As the Federal Housing Finance Agency weighs a rulemaking process on Federal Home Loan Bank membership eligibility, the American Bankers Association provided the banking industry’s perspective on potential changes and how they might affect the FHLB system. The association emphasized that FHFA should continue to defer to Congress on eligible members—for example, not making entities deemed eligible by statute ineligible in regulation, as was done in 2016 for captive insurers.
ABA urged FHFA to revisit its rule on captive insurers. “Instead, FHFA should be guided by congressional intent to allow these insurance companies membership in the system, but FHFA should limit each individual captive insurer’s ability to access the system based upon its potential to impact the safety and soundness of the system,” considering for example whether a captive insurer’s parent is prudentially regulated. “Similarly, we recommend that FHFA establish clear, consistent, and risk-based member access standards that account for differences in prudential regulation such as for less stringently regulated credit unions and for non-depository CDFIs.”
ABA also recommended that FHFA guard against “back door” access to the FHLB system by ineligible entities’ relationships with eligible members, but urged FHFA not to prohibit membership to classes of otherwise eligible members based on these concerns but instead make case-by-case determinations. “If an otherwise ineligible member lacking regulation, oversight and capital attempts to use an eligible member as a conduit, safety and soundness considerations must dictate that the FHLB and the FHFA restrict access by the eligible member to protect the system,” the association said.