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FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams Challenges Agency to Strengthen Community Banking

FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams "challenged" the FDIC to increase its efforts to understand and address "the needs of our communities and the banks that serve them." Ms. McWilliams also described broad agency efforts to strengthen the financial system.

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Ms. McWilliams emphasized that the FDIC must respond to concerns voiced by banks and their underlying communities, citing "real conversations" she had during her 50-state listening tour. Ms. McWilliams "challenged" the FDIC to respond by increasing its efforts to:

  • support Minority Depository Institutions ("MDIs");

  • promote community banks by, among other things, creating de novo banks;

  • clarify for financial institutions what their obligations are under the Community Reinvestment Act; and

  • ensure that banks help low- and moderate-income households during personal financial difficulties.

Ms. McWilliams also highlighted the agency's existing efforts to strengthen the financial system, which include:

  • revisiting and tailoring prior rules and guidance, including implementing the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act;

  • exempting from the Volcker Rule banks with less than $10 billion in consolidated assets;

  • reviewing brokered deposit and interest rate regulations;

  • finalizing a streamlined approach to the capital regime for small banks (i.e., the "capital simplification rule");

  • raising the minimum consolidated asset threshold for company-run stress tests from $10 billion to $250 billion;

  • examining the 2012 Stress Testing Guidance to further tailor supervisory expectations and raise the asset threshold to $10 billion;

  • tailoring the resolution plan requirements for large bank holding companies; and

  • seeking feedback on revising the threshold application and tiered requirements of the insured depository institution rules.

In addition, Ms. McWilliams said that the FDIC is examining areas with specific risks to the financial system, which include, among others:

  • leveraged lending;

  • cybersecurity; and

  • the Bank Secrecy Act and AML compliance.

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