Luetkemeyer to Fed: Clarify Use of ‘Guidance’ versus Regs

The Federal Reserve should clarify that agency guidance and other statements not issued via notice-and-comment rulemaking do not establish binding legal standards, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) said in a letter to Fed leadership yesterday. Luetkemeyer added that the Fed should make a “clear statement” that guidance should not be the basis for enforcement actions; supervisory directives, such as Matters Requiring Attention; or other supervisory determinations, such as ratings downgrades.

“Over the years, a significant number of agency guidance, handbooks and circulars have been issued,” wrote Luetkemeyer, who chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. “Greater clarity around the appropriate use and interpretation of such guidance is of the u[t]most importance.” Luetkemeyer also urged the Fed to ensure that its examiners are “appropriately educated about the use and role of guidance” and “held accountable when guidance is applied inappropriately.”