Legislative Activity

Financial Services Committee Sets Its Sights on the CFPB

This week, on Wednesday, March 16, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray to provide his Semi-Annual Report to Congress.  Among a myriad of topics likely to be raised during the hearing, much discussion will likely center on: (1) the CFPB’s attempt to regulate automobile dealers – including the methodology the Bureau used in developing its regulatory framework; (2) the Bureau’s forthcoming rulemaking on short-term, small dollar credit products; and (3) continued allegations of mismanagement and discrimination within the Bureau. Relatedly, the day prior to Director Cordray’s report, the Committee is set to hold a deposition to question CFPB Assistant Director Patrice Ficklin as part of a Republican investigation into whether the agency distributed money from its settlement Ally Financial without verifying that such distributions were made to the actual people who were discriminated against.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, March 15: The Senate Banking Committee will meet to consider the following nominations:
    • Mr. Matthew Rhett Jeppson to be Director of the United States Mint;
    • Ms. Lisa M. Fairfax to be a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and
    • Ms. Hester Maria Peirce to be a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Wednesday, March 16: The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing to examine the organization, management, and actions of the CFPB and to receive testimony from Director Richard Cordray on the Bureau’s most recent Semi-Annual Report to Congress.
  • Wednesday, March 16: The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled “The FDIC’s Targeting of Refund Anticipation Loans.”

Regulatory Activity

Szubin Approved as SEC Nominees Get a Hearing; Obama and Financial Regulators Meet to Discuss Final Regulatory Push

With Senate Banking Committee Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) primary behind him, it appears likely that the Committee will now move forward with at least some of the numerous financial services nominations pending before it. In particular, last week the Committee voted 14-8 to approve Mr. Adam J. Szubin, of the District of Columbia, to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, U. S. Department of the Treasury. His nomination will now be considered for confirmation by the full Senate.

Moreover, this week, the Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a nomination hearing to consider the nominations of two nominees to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): George Washington University professor Lisa Fairfax and Mercatus Center senior research fellow Hester Peirce, who were nominated by President Obama in October 2015. Notably, the SEC currently only has three commissioners.  In addition to these nominees, other pending financial services nominations include two nominees to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC): Brian Quintenz, founder and managing principal of Saeculum Capital Management LLC; and Chris Brummer, a professor at Georgetown University Law School.

As Congress moves forward with its consideration of these financial services regulators, President Obama last week met with current industry regulators to discuss remaining obstructions to financial reform and a need for a final push as his presidency begins to draw to a close. In particular, in speaking with regulators, President Obama suggested that more work remains to be done on shadow banking, executive compensation, and cybersecurity.

SEC, FDIC to Hold Meetings

On Monday, March 14, the SEC will meet to discuss whether to approve the 2016 budget of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and the related annual accounting support fee for the Board under Section 109 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Additionally, on Tuesday, March 15, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will meet to discuss: (1) an update of projected deposit insurance fund losses, income, and reserve ratios for the restoration plan; and (2) the final rule on implementing the Dodd-Frank requirement to increase the reserve ratio form 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent.