Shelby’s Sweeping Financial Reform Bill Would Advance ABA Goals

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today released a draft of a sweeping financial reform bill that would provide regulatory relief for banks of all sizes, tailor the regulatory structure for systemically important banks and begin restructuring within the Federal Reserve System and at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The bill’s regulatory relief provisions include nearly two dozen measures that are part of ABA’s Agenda for America’s Hometown Banks, many of which have been introduced as standalone measures or in other relief packages in both houses of Congress. ABA President and CEO Frank Keating thanked Shelby for his proposal, which he said “would provide much needed regulatory relief. We look forward to working with Chairman Shelby and members of the committee as this important process moves forward.”

Among its regulatory relief provisions, Shelby’s bill would allow mortgages held in portfolio to receive the Qualified Mortgage safe harbor, establish an independent exam ombudsman, reduce the burden of unnecessary privacy notice paperwork, help rural customers receive CFPB mortgage exemptions, extend the exam cycle for more institutions, require a study of Basel III’s treatment of mortgage servicing assets, permit short-form Call Reports for highly rated community banks and exempt banks with less than $10 billion in assets from the Volcker Rule.

The bill would also raise the threshold for designation as a systemically important financial institution from $50 billion in assets to $500 billion, while also raising the threshold for Dodd-Frank Act-mandated stress testing from $10 billion to $50 billion in assets. Several regulatory asset thresholds in the bill would be indexed to inflation.

The Senate Banking Committee is tentatively scheduled to consider the bill on May 21, a date that could shift as discussions continue on Capitol Hill. Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called the proposal an “industry wish list,” insisting instead on a smaller, more targeted package. ABA will engage its grassroots network to help preserve its Agenda priorities contained in the draft.