March 22, 2024

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Board of Directors proposed revisions to the Statement of Policy (revised SOP) on Bank Merger Transactions. The revised SOP will be published in the Federal Register with a 60-day comment period. The revised SOP updates the FDIC’s policies and expectations related to the evaluation of bank merger transactions.

FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg delivered a statement supporting the proposed revisions and stating that they would update, strengthen, and clarify the FDIC’s approach to evaluating mergers under the Bank Merger Act. 

FDIC Vice Chairman Travis Hill delivered a statement agreeing that the merger approval process needs to be reevaluated and refreshed, but arguing that the SOP moves in the wrong direction. Vice Chairman Hill stated that the SOP has the potential to make the process longer, more difficult, and less predictable. He stated that he will vote against the proposed SOP.

FDIC Board Director Jonathan McKernan issued a statement welcoming a proposal to update the SOP on bank mergers, but stating that he is unable to support the proposal “because it reflects and would implement a bias against bank mergers that is bad policy and contrary to law.” 

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu, a member of the FDIC Board of Directors, issued a statement at the FDIC board meeting stating that he supports the proposed statement of policy and encouraging stakeholders to provide comments.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra, another member of the FDIC Board of Directors, delivered remarks at the Peterson Institute for International Economics Event on bank merger review. In his remarks, he stated that the FDIC’s proposed Bank Merger Act Policy Statement would bring analytical rigor to merger review and better align the agency’s framework with the statute. 

The Federal Reserve Board (FRB or Fed), FDIC, and OCC extended the applicability date of certain provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act final rule. The agencies also requested comment on the extension.

The Special Committee of the FDIC Board of Directors appointed three non-voting members in its efforts to oversee an independent, third-party review of the agency’s workplace culture. Committee Co-Chair Michael Hsu stated that the members “will promote a diversity of views while advising the Special Committee,” and that they collectively “bring a wealth of banking, regulatory, executive, and leadership experience that will greatly assist the committee.” The members are Linda Miller, CEO of Audient Group, Elizabeth McCaul, a member of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, and Valerie Mosley, founder of BrightUp and Valmo Ventures.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) published two reports: the 2022 Diversity Assessment Report for Entities Regulated by the SEC and OMWI’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Annual Report to Congress. The 2022 Diversity Assessment Report for Entities Regulated by the SEC analyzes information received from regulated entities in response to OMWI’s 2022 invitation to conduct and submit voluntary self-assessments of their diversity policies and practices. OMWI’s FY 2023 Annual Report to Congress provides more information about actions and progress in furthering the agency’s mission through interactions with the financial services industry, including connecting with underrepresented groups through outreach events and participation in the SEC’s advisory committees and task forces.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler hosted office hours on corporate governance. Chair Gensler discussed the SEC’s role in corporate governance, and the authorities the SEC has in relation to corporate governance.

Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) sent a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra urging the CFPB to remove medical debt from credit reports.

Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC) and seven Senate Banking Committee Republicans sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) citing reports of the highest homelessness rates ever recorded and condemning the Biden administration’s housing policies, “including burdensome regulations and an open border approach,” which they state “have contributed to a lack of affordable housing opportunities and a meteoric rise in homelessness.”

House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) released a statement following a Texas federal judge’s ruling that the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) must now open its doors to every race. Rep. Waters stated that “extremist attacks against the MBDA, as well as other programs to ensure racial equity, not only stand to hurt our nation’s entrepreneurs but also do great damage to our nation’s economy and further exacerbate the racial wealth gap.” Ranking Member Waters stated that “Democrats will use every tool available to combat the assault on DEI and preserve the original mission of crucial agencies like the MBDA.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed a bill creating a regulatory framework to oversee earned wage access (EWA) providers operating in the state, regardless of whether they are located in the state. The companies will be licensed by the state’s Department of Financial Institutions. The bill does not label EWA payments as loans. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a blog providing input on proposed New York State legislative reforms that would strengthen the state’s consumer protection laws on abusive corporate conduct, highlighting the importance of bans on abusive conduct and emphasizing that the CFPB does not have a monopoly on policing abusive conduct. The CFPB also wrote letters to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, State Senate leaders, and State Assembly leaders sharing how the ban would arm the state with more tools to combat corporate misconduct.

Read the letter to Governor Hochul here.
Read the letter to State Senate leaders here.
Read the letter to State Assembly leaders here

Need to catch up on what happened earlier this week? Check out our March 20th Midweek Update here