Increased capital requirements in the Fed, FDIC, and OCC’s Large Bank proposal strengthen the banks’ ability to withstand stresses that would otherwise imperil their financial viability and hurt depositors, customers and the economy. Robust capital levels prevent financial crises that have vastly disproportionate impacts on Black, LatinX and other underserved communities. AFR strongly urged the agencies to move forward on these proposals as more well-capitalized banks are better able to provide credit to customers and communities, advancing economic justice and helping the economy to work better for everyone.
As the Federal Reserve prepares new capital rules for American banks, Wall Street is rolling out its misdirection and bad arguments – as it has for much of the past decade – about why they should not be required to steel themselves against a crisis or downturn. And once again, regulators and Congress must be prepared to ignore their histrionics and strengthen capital requirements.
A provision inserted by Sen. Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, would encourage Trump-appointed regulators, who have already sought to reduce the minimum amounts of their own risk capital that banks have to hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, to go further. Sen. Susan Collins, sponsor of the part of Dodd-Frank in 2010 that Crapo wants to gut, has already filed an amendment that would strike the part of Republican bill that would make this change. The Senate should follow her lead and preserve minimum statutory thresholds for bank capital.
At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, big banks will be paying some $13 billion in shareholder dividends. If this level of dividends continues for the rest of 2020, big banks could be permitted to pay out over $50 billion in dividends for 2020.
The CARES Act stimulus continues a pattern of permissive regulation of large corporations that has enabled them to channel their income to providing capital payouts to wealthy shareholders and top executives, rather than support for workers or investment towards the long-term stability and success of the firms.
AFR Policy Director Marcus Stanley testified to the Financial Institutions subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee on five pieces of proposed legislation. Written Testimony: Marcus Stanley Testimony To House Financial Services FI Subcommittee December 7 2017 FINAL The full hearing is available here: https://financialservices.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=402730