November 17, 2023

President Biden signed a short-term funding bill Thursday to avert a government shutdown Saturday. The bill passed the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday with overwhelming bipartisan support. The continuing resolution, or CR, will fund part of the government — including the Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs departments — through January 19, 2024 and fund the Defense Department and other remaining parts of the government through February 2, 2024. 

Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang delivered remarks at the 2023 Treasury Market Conference. Under Secretary Liang discussed Treasury market conditions, Treasury market resilience, transparency for Treasury securities, improving data quality and availability, effects of leverage and fund liquidity risk management practices, and Treasury buybacks.

Federal Reserve Board (FRB) Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr also delivered remarks at the 2023 Treasury Market Conference. Vice Chair for Supervision Barr discussed the importance of the Treasury market, interest rate risk management, the importance of contingency funding preparedness, leverage in the Treasury market, and managing cyber risk. 

Treasury Assistant Secretary Graham Steele delivered remarks at the Federal Insurance Office and NYU Stern Volatility and Risk Institute Conference on Catastrophic Cyber Risk and a Potential Federal Insurance Response. Assistant Secretary Steele discussed catastrophic cyber insurance.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Board of Directors approved a final rule to implement a special assessment to recover the loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) associated with protecting uninsured depositors following the closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Read the fact sheet on the final rule here.

FDIC Vice Chairman Travis Hill and Director Jonathan McKernan published a statement following reports regarding the FDIC’s workplace culture and widespread misconduct by FDIC employees. Vice Chairman Hill and Director McKernan addressed the upcoming independent review of FDIC workplace culture as well as efforts to restore faith in the FDIC.

FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg stated at a hearing on Tuesday that the matter was “deeply disturbing” and said the FDIC would employ all its resources to review internal practices “and how we can most effectively address it.”

Director McKernan and Vice Chairman Hill’s November 15 joint statement

Director McKernan’s November 15 statement.  

Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Andy Barr (R-KY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy, sent a letter to Chairman Gruenberg informing him that the House Financial Services Committee is investigating the allegations, including Chairman Gruenberg’s personal conduct and the workplace environment’s potential role in recent bank failures. This follows their letter earlier this week to the FDIC Office of the Inspector General (OIG) demanding an expeditious briefing on the FDIC’s workplace culture.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with national banks and federal savings associations. Actions were taken against Heritage Bank, United Fidelity Bank, Vast Bank, Andrew Leesberg, and Helen Caldwell. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published their financial report for fiscal year 2023. The report provides readers with the summary results of the CFPB’s operational activity and is the principal statement of the CFPB’s accountability.

The CFPB issued a report highlighting the challenges American families face when debt collectors pursue allegedly unpaid medical bills. The CFPB’s annual report to Congress on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act describes how the CFPB and states have worked to stop the collections of medical bills that are inaccurate or not even owed at all. The report also provides updates on the debt collection market more broadly and summarizes activities by the CFPB and other federal agencies relating to debt collection, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its actions under the FTC Act to protect small businesses from unfair and deceptive debt collection practices.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Rostin Behnam delivered a keynote address at the 2023 U.S. Treasury Market Conference. Chairman Benham discussed evolving technologies, including President Biden’s recent Executive Order on AI, potential risks of digital assets and related technologies, and data infrastructure, organization, and analytics.

CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero delivered remarks on financial stability and consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America’s Financial Services Conference. Commissioner Goldsmith Romero discussed financial stability regulation and its importance to consumer protection.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Mark Uyeda delivered remarks at the Harvard Law School Program on International Financial Systems 2023 Japan – U.S. Symposium. Commissioner Uyeda discussed interconnectedness of U.S. and Japanese capital markets, measures that can strengthen capital markets, and avoiding regulatory mission creep.

The FTC issued their Agency Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2023. The report highlights the FTC’s accomplishments in protecting consumers and promoting competition and reaffirms the agency’s commitment to responsible stewardship of resources and sound financial operations.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its annual Performance and Accountability Report, which details FHFA’s activities as regulator of the Federal Home Loan Bank System and as regulator and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during fiscal year 2023.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), all members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research, Innovation, and Accountability Act. The bipartisan legislation establishes a framework to bolster innovation while bringing greater transparency, accountability, and security to the development and operation of the highest-impact applications of AI.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), Digital Asset Subcommittee Chairman French Hill (R-AR), and Congressman Ritchie Torres (R-NY) led 53 of their colleagues on a bipartisan letter to President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to inquire into the size, scope, and duration of Hamas’s crypto fundraising efforts.

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced that it has issued a desist and refrain order against GSB Gold Standard Bank Ltd., Swiss Valorem Bank Ltd., and GSB Gold Standard Corporation AG (collectively, GSPartners) for violations of California securities laws. These entities, along with three executives, allegedly offered and sold unqualified securities and made material misrepresentations and omissions to investors related to crypto asset investments. 

The CFPB ordered online lender Enova International Inc. to pay a $15 million penalty for widespread illegal conduct including withdrawing funds from customers’ bank accounts without their permission, making deceptive statements about loans, and cancelling loan extensions. Enova paid a $3.2 million penalty to the CFPB in 2019, and was ordered to cease its illegal conduct. For violating that order and continuing to break the law, Enova is now banned from offering certain consumer loans, must provide redress to the consumers it harmed, and is required to tie executive compensation to the company’s compliance with federal consumer financial protection laws.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced a collective pledge by 48 countries, including the United States, to implement the Crypto-asset Reporting Framework (CARF), a global tax transparency standard for crypto-assets, by 2027. It aims to establish a standardized method for reporting tax information on transactions involving crypto-assets. OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann welcomed the announcement, stating that it is “an important milestone towards the widespread and coordinated approach to combat tax evasion through greater transparency and exchange of information.”  

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