Week Ahead: Stage set for prickly hearing on consumer bureau, brokered deposit rule takes effect, regulators talk designations for ‘nonbank’

An oversight hearing on the federal consumer financial protection bureau – the first under its new director – plus proposed changes to how nonbank firms are determined to pose risks to financial stability and a new rule on brokered deposits takes effect – it’s all next week.

The House Financial Services Committee Thursday hosts it first oversight hearing – under Democratic control – of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The hearing’s title, as announced by committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), portends a possible contentious session: “Putting Consumers First? A Semi-Annual Review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

The chairwoman’s recent comments about the bureau’s past acting director – John (“Mick”) Mulvaney, now acting chief of staff to President Donald Trump  – criticizing the actions he took while leading the agency also loom large. “I have written to Mick Mulvaney that while his time at the bureau may be over, the time for accountability for his actions is about to begin,” Waters said in a January speech. “This Congress will be working diligently to undo the damage that Mulvaney has wrought during his time at the consumer bureau,” Waters said.

Last week, Waters took more action, publishing an “open letter” to employees of the consumer bureau urging anyone who may be a witness to waste, fraud, abuse, or gross mismanagement to contact her with information. “Let me assure you that actions to weaken the Consumer Bureau from within as Director Mulvaney attempted to do will not go unchecked or unnoticed,” she wrote. “As Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, I will fight against any and all efforts to weaken the Consumer Bureau and make sure that your important work to protect consumers, as Congress intended, can continue.”

And, earlier last month, Waters spoke out about proposed changes to the agency’s rules on payday lending (which, as of now, take effect in August). “This proposal essentially sends a message to predatory payday lenders that they may continue to harm vulnerable communities without penalty,” Waters said in a statement.

The March 7 hearing is scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m.; no witness list was available as of Friday.

Other highlights of the coming week include:

  • Wednesday (March 6): The Financial Services Oversight Council (FSOC) – which includes the leaders of the five federal financial institution regulators – meets to discuss changes to interpretive guidance on the council’s designation of nonbank financial companies as posing a risk to financial stability. Under the law, FSOC is required to take into account 10 specific considerations when evaluating those companies.
  • Also Wednesday (March 6): This is the effective date for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s (FDiC) final rule on excepting a capped amount of some federally insured banks’ reciprocal deposits from treatment as brokered deposits. Adopted as a result of last year’s regulatory relief legislation, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA, S. 2155), the rule excepts capped amounts of reciprocal deposits from being considered brokered deposits for institutions meeting minimum capital and exam rating requirements. Under the final rule’s “general cap,” well-capitalized and well-rated institutions will not be required to treat reciprocal deposits – generally speaking, deposits obtained from a deposit placement network in exchange for funds placed into the network – as brokered deposits up to the lesser of 20% of their total liabilities or $5 billion. The rule also provides a “special cap” for institutions that are either not well-rated or not well-capitalized.
  • More on Wednesday (March 6): The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is set to release year-end 2018 numbers for federally insured credit unions, including total assets, members, net income, and more.
  • Also on Thursday (March 7): The NCUA Board releases the agenda for its regular, monthly open meeting the following week (March 14).

More details: Reg Report Calendar