On September 9, Congress will reconvene for a busy fall session with a focus on funding the government and processing nominations.
Although Congress lifted the debt ceiling and set budget caps prior to adjourning for the August break, it still must appropriate funding before September 30. The appropriations process, however, will not be complete by the funding deadline and Congress is likely to pass a “clean continuing resolution” to fund the government well into the fall calendar.
The Senate will continue to approve nominations. Before it adjourned it cleared 66 nominations, but returns to more than 90 pending nominees including a 14-year term for Federal Reserve Board Governor Michelle Bowman on whom cloture was filed before the August recess. President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate Christopher Waller and Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board but the White House has not formally made the nominations, so timing and process will be later in the year. As the political season heats up, the split chambers will have their fair share of legislation to sharpen the contract of their competing policy agendas.
In the House Financial Services Committee, Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has outlined her fall agenda. In addition to continued oversight of the agencies and industry, the Committee will convene hearings to assess the state of minority depository institutions, review stock buybacks, and examine innovative loan instruments. Under her leadership, the Committee will analyze diversity in the workplace. The Chairwoman has also signaled a strong focus on technology, in examining the implications of products such as Facebook’s Libra, as well as exploring data privacy, the implications of artificial intelligence, and innovations in the payment system. The Committee has some pending deadline items, such as reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIA) and resolving issues around the Export-Import Bank.
Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) has not yet publicly signaled his plans for the Committee, but it is expected that Senate Banking will convene hearings with regulators in the early fall, which will provide opportunities to examine actions on regulatory recalibration and supervisory guidance. Senate Banking will likely consider nominations under its jurisdiction, including those to the Federal Reserve Board. The Senate has similar pressures on deadline items for flood insurance, TRIA, and the Export-Import Bank. Outside of hearings and oversight, Senate Banking will likely continue to focus on regulatory recalibration as well as advancing reforms to the Bank Secrecy Act and ending anonymous shell companies.
Bank Policy Institute
Senior Vice President
Head of Government Affairs
➲ Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Ending Anonymous Shell Companies:
The House is expected to consider two pieces of bipartisan legislation this fall to modernize the AML regime and to create a beneficial ownership directory at the Department of Treasury. Consistent with his prior Congressional testimonies, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently reaffirmed his support for the passage of a beneficial ownership bill. A group of bipartisan senators has also circulated draft AML legislation and we expect them to introduce the bill when Congress reconvenes.
In addition to a hearing on September 25 at 10 am in the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions entitled, “Promoting Financial Stability: Assessing Threats to the U.S. Financial System,” we expect attention on prudential issues to continue. Agency principals appeared before the committee and Senate Banking Committee in May, in part satisfying a requirement that the Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision appear before the committees semiannually. Chairwoman Waters did not include the testimony of Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles in her September agenda, which means the hearing will likely take place in October. It is possible that the regulators – FRB, OCC, FDIC, & NCUA – testify together again at this hearing, just as they did last year. Quarles has commented that he would like to have the foreign banking organization and regional bank tailoring proposals finalized prior to his appearance.
➲ Consumer Protection Policy:
The House of Representatives is likely to be more aggressive in exploring and advancing consumer financial protection reforms for the rest of this calendar year. The House is likely to consider legislation that would reform the information ultimately presented in credit reports, continuing House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters’ focus on consumer-related issues. The Committee also will hold hearings on housing discrimination, student loan servicing and debt collection practices. The House and the Senate will continue their focus on items related to consumer privacy protection, an issue that is gaining traction, with a renewed focus on technology platforms.
Building off the announcement by the Federal Reserve to “develop a new interbank 24x7x365 real-time gross settlement service with integrated clearing functionality to support faster payments in the United States,” we expect the Congressional Committees of jurisdiction to focus on payments in the fall. Chairwoman Waters announced that the Task Force on Financial Technology will hold a hearing titled “The Future of Real-Time Payments.” At the end of July, a bipartisan group of Senators pressed the Fed on its then potential plans to build a real-time system. The subsequent announcement by the Fed will likely result in continued attention by those members and others. Members are likely to focus their questions on pricing and nonbank access of the FedNow system. Concerns have also been raised about the Fed’s conflicting roles as regulator and private sector competitor.
This fall the House and Senate will continue to grapple with questions about how to oversee and potentially regulate firms that leverage technology to deliver financial services or partner with firms that do. The House Financial Services Committee and other Congressional caucuses will convene hearings and events on FinTech related issues concerning artificial intelligence, alternative data, modern payments systems, cryptocurrencies, tech platforms in finance and digital identity. It is unlikely that a public law results from these efforts, but Congressional exploration of these topics is shaping regulatory thinking on these matters.
Congressional policymakers continue to pursue privacy legislation, however, both the House and Senate Commerce Committees have struggled to produce comprehensive legislative proposals. Chairman Crapo will likely hold additional hearings on privacy this fall and focus on financial institutions’ treatment of data and personally identifiable information.
September 9, 2019
Expanding Access to Credit Through Artificial Intelligence and Machine LearningMachine learning has the potential to democratize access to credit. It can expand the pool of people qualified to obtain credit — most notably low- and moderate-income (LMI) borrowers — and decrease the cost of that credit. This event brings together industry experts, policymakers, lawmakers and regulators to explore the legal landscape and discuss ways to address constraints to responsible AI implementation. Register >>
November 19 – 21, 2019
2019 TCH + BPI Annual Conference
The Bank Policy Institute will partner with The Clearing House to host its 2019 Annual Conference in New York City on November 19-21. This conference, the premier gathering focused on the changing regulatory landscape and the future of payments, brings together senior financial services executives, regulators, policymakers, and academics to address the challenges and opportunities for the industry through a thoughtful and fact-based discussion. Register >>