December 12, 2018

Don't loosen Volcker rule requirements, NAFCU tells bank regulators

regsNAFCU's Carrie Hunt urged the OCC, FDIC, Federal Reserve, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and Securities and Exchange Commission to interpret the Volcker rule in the way Congress intended – which is not to "afford the largest and most complex banks relief from critically important safety and soundness regulations."

Hunt's letter to the agencies yesterday follows a Yahoo! Finance article last week that suggested language in the regulatory relief bill S. 2155 addressing this rule could lead to interpretations outside of Congress' intent.

Hunt, NAFCU executive vice president of government affairs and general counsel, explained the intent of this section of the law in her letter. She also noted that the Volcker rule is a "critical reform that emerged from the financial crisis which addresses, among other things, the riskiest of all investment behaviors – investing in private equity or hedge funds using a bank's own accounts for the bank's own benefit."

NAFCU has also urged banking regulators to withdraw a proposed rulemaking that would loosen Volcker rule requirements on big banks, arguing that doing so could undermine financial stability. In fact, a recent Morning Consult poll found that roughly half of registered voters believe there is "not enough regulation" of large banks in the U.S.

"Loosening requirements … would revive the risky trading practices that contributed to the financial crisis and fundamentally degrade the stability and liquidity of capital markets," Hunt concluded in her letter.

In September, NAFCU released a white paper calling for members of Congress to discuss creating a modernized Glass-Steagall Act in order to protect consumers from banks that are too big to fail. The association is supportive of reform efforts that allow credit unions and other financial institutions to compete without putting consumers at risk.