Posted by Staff on June 19, 2015
Washington Policies Like Dodd-Frank Threaten U.S. Financial Stability

Members of the Committee on Thursday questioned Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on the threats posed to America’s financial stability by misguided government policies, including the Dodd-Frank Act.

The most recent annual report issued by the Dodd-Frank-created Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) identifies several threats to financial stability that are the direct result of these policies.  However, “it conspicuously omits any references to specific government policies or agencies as helping cause the systemic risks it identifies,” said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

“FSOC simply refuses to look in the mirror,” he said.  “Mr. Secretary, your council and the rest of Washington needs to awaken to this obvious truth:  when it comes to systemic risk, Washington is a large part of the problem.”

Not only does FSOC fail to identify the Washington sources of these threats, it ignores other key threats to our financial stability, such as the nation’s $18 trillion – and growing – national debt.

CBO points out the debt is a problem for our economy, and yet your report does nothing, says nothing about it.  And you are supposed to be an agency that points out these problems," Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) said.

"The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond recently reported that 60 percent of the financial system’s liabilities are backed by taxpayers. This report directly contradicts claims by Secretary Lew and the Administration that the Dodd-Frank Act ended ‘too big to fail’ – a stated objective of the Dodd-Frank Act - and that American taxpayers will never again have to foot the bill for bailouts," said Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA).

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) pointed out that FSOC’s deeply flawed process for designating so-called “non-bank SIFIs” further entrenches another threat to our financial stability:  Too Big to Fail.

To date, FSOC has designated four non-bank financial companies as systemically important financial institutions, or SIFIs, essentially signaling to market participants that the government considers them Too Big to Fail. As a result, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker stated that shareholders and creditors of those firms can expect the government to shield them from losses during periods of distress, ultimately putting the taxpayer on the hook for a future potential bailout,” she said.

A Cyber Attack Every 34 Seconds

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on Tuesday to continue the Committee’s ongoing efforts to combat cyber threats to consumers and the financial sector.

Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI) said that while the motivations behind cyber attacks may vary, “there remains one constant. They intend to hurt America and our interests. Not only are they targeting the critical infrastructure of our country, like banks, power grids, food supplies, but they also pose a much graver threat directly to the citizens of the United States."

Witnesses called by the Subcommittee shed light on the prevalence of cyber threats to the financial sector.  Frank Cilluffo, Associate Vice President of the George Washington University and the Director for the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, said one major U.S. bank faced 30,000 cyber attacks just last week.  “This amounts to an attack every 34 seconds each and every day.  And these are just the attacks that the bank actually knows about,” he told the Subcommittee.

Michael Madon of RedOwl Analytics and an advisor to the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, called for a more pro-active stance by the federal government in fighting cyber attacks. "It is clear from watching these attacks dramatically increase in both frequency and damage, our nation's current defensive posture is simply not sufficient to address the threat. We need to have a more pro-active approach, one that shifts the paradigm away from defense to offense."

Subcommittee Reviews Economic Growth Proposals

Building on the success of the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) has been identifying legal, regulatory and market impediments to capital formation, particularly for small and medium-capitalized companies.  On Tuesday, the Subcommittee continued its work with a hearing on the Small Business Credit Availability Act and the Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act.

The Small Business Credit Availabiltiy Act, sponsored by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), is geared toward updating regulation of Business Development Companies.  “We've heard that in other hearings BDCs have played an increasingly important role in our economy," said Chairman Garrett.

The Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act, sponsored by Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), would allow more Americans to have the opportunities to secure their financial future," said Chairman Garrett.

at the hearing spoke about the importance of modernizing the regulation of BDCs and expanding the pool of investment opportunities.

Vincent D. Foster of Main Street Capital
said, "Modernizing BDC regulations will help support American jobs and foster economic growth by improving access to the public capital markets for BDCs. It will also free up significant resources at the SEC, which can be utilized more effectively to protect investors."

"With the JOBS Act, Congress helped to modernize existing regulations and establish new systems to provide the opportunities to allow Emerging Growth Companies (EGCs) to grow into public companies," said Tom Quaadman with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. "The proposals before us today continue that tradition and are important as they help small and mid-size businesses continue on the path to becoming EGCs."

For further information on these legislative proposals, click here.

Impact of the IMF:  Economic Stability or Moral Hazard?

Members of the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee on Thursday expressed concerns that the IMF, in providing public funds to ease current financial problems in Europe is, in effect, transferring the cost of Europe’s past risky lending practices to the American public at large and to commercial banks that were more conservative in selecting their loan portfolios.

“The use of the IMF as a backstop for advanced European countries calls into question, in my mind, whether this institution has become an enabling crutch instead of a helping hand,” Subcommittee Chairman Bill Huizenga (R-MI) said.


Rep. Randy Neugebauer | Lawmaker Calls Round Table on Bond Trading Challenges

A top lawmaker is inviting a bevy of Wall Street regulators and large financial institutions to a round table next month to discuss how regulations may be contributing to challenges in bond trading, the latest sign that officials are paying increased attention to the issue in Washington.

Weekend Must Reads

Washington Post | Obama wants to reengineer your neighborhood

This is what you get when you put a community organize in the White House – he tries to reorganize your community from Washington. The answer is not to force local governments to build affordable housing in affluent communities. The answer is to restore upward mobility in the United States so that more people can afford housing in affluent communities.

Real Clear Markets | The U.S. Is Defined By Expanding Government, Retreating Economy

Where once there was a limited government and unlimited economy, today there is a comparatively unlimited government and a limited economy. Following this progression, at what point do we begin to seriously measure, regulate and mitigate the impact of government's increasingly destructive impact upon the economy?

Wall Street Journal | Washington’s Illegal Bailout

Fed officials are upset that Congress wants to rein in their emergency and regulatory powers. Congress might have less cause to act if the Fed showed more respect for the law.

    On the Horizon 

June 24, 2015 2:00 p.m.
Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing Hearing

"Evaluating the Security of the U.S. Financial Sector"

June 25, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing

"Examining Continuing Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau"

  In the News

Wall Street Journal | House Committee Rejects Yellen’s Reason for Not Complying With Subpoena

Bloomberg | Hensarling Accuses Fed of Willful Obstruction of Leak Probe

American Banker | CFPB Grapples with Spike in Employee Bias Complaints

The Hill | Hensarling accuses Fed of 'willful obstruction' in leak probe

Politico | HUD aid for its own workers includes $100k move

HousingWire | TRID, Discrimination and Accountability: The Appalling CFPB Double Standard

Wall Street Journal | Small Firms Aim to Raise Capital More Easily Under New Rules

MarketWatch | Lew, Hensarling Spar Over Bond Market Liquidity

Bloomberg | Risk Panel Will Divulge Why AIG, MetLife Are Too Big to Fail

Washington Times | Obama-Elizabeth Warren payday lender rules slammed by Florida Democrats

Posted by Staff on June 12, 2015
Committee Questions HUD Secretary on Ineffectiveness of Agency After 50 Years

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was created 50 years ago to serve as a main weapon in the “War on Poverty” and the agency has received more than $1.6 trillion in annual appropriations over its lifetime.  On Thursday, members of the Financial Services Committee questioned HUD Secretary Julian Castro on his agency’s failure to achieve measurable results.

“By nearly every official measure, poverty and its consequences are as bad as they were 50 years ago.  The poverty rate today is essentially unchanged from when HUD was founded,” said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).  "If we truly care about the least of these among us, we can no longer measure success by the number of dollars appropriated to HUD. That should be obvious. Instead, success must be measured in the number of our fellow citizens who rise from lives of poverty and dependency to lives of hope, self-sufficiency, and pride. That’s true success."

Throughout the hearing, members expressed concerns that HUD has created a bureaucratic, complex tangle of programs that foster dependency rather than promote economic freedom and provide a roadmap out of poverty.

"Our aspirations need to be much higher. Our expectations are far too low. The expectation should be that success is measured not just by how many people we're moving into dependency on the department but how many people we are moving out of dependency," said Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY).

Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) told Secretary Castro, “Every program that we have aimed at poverty should be aimed at making poverty temporary, not tolerable.”

Subcommittee Reviews More Proposals to Promote Financial Independence and Consumer Choice

The Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee continued its review of legislative proposals aimed at helping Americans achieve financial independence and preserving consumer choice.

Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) said the hearing was another “opportunity for members to continue the discussion of regulatory relief for community financial institutions and the protection of consumer financial choice. Many members here today have put in a tremendous amount of work to build bipartisan coalitions for their legislation."

The hearing covered 12 bills designed to reduce regulatory burdens and streamline regulatory compliance, ensuring consumers have greater access to the financial services they want and need.

Witness Hester Peirce from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University testified how financial regulation needs to be revisited and updated to allow for well-functioning markets. "A well-functioning market enables people who need financing to obtain it efficiently and at a competitive price,” she said.  “Market forces reward financial companies that serve consumers well and discipline firms that fail to provide products and services in a form and at a price that consumers want."


Rep. Mia Love | VIDEO: Affordable Housing Coming To a Neighborhood Near You?

The Fox Business Network featured Rep. Love’s questioning of HUD Secretary Castro from Thursday’s hearing before the House Financial Services Committee.

Weekend Must Reads

The Hill | Ex-Im acting inspector general: Deal could cost taxpayers $150 million

The Export-Import Bank’s acting inspector general testified to Congress on Thursday that the bank could lose $150 million off a deal it financed with an Australian company that went bankrupt in April.

American Banker | Basel III Pulls the Rug Out from Community Banks

Similarities between Volcker and Basel are striking: Both rules weren't intended for community banks, but have had a disproportionate impact on hometown institutions.

Investor's Business Daily | Regulations Could Top Taxes As Enemy Of Small Business

For a large business, complying with regulations is often just a minor cost of doing business. For a small business, regulatory compliance can be an enterprise-killer.

    On the Horizon 

June 16, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee Hearing
"A Global Perspective on Cyber Threats"

June 17, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing "The Annual Report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council"

June 17, 2015 2:00 p.m.
Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee Hearing
“The Impact of the International Monetary Fund: Economic Stability or Moral Hazard?”

June 16, 2015 2:00 p.m.
Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Hearing

"Legislative Proposals to Modernize Business Development Companies and Expand Investment Opportunities"

  In the News

Washington Free Beacon | HUD Has Spent $1.6 Trillion Since Its Creation

National Mortgage Professional Magazine | Rep. Royce Calls Out Castro on GSE Reform 

Wall Street Journal | Dodd-Frank Turns Five

American Banker | Lawmakers Spar Over TRID 'Grace Period'

Wall Street Journal | Yellen: Fed Was Advised Against Fully Complying With Subpoena on Leak Probe

Bloomberg | Bill to Change CFPB Governance Structure Draws Support, Criticism at House Hearing

Wall Street Journal | Kill the Export-Import Bank 

CNBC | Chart: What’s the real unemployment rate?

American Banker | Mortgage Lenders Continue Push for TRID 'Grace Period'

Wall Street Journal | SF Fed Sees Involuntary Part-Time Workers Remaining Elevated

New York Times | Mergers Might Not Signal Optimism

The Maine Wire | Poliquin: The Export-Import Bank Must Be Held Accountable

CNBC | How the Fed screwed up the bond market

Posted by on June 09, 2015
FACT: Two Russian firms targeted with U.S. sanctions due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were approved for more than $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer-subsidized financing from the Export-Import Bank.

According to articles in the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily, one of these Russian state-owned firms, Vnesheconombank, maintains a close business relationship with a major Russian arms dealer responsible for more than 80% of Russia’s weapon exports, including shipments to Syria.


Posted by Staff on June 05, 2015
Subcommittee Conducts Oversight on Hurricane Sandy Claims

The need to reform the National Flood Insurance Program and allegations that Hurricane Sandy victims were cheated out of flood insurance claims due to bogus home inspection reports were the focus of a hearing on Tuesday held by the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee.

The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), heard testimony from the FEMA official in charge of the nation’s flood insurance program. He testified that more than 2,000 court cases have been filed by Sandy victims, many of which allege insurance companies and inspectors conspired to deny or underpay flood insurance claims.

“FEMA acted, but only after public prodding, and today is in the midst of a significant legal battle,” said Chairman Luetkemeyer. “Still, no one has been able to tell Congress or the public why these engineering firms operated in the fraudulent manner in which they are believed to have done. One question we must examine is whether or not perverse incentives exist within the National Flood Insurance Program.”

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) said during the hearing that he personally helped his constituents dig out of the rubble of Hurricane Sandy. “But after enduring the storm and the cleanup, the people of New Jersey had to face yet another challenge – doctored flood insurance claims that threatened their ability to rebuild. This is simply unacceptable. Frankly, it is maddening and I hope that we can all work together to ensure that victims are not cheated from what they are rightfully due,” he said.

Witnesses Testify That Ex-Im Harms American Jobs

Witnesses appearing before the committee at a hearing on the Export-Import Bank on Wednesday testified that Ex-Im harms some American jobs, tilts the playing field against some U.S. companies and has problems with corruption.

“We still believe that the Bank’s policy of subsidizing our foreign competitors tilts that playing field, harming U.S. companies and their workers,” said Richard Hirst, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Delta Air Lines.

A $694 million direct loan from Ex-Im for an iron ore project in Australia is one reason why more than 1,200 American workers at domestic iron ore operations “are currently on layoff or have been notified of a coming layoff,” said Clifford Smith, Executive Vice President of Cliffs Natural Resources. The company is America’s largest producer of iron ore pellets for steelmaking and has five major mines in Minnesota and Michigan.

Ex-Im’s Deputy Inspector General Michael McCarthy testified that since the Office of Inspector General’s latest semiannual report was filed in March, one former Bank employee pleaded guilty to accepting $78,000 in bribes and another individual was sentenced to 41 months in prison for defrauding the Bank. At an earlier hearing this year, McCarthy said future indictments surrounding Ex-Im’s activities are possible.

This week, McCarthy also testified that Ex-Im has not fully complied with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010.

"We found Ex-Im Bank’s risk assessment for FY 2014 reporting provided limited insight into the actual risk of significant improper payments. As a result, the Bank’s improper payment reporting is incomplete and the true risk of significant improper payments is unknown," he testified.

Speaking to Ex-Im Chairman and President Fred Hochberg at the hearing, Rep. Bruice Poliquin (R-ME) wondered “how I can go back to the people I represent with this trail of mismanagement – ongoing mismanagement – and vote to reauthorize your bank?”


Rep. French Hill | Banker Returns to D.C. to Take on CFPB, Regulatory Red Tape

His career has "always had at its core finance, it's always had at its core the private sector, and then I've always just been pretty passionate about public policy," the freshman congressman told American Banker in a recent interview. Hill, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said he's now focused on removing duplicative and unnecessary regulation for the financial industry, calling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "a redundant regulatory initiative."

Weekend Must Reads

Wall Street Journal | An Open Letter to Republicans on the Ex-Im Bank

If Republicans can’t stand up to corporate interests in this skirmish, how will we ever stand up to the myriad special interests warring against adoption of a simplified, pro-growth tax code? How will we earn the moral authority to reform the social welfare state unless we first reform the corporate welfare state? Let the Democrats own corporate welfare by themselves.

Investor's Business Daily | As Obama's Economy Falls, White House Excuses Boom

It's true that in recent years, growth in Q1 has tended to be subpar. But the problem isn't a lack of proper seasonal adjustment; it's that growth under Obama has been so tepid that even the slightest bump can knock it off stride. Just look at the numbers.

CNBC | Why the Fed is wrong. Again

The Federal Reserve has fueled financial bubbles and exacerbated economic problems before, and it is doing it now. In the past 15 years, we have seen what can happen when the Fed underestimates the risks of rising asset prices and maintains "accommodative" monetary conditions for too long. Investors should proceed with caution.

    On the Horizon 

June 11, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

"The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development"

June 11, 2015 2:00 p.m.
Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Hearing

"Examining Legislative Proposals to Preserve Consumer Choice and Financial Independence"

  In the News

Asbury Park Press | FEMA: Government, insurers let down Sandy victims | FEMA official: Government let Hurricane Sandy victims down

NY Newsday | Outgoing Flood Insurance Chief Says Program ‘Lacks Adequate Governance

Bloomberg | Republicans Order Records in New Attack on FSOC Transparency

Daily Caller | EXCLUSIVE: Obama Consumer Official Leaves Amid Charges He Helped Create ‘Toxic Workplace'

Newnan Times-Herald | Westmoreland Takes Tour of InComm Facility

Daily Signal | House Moves to Stop Operation Choke Point


Posted by on June 03, 2015

This morning the House Financial Services Committee released its latest video:  Ex-Im By the Numbers.  The 50-second video includes information about the $112 billion in taxpayer money Ex-Im puts at risk, that 99 percent of U.S. exports are successful without Ex-Im, and figures on the investigations, charges, arrests and amount of prison time associated with corruption at Ex-Im.  The video is being released shortly before the committee’s third hearing of the year on the Export-Import Bank, which starts at 10 a.m. Eastern time. 
Posted by Staff on May 22, 2015
Committee Passes 13 Jobs Bills

The committee passed 13 bills on Wednesday to help Main Street businesses gain access to the capital they need to grow and create jobs. 

"We still have millions and millions of our fellow countrymen, hardworking moderate-income taxpayers, who find themselves with stagnant to lower paychecks; bank accounts that are less than before the great economic crisis -- and they need more jobs, better jobs, and you can’t have more and better jobs without more and better capital formation,” said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

By passing the JOBS Act in 2012, Congress took an important bipartisan step toward easing the regulatory burden on small businesses and startups seeking access to capital markets.  However, more needs to be done to eliminate and streamline the regulations that make it difficult for them to open their doors and create jobs.

For more information about the 13 bills approved by the committee, click here.

Subcommittee Examines How the Financial Sector Addresses Cyber Threats

The Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), held a hearing on Tuesday to focus on how to protect financial institutions and consumers’ financial data from cyberattacks

"We should all remember that no single institution or system is 100 percent protected from cyberattacks. The sector faces threats posed by a growing array of cyber criminals, nation-state actors, and terrorist organizations," said Chairman Neugebauer.

The U.S. financial sector is a critical asset and part of the nation’s infrastructure.  A broad-scale cyberattack that disrupts financial markets or payment system could bring enormous harm to our economy.

Because cyber threats against the financial sector are constantly evolving, subcommittee members discussed the importance of information sharing – both within the financial sector and between the financial sector and the federal government.  Sharing information about threats and vulnerabilities would contribute to  the early warning of threats and likely attacks.

Subcommittee Conducts Oversight of Rural Housing Service

The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), convened a hearing on Tuesday to review the Rural Housing Service's (RHS) budget, operations and overall performance.

"Like many of my colleagues, I represent a rural area. My hometown has 336 residents. It’s a place where it takes two jobs to make a living, and where the incredible benefits of living in rural America far outweigh the challenges," said Chairman Luetkemeyer. "The status quo simply isn’t acceptable. Rural Americans deserve more. RHS should heed suggestions made by GAO [Government Accountability Office] and increase interagency collaboration, and consider consolidation where appropriate."

Subcommittee Members expressed their concerns regarding the effectiveness of RHS programs and their impact on American families living in rural communities.

"If we're moving people from dependency on the government to independence, self-sufficiency, that to me is success. That would be a program I would be interested in supporting," said Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY).

Task Forces Dives into Links Between Terrorism, Crime and Corruption

The Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, chaired by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), held a hearing on Thursday to listen to testimony from experts on the links between terrorism, crime, and corruption.

Although terrorist organizations and criminal actors have different motives in their quest for finances, these groups may cooperate with each other in order to achieve their own objective. Beyond individual anecdotes and case studies, a 2014 network analysis by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point suggests that criminal and terrorist groups may be highly interconnected.

"Terrorist groups have become entwined with trans-national criminal syndicates or, in some cases, evolving into the role themselves - engaging in criminal activities which yield greater profits than simply relying on state sponsorship or big pocket donors. These activities range from, but are not limited to, corruption, drug trafficking, human smuggling and extortion," said Chairman Fitzpatrick. "It is this type of connection - the intersection between terrorism, crime and corruption – that today’s hearing will focus on, including current techniques being used by these groups, effectiveness of the current U.S. policy in combatting them, and where these tactics can be improved upon."

One of the hearing’s witnesses, Professor Celina Realuyo, testified that “financial intelligence and investigative tools like ‘following the money trail’ are instrumental to better understand, detect, disrupt and dismantle these illicit networks of terrorism, crime and corruption. Tracking how terrorists and criminals raise, move, store and use money has been instrumental in degrading and defeating groups such as Al Qaeda Core, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and the FARC in Colombia.”


Rep. Dennis Ross | Operation Targets Legal Businesses

Whether you utilize any of the targeted businesses or not, think about how future administrations could implement similar programs that "choke off" other forms of business. Where does it stop? Legitimate businesses rely on their banks to grow, hire more employees, pay taxes and provide basic services and products vital to our communities. Moving forward, as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, I will continue to fight to end Operation Choke Point.

Weekend Must Reads

Wall Street Journal | Government Warns of Systemic Risks It Created

Taxpayers, you’ve been getting a bargain from the regulators who sit on the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council. You might have thought you were paying them simply to identify risks in the financial system. But it turns out they’ve been creating them too. And you’re getting this additional service at no extra charge—at least until the next financial crisis and bailout.

The Weekly Standard | Mortgage Mess

The answer to the financial crisis may have been hidden in plain sight, but the failure to see it was willful. A powerful coalition of interest groups dominated housing policy for a generation, and they still do—despite the damage that policy caused in the Great Recession.

Fortune | Jeb Hensarling takes a swing at corporate welfare

People feel constrained. The regulatory burden, as you know, can fall disproportionately on small businesses. Financial regulators have gone from under-reacting to over-reacting. I have an 11-year-old and sometimes when every teacher gives you homework on the same night, you just feel overwhelmed. And that’s what we’re seeing now, particularly with our community institutions. The sheer volume, complexity, and weight of regulatory costs just drags them down.

Forbes | If You Like Your Financial Adviser, You Should Be Able To Keep Your Financial Adviser

The substantive flaws go on, but it is important to acknowledge that there are politics in play here. The administration withdrew this rule because it was too politically sensitive prior to the 2012 election. Now, they are rolling it out with a progressive senator known for bashing Wall Street.

The Hill | Reform regulation to let more banks serve Main Street

But there has been one area of bipartisan agreement: financial regulation should not stifle banks’ ability to deliver credit to small and medium-sized business located on Main Streets in communities all across the U.S. These are the firms that are critical to economic growth and the source of the most of the new job creation in the U.S.

  In the News

Bloomberg | Committee Clears Package of 13 Bills, Most to Ease Parts of JOBS Act, Dodd-Frank

Politico Pro | 13 SEC Bills Advance in House

Augusta Free Press | Financial Services Committee approves two Robert Hurt bills

MinnPost | Emmer named to House Financial Services Committee

Bucks County Courier Times | Terrorists Buying Our Used Cars, Analyst Tells Congress

Wall Street Journal | Republicans Ask Fed’s Yellen to Testify Four Times More a Year

Washington Post | Small businesses in Washington and around the country are rushing to go public. Here’s why.

MPBN News | Poliquin Expresses Concerns About Terrorism Financing

Associated Press | Lawmaker Subpoenas Fed, Seeking Evidence of a Leak
Posted by on May 19, 2015
FACT: 10 large corporations receive nearly two-thirds of Ex-Im’s financial assistance.

Posted by on May 18, 2015
FACT: Nearly 99% of U.S. exports are financed without Ex-Im.


Posted by Staff on May 15, 2015
False Narrative of Financial Crisis Led to Wrong Remedy: D0dd-Frank

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), heard from witnesses at a hearing on Wednesday that the 2008 financial crisis was caused by bad government policies and regulatory incompetence, not a “lack of regulations” or “market failure.” Washington’s inaccurate diagnosis of the causes led to the wrong response: the 2,300-page Dodd-Frank Act and its burdensome regulations.

As a consequence of hastily enacting Dodd-Frank, Washington has piled on more regulations that are smothering community financial institutions, other small businesses and consumers who are losing access to affordable credit and choice. Far from “lifting the economy,” as Dodd-Frank supporters claimed the Act would do, Americans remains stuck in the slowest and weakest recovery of their lifetimes.

"Those who supported Dodd-Frank have been more concerned with helping special interests in Washington than their constituents back home, and the proof is in the numbers. They don't lie," said Chairman Duffy in his opening statement.  “Fewer people have returned to the workforce than any other modern recovery. Banks are closing every week, and the number one cause that I hear from people back in Wisconsin is the excessive, crushing regulatory burden imposed by this administration and Dodd-Frank is a major cause of that burden. The crushing regulatory regime created by Dodd-Frank continues to keep people out of work, to keep businesses from hiring. It makes it harder for my constituents to get the loans they need to finance the expansion of their business, or to buy their first home."

Subcommittee Continues Review of Jobs Bills

The Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), held a hearing on Wednesday to continue its review of legislative ideas to help small and emerging companies access capital so they can grow and create jobs. 

Small businesses are the primary source of job growth in America, yet the sheer weight, volume and complexity of Washington regulations hinders their ability to create jobs and spur economic growth.

“As multiple witnesses have testified to this Committee over the years, our current equity market structure in many ways disadvantages small issuers, who often times find their stocks trading in illiquid markets with little to no research coverage.  This has the ultimate effect of raising the cost of capital for these companies, impacting their ability to grow and hire new workers,” said Chairman Garrett. 

"In our district we have tens of thousands of small businesses,” said Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME). “We're a district in the state of small business owners, and we know firsthand how costly overregulation is and how it causes people to shut down their business or pass on that cost,” he said.

Committee Hearing Focuses on Protecting Consumers’ Financial Data

The Financial Services Committee’s hearing on Thursday gave members an opportunity to hear from major participants in the payments system about efforts to protect consumers’ financial information from cybercriminals and hackers. 

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said in his opening statement, " In the era of “big data,” large-scale security breaches are unfortunately all too common. Every breach leaves consumers exposed and vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and a host of other crimes.”

Chairman Hensarling said he viewed the hearing as a venue for a “thoughtful and constructive dialogue on a bipartisan basis,” about the issue, and he commended Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and John Carney (D-DE) for introducing bipartisan data security legislation.

Rep. Neugebauer, chairman of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, said, “Today, I am looking forward to learning about new payments technologies that can continue to facilitate payment efficiency, speed and security. Additionally, I am hopeful we can have a robust policy discussion about what new data security standards are needed to level the playing field. However, I hope all parties involved today understand that technology mandates and innovation must be driven by the private sector."

The Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee will continue the committee's work on protecting consumers’ financial data during its hearing next week.

Subcommittee Weights Costs and Benefits of Proposed Mortgage Closing Rule

The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), held a hearing on Thursday to examine the impact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) proposed rule will have on the mortgage closing process.

"For the majority of American consumers, the purchase of a home is the most important and expensive financial transaction they’ll ever make, and the process in place today is confusing and burdensome. 23 percent of respondents in an October 2013 poll by the USA Today said they would rather gain 10 pounds than go through the mortgage process. 7 percent said they would rather spend a night in prison. The system needs to be fixed, and we owe it to consumers to make sure this process works and is as straightforward as possible," Chairman Luetkemeyer said. "No one disagrees that there is need for improvement, but we need to go about this in an appropriate manner and take the time to ensure that consumers aren’t negatively impacted by something designed to help them."

Members and witnesses at the hearing expressed concerns that CFPB is rolling out a very significant without testing the roll-out – similar to the mistake the Administration made with the launch of the Obamacare website.

Witnesses called for a delayed enforcement period so that those impacted by the CFPB's new rule can have sufficient time to work out any difficulties without the threat of enforcement actions.


Rep. Randy Hultgren | Moving Your Nest Egg to a Bed of Red Tape

Members of one firm in my district, with dozens of offices that serve more than 30,000 customers, told me that they fear the Labor Department’s proposal will make it impossible to offer quality services to low- and middle-income customers. Tens of thousands of small investors I represent will have a harder time saving for their futures and those of their children.

Weekend Must Reads

AEI | Does bank supervision impact bank loan growth?

After controlling for the impact of monetary policy, bank capital and liquidity conditions, and any voluntary reduction in lending triggered by weak legacy loan portfolio performance or other bank losses, estimates show that supervisory restrictions have a large negative impact on bank loan growth.

Wall Street Journal | The Federal Reserve Asset Bubble Machine

The Fed now leads a culture of central bankers who see their job as reducing unemployment and stabilizing prices for consumer goods only, come what may in the markets. This needs to change. In a world in which high trade and money flows tend to restrain consumer prices but magnify asset prices, central banks need to take responsibility for both. After all, asset price inflation is as dangerous as consumer price inflation.

Heritage Foundation | Red Tape Rising: Six Years of Escalating Regulation Under Obama

The number and cost of government regulations continued to climb in 2014, intensifying Washington’s control over the economy and Americans’ lives. The addition of 27 new major rules pushed the tally for the Obama Administration’s first six years to 184, with scores of other rules in the pipeline.

    On the Horizon 

May 19, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Hearing

"The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Rural Housing Service"

May 19, 2015 1:00 p.m.
Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Hearing

"Protecting Critical Infrastructure: How the Financial Sector Addresses Cyber Threats"

May 21, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing Hearing

"A Dangerous Nexus: Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption"

  In the News

Talk Business & Politics | A Real Opportunity to Save Our Community Banks

Bloomberg | Hensarling Subpoenas Treasury, Fed for Debt-Ceiling Documents

Reuters | Fed said to have emergency plan to intervene if U.S. defaulted on debt

American Banker | Hensarling Subpoenas Treasury, Justice Over 'Stonewalled' Investigations

Politico Pro | Banking Industry Sounds Alarm On Data Breaches

American Banker | Lawmakers Stumped by Challenges of Cybersecurity

Bloomberg | Industry Torn on How Far Congress Should Go with Financial Data Breach Legislation

The Hill | Pawlenty: Hackers pose almost 'existential' threat to US

The Blaze | Lawmakers look to stop multi-million salary for CEO of government mortgage giant

Daily Signal | Small business owner says bank denied service because she sells guns

Politico | Dodd-Frank’s misadventures in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Posted by on May 14, 2015
FACT:  While Ex-Im claims it is needed to fight subsidies from foreign competitors, just a third of Ex-Im transactions are used for this purpose – according to Ex-Im.