DOJ Seeks Public Feedback on Bank Merger Antitrust Reviews

Noting the rapid technological transformation of financial services, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division today requested public comments on whether and how it should revise its guidelines—virtually unchanged since 1995—for reviewing the competitive effects of bank mergers. For example, DOJ sought feedback on the inclusion of non-traditional banks and nonbanks in the guidelines, as well as how they weight online and non-geographically based deposits.

“Innovative emerging technologies are disrupting traditional banking models and introducing new competitive elements to the financial sector,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim. “As part of the division’s increased attention to modernizing our competitive analysis of financial services markets, we are examining whether the 1995 banking guidelines need updating to reflect our evolving economy.”

DOJ also sought comments on its guidance generally; the value of joint guidance from DOJ and the banking agencies; the use of 2010 guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission; DOJ reviews of markets for retail products, small business banking and middle-market banking; dynamics in rural versus urban markets; and whether and how it should add a de minimis exception for very small transactions. Comments are due by Oct. 1.