Sweeping Senate Majority Passes Bipartisan Regulatory Reform Bill

In a bipartisan 67-31 vote, the Senate tonight passed S. 2155, the bipartisan regulatory reform bill crafted by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). The bill includes several provisions that are longstanding priorities in the American Bankers Association’s Blueprint for Growth, among them reforms that would:

  • Provide Qualified Mortgage designation for mortgages held in portfolio by banks with less than $10 billion in assets
  • Raise the threshold for designation as a systemically important financial institution from $50 billion in assets
  • End stress tests entirely for banks with under $100 billion in assets
  • Simplify capital calculations for community banks
  • Provide relief from appraisal requirements for smaller mortgages
  • Institute longer exam cycles for community banks
  • Provide charter flexibility for federal thrifts with less than $20 billion in assets

“This bill is an important step in right-sizing the rules for America’s banks, and it will allow financial institutions to better serve their customers and communities while maintaining safety and soundness,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “This legislation is the byproduct of years of hearings, input from hundreds of stakeholders and careful negotiations between lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who refused to ignore the serious issues facing financial institutions trying to grow the economy. The cooperation on this bill marks a long overdue and welcome return to the tradition of bipartisan banking policy in Washington. We hope it continues.”

ABA, the state bankers associations and bankers across the country worked hard to advance the bill. Many of its individual provisions are measures long advocated by ABA and the state associations. Bankers authored numerous op-eds in key states to thank the bill’s co-sponsors and build support and sent thousands of messages to their senators.

While thanking the co-sponsors and welcoming the passage of the bill, which will provide much-needed relief for almost all banks, Nichols reiterated that more work needs to be done to tailor banking regulations, “but we are encouraged by the important progress in this legislation.”