Yes, no, or maybe: Joint statement says FDIC Board issuing RFI on merger policy; another says not so

The board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) may or may not have approved issuance of a request for information (RFI) on bank merger rules, regulations, guidance and policy statements, according to what appear to be dueling statements issued Friday via two federal agency websites.

On Friday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) posted a joint statement credited to two sitting FDIC Board members: Martin Gruenberg, whose term expired in December 2018 but who has remained on the board in a holdover capacity; and Rohit Chopra, who as director of the CFPB is also assigned a seat on the FDIC’s governing panel.

That statement says that the FDIC Board (which is composed of Gruenberg, Chopra, Michael Hsu [head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency], and Jelena McWilliams [FDIC’s board chair]) has issued the RFI and will take public comments for 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

Following these postings, the FDIC issued a statement that the board had not taken a “valid” vote to release such an RFI.

“The FDIC has longstanding internal policies and procedures for circulating and conducting votes of its Board of Directors, and for issuing documents for publication in the Federal Register,” the statement reads. “In this case, there was no valid vote by the Board, and no such request for information and comment has been approved by the agency for publication in the Federal Register.”

The FDIC statement is presented without attribution to any particular FDIC agency official or staff member.

FDIC Statement on CFPB Statement

Joint statement by Gruenberg and Chopra

Chopra blog post