Hearing will look at how federal banking agencies do their work – without any regulators providing input

Brown calls for FDIC 'internal' nominees; urges delay of SunTrust-BB&T merger

A hearing on just how do the federal banking agencies regulate and supervise institutions is set for Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee – but it won’t include any representatives from the federal banking agencies.

The committee has scheduled three witnesses for the hearing, formally titled “Guidance, Supervisory Expectations, and the Rule of Law: How do the Banking Agencies Regulate and Supervise Institutions,” which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. No witnesses are apparently invited from any of the federal banking agencies: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Federal Reserve, or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Nor is a witness from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) invited.

The witness list so far includes:

  • Greg Baer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bank Policy Institute;
  • Margaret Tahyar, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; and
  • Patricia McCoy, Professor of Law, Boston College Law School.

Meanwhile, and separately, the ranking Democrat of the committee has written to the chairman of the FDIC advising that the agency cannot take action on the proposed merger of two very large banks until new, appointive members of the agency have been confirmed by the Senate.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told FDIC Board Chairman Jelena McWilliams that the merger of SunTrust and BB&T, pending now before the FDIC, may not proceed until a new vice chair of the FDIC and a new member of the board (also known as “internal directors”) are approved by the Senate. The vice chair position has been vacant since last year, when then-Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig stepped down. Board Member Martin Gruenberg (a Democrat and former chairman of the board) has been serving as a holdover since his term officially expired in December.

Brown told McWilliams that the “merger cannot be approved until internal directors of the FDIC are nominated and confirmed.” Brown also wrote to President Donald Trump, urging him to “move decisively to nominate a full slate of members to the board.”

Senate Banking Committee hearing: How do the Banking Agencies Regulate and Supervise Institutions