Legislative Activity

Republicans Remain Committed to Dismantling Dodd-Frank

At last week’s Congressional Republican retreat in Philadelphia, President Donald Trump urged Congress to make financial regulatory reform a priority to “help striving Americans get the credit they need to realize their dreams,” while Vice President Mike Pence confirmed that “dismantling Dodd-Frank” is a top legislative priority for the Trump Administration. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) followed suit by issuing a press release stating that “Republicans on the Financial Services Committee are eager to work with the President and his administration to unclog the arteries of our financial system so the lifeblood of capital can flow more freely and create jobs.  The Financial CHOICE Act, our bold and forward looking plan, replaces Dodd-Frank with new policies to protect consumers by holding Wall Street and Washington accountable, end bailouts and unleash America’s economic potential.”

Separately, last week Chairman Hensarling announced Republican subcommittee assignments for the 115th Congress.

Regulatory Activity

SEC, NCUA Announce Acting Chairmen

After last week’s announcement that Republican Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Christopher Giancarlo will become acting chairman of the agency, both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) announced newly designated acting chairmen. Republican Michael Piwowar will serve as acting chairman of the SEC, who serves alongside Democrat Kara Stein as one of the SEC’s only two commissioners. Earlier this month, President Trump nominated lawyer Jay Clayton to be the next chairman of the SEC, though a confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee has not yet been scheduled. At the NCUA, Mark McWatters will serve as acting chairman.

CFPB’s Cordray Defends Enforcement Actions; State Attorneys General Seek to Join CFPB Defense in Court

Amidst pushback from House Republicans over the legality of certain Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enforcement actions, CFPB Director Richard Cordray vowed to maintain a “steady and vigorous” pace of enforcement. Director Cordray has announced that he has no plans to step down before his term expires next year, though many have speculated that President Trump will seek to remove him sooner. Until the PHH case is resolved (discussed further below), Republican efforts to remove Director Cordray can only be done for cause. Last week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that President Trump has not made a decision yet on whether he will try to remove Cordray before his term expires.

Separately, seventeen Democratic attorneys general are seeking to intervene in the PHH case in which the CFPB is appealing an appeals court ruling that declared its structure unconstitutional. That ruling has been stayed pending appeal.

CFTC Extends Public Comment Period for Regulation Automated Trading

The CFTC has extended the public comment period for the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking for Regulation Automated Trading (Regulation AT) to May 1, 2017. The comment period was scheduled to close on January 24, but was extended based on the broad scope of topics addressed and questions raised by the public. Regulation AT represents a series of risk controls, transparency measures, and other safeguards to enhance the U.S. regulatory regime for automated trading.