THIS WEEK: Powell remarks after FOMC meet; FDIC vote on CBLR; payday (PALs II) rule for CUs; 2nd CFPB symposium

(Updated Sept. 18, 2019)

A vote on a final community bank leverage ratio (CBLR), a press conference featuring Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome (“Jay”) Powell (following the close of a monetary policy setting session), and action on a revised payday alternative loan (PAL) program for credit unions and more are on tap for the coming week among the federal financial institution regulatory agencies.

Here’s what’s ahead:


A final rule on the community bank leverage ratio (CBLR) is up for a vote by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Board. The board is set to meet at 1 p.m. ET at the agency’s main building in Washington. The proposed CBLR rule, to implement a provision in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA, S. 2155), would allow depository institutions and depository institution holding companies that have less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets, that meet risk-based qualifying criteria, and that have a CBLR (as defined in the proposal) of greater than 9% to opt into a CBLR framework. Some, including key senators, want that threshold pushed to 8%. A proposal on swap margin requirements as well as a final rule to apply the CBLR framework to the deposit insurance assessment system are also slated.

The Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee (MSAAC) will hold a public meeting beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency says. The purpose of the meeting, held at the OCC’s Washington office, is “to advise the OCC on regulatory changes or other steps the OCC may be able to take to ensure the continued health and viability of mutual savings associations and other issues of concern to mutual savings associations,” according to the agency.


Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome (“Jay”) Powell will hold a 2:30 p.m. press conference following the close of a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), with all eyes looking to the panel’s decision whether to lower the federal funds rate, potentially by another quarter-point. (The committee in July reduced the federal funds rate to a range of 2% to 2.25%.) In these press conferences, Powell typically fields a range of questions, which usually include at least one or two on the Fed’s regulatory activities and on the latest salvos directed at the central bank by President Donald Trump.

Comments are due on a proposed debt collection rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The bureau proposes to amend Regulation F, which implements the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and currently contains the procedures for state application for exemption from FDCPA requirements. The proposal would, among other things, address communications in connection with debt collection; interpret and apply prohibitions on harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices in debt collection; and clarify requirements for certain consumer-facing debt collection disclosures. The proposed effective date would be one year after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.


A revised “payday alternative loan” (PAL) rule for credit unions is up for final action during the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board’s open meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. ET. The payday rule proposal, titled Payday Alternative Loans (PALs) II, was issued last May and would make four changes to the agency’s current PALs (PALs I) program, providing a maximum loan amount of $2,000 and no minimum; a maximum loan term of 12 months; no minimum length of credit union membership; and no restriction on the number of loans a federal credit union may make to the borrower in a six-month period, provided the borrower has only one outstanding loan at a time. Discussion is expected to address the status the safe harbor that has applied to the PALs I program under CFPB rules as well as the credit union regulator’s next steps, if any, on a PALs III alternative. The board Thursday is also set to vote on final rules on supervisory committee audits and the federal credit union bylaws. A share insurance fund report is scheduled.

The CFPB holds its second symposium of the year to inform its future rulemaking. Thursday’s symposium, set to begin at 9 a.m. ET, is on behavioral law and economics and will feature remarks by bureau Director Kathleen (“Kathy”) Kraninger and Deputy Director Brian Johnson. The bureau said the event will include two panels: the first on of the methodological foundations of behavioral economics, the second on behavioral law and economics and consumer financial protection. Both panels will feature academics, as well as personnel from the Federal Reserve and the Fedreal Trade Commission.