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

On January 1, 2021, the Senate voted to override President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (the “NDAA” or “Act”), which includes over 200 pages of significant reforms to the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and other anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws that have been working their way through Congress for several years.  The Senate’s

Yesterday, on Sunday, March 22, 2020, U.S. Senate Republicans released the latest version of their COVID-19-related stimulus bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act.  The bill contains several measures intended to provide relief to banks, their customers, and broader financial markets.

The latest version of the CARES Act includes the

Today, March 20, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced that it has amended the terms of its recently announced Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (“MMLF”) so as to accept certain U.S. municipal short-term debt as eligible collateral and allow additional types of funds to sell eligible collateral to participating borrowers.  The expansion is intended to support the flow of credit to the economy by taking steps to enhance the liquidity and functioning of crucial state and municipal money markets.
Continue Reading Federal Reserve to Accept U.S. Municipal Short-Term Debt as Eligible Collateral Under Expanded MMLF Program

Yesterday, on March 18, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Board”) announced the creation of a Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (“MMLF”) to provide liquidity support to money market mutual funds (“MMMFs”) by facilitating their sale of certain assets in order to meet redemption requests.  Under the MMLF, the Federal

Yesterday, on Sunday, March 15, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on U.S. and global economic activity, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (“FOMC”) cut the target range of the federal funds rate to 0 to 1/4 percent until such time as the FOMC is “confident that the economy has weathered recent

On September 5, 2019, the Treasury Department (“Treasury”) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) released complementary proposals that, if implemented, would result in extensive changes to federal regulation of housing finance.  The plans respond to a Presidential Memorandum of March 27, 2019, directing Treasury and HUD to develop housing reform proposals consistent with the goals that the memorandum sets out.

Among other things, under the Treasury Plan, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (two government-sponsored enterprises or “GSEs”) would be recapitalized by the private sector, leave their conservatorships, and have more limited powers in the mortgage market.  The GSEs would be re-chartered with a charter issued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”), the agency that now oversees and acts as conservator for the GSEs.  This charter would also be available to other guarantors of mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”).  The plan recommends that the implicit guarantees of the GSEs be replaced by an explicit paid-for guarantee from Ginnie Mae of the repayment of principal and interest on qualifying MBS collateralized by eligible conventional mortgage loans.  Ginnie Mae, a government corporation within HUD, already provides such a guarantee to MBS collateralized by affordable loans issued under various government programs.

The HUD Plan urges that the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) be restructured as an autonomous government corporation within HUD and that FHA’s various programs be revised in several respects.

The two plans include well over 100 recommendations for legislative and regulatory changes.  While several of the proposals would require Congressional action, many may be effected through rulemaking or other agency action.  Whatever the form in which the proposed changes are implemented, the recommendations are complex, and the impact of the changes will very much depend on the particulars of new legislation or regulation.

Details of the two plans follow after the jump.
Continue Reading Treasury and HUD Propose Housing Finance Reforms

On July 31, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report identifying numerous recommendations intended to promote constructive activities by nonbank financial institutions, embrace financial technology (“fintech”), and encourage innovation.

This is the fourth and final report issued by Treasury pursuant to Executive Order 13772, which established certain Core Principles designed to inform the manner in which the Trump Administration regulates the U.S. financial system.  Among other things, the Core Principles include:  (i) empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices; (ii) prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts; (iii) foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis; (iv) make regulation efficient, effective, and appropriately tailored; and (v) restore public accountability within federal financial regulatory agencies and rationalize the federal financial regulatory framework.

Treasury’s lengthy report contains over 80 recommendations, which are summarized in an appendix to the report.  The recommendations generally fall into four categories:  (i) adapting regulatory approaches to promote the efficient and responsible aggregation, sharing, and use of consumer financial data and the development of key competitive technologies; (ii) aligning the regulatory environment to combat unnecessary regulatory fragmentation and account for new fintech business models; (iii) updating a range of activity-specific regulations to accommodate technological advances and products and services offered by nonbank firms; and (iv) facilitating experimentation in the financial sector.

Continue Reading Treasury Releases Report on Nonbank Institutions, Fintech, and Innovation

On April 3, 2018, the Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) released its much-anticipated recommendations to reform the Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”). The report, which is addressed to the federal banking agencies, outlines a number of proposed regulatory and administrative changes to (i) the CRA’s performance evaluation criteria, and (ii) the federal banking agencies’ approach to