Legislative Activity

House Moves CHOICE Act Forward as Senate Banking Committee Discusses Banking Reforms

Last week, the House passed the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 (CHOICE Act) by a vote of 233-186. The comprehensive deregulatory bill would roll back many of the regulations put in place by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank). For now, passage of the bill amounts to little more than a messaging exercise from the House GOP, since Senate Republicans do not plan to take up the legislation as written. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) – the author of the CHOICE Act – has expressed his hope that at least parts of the bill will become law during this Congress. That said, he has also conceded it is a “long game” with some of the bill’s proposals, recognizing the challenging political obstacles of moving the bill through the Senate. Note that the CHOICE Act vote was along party lines except for one Republican, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who voted against the bill.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Capitol Hill, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing last week titled “Fostering Economic Growth: The Role of Financial Institutions in Local Communities.” Broadly speaking, the hearing focused on banking regulatory reform – especially as it relates to community banks and credit unions. Relatedly, on Thursday, June 15, the Senate Banking Committee is set to hold a hearing on potential regulatory reforms for mid-sized, regional, and large financial institutions.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Monday, June 12, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government has scheduled a Department of Treasury budget hearing.
  • On Tuesday, June 13, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee has scheduled a business meeting to consider the following nominations:
    • Mr. Kevin A. Hassett to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; and
    • The Honorable Pamela H. Patenaude to be Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • On Wednesday, June 14, the House Financial Services Committee has scheduled a markup to consider the following legislation:
    • H.R. 1422, the “Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act” (Section-by-Section);
    • H.R. 1558, the “Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act” (Section-by-Section);
    • H.R. 2246, the “Taxpayer Exposure Mitigation Act of 2017” (Section-by-Section);
    • H.R. 2565, To require the use of replacement cost value in determining the premium rates for flood insurance coverage under the National Flood Insurance Act, and for other purposes. (Section-by-Section);
    • H.R. 2868, the “National Flood Insurance Program Policyholder Protection Act of 2017” (Section-by-Section);
    • H.R. ____, the “National Flood Insurance Program Administrative Reform Act of 2017” (Section-by-Section); and
    • H.R. ____, the “21st Century Flood Reform Act” (Section-by-Section)
  • On Thursday, June 15, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Fostering Economic Growth: Midsized, Regional, and Large Institution Perspective.”

Regulatory Activity

Trump Nominates Otting to Lead OCC

Last week, President Donald Trump nominated Joseph Otting to be Comptroller of the Currency. Mr. Otting served as CEO of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s former bank, OneWest, from 2010 to 2015. House and Senate Democrats wasted no time criticizing the nomination, taking aim at OneWest’s foreclosure practices during the financial crisis – similar to the criticisms they voiced during Secretary Mnuchin’s confirmation process. If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Otting will play a central role in trying to ease financial rules that the Trump Administration blames for stunting economic growth since Dodd-Frank.

SEC Names Co-Directors of Enforcement

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Acting Director of the Division of Enforcement Stephanie Avakian and former federal prosecutor Steven Peikin have been named Co-Directors of the Division of Enforcement. The Division of Enforcement is the agency’s largest unit with more than 1,200 investigators, accountants, trial attorneys, and other professionals.