ginnie Mae’s proprietary risk rating method); (iii) projected issuer compliance with Ginnie Mae and Government Sponsored Enterprise net worth, liquidity and capitalization requirements; (iv) projected compliance with common warehouse covenants; and (v) projected risk of insolvency. The RFI provides significant details on the framework, including details regarding the various structural components that will form its basis. The RFI lists four specific topics that responders may provide input on and requests that responders expand on the topics as appropriate to address related questions or implications. Comments must be submitted by August 31.
On June 27, the Federal Reserve (Fed) released the results of the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) conducted for 18 banking firms. The Fed considers quantitative and qualitative factors in its evaluation, including projected capital ratios under hypothetical severe economic conditions and the strength of the firm’s capital planning process, including its risk management, internal controls, and governance practices. The Fed did not object to the capital plans of any of the 18 firms, but did require one to address “limited weaknesses” the test identified. The Fed noted that, “On balance, virtually all firms are now meeting the Federal Reserve's capital planning expectations, which is an improvement from last year's assessment. The firms in the test have significantly increased their capital since the first round of stress tests in 2009.”
On June 21, the Federal Reserve Board released the results of its supervisory Dodd-Frank Act bank stress tests conducted on 18 financial institutions, which collectively hold 70 percent of bank assets in the U.S. Under the most severe scenario tested by the Fed, consisting of a severe global recession— “with the U.S. unemployment rate rising by more than 6 percentage points to 10 percent, accompanied by a large decline in real estate prices and elevated stress in corporate loan markets”— the Fed projected losses at the 18 institutions would total $410 billion and the aggregate common equity tier 1 capital ratio would fall from an actual 12.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 9.2 percent. Vice Chairman, Randal K. Quarles, noted that “[t]he results confirm that our financial system remains resilient,” and “the nation’s largest banks are significantly stronger before the crisis and would be well-positioned to support the economy after a secure shock.”
On June 4, the OCC extended the deadline for national banks and federal savings associations (FSAs) with consolidated assets between $100 billion and $250 billion to comply with the Dodd-Frank stress test (DFAST) requirements to November 25. In December 2018, the OCC issued a letter noting that prior DFAST exams and OCC supervision have indicated that qualifying banks with consolidated assets within these thresholds have adopted effective stress testing programs and integrated them into their general risk management tools, and as such, “requiring DFAST submissions for these banks in 2019 would provide limited supervisory value.” According to the OCC, the extension is consistent with the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act’s goal of reducing regulatory burden for applicable national banks and FSAs.
On March 28, the Federal Reserve Board released a report titled, “Dodd-Frank Act Stress Test 2019: Supervisory Stress Test Methodology,” which details the models and methodologies the Board will use for 2019 stress tests. The release is intended to “increase the transparency of [the Board’s] stress tests without compromising [its] ability to test the resiliency of the nation's largest banks.” Specifically, the report provides more information than in years past on the models that are used to project bank losses, including (i) ranges of loss rates for loans that are grouped by distinct risk characteristics; (ii) examples of portfolios with hypothetical loans with projected loss rates; and (iii) enhanced descriptions of models.
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