On January 11, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced the Republican members selected to serve on the committee. “From oversight of the Biden Administration, to enhancing capital formation opportunities, to developing clear rules of the road for digital assets—we have a lot of work to do. I have no doubt these Members from across the conference and country will provide invaluable insight to accomplish these goals. The talent and real-world expertise of this group is an embarrassment of riches and I look forward to working with them to deliver on House Republicans’ Commitment to America,” Chairman McHenry said.
On January 12, Chairman McHenry announced the roster of the Financial Services Committee’s subcommittees, the subcommittees’ Chairs, and the key issues the subcommittees will focus on in the 118th Congress. “This slate of subcommittee Chairs will be the drivers of our policy agenda centered around economic prosperity for all Americans. Whether that is increasing opportunities for all investors, expanding access to innovative financial products, or ensuring the safety and soundness of our financial system—this Committee’s leadership team is ready to meet the moment,” Chairman McHenry stated.
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen sent a letter to all members of Congressional leadership regarding the debt limit. Secretary Yellen stated that beginning on January 19th, the Treasury anticipates implementing the two extraordinary measures of “(1) redeeming existing, and suspending new, investments of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF) and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (Postal Fund), and (2) suspending reinvestment of the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund) of the Federal Employees Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a blog post entitled “What new supervised institutions need to know about working with the CFPB.” The blog post outlines the CFPB’s supervisory process.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the appointment of Cristina Martin Firvida as Director of the Office of the Investor Advocate, effective January 17, 2023. Ms. Martin Firvida was most recently the Vice President of Financial Security and Livable Communities for Government Affairs at AARP.
The SEC charged Genesis Global Capital and Gemini Trust Company for allegedly failing to register before offering and selling securities to retail investors through the Gemini Earn crypto asset lending program. The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, charges Genesis and Gemini with violations of Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933. The complaint seeks permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman delivered remarks on the economy and bank supervision at the Florida Bankers Association Leadership Luncheon. Governor Bowman discussed the “dysfunction” in cryptocurrency markets, and stated that recent events have made it clear that “cryptocurrency activities can pose significant risks to consumers, businesses, and potentially the larger financial system.” She said that the Fed and other banking agencies will continue to put a focus on crypto-related activities, but that agencies do not want to hinder innovation.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that Todd B. Tatelman, the current Principal Deputy General Counsel in the House’s Office of General Counsel, will be taking over as the acting General Counsel of the United States House of Representatives.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman McHenry issued a statement in response to the CFPB’s recent proposed rule to establish a public registry of supervised nonbanks’ terms and conditions in “take it or leave it” form contracts that claim to waive or limit consumer rights and protections. Chairman McHenry stated that “this is another attempt by Director Chopra to unilaterally expand the CFPB’s authority beyond Congress’ intent and to mandate what Democrats were unable to legislate. This proposed registry of terms and conditions will facilitate the naming and shaming of firms to empower progressive activists. Requiring nonbank financial firms to register publicly with the Bureau is unprecedented—no other industry is required to make public such detailed contract information. The days of Congress giving Director Chopra a free pass for his reckless actions have come to an end. Committee Republicans will finally ensure Director Chopra and the CFPB are held accountable.”
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a revised version of the “Fair Lending” booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook. The “Fair Lending” booklet provides information and examination procedures to assist OCC examiners in assessing fair lending risk and evaluating compliance with the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), and ECOA’s implementing regulation, Regulation B. The revised booklet can be found here.
The CFPB published an issue brief reporting that servicemember reports about identity theft are increasing. According to the CFPB, between 2014 and 2022, military consumer complaints to the CFPB about debts they said resulted from identity theft increased nearly fivefold, from just over 200 annually in 2014, to more than 1,000 in 2022. The full report can be found here.
The Justice Department announced an agreement to resolve allegations that City National Bank (City National) engaged in a pattern or practice of lending discrimination by “redlining” in Los Angeles County. The resolution includes over $31 million in relief that will go to communities impacted by lending discrimination.
CFPB Deputy Director Zixta Martinez delivered remarks at National Fair Housing Alliance’s event previewing “Our America: Lowballed.” Martinez discussed the actions the CFPB is taking to address appraisal bias and the Bureau’s recent blog post addressing lenders’ facilitation of consumer engagement in the home valuation process.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, President Biden said that despite making some progress on increasing tech industry oversight, the U.S. government has run up against the limits of its statutory authority. President Biden urged lawmakers to “limit targeted advertising and ban it altogether for children,” a proposal linked to a bipartisan privacy bill unveiled in the last Congress. He also encouraged Congress to implement “fairer rules of the road” to prevent new businesses from being “smothered by the dominant incumbents before they have a chance to get off the ground.”
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) published its Fall 2022 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, a comprehensive list of actions the administrative agencies are planning. Among the financial regulatory and administrative agencies, the Fall 2022 Agenda lists several new action items and delists regulatory actions proposed in the Spring 2022 Agenda released in June 2022.
The agenda states that the SBREFA Report associated with Dodd-Frank Act 1033 is anticipated in February 2023. The report will follow the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) SBREFA Outline published in October 2022. The agenda also moves up the anticipated date for the Dodd-Frank Act 1071 Final Rule from March 2023 to January 2023. The agenda also lists a number of new CFPB proposed rules on overdraft fees, non-sufficient fund fees, nonbank registry covered persons and terms and conditions, and credit card penalty fees.