Nichols: ABA ‘Profoundly Disappointed’ in Lack of Reg Relief in Spending Bill

ABA’s Rob Nichols this morning expressed the disappointment and frustration of the banking industry that Congress failed to include meaningful regulatory relief in the negotiated 2016 spending bill that was unveiled overnight. The House is expected to vote on the omnibus spending bill as soon as Thursday, with the Senate acting soon after.

“We’re profoundly disappointed that lawmakers were unable to enact common-sense reforms in this session of Congress that would help America’s hometown banks better serve their clients, customers and communities and make the loans that drive our economy forward,” Nichols said. “Failing to pass needed regulatory relief while forcing banks to pay for roads and bridges is unconscionable and comes with very real costs for both hometown banks and the broader economy.”

The disappointment comes after an all-out grassroots effort by bankers, ABA and the state bankers associations to see reg relief passed this year. “Despite this lost opportunity, this has been and will remain a top priority for ABA and our members,” Nichols remarked. “Helping our economy grow should not be caught up in partisan disagreements or congressional gridlock and dysfunction.” Nichols will explain next steps in an email to bank CEOs later this morning.

The spending bill includes a measure long advocated by ABA that will facilitate increased sharing of critical cyber threat intelligence between the private and public sectors without compromising customer privacy. As urged by ABA, the spending bill left out a controversial section in the Senate’s cyber bill that would have amounted to giving the Department of Homeland Security the authority to regulate large financial firms.

The bill also includes an provision advocated by ABA and the state bankers associations requiring the banking regulators to conduct a study of Basel III’s effects on bank holdings of mortgage servicing assets. ABA’s legislative staff will continue to review the more-than-2,000-page bill for its implications for bankers.