Banking interests strive to get regulations written their way

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New meeting records disclosed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) last week show that corporate banking interests, many of which lobbied on the Dodd-Frank Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, continue to weigh in on its implementation by the agency.

On November 9, the same day the agency issued new proposed rules changing the way banks are assessed fees for the exhausted deposit insurance fund, agency officials met with executives from eight banks, insurance companies, trade associations, and law firms on the issue. Institutions represented included the Financial Services Roundtable, Regions Bank, Hartford Financial, and State Street, among others. Most had lobbied on the legislation.

The same day, another FDIC official hosted Michael Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, which represents minority-owned banks, both to discuss the assessments and the section of the Dodd-Frank bill dealing with establishment of a new Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI). The various financial agencies are all required to create this new office by the end of January; it will be charged with overseeing the agency’s contracts to ensure that they meet standards for diversity.

Overall, the agency detailed eight meetings between November 3 and November 22 that were not previously reported. The agency began posting this information in August as part of an effort to increase transparency, and updates the records biweekly here. Other meetings included:

  • On November 16, an FDIC official met with four representatives of Towers Watson, which specializes in providing companies with advice about employee benefits. The topic was the controversial section of the Dodd-Frank bill that requires financial firms report to federal officials on the structure of executive pay, which was widely regarded as contributing to the financial meltdown. Towers Watson previously reported lobbying Congress on the new law.
  • On November 5, FDIC officials met with two representatives from BlackRock, the investment firm in which until recently Bank of America owned a large stake.  The firm reportedly was making the rounds of federal agencies to argue that as a nonbank it should not be designated as “systemically important” and thus subject to new regulations under the new law. BlackRock reported lobbying on the Dodd-Frank bill in Congress.
  • On November 3, the Loans Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA) which represents loan syndicates—groups of lenders that provide loans to a single borrower—met with FDIC officials. The group had unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to be exempted from new requirements for financial institutions to retain a portion of risk on products that they sell, such as mortgage-backed securities. Now the group is making its case to the financial agencies, which are charged with writing regulations later this year.
  • On November 22, an official with the Oklahama-based SpiritBank met with FDIC officials to discuss a pending study, mandated under the new law and due to Congress next July, examining the definitions of “core deposits” and “brokered deposits,” which will affect how assessments are made for banks for the deposit insurance fund.

The FDIC also included on the meeting list roundtables on credit ratings and living wills, the new plans mandated under the law that large financial institutions much have in place that would make their liquidation simpler in the event of financial catastrophe. The FDIC provides more information about these roundtables here.