Senate bill would exempt some banks from Dodd-Frank rules

Senate bill would exempt some banks from Dodd-Frank rules
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Two senators introduced a bipartisan bill Thursday that would let the Federal Reserve exempt some banks from stricter federal oversight.

Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Feds allow campaigns to accept discounted cybersecurity services GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (D-Mo.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) released a bill meant to reduce regulations on banks that have more than $50 billion in assets but are focused on regional business and don't pose a global financial risk in the event of their collapse.

The bill is intended to reduce the regulatory burden of the Dodd-Frank Act on regional and community banks that are grouped in the same tier as major, well-known financial institutions.

Regional and community banks have long complained that complying with Dodd-Frank stifles their ability to loan and boost local economies. They argue that despite their large regional footprints, their relatively safe lending and investment practices don’t warrant the same rules as investment banks.


Dodd-Frank was enacted in 2010 in response to the risky investment practices and lending habits that triggered the 2007 financial crisis. The bill placed new capital requirements on internationally important banks meant to prevent a global credit freeze, along with restrictions on risky investments and loans. Dodd-Frank also mandated regular stress tests for banks with higher asset levels to ensure their financial stability.

The Perdue-McCaskill bill would allow the Fed to exempt banks that qualify from certain Dodd-Frank stress tests and capital requirements.

The bill also adds new requirement to the previous $50 billion threshold for stricter testing. Banks above $50 billion in assets would be tested on their complexity, the depth of their connections to other major banks and how easily their services could be replaced by other firms in case the bank collapsed.

“Regional banks offer a lifeline to small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to create jobs,” said Perdue, a member of the Senate Banking Committee. “This legislation would actually test banks for systemic risk rather than forcing banks to comply with an arbitrary figure.”

“This is a commonsense fix that’ll untie the hands of our small regional banks and return to them the flexibility to lend to Missouri customers who want to buy a house, or start a business,” said McCaskill. The Democratic senator faces a tough re-election campaign in a state President Trump won with ease in 2016.

The Senate bill mirrors an act offered by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) that previously passed the House and was included in the Financial CHOICE Act, the sweeping House effort to rollback Dodd-Frank.

The Regional Bank Coalition, a trade group pushing for looser rules on the smaller firms, endorsed the bill soon after its release.

“Using an arbitrary, static asset threshold is an outdated way to apply regulations for financial institutions," said Matt Well, spokesperson the group. “We need a system that ensures the safety and soundness of the financial system and supports much needed economic growth through consumer and business lending.”