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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • Agencies issue 2023 Shared National Credit Program Report

    Federal Issues

    On February 16, the FDIC, Fed, and OCC issued the 2023 Shared National Credit (SNC) Report, which found that while large, syndicated bank loans generally have moderate credit quality, there appears to be a trend of declining credit quality stemming from higher interest rates and tighter profit margins in certain industries. The report found that credit risk remains high in leveraged loans and specific sectors like technology, telecom, healthcare, and transportation. Also, the real estate and construction sector showed mixed trends. 

    Federal Issues OCC FDIC Federal Reserve Loans

  • House Democrats urge agencies to finalize Basel III Endgame rule

    Federal Issues

    On February 16, the Ranking Member for the House Committee on Financial Services, Maxine Waters (D-CA), and 41 other House Democrats sent a letter to the FDIC, Fed, and OCC regarding the Basel III Endgame and the proposed rule which would impose higher capital requirements. The letter urged the agencies to finalize the rule, highlighting the purpose of capital requirements “to shield banks from unexpected losses, preventing their failure, while serving as a source of funding that banks use…” The letter commended the agencies for providing the public with almost six months to comment and argued the endgame rule’s impact on access to credit is low. The letter also noted that the expected funding impact on a large bank’s average lending portfolio is expected to increase by just 0.03 percent, which it describes as “insignificant” compared to Fed interest rate increases. The letter specifically urged the heads of the agencies to finalize the rules this year “to ensure we have a banking system that will promote stable economic growth.”

    Federal Issues U.S. House Basel Capital Requirements OCC FDIC Federal Reserve

  • Trade associations sue OCC, FDIC, and Federal Reserve on their Proposed Rules for the CRA


    On February 5, a group of trade, banking, and business associations filed a class-action complaint for injunctive relief against the OCC, Federal Reserve, and FDIC (the Agencies) for their enforcement of the new rulemaking (the Rule) implementing the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA). The plaintiffs argued that the Rule creates a “wholesale and unlawful change” to a successful fifty-year-old statute. After listing several problems, the plaintiffs requested the Court to “enjoin, hold unlawful, vacate, and set aside” the Rule; additionally, plaintiffs requested the Court declare that the Rule violates the CRA and the Administrative Procedures Act. 

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Rule was approved by the Agencies on October 24, 2023, published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2024, and would take effect on April 1, 2024. The plaintiffs state that the new regulatory rules are “extraordinarily and unnecessarily complex” since they require a “staggering” 649 pages. (An FDIC Vice Chairman was quoted as labeling the rules as “by far the longest rulemaking the FDIC has ever issued.”) In detail, the plaintiffs support their claims by pointing out the Rule creates different performance tests that differ “radically” from the previous regulatory framework, e.g., the Retail Lending Test is a two-part test, and that each of these tests includes “multiple sub-parts and sub-parts of sub-parts” that create complexity in the Rule. Banks will be given two years (until January 1, 2026) to comply with the Rule. Plaintiffs argue that banks must act immediately, citing the OCC’s own words that the estimated compliance costs are over $90 million during the first year. 

    The plaintiffs argue the Rule violates the APA by exceeding the Agencies’ statutory authority by “assessing banks on their responsiveness to credit needs outside of their geographic deposit-taking footprint” (Count I), and by issuing a rule that is arbitrary and capricious by failing to give reasonable notice of the areas and products that will be assessed and the market benchmarks against which performance will be evaluated; failing to conduct an adequate cost benefit analysis; and failing to consider the implications of the Rule (Count II). 

    Courts OCC FDIC Federal Reserve CRA Administrative Procedure Act

  • OCC and FDIC announce their CRA evaluations

    On February 2, OCC and the FDIC released their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) evaluations. The OCC disclosed a list of evaluations of national banks, federal savings associations, and insured federal branches of foreign banks that became public in January 2024. Out of the 18 evaluations, six were rated “outstanding,” nine were rated “satisfactory,” and three were rated as “needs to improve.” The evaluations can be accessed on the OCC’s website, including a searchable list of all public CRA evaluations. Simultaneously, the FDIC released its list of state nonmember banks that were evaluated for CRA compliance in November 2023. Out of 57 evaluations, 56 were rated as “satisfactory” and one bank was rated as “outstanding.”  

    Bank Regulatory CRA OCC FDIC Bank Supervision Federal Issues Compliance

  • Federal bank regulatory agencies seek comment on interagency effort to reduce regulatory burden

    Federal Issues

    On February 6, the FDIC, Fed, and OCC initiated a series of requests for public comment aimed at reducing regulatory burden on supervised institutions. This effort is mandated by the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996, which required a review of regulations every 10 years. The agencies have divided regulations into 12 categories, with the first round focusing on three categories: Applications and Reporting, Powers and Activities, and International Operations. The public has 90 days to comment on the regulations in these categories. Over the next two years, the agencies will seek public feedback on more, remaining categories to identify regulations that are outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. Additionally, outreach meetings will be held to allow interested parties to provide direct input on regulatory requirements. Further details about these meetings will be shared as they are finalized. 

    Federal Issues FDIC OCC Federal Reserve

  • House Committee calls for new quantitative analysis from Basel III “Endgame” original proposal

    Federal Issues

    On January 31, the House Financial Services Committee issued a press release after holding its hearing on “Federal Banking Proposals Under the Biden Administration,” which invited two leaders from trade organizations, a lawyer, and a business school professor. The Committee’s main takeaway was that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from July 2023, as released by the OCC, Federal Reserve, and FDIC, provides “little quantitative analysis” of the potential economic impacts (covered by InfoBytes, here). This Notice initially opened the comment period for the Basel III “Endgame” meant to revise the capital requirements for large banking organizations.   

    The Committee took the position, through bipartisan agreement, that the Biden Administration “must withdraw” its Basel III “Endgame” implementing proposal and replace it with one that offers a sound and objective economic analysis that is not skewed by politics but supported by data. The Committee supports its position that the Notice provides a “paltry” economic and regulatory analysis by noting that it devotes only 17 out of 1087 pages to the analysis. The press release cited comments from various congressional members, some of whom raised concerns about the proposal’s potential impact on homebuyers and mortgage lending, and the proposal’s potential to disincentivize financing for renewable energy projects. Finally, the Committee linked several members’ comment letters over the past few months.  

    Federal Issues Basel FDIC OCC Federal Reserve Capital Requirements House Financial Services Committee

  • FDIC issues December 2023 enforcement actions

    On January 26, the FDIC released a list of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in December 2023. During that month, the FDIC made public 12 orders consisting of “four orders of termination of deposit insurance; three orders terminating consent orders; two consent orders; one order terminating supervisory prompt corrective action directive; one order of prohibition from further participation; one order to pay a civil money penalty (CMP); and one Decision and Order to Prohibit from Further Participation and Assessment of Civil Money Penalty.”

    Included is a consent order with a Mississippi-based bank for alleged Bank Secrecy Act violations, along with violations of a previous consent order from 2020, imposing a $600,000 civil money penalty. Also included is a consent order with a Kentucky-based bank, alleging the bank engaged in “unsafe or unsound banking practices and violations of law or regulation” relating to, among other things, the Bank Secrecy Act. The bank neither admitted nor denied the allegations but agreed to create a written plan to recover its losses from the bank’s relationship with a third-party loan program, to reduce the bank’s risk position in the program, and to stop granting any extensions of credit through adversely classified or criticized loans related to the third-party loan program. The consent order additionally requires the bank’s board to assess the sufficiency of the bank’s allowance for credit losses (ACL), ensuring the establishment of an appropriate ACL and to uphold and accurately report it. Specifically, “management shall review updated credit risk metrics and loss data for the third-party loan programs referenced in the ROE and ensure appropriate provisions to the ACL relative to this information.”

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues FDIC Enforcement Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering

  • FFIEC publishes proposed extension of reporting obligations

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On January 26, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) approved the OCC, Fed, and FDIC’s publication for public comment of a proposal to extend several information collection items for three years. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the FFIEC last month put forth a similar three-year proposal on FFIEC 002 which affected the three Call Reports (FFIEC 031, 041, and 051). While this proposal includes those same four items, it adds two more: the Regulatory Capital Reporting for Institutions Subject to the Advanced Capital Adequacy Framework (FFIEC 101), and the Market Risk Regulatory Report for Institutions Subject to the Market Risk Capital Rule (FFIEC 102). The proposed changes include a new confidential report (FFIEC 102a) titled the Market Risk Regulatory Report that would “collect information necessary for the agencies to evaluate [an]… institution’s implementation of the market risk rule and validate a [bank’s] internal models used in preparing the FFIEC 102.” The revisions are related to the agencies’ capital rule proposal published on September 18, 2023. Comments are requested by March 25, 2024, and the revisions are planned to be effective as of September 30, 2025.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues FFIEC OCC Federal Reserve Call Report FDIC

  • Agencies update the Uniform Rules of Practice and Procedure

    On December 28, 2023, the Fed, OCC, FDIC, and NCUA published a final rule amending the Uniform Rules of Practice and Procedure to recognize the use of electronic communications and enhance the efficiency and equity of administrative hearings. The agencies have implemented measures recognizing the role of electronic communications across all facets of administrative proceedings. Among other things, the final rule (i) defines “electronic signature” in the Uniform Rules; (ii) codifies permitting electronic service and filings for administrative actions; (iii) allows for remote depositions; (iv) includes Equal Access to Justice Act procedures based on the 2019 Administrative Conference of the United States Model Rule; (v) adds provisions on when parties must pay civil money penalties; (vi) adds specific provisions pertaining to the forfeiture of a national bank, federal savings association, or federal branch or agency charter or franchise due to certain money laundering or cash transaction violations; (vii) modifies the discovery rules to recognize electronic documents and allow for electronic production; (viii) establishes new rules for expert and hybrid fact-expert witnesses; and (ix) consolidates the Uniform Rules and Local Rules for national banks and federal savings associations.

    Additionally, the OCC has revised its specific administrative practice and procedure regulations to harmonize rules for national banks and federal savings associations. Furthermore, adjustments were made to the OCC’s regulations on organization and operations to encompass service of process considerations.

    The rule is effective April 1, 2024.

    Bank Regulatory Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Federal Reserve FDIC NCUA Administrative Procedures Act

  • OCC announces CRA bank asset-size threshold adjustments for 2024

    On December 26, 2023, the OCC announced revisions to the asset-size thresholds used to define small and intermediate small banks and savings associations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Effective January 1, 2024, a small bank or savings association will mean an institution that, as of December 31 of either of the past two years, had assets of less than $1.564 billion. An intermediate small bank or savings association will mean an institution with assets of at least $391 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two years, and less than $1.564 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two years. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Fed and the FDIC also announced joint annual adjustments to the CRA asset-size thresholds used to define “small bank” and “intermediate small bank.”

    Bank Regulatory OCC Federal Reserve FDIC Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CRA Bank Supervision


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