On December 16, 2021, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) issued draft principles (the “Proposal”) on the identification and management of climate-related financial risks by OCC-supervised banks with more than $100 billion in total consolidated assets (“covered banks”). The Proposal is intended to provide a high-level framework for the safe and sound
Covington Financial Services
FSOC Issues Report on Climate-Related Financial Risk
On Thursday, October 21, 2021, the Financial Stability Oversight Council released a Report on Climate-Related Financial Risk (the “Report”). The Report represents the culmination of a deliberative process that began on May 20, 2021, when President Biden signed an Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk. The Report is a milestone for the Biden Administration, and…
Federal Banking Agencies Issue Proposed Guidance on Third-Party Risk Management
On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, the “Agencies”) invited public comment on proposed interagency guidance on managing risks associated with third-party relationships (the “Proposed Guidance”). By harmonizing for the first time the…
Supreme Court Finds FHFA For-Cause Removal Structure Unconstitutional; Decision May Have Implications for CFPB
On June 23, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Collins v. Yellen, a case which concerned the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) and the two government sponsored enterprises (“GSEs”) which the FHFA regulates and currently holds in conservatorship—the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae” or “Fannie”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac” or “Freddie”). The case presented a challenge by a group of Fannie and Freddie shareholders to a provision of the conservatorship which has effectively precluded the GSEs from paying dividends to shareholders. Among other things, the plaintiffs targeted the constitutionality of the protection from removal enjoyed by the FHFA’s Director, which allowed the President to remove the Director only “for cause.” This provision mirrored the removal protection provided to the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and which the Court invalidated in Seila Law.
The Supreme Court declined to strike down the challenged provision of the conservatorship, but it did invalidate the FHFA Director’s “for cause” removal protection. Not only does this decision have clear ramifications for the FHFA and GSEs, but it also may preview issues relating to the legal status of decisions rendered by CFPB Directors during the period in which they were unconstitutionally protected from removal from office.…
Continue Reading Supreme Court Finds FHFA For-Cause Removal Structure Unconstitutional; Decision May Have Implications for CFPB
Second Circuit Rejects New York State Department of Financial Services’ Lawsuit Against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
On June 3, 2021, in Lacewell v. OCC, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the “Second Circuit”) dismissed the New York State Department of Financial Services’ (“DFS”) lawsuit against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”). DFS challenged the OCC’s decision to commence accepting applications for special-purpose national bank (“SPNB”) charters from financial technology companies (“fintechs”) that do not accept deposits. The Second Circuit ultimately decided the case on justiciability grounds, holding that DFS lacked standing and that its claims were constitutionally unripe without reaching the merits of DFS’s claims.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Rejects New York State Department of Financial Services’ Lawsuit Against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
FDIC Issues Request for Information on Digital Assets
On Monday, May 17, 2021, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) issued a request for information and comment (“RFI”) regarding the current and potential digital asset activities of insured depository institutions (“IDIs”). The RFI is intended to inform the FDIC’s understanding of digital asset activities, including associated risk and compliance management issues. Comments on the RFI are due by July 16, 2021.
The RFI categorizes digital asset activities into five use cases and solicits comments based on this framework. The five use cases are (i) technology solutions, such as token-based systems and distributed ledgers; (ii) asset-based activities, such as investments and margin lending; (iii) liability-based activities, such as deposit services and reserves; (iv) custodial services; and (v) other activities, which could include market-making and decentralized financing. The RFI requests comment on whether additional use cases should be included within this framework and which use cases have the greatest demand in the marketplace. The RFI also requests that commenters provide more detailed information about the use cases that IDIs currently conduct or are considering conducting.…
Continue Reading FDIC Issues Request for Information on Digital Assets
Federal Reserve Proposes Guidelines on Requests for Accounts and Payment Services at Federal Reserve Banks
On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Federal Reserve”) issued a notice requesting public comment on proposed guidelines articulating a series of principles to be used by Federal Reserve Banks in evaluating requests for Reserve Bank master accounts and payment services (the “Proposed Guidelines”). The Federal Reserve intends…
Treasury Secretary Yellen to Appoint Acting Comptroller of the Currency
On May 3, 2021, media outlets reported that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will appoint Michael Hsu to serve as Acting Comptroller of the Currency. Mr. Hsu currently serves as an Associate Director of the Division of Supervision and Regulation at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, where he heads the Large Institution Supervision Coordinating Committee (“LISCC”), which oversees the largest U.S. banking organizations.
Continue Reading Treasury Secretary Yellen to Appoint Acting Comptroller of the Currency
Supreme Court Ruling Complicates FTC’s Ability to Obtain Consumer Redress
On April 22, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in AMG Capital Management v. Federal Trade Commission that § 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Act does not authorize the FTC to obtain equitable monetary relief, such as restitution for consumer harm. This development will make it more complicated for the FTC to obtain consumer redress. While the FTC will still be able to seek consumer redress through other legal avenues, especially § 19 of the FTC Act, these avenues generally impose additional legal requirements beyond what § 13(b) required. This decision may prompt Congress to consider amending the FTC Act to increase the availability of consumer redress. It may also encourage the CFPB to be more assertive in areas where the agencies share jurisdiction.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Ruling Complicates FTC’s Ability to Obtain Consumer Redress
Federal Banking Regulators Issue Proposal on Income Tax Allocation Agreements
On April 22, 2021, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and OCC (the “agencies”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require banks that file tax returns as part of a consolidated tax filing group to enter into income tax allocation agreements with their parent companies and other members of the consolidated group that join in the filing, and would set forth specific requirements for the contents of those agreements. The proposal would apply to all insured depository institutions and OCC-chartered uninsured institutions that are not registered as Subchapter S corporations (collectively, “covered institutions”).
Continue Reading Federal Banking Regulators Issue Proposal on Income Tax Allocation Agreements