Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)
, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced that she plans to lead a delegation of the Committee in attending a public meeting of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) Board of Directors, which consists of FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger, and FDIC Board Member Martin Gruenberg.
“Today I am leading a group of Committee Democrats on a trip to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to attend the FDIC Board’s public meeting, where we expect that the FDIC will vote on its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rule. The CRA is an important law that prevents redlining and ensures that banks are meeting the credit and banking needs of low- and moderate-income communities where they are chartered.
“We are concerned that the changes that the FDIC and OCC are considering to modify how the CRA is implemented will make it easier for banks to pass their CRA exams, weakening their obligation to responsibly serve communities across the country. It is critical that the banking regulators do not jam through their proposal without giving the public ample time to weigh in, or without coordinating with the Federal Reserve.
“And so, with our visit to the FDIC today, the Members of the Committee are continuing to conduct oversight over financial regulators. The Board should understand that we are very carefully monitoring their activities.”
The group of Members that plan to attend the FDIC Board meeting include Chairwoman Waters, Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets, Representative Bill Foster (D-IL), Chair of the Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, Representative Cindy Axne (D-IA), Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Representative Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL).
The Members’ trip to the FDIC follows a letter sent to banking regulators yesterday led by Chairwoman Waters and Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and signed by all 34 Committee Democrats, along with all 12 Senate Banking Committee Democrats led by Ranking Member Sherrod Brown. The letter, addressed to FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, and OCC Comptroller Joseph Otting, calls on the regulators to, at a minimum, include a public comment period of at least 120 days for any proposal reforming CRA to ensure it gets a full vetting and that all interested parties have an opportunity to analyze and comment on the proposal.
Chairwoman Waters is leading the fight against the deregulatory agenda of the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans and their actions that benefit Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.
Since 2017, the Trump Administration has made financial deregulation a top priority, with the President vowing in his first few days to do a "big number" on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act's safeguards that Democrats put in place following the global financial crisis a decade ago. Trump's Treasury Department subsequently laid out the Administration's deregulatory blueprint through a series of reports containing numerous recommendations for regulators to deregulate Wall Street megabanks, payday lenders and other bad actors.
Trump's appointees have been busy implementing his plan to undermine the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a myriad of ways, rolling back key financial stability oversight, and despite Wall Street megabanks making record profits, regulators have been methodically weakening their capital, liquidity, stress testing, and living will requirements that have helped keep the financial system safe since the last financial crisis.
Since taking the gavel in January, Chairwoman Waters has convened Financial Services Committee hearings to conduct oversight over financial regulators and large financial institutions.
In March, Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing entitled, “Holding Megabanks Accountable: An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Pattern of Consumer Abuses.” The sole witness was Timothy Sloan, who was then Wells Fargo’s President and CEO. Two weeks later, Sloan stepped down.
In April, Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing entitled, “Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 Years After the Financial Crisis.” The witnesses included the chief executives of Bank of America, Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and State Street.
In May, Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing entitled, “Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness and Accountability of Megabanks and Other Depository Institutions.” The witnesses included Federal Reserve Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles, OCC Comptroller Joseph Otting, and FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams, all who have various duties in regulating megabanks.
This month, Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing entitled, “Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness, Diversity, and Accountability of Depository Institutions?” The witnesses included Federal Reserve Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams, and NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood. OCC Comptroller Joseph Otting was invited to testify, but declined to come.
Also this month, Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing entitled, “Promoting Financial Stability? Reviewing the Administration’s Deregulatory Approach to Financial Stability.” The sole witness was Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Furthermore, the Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman Meeks, held a hearing in April entitled, “The Community Reinvestment Act: Assessing the Law’s Impact on Discrimination and Redlining.” The witnesses included experts and advocates that discussed the vital importance of the CRA and the need to strengthen the law’s implementation.