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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • FSB report outlines eight recommendations for bank liquidity preparedness

    On April 17, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a consultation report titled “Liquidity Preparedness for Margin and Collateral Calls,” which laid out eight policy recommendations intended to enhance the liquidity preparedness of nonbank market participants in certain markets. These policy recommendations came from several reviews by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures, and the International Organization of Securities Commissions analyzing recent incidents of liquidity stress. The eight recommendations comprised liquidity risk management, liquidity stress testing, and collateral management practices.

    The first three recommendations focused on liquidity risk management practices. The first recommendation would amend liquidity risk management and governance frameworks to protect against spikes in margin and collateral calls in liquidity risk management; the second recommendation would ensure liquidity needs by establishing liquidity risk appetites and a contingency funding plan; and the third recommendation outlined the need for regular reviews of liquidity risk frameworks.

    The next two recommendations were on liquidity stress testing and scenario design. The fourth recommendation set out the need for conducting liquidity stress tests with respect to margin and collateral calls to identify the sources of liquidity strains. The fifth called for stress tests to cover a range of “extreme but plausible” scenarios.

    The last three recommendations focused on collateral management practices. The sixth recommendation called for resilient and effective operational processes and collateral management practices; the seventh set out the need for sufficient cash and readily available diverse liquid assets and collateral arrangements; and the eighth called for active, transparent and regular interactions with counterparties and third-party service providers. The FSB will welcome comments on this report submitted before June 18.

    Bank Regulatory FSB Liquidity Liquidity Standards Of Interest to Non-US Persons

  • FDIC releases comprehensive report on international, systemically important banks

    On April 10, the FDIC released a report on the FDIC’s plans and readiness to step in as a receiver for a financial company under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act. The FDIC Chairman said this report was the “most detailed description to date of the FDIC’s preparedness to use its Title II resolution authority.”

    The report provided background on resolution-related authorities under Dodd-Frank, highlighted key measures that provided readiness of resolution under Title II authority, reviewed strategic decision-making for the use of such authority, and explained how the Commission expects to undertake a Title II resolution of a Global Systematically Important U.S. Bank (GSIB) using a Single Point of Entry (SPOE) resolution strategy. FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said that such a resolution “will be a challenging process under any circumstance, with a number of steps that need to be taken quickly and in close coordination with a range of stakeholders.”

    Under the SPOE resolution strategy, the FDIC would place only the holding company of the GSIB into receivership. The FDIC then would establish a bridge financial company under its control and would transfer the operating subsidiaries to the bridge institution. The bridge institution and its subsidiaries would remain operating while the FDIC performed its receivership duties, including the claims process. The final stage of GSIB receivership would be the implementation of a restructuring and wind-down plan that would aim to maintain value, address the causes of the failure, and transition operations. Chairman Gruenberg also noted that orderly resolution of a GSIB has not been executed before, “so there will be questions on whether it can be done.”

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues FDIC Liquidity

  • Fed releases enforcement action against Wyoming-based bank holding company

    On April 4, the Federal Reserve released an enforcement action against a Wyoming-based bank holding company as part of a September 2023 inspection that found alleged deficiencies related to the “fintech business strategy, board oversight, capital, earnings, liquidity, risk management, and compliance.” The consent order with the bank holding company requires the holding company to: (i) serve as a source of strength to its bank subsidiary; (ii) submit a written plan to strengthen board oversight, including a staffing assessment and succession plan; (iii) submit a written plan to strengthen its risk management program, including adopting written policies and procedures to manage compliance and fraud risks; (iv) submit an enhanced liquidity risk management program, a capital plan, and a written business plan to improve earnings; and (v) ensure compliance with regulations governing affiliate transactions. The consent order additionally placed limits on the holding company’s fintech activities and required the holding company to submit a wind-down plan for fintech-related business. According to the consent order, following the September 2023 inspection, the holding company had voluntarily stopped pursuing its fintech business strategy and had been winding down all related activities.

    Bank Regulatory Federal Reserve Enforcement Wyoming Liquidity

  • Fed’s Bowman speaks on bank liquidity a year after banking crises

    On April 3, Fed member Michelle Bowman delivered a speech on “Bank Liquidity, Regulation, and the Fed’s Role as Lender of Last Resort.” Her speech highlighted three points: first, she discussed how the Fed supported liquidity in the banking system; second, she discussed the broader framework that supported bank liquidity, including regulatory requirements, bank supervision, and deposit insurance; and third, she discussed the challenges the Fed faced in implementing liquidity tools. On the Fed’s role in banking system liquidity, Bowman mentioned how the banking system was stronger today than before the 2008 financial crisis due to having more capital and more liquidity, as well as new stress testing requirements. The Fed’s emergency lending authority also changed to be broad-based, as opposed to having designed it for individual companies, and now required approval by the Secretary of the Treasury. On challenges, Bowman highlighted how to reduce the stigma associated with discount window borrowing by mandating that banks “pre-position collateral” and “periodically borrow from the discount window.”  

    Bank Regulatory Liquidity Regulation Stress Test

  • FDIC OIG confirms board oversight and liquidity issues led to a bank’s failure

    On March 25, the Office for the Inspector General (OIG) for the FDIC issued a report on a 2023 bank failure, finding that the bank’s failure netted a $14.8 million estimated loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”), but that the failure did not warrant a formal evaluation of the FDIC’s supervision of the failed bank in the form of an In-Depth Review. As defined by the FDIC, the DIF was created to ensure deposits, protect depositors, and resolve failed banks. Any DIF loss incurred under $50 million would require the OIG to review and determine if any unusual circumstances exist that may warrant an In-Depth Review; the OIG did not find any unusual circumstances here.

    In November 2023, the FDIC was appointed as a receiver of a bank after its closure by the Iowa Division of Banking. The OIG noted that the bank failed after “significant deterioration” of the bank’s loan portfolio and operating losses stressed its liquidity as a result of bank board issues and management lax lending practices, as well as the failure to properly administer large commercial trucking relationships.

    While conducting the bank review, the OIG considered four factors. First, the OIG considered the magnitude of the DIF loss in relation to the total assets of the failed bank. The OIG found the relative loss was 23 percent (noted as consistent in the last five years). Second, the OIG reviewed how effective the FDIC’s supervision addressed the issues. The OIG found the FDIC’s supervision “identified and effectively addressed” the issues that led to the bank’s failure. Third, the OIG considered any indicators of fraudulent activities that contributed to the DIF loss. The OIG found that while the examiners identified conflicts of interest in bank loans, they did not “significantly contribute” to the DIF loss. Last and fourth, the OIG reviewed any other relevant conditions contributing to the bank’s failure and found none. 

    Bank Regulatory OIG FDIC Iowa Liquidity

  • Acting Comptroller discusses bank liquidity risk

    On January 18, OCC Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael J. Hsu, delivered remarks at an event held by Columbia University Law School on bank liquidity risk. Hsu highlighted the evolving nature of bank runs and urged banks and regulators to adapt. While individual bank supervision has seen some adjustments, Hsu stressed the need for targeted regulatory enhancements to ensure the systematic implementation of updated liquidity risk management practices, particularly among midsize and large banks. Hsu’s remarks emphasized three themes:

    Recognizing the speed and severity of certain outflows. The liquidity risk for banks with uninsured deposits significantly increased. Hsu said that anticipating potential herding scenarios in liquidity risk management is crucial;

    Ensuring the ability to monetize. Hsu said banks and regulators need to adapt to the faster pace of bank runs, where large outflows happen more quickly than in the past. Having enough liquid assets is not sufficient; banks must quickly convert assets into cash, Hsu said. Utilizing the Fed’s discount window is an option, but it faces stigma. Hsu also mentioned that there is a proposal for a targeted regulatory requirement for banks to have enough liquidity to cover short-term outflows, up to five days, using pre-positioned collateral to de-stigmatize discount window usage while preventing over-reliance; and

    Limiting guilt by association. To combat the fear that uninsured depositors across banks could be at risk upon bank failures, Hsu said a long-term solution involves distinguishing between operational and non-operational deposits, requiring standardized classification systems and ongoing research efforts to effectively mitigate contagion risks.

    Bank Regulatory OCC Liquidity Risk Management

  • Agencies update guidance on liquidity risks and contingency planning

    On July 28, the OCC, FDIC, NCUA and Fed issued an addendum to the Interagency Policy Statement on Funding and Liquidity Risk Management, issued in 2010. The update on liquidity risks and contingency planning emphasizes that depository institutions should regularly evaluate and update their contingency funding plans, referencing the unprecedented deposit outflows resulting from the early 2023 bank failures. According to the addendum, depository institutions should assess the stability of their funding, keep a range of funding sources, and regularly test any contingency borrowing lines in order to prepare staff in the case of adverse circumstances. Additionally, the addendum states that if contingency funding arrangements include discount windows, the depository institutions should ensure they can borrow from the discount window by (i) establishing borrowing arrangements; (ii) confirming that collateral is available to borrow in an appropriate amount; (iii) conduct small value transactions regularly to create familiarity with discount window operations; (iv) establish familiarity with the pledging process for collateral types; and (v) be aware that pre-pledging collateral can be useful in case liquidity needs arise quickly. The agencies also state that federal and state-chartered credit unions can access the Central Liquidity Facility, which provides a contingent federally sourced backup liquidity where a credit union’s liquidity and market funding sources prove inadequate.

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues OCC NCUA Federal Reserve FDIC Credit Union Liquidity Risk Management

  • OCC updates Liquidity booklet

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 16, the OCC issued Bulletin 2021-38 announcing the updated version of the Liquidity booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook. The booklet replaces the 2012 version and provides information and examination procedures on liquidity coverage ratio and net stable funding ratio requirements. Among other things, the revised booklet: (i) discusses risks associated with liquidity; (ii) reflects changes in regulations and relevant OCC issuances since 2012; and (iii) clarifies edits on supervisory guidance, sound risk management practices, and legal language.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Comptroller's Handbook Liquidity Examination Supervision Bank Regulatory

  • Fed winding down Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility

    Federal Issues

    On June 2, the Federal Reserve Board announced plans to wind down the portfolio of the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF), a temporary emergency lending facility that was established and provided by the Treasury Department under the CARES Act, which closed in December 2020. The SMCCF (covered by InfoBytes here) played a role in restoring market functioning, supported the availability of credit for certain employers, and assisted employment numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the announcement, sales from the SMCCF portfolio will be “gradual and orderly,” aiming to decrease the likelihood of  “any adverse impact on market functioning by taking into account daily liquidity and trading conditions for exchange traded funds and corporate bonds.” The announcement also indicates that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which manages the operations of the SMCCF, will release more details before sales begin.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 Federal Reserve Liquidity Bond Department of Treasury CARES Act Bank Regulatory

  • Federal Reserve Board’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility to purchase corporate bonds

    Federal Issues

    On June 15, the Federal Reserve Board announced that the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF) (previously covered here) will begin buying a diversified portfolio of corporate bonds to support market liquidity and the availability of credit for large employers. The intent is to create a bond portfolio that tracks the composition of the broad, diverse universe of secondary market bonds that are eligible for the program. The announcement included a revised term sheet and updated FAQs for the SMCCF.   

    Federal Issues Covid-19 Federal Reserve Liquidity Bond


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