Newly unveiled banking regulation wouldn't have prevented this year's US bank failures | CNN Business (2024)

Newly unveiled banking regulation wouldn't have prevented this year's US bank failures | CNN Business (1)

Video Ad Feedback

Fed raises rates to highest level in 22 years

02:58 - Source: CNN

New York CNN

US bank regulators advanced proposals on Thursday aimed at safeguarding the nation’s largest banks in the wake of three regional bank failures earlier this year.

The new rules proposed by the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation would increase the level of capital that banks with at least $1a00 billion in assets would be required to hold. The rules, collectively known as the Basel III endgame, wouldn’t go into effect until 2028 if finalized after going through the standard notice-and-comment rulemaking process, which would end November 30.

US banks deemed systemically important globally — or, colloquially, “too big to fail” — would have to set aside an additional 19% of capital on average, according to the proposal. Banks with more than $250 billion in assets that aren’t considered systemically important would see a 10% increase in the capital they’re required to hold. Banks with asset levels between $100 billion and $250 billion, which included some mid-sized regional banks such as KeyCorp and Huntington Bank, would see a 5% increase.

In an aerial view, a Pacific Western Bank building is seen on May 4, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. David McNew/Getty Images Banc of California set to merge with rival PacWest

Generally, this would mean banks would have to hold an additional two percentage points of capital, or an additional $2 of capital for every $100 of risk-weighted assets.

But smaller regional banks like PacWest, which is set to merge with Banc of California after reporting a $290 million decline in deposits last quarter, would be spared. In other words, these new rules would not have prevented the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank or First Republic earlier this year, said Steven Kelly, associate director of research at Yale’s program on financial stability.

Banks will no longer be able to act as their own risk managers

Under the new rules, banks with $100 billion or more in assets won’t be able to use their own models to determine the risk they’ve undertaken on loans and other activities. Their risk-level assessments have been the basis for informing how much capital they need to hold on top of baseline requirements.

The new rules would force banks to use a standardized model that is more conservative than their own in terms of assessing risk.

Accounting for unrealized gains and losses

Banks would be required to factor in unrealized losses and gains on securities in their portfolios in the capital ratios.

Silicon Valley Bank accumulated a lot of paper losses, or unrealized losses, from holding bonds while the Fed hiked interest rates. (Generally, interest rates on bonds go up as the Fed hikes, which leads to lower bond prices.) Eventually, SVB had to sell the bonds, which meant it had to realize the loss. But it did not need to hold capital to protect depositors from those losses.

How will this affect the average consumer?

Some officials who voted against the new regulations within the FDIC and Fed cited concerns that it could significantly constrain banks’ ability to lend to businesses and individuals. Some also expressed concerns that banks would pass on their higher capital costs to consumers in the form of higher fees to maintain their profit levels.

“The increased capital requirements could lead to an increase in interest rates for low- and moderate-income and other historically underserved borrowers who cannot always afford a 20% down payment, making it that much harder for these families to achieve homeownership,” FDIC board member Jonathan McKernan said on Thursday at the agency’s board meeting held to vote on the new plan.

A pedestrian passes the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, US, on Saturday, June 3, 2023. Nathan Howard/Bloomberg/Getty Images Fed's stress test results show banks' strength in light of the recent crisis

“Those who rely on these products and services will bear the cost of capital increases,” Fed Governor Michelle Bowman, who voted against the new rules, said on Thursday. “For example, when a local government issues municipal bonds to finance local infrastructure, they may find that financing is more expensive, or in some cases unavailable. Manufacturers may find it harder to get loans to invest in equipment or facilities,” she added.

Kelly, who is ambivalent about the new regulations, said the average consumer will likely be “minimally” impacted.

Non-bank financial institutions like venture capital and private equity firms will likely fill the void for any lending that traditional banks will have to cut back on, he said.

“This is a marginal inconvenience at best,” Kelly added. Some consumers might be forced to “shop around a little more” to get a better interest rate on a loan. On the flip side, the regulations could give smaller banks a chance to offer more competitive rates compared to mega banks like JPMorgan Chase.

Separately, on Thursday the Fed also released new capital requirements that go into effect on October 1 for large banks, based on their stress test results last month. The minimum capital requirements that banks are subject to did not change from last year.

Some of the nation’s largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, won’t have to hold as much capital based on their performances. However, UBS, Citizens Bank and Capital One will have to hold more capital.

Banks encouraged to revisit bank-run contingency plans

In addition to the changes around capital that are intended to prevent future bank failures, the FDIC, OCC and Fed released new recommendations for how banks can prepare for heightened periods of stress.

Among the recommendations, the agencies encouraged banks to review if they are eligible to borrow from the Fed’s discount window, a program established to be the lender of last resort to banks when they are unable to quickly get funds from other sources. In order to use the discount window, banks have to make certain arrangements ahead of time.

SVB wasn’t able to access the discount window as depositors quickly withdrew their funds because it did not make many of those advanced arrangements, such as establishing a sufficient collateral base to borrow from the window, according to the Fed’s post-mortem report examining why the bank failed.

The report found that having access to the window “would likely not have prevented SVB’s failure,” however, “it could have facilitated a more orderly resolution.”

As an expert in financial regulations and banking, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the discussion. My understanding of the intricacies of regulatory frameworks, risk management practices, and their implications on financial institutions positions me well to dissect and explain the recent proposals advanced by US bank regulators, as outlined in the provided article.

The Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have collectively put forth a set of rules known as the Basel III endgame, aimed at safeguarding the nation's largest banks. These rules, if finalized, would come into effect in 2028 after undergoing the standard notice-and-comment rulemaking process. The key proposal involves increasing the level of capital that banks with at least $100 billion in assets must hold.

For banks deemed systemically important globally, an additional 19% of capital on average would be required, colloquially known as "too big to fail." Banks with assets between $250 billion and $100 billion would face a 10% increase, and those with assets between $100 billion and $250 billion, including mid-sized regional banks like KeyCorp and Huntington Bank, would see a 5% increase.

One notable aspect of these proposed rules is that banks with $100 billion or more in assets would no longer be able to use their own risk models to determine the risk associated with loans and other activities. Instead, they would be required to use a standardized model that is more conservative in assessing risk.

Additionally, the proposed regulations would mandate that banks factor in unrealized losses and gains on securities in their portfolios when calculating capital ratios. This is a crucial shift, considering instances where banks like Silicon Valley Bank faced challenges due to accumulated paper losses from holding bonds during interest rate hikes.

The article also touches upon potential impacts on consumers. Some officials express concerns that the increased capital requirements could constrain banks' ability to lend, leading to higher interest rates and fees for borrowers, particularly for low- and moderate-income individuals. However, opinions on the magnitude of these impacts vary, with some experts suggesting that the average consumer might be minimally affected.

Furthermore, the article discusses how non-bank financial institutions, such as venture capital and private equity firms, may step in to fill the lending void left by traditional banks. This shift could lead to increased competition and potentially offer consumers more options for obtaining loans.

In addition to capital requirements, the regulators also released recommendations for banks to prepare for heightened periods of stress. These include revisiting bank-run contingency plans and assessing eligibility to borrow from the Federal Reserve's discount window, a program designed to be a lender of last resort during financial crises.

In summary, the proposed regulations aim to enhance the stability of the banking sector by increasing capital requirements, altering risk assessment practices, and encouraging better preparation for financial stress scenarios. The potential impacts on consumers and the broader financial landscape underscore the importance of these regulatory measures in maintaining a resilient banking system.

Newly unveiled banking regulation wouldn't have prevented this year's US bank failures | CNN Business (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6049

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-12-23

Address: 4653 O'Kon Hill, Lake Juanstad, AR 65469

Phone: +494124489301

Job: Marketing Representative

Hobby: Reading, Ice skating, Foraging, BASE jumping, Hiking, Skateboarding, Kayaking

Introduction: My name is Cheryll Lueilwitz, I am a sparkling, clean, super, lucky, joyous, outstanding, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.