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Core Principles for Financial Regulation

February 7, 2017

Authors

Robert Klingler

Core Principles for Financial Regulation

February 7, 2017

by: Robert Klingler

On February 3, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order setting forth his administration’s core principles for the regulation of the U.S. financial system.  While generally touted as the administration’s first affirmative steps to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act, the executive order actually does little to implement any immediate change but says a lot about the overall framework by which the Trump Administration intends to approach financial regulation.

In addition to standard executive order boilerplate, the executive order sets forth two specific actions.  First, it establishes the “principles of regulation” that the administration will look at in evaluating regulations.

Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of my Administration to regulate the United States financial system in a manner consistent with the following principles of regulation, which shall be known as the Core

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Is the OCC on a Path to Greater Power?

December 6, 2016

Authors

Robert Klingler

Is the OCC on a Path to Greater Power?

December 6, 2016

by: Robert Klingler

bankthinkIn a recent American Banker BankThink article, Partner Dan Wheeler explores the possibility that the OCC could rise in stature, while the other banking regulatory agencies fall out of favor.  By largely staying out of Congress’ scrutiny and taking a lead on fintech regulation, Dan argues that the OCC is well positioned to obtain greater chartering and regulatory responsibility under a Trump administration.

Some regulatory agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Reserve Board, appear ripe for more congressional criticism and even curbs to their authority under the incoming Trump administration. But one may be in relatively good position to have its authority expanded: the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The OCC has stayed under

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The OCC Rises, the FSOC Dies, and Other Regulatory Predictions

November 17, 2016

Authors

Dan Wheeler

The OCC Rises, the FSOC Dies, and Other Regulatory Predictions

November 17, 2016

by: Dan Wheeler

Eight bold regulatory predictions on the direction of U.S. Banking and Fintech regulation in light of the election results.

1.   The era of “outside the law” Federal regulation is over. Critics of the CFPB (exclusively Republicans) have criticized and challenged the agency’s structure and tactics.  These challenges include criticism of the agency’s broad jurisdiction and rulemaking power as an unconstitutional delegation by Congress of its legislative power.  Members of Congress and private litigants have assailed the CFPB’s reliance on enforcement actions instead of true rulemaking as undercutting due process and basic fairness.  Republicans have been united in believing that the agency’s existence and actions violated the Constitution, the agency’s grant of power under Dodd-Frank and the Administrative Procedures Act.  Increasingly, the courts have dealt the agency significant setbacks.  This author believes that Director Cordray only persisted in his aggressive pursuit of policy goals because he believed that pursuit was

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Engaging Your Board with a New Bank Logo

November 11, 2016

Authors

Robert Klingler

Engaging Your Board with a New Bank Logo

November 11, 2016

by: Robert Klingler

From time to time we hear from bank senior management that their board doesn’t seem engaged, or that they can’t get a sustained conversation out of their board.  Instead, board meetings consist of routine review of management reports, with motions, seconds, and unanimous adoptions of management recommendations without any meaningful discussion.  Years of bank board meetings can go by without a single dissenting vote recorded in the bank’s board minutes.  Regulators may being to question, perhaps correctly, that the board has merely become a rubber stamp for management, and that the board is merely “going through the motions” at each board meeting.

Over time, we have found one topic for which no board member can remain silent, and everyone (and I mean everyone) has an opinion.

What color should the bank’s new logo be?

Branch lobby carpet colors can also be quite effective, as can capitalization (grammar, not

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Bitcoin after Brexit: Safe Haven or Harbinger of Future Distress?

July 21, 2016

Authors

Bryce Suzuki and Justin Sabin

Bitcoin after Brexit: Safe Haven or Harbinger of Future Distress?

July 21, 2016

by: Bryce Suzuki and Justin Sabin

What a difference a week can make! On June 17, 2016, bitcoin was trading at more than $750. Five days later, as polls showed the Brexit vote leaning heavily to “remain,” bitcoin dropped as low as $585. After the vote to leave the European Union became final, the British Pound, the Euro, the Chinese Yuan, and global stocks dropped precipitously. Bitcoin, on the other hand, spiked to more than $676. Could this mean bitcoin is being perceived as a new safe-haven asset?

A Brief Background on Bitcoin Generally

Bitcoin often is described as a “digital currency.” On a more technical level, bitcoin is a digital asset within a peer-to-peer computer network payment system created in 2008 by an anonymous cryptographer going by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Because the computer network uses open-source, peer-to-peer software, no truly central authority administers and oversees transactions, and no government controls or backs the digital

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Economies of Scale Encourage Continued Consolidation

July 20, 2016

Authors

Robert Klingler

Economies of Scale Encourage Continued Consolidation

July 20, 2016

by: Robert Klingler

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis just published a short summary of research by economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City concluding that compliance costs weigh “quite a bit” more heavily on smaller banks than their larger counterparts in the community banking segment.  Looking specifically at banks under $10 billion in total assets (where additional Dodd-Frank-related burdens are triggered), the study found that the ratio of compliance costs as a percentage of total noninterest expenses were inversely correlated with the size of the bank.  While banks with total assets between $1 and $10 billion in total assets reported total compliance costs averaging 2.9% of their total noninterest expenses, banks between $100 million and $250 million reported total compliance costs averaging 5.9% and banks below $100 million reported average compliance costs of 8.7% of non-interest expenses.

While nominal compliance costs continued to increase as banks increased in

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Considering a Sale of the Bank? Don’t Forget the Board’s Due Diligence

July 12, 2016

Authors

Jim McAlpin and Michael Shumaker

Considering a Sale of the Bank? Don’t Forget the Board’s Due Diligence

July 12, 2016

by: Jim McAlpin and Michael Shumaker

In today’s competitive environment, some bank directors may view an acquisition offer from another financial institution as a relief. With directors facing questions of how to gain scale in the face of heightened regulatory scrutiny, increased investor expectations, and general concerns about the future prospects of community banks, a bona fide offer to purchase the bank can change even the most entrenched positions around the board table.

So, how should directors evaluate an offer to sell the bank? A good starting place is to consider the institution’s strategic plan to identify the most meaningful aspects of the offer to the bank’s shareholders. The board can also use the strategic plan to provide a baseline for the institution’s future prospects on an independent basis. With the help of a financial advisor, the board can evaluate the institution’s projected performance should it remain independent and determine what premium to shareholders the purchase

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Banks and Marketplace Lenders Absorb a Blow

June 30, 2016

Authors

Dan Wheeler

Banks and Marketplace Lenders Absorb a Blow

June 30, 2016

by: Dan Wheeler

In a blow to banks and the marketplace lending industry, on June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition by Midland Funding to hear the case Midland Funding, LLC v. Madden (No. 15-610).  That case involves a debt-collection firm that bought charged-off credit card debt from a national bank.  The borrower’s legal team argued that a buyer of the debt was subject to New York interest rate caps even though the seller of the debt, a national bank, was exempt from those state law rate caps due to preemption under Section 85 the National Bank Act.  The borrower won on this startling argument and the debt collector appealed to the Supreme Court.  The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the regulator for national banks), the U.S. Solicitor General and various stakeholders in the banking and lending industries vigorously argued that the 2nd Circuit’s decision contravened established law.  The

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Brexit: Stay Calm, but Be Prepared for Changes

June 24, 2016

Authors

Bryan Cave

Brexit: Stay Calm, but Be Prepared for Changes

June 24, 2016

by: Bryan Cave

We have all woken up on June 24th to the surprising news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union following a contentious referendum.  The vote was very close, with 52% voting to leave and 48% voting to remain.  Markets are reacting with volatility, as might be expected, and British Pound Sterling values have sunk overnight to a historic 30 year low against the dollar.  To add to the turmoil, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has announced that he will be stepping down with his successor to be in place by the October Conservative Party conference.

That said, nothing is going to happen immediately.  There is a very specific legal process for Brexit and the timeline is hardly swift.  As the first step, the UK has to give notice to leave under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.  Based on the Prime Minister’s announcement this morning and

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Hightower Explores Intersection of Fintech and Bank Mergers

May 10, 2016

Authors

Bryan Cave

Hightower Explores Intersection of Fintech and Bank Mergers

May 10, 2016

by: Bryan Cave

Atlanta Partner Jonathan Hightower authored a BankThink piece in the American Banker on May 9, 2016 titled “Don’t Ignore This FDIC ‘Request for Comment.’”  The discusses FDIC Financial Institution Letter FIL-32-2016,  which asks for comment on the agency’s plan to explore the economic inclusion potential of mobile financial services.

Jonathan notes “banks’ focus on mobile products not only provides innovative benefits to underserved consumers who may lack branch access, but in light of regulators’ interest in the potential for mobile technology to expand economic inclusion, this focus may also help institutions overcome regulatory and community-based challenges to mergers.”

Click here to read the whole article.

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