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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Federal agencies allow supplementary leverage ratio flexibility

    Federal Issues

    On May 15, the FDIC, Federal Reserve Board (Fed), and the OCC announced an interim final rule (IFR) that temporarily permits depository institutions to choose to exclude U.S. Treasury securities and deposits at Federal Reserve Banks from the calculation of the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) to provide flexibility during the Covid-19 pandemic. The exclusion would enable depository institutions to expand their balance sheets to provide additional credit to households and businesses. The SLR and the IFR apply to depository institution subsidiaries of U.S. systemically important bank holding companies and depository institutions subject to Category II or Category III capital standards. According to the FDIC’s Financial Institution Letter FIL-57-2020, if a depository institution elects to exclude U.S. Treasury securities and deposits from the SLR, it, among other things, (i) must notify its primary federal banking regulator within 30 days after the IFR is effective; (ii) may choose to reflect the exclusion as if the IFR has been in effect the entire second quarter of 2020; and (iii) must obtain approval from its primary federal banking regulator before making a distribution or creating an obligation to make a distribution, beginning in the third quarter of 2020 through March 2021, so long as the temporary exclusion is in effect. The IFR goes into effect upon publication the Federal Register and is effective through March 31, 2021.

    See also OCC Bulletin 2020-52 and additional questions for feedback by the Fed.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC GSIBs OCC Federal Reserve

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  • Fed extends initial compliance dates for certain parts of SCCL

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 1, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) announced it would extend the initial compliance dates for certain parts of its single-counterparty credit limit rule (SCLL), which was approved in 2018 and limits a U.S. bank holding company’s or foreign banking organization’s credit exposure to another counterparty. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Fed initially proposed the extension last November. Under the extension, the largest foreign banks subject to the single-counterparty credit limit rule will have until July 1, 2021 to comply, while smaller foreign banks will not be required to comply until January 1, 2022.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve CECL GSIBs Dodd-Frank Of Interest to Non-US Persons Compliance

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  • Fed giving foreign banks more time to comply with SCCL

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 8, the Federal Reserve Board announced a proposal to extend the initial compliance dates for foreign banks subject to its single-counterparty credit limit rule by 18 months, which would require the largest foreign banks to comply by July 1, 2021 and smaller foreign banks to comply by January 1, 2022.

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, in June 2018, the Federal Reserve Board approved a rule to establish single-counterparty credit limits for U.S. bank holding companies with at least $250 billion in total consolidated assets, foreign banking organizations operating in the U.S. with at least $250 billion in total global consolidated assets (as well as their intermediate holding companies with $50 billion or more in total U.S. consolidated assets), and global systemically important bank holding companies (GSIBs). The rule, which implements section 165(e) of the Dodd-Frank Act, requires the Board to limit a bank holding company’s or foreign banking organization’s credit exposure to an unaffiliated company. Under the rule, a GSIB’s credit exposure is limited to 15 percent of its tier 1 capital to another systemically important firm. A U.S. bank holding company and other applicable foreign institution is limited to a credit exposure of 25 percent of its tier 1 capital to a counterparty.

    Comments on the proposal to extend the compliance dates will be accepted for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve GSIBs Dodd-Frank Of Interest to Non-US Persons

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  • Fed proposes supervisory categories

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 31, the Federal Reserve announced a proposed rulemaking to more closely match certain regulations for large banking organizations with their risk profile. The proposal would establish four risk-based categories for applying the regulatory capital rule, the liquidity coverage ratio rule, and the proposed net stable funding ratio rule for banks with $100 billion or more in assets. Specifically, the Federal Reserve proposes to establish the four categories using risk-based indicators, such as size, cross-jurisdictional activity, weighted short-term wholesale funding, nonbank assets, and off-balance sheet exposure. According to the proposal, the most significant changes will be for banks are in the two lowest risk categories:

    • Banks with $100 billion to $250 billion in total consolidated assets would generally fall into the lowest risk category and would (i) no longer be subject to the standardized liquidity requirements; (ii) no longer be required to conduct company-run stress tests, and (iii) be subject to supervised stress tests on a two-year cycle.
    • Banks with $250 billion or more in total consolidated assets, or material levels of other risk factors, that are not global systemically important banking institutions (GSIBs), would (i) have reduced liquidity requirements; and (ii) only be required to perform company run stress tests on a two-year cycle. These banks would still be subject to annual supervised stress tests.

    Banks in the highest two risk categories, including GSIBs, would not see any changes to capital or liquidity requirements. A chart of the proposed requirements for each risk category is available here.

    Comments on the proposal must be received by January 22, 2019.

    Additionally, the Federal Reserve released a joint proposal with the OCC and FDIC that would tailor requirements under the regulatory capital rule, the Liquidity Coverage Ratio and the proposed Net Stable Funding Ratio to be consistent with the prudential standard changes.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve FDIC OCC Bank Supervision GSIBs Liquidity Standards Stress Test

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  • Federal Reserve Board approves final rule setting single counterparty credit limit

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 14, the Federal Reserve Board approved a rule to establish single-counterparty credit limits for U.S. bank holding companies with at least $250 billion in total consolidated assets, foreign banking organizations operating in the U.S. with at least $250 billion in total global consolidated assets (as well as their intermediate holding companies with $50 billion or more in total U.S. consolidated assets), and global systemically important bank holding companies (GSIBs).

    The rule, which implements section 165(e) of the Dodd-Frank Act, requires the Board to limit a bank holding company’s or foreign banking organization’s credit exposure to an unaffiliated company. Under the rule, a GSIB’s credit exposure is limited to 15 percent of its tier 1 capital to another systemically important firm.  A U.S. bank holding company and other applicable foreign institution is limited to a credit exposure of 25% of its tier 1 capital to a counterparty.

    GSIBs will be required to comply with the final rule on January 1, 2020, while other covered entities will have through July 1, 2020 to comply. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on August 6 and will take effect October 5.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve GSIBs Dodd-Frank

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  • Fed Finalizes Debt-Minimum Rule to Help Banking System Weather Shocks

    Federal Issues

    On December 15, the Fed finalized a rule requiring the biggest global banks to guard against potential collapse by holding minimum amounts of long-term debt and regulatory capital. The rule applies to bank holding companies, U.S. global systemically important banks (GSIB), as well as U.S. branches of foreign banks, and aims to shift the costs of bank failure to shareholders rather than taxpayers by requiring lenders to maintain sufficient amounts of long-term debt, which can be converted to equity to keep a failing bank’s key operations afloat. Specifically, the measure will establish minimum required levels for long-term debt and total loss-absorbing capacity, as well as restrictions on certain short-term debt financing arrangements by parents of GSIB-designated financial institutions. In prepared opening remarks, Fed Chair Janet Yellen explained that “[t]he rule is guided by common sense principles: bank shareholders and debt investors should place their own money at risk so depositors and taxpayers are well protected, and the biggest banks must bear the costs that come with their size.”

    In a memorandum to the Board of Governors, the Fed’s staff noted that covered banks are currently about $70 billion short altogether of the new requirements. The Fed staff estimated that the aggregate increased funding of approximately $680 million to $2 billion annually would be required to make up the shortfall.

    Federal Issues Banking International Shareholders GSIBs Bank Holding Companies

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  • Fed Proposal Would Modify Stress Tests for Large, Noncomplex Bank Holding Companies

    Federal Issues

    On September 26, the Federal Reserve released a proposed rule that would essentially remove bank holding companies defined to be “large and noncomplex” from the qualitative portion of annual Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) assessment process (“stress tests”). Under the proposed rule, large and noncomplex bank holding companies are those with total consolidated assets of at least $50 billion, but less than $250 billion, less than $10 billion in foreign exposure, and less than $75 billion in average nonbank assets. Currently, the Fed applies the CCAR process to bank holding companies with more than $50 billion in total consolidated assets. Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo indicated that the Fed was also considering adoption of a “stress capital buffer” approach for larger, global systemically important banks (GSIB). The new approach would replace the uniform 2.5-percent capital conservation buffer, and would instead require GSIBs to retain capital “equal to the maximum decline in a firm's common equity tier 1 capital ratio under the severely adverse scenario of the supervisory stress test before the inclusion of the firm's planned capital distributions.”

    Federal Issues Banking Consumer Finance Federal Reserve Macroprudential Stress Test GSIBs Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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