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  • Federal Reserve Requests Comments on Proposals Seeking Transparency Increases in Stress Testing Programs

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    The Federal Reserve Board (Fed) issued a request for comments on three proposals designed to increase stress testing transparency while also testing the resiliency of large, complex banks. Earlier in June, Fed Chair Janet Yellen underscored the Fed’s understanding of the need to provide transparency in its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) process and stress test scenarios. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) The first December 7 proposal, “Enhanced Disclosure of the Models Used in the Federal Reserve’s Supervisory Stress Test,” announces the Fed’s plans to publically release, for the first time, information concerning the models and methodologies used during supervisory stress tests, including those applied in the CCAR, including:

    • “enhanced descriptions of supervisory models, including key variables;”
    • “modeled loss rates on loans grouped by important risk characteristics and summary statistics associated with the loans in each group;” and,
    • “portfolios of hypothetical loans and the estimated loss rates associated with the loans in each portfolio.”

    The information will offer banks expanded details as to how the Fed’s models treat different types of loans under stress, along with insight into the determination of annual stress test results.

    The second request for comments concerns the “Stress Testing Policy Statement,” which elaborates on prior disclosures and outlines details on the principles and policies that govern the Fed’s development, implementation, and validation of its stress testing models.

    Finally, the Fed issued a proposed policy statement to request comments on introduced amendments to the design of its annual hypothetical economic scenarios framework. The “Amendments to Policy Statement on the Scenario Design Framework for Stress Testing” is intended to enhance transparency and provide clarification on hypothetical economic scenarios, including the direction of housing prices, as well as the Fed’s commitment to exploring additional variables to test for funding risks.

    All comments must be received by January 22, 2018.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues Federal Reserve Stress Test CCAR

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  • NCUA Issues Final Rules Regarding Appeals Procedures; Proposes Rule Regarding Capital Planning and Stress Testing

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 30, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued a final rule expanding the number of material supervisory determinations that can be appealed to the NCUA Supervisory Review Committee (SRC). Under the rule, federally insured credit unions (FICUs) may appeal examination-related determinations that may significantly affect capital, earnings, operating flexibility, or level of supervisory oversight. The effective date for the final rule is January 1, 2018.

    On October 30, the NCUA also proposed changes to rules covering capital planning and stress testing requirements for covered credit unions (see previously InfoBytes coverage on proposed changes to stress tests by other federal agencies). The proposal would allow FICUs with over $10 billion in assets to conduct their own stress tests in accordance with NCUA requirements and report the results in their capital plan submissions. The specific testing requirements are tiered and dependent on various asset size and capital planning cycles. Comments about the NCUA proposed rule must be received on or before December 29.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance NCUA Examination Credit Union Stress Test

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  • OCC Proposes Changes to Annual Stress Test Rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 27, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) issued proposed changes to its “stress test” rules for covered financial institutions required by the Dodd-Frank Act. Specifically, the proposal would, (i) extend the window by three months to allow the OCC to choose an appropriate “as-of” date in the trading and counterparty default component of the stress test (intended to conform with recent rule changes by the Federal Reserve); and (ii) extend the transition process for certain banks and savings associations that cross the $50 billion asset threshold before stress testing requirements are applicable. 

    Comments for the proposed changes must be received on or before December 26.

    In addition to this proposal, on October 6, the Fed, FDIC, and the OCC, issued a joint notice and request for comment, which proposes to combine the agencies’ three separate, identical stress test report forms into a single new Federal Financial Institutional Examination Council (FFIEC) report (FFIEC 016) under the Dodd-Frank Act (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC CCAR Stress Test Federal Reserve Dodd-Frank

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  • OCC Acting Comptroller Shares Thoughts on Opportunities to Reduce Regulatory Burdens

    Federal Issues

    On October 5, OCC Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika spoke before the 2017 Midsize Bank Coalition of America Chief Risk Officer Meeting to discuss opportunities for regulatory reform.

    According to Noreika, one area of concern relates to the adverse effect arbitrary asset thresholds pose to the annual stress test requirements required under the Dodd-Frank Act because the burden “is not commensurate with the systemic risks presented by an institution.” Given the amount of diversity in the business models of banks who have around $10 billion in assets, “regulators need the ability and authority to tailor their supervision to the unique risks presented by individual banks.” Noreika suggested an approach that would give federal banking agencies the authority to tailor statutory stress testing requirements without an asset threshold, thus reducing the risk of banks growing beyond the threshold to offset increased costs or staying below the threshold to avoid unwelcome scrutiny.

    Noreika also urged for interagency harmonization of guidance and policies to avoid conflicting regulatory guidance when addressing cybersecurity issues.

    Additionally, Noreika addressed the CFPB’s arbitration rule as an example of the need to work “to ensure regulation is balanced and appropriate by speaking up when we see proposed rules that may adversely affect the business of banking, have systemic effects, or result in perverse unintended consequences.” Noreika stated that prior to the publication of the final arbitration rule, the OCC requested access to the data the CFPB used to develop and support the rule in order to conduct an independent review. However, it was not until after the rule was published that the CFPB made the data available. According to OCC findings, the rule will adversely impact consumers by increasing costs. Community banks, Noreika noted, will also bear the burden of increased legal costs from defending lawsuits.

    Finally, Noreika commented that banks continue to face challenges when trying to implement Bank Secrecy Act compliance programs and adapt to new requirements under TRID, HMDA, and the Military Lending Act.

    Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Bank Compliance Dodd-Frank Stress Test Arbitration CFPB Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

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  • Federal Banking Agencies Issue Request for Comment on Proposed Combined Dodd-Frank Stress Test Report

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 6, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), the FDIC, and the OCC (agencies)—all members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)—issued a joint notice and request for comment on a proposal to combine the agencies’ three separate, identical stress test report forms into a single new FFIEC report (FFIEC 016) under the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition to replacing the Fed’s FR Y–16, the FDIC’s DFAST 10–50, and the OCC’s DFAST 10–50B, a limited number of revisions would be made to align FFIEC 016 with “recent burden-reducing changes to the FFIEC 031 and FFIEC 041 Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income and the Fed’s FR Y–9C Consolidated Financial Statements for Holding Companies.” Under the proposal, institutions who have a Legal Entity Identifier will also be asked to include it on the report form.

    FFIEC 016 respondents are depository institutions and holding companies with at least $10 billion but less than $50 billion in total consolidated assets. The proposed FFIEC 016 will impact stress test reports with an as-of date of December 31, 2017, and have a submission deadline of July 31, 2018. Comments on the joint notice and request for comment must be received by December 5, 2017.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FFIEC Federal Reserve OCC FDIC Dodd-Frank Stress Test

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  • FHFA Reports Results of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Annual Stress Tests

    Federal Issues

    One August 7, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published a report providing the results of the fourth annual stress tests conducted by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs). In March 2017, the FHFA issued orders directing the GSEs to report the results of the required Dodd-Frank Act stress test to enable financial regulators to determine whether the companies have sufficient capital to support operations in adverse or severely adverse economic conditions. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) According to the report, Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests Results – Severely Adverse Scenario—which provides modeled projections on possible ranges of future financial results and does not define the entirety of possible outcomes—the GSEs will need to draw between $34.8 billion and $99.6 billion in incremental Treasury aid under a “severely adverse” economic crisis, depending on how deferred tax assets are treated. The losses would leave $158.4 billion to $223.2 billion available to the companies under their current funding commitment agreements. Notably, the projected bailout need is lower than what the FHFA reported last year, which ranged between $49.2 billion and $125.8 billion.

    Federal Issues Lending Mortgages Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Stress Test Dodd-Frank FHFA

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  • Federal Reserve Chair Comments on CCAR and Stress Test Transparency

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 16, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen sent a letter to Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) underscoring the Fed’s understanding of the need to provide transparency in its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) process and stress test scenarios. The Fed, Yellen asserts, will continue to published CCAR instructions in advance of the submission date for capital plans. Yellen further committed to releasing instructions and scenarios for the stress tests by February 15. The guidance will offer banks more details about the qualitative and quantitative components of the exam. However, Yellen warned that disclosing all the details of the Fed's modeling on the annual exams “would give banks an incentive to adjust their business practices in ways that change the results of the stress test without changing the risks faced by the firms . . . [resulting in] less effective stress tests that present a misleading picture of the actual vulnerabilities faced by firms. There would also be a risk of increased correlations in asset holdings among large banks, making the financial system more vulnerable to adverse economic shocks.” However, Yellen said the Fed is weighing different approaches to provide banks with more information about the agency's modeling.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve Stress Test Congress CCAR

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  • Industry Groups Submit Comments on FHFA’s Proposed Evaluation Guidance for “Duty to Serve” Provisions

    Lending

    As previously discussed in InfoBytes, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published a final rule last December implementing certain “Duty to Serve” provisions of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Among other things, the rule requires that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Enterprises) adopt formal plans to improve the availability of mortgage financing in a “safe and sound manner” for residential properties that serve “very low-, low-, and moderate-income families” in three specified underserved markets: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural markets. The FHFA also published a Proposed Evaluation Guidance to outline the following: (i) FHFA's expectations regarding the development of such Underserved Markets Plans, and (ii) the process by which FHFA will evaluate annually Fannie’s and Freddie’s achievements under their Plans. The deadline to submit comments was June 7.

    Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Letter. In its June 7 comment letter, the MBA stated that it commends efforts undertaken by the FHFA to develop a framework of requirements for the Enterprises to follow when preparing their Underserved Market Plans, as well as an evaluation system to rate implementation progress. Particularly, the MBA noted that, based on its data, the U.S. “will see 15.9 million additional households formed over the decade ending in 2024 . . . [which] will increase the need for all types of housing, including already limited affordable housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income borrowers.” Furthermore, “manufactured home financing, affordable housing preservation, and additional rural housing opportunities can play a key role in providing both first-time home-buying opportunities and affordable rental options for consumers in these underserved markets.” With respect to the Proposed Evaluation Guidance, the MBA stressed the importance of flexibility so adjustments can be made for “unanticipated obstacles or opportunities caused by significant changes in market conditions that arise.”

    Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) Letter. Also on June 7, CRL issued a comment letter to the Proposed Guidance in which it offered recommendations concerning “public input and transparency, assessing the contents of the plants to ensure meaningful objectives, and the evaluation and scoring process.” Specifically, CRL noted that while the Enterprises have taken measures such as reinstating lower down payment programs and creating pilot programs to address the underserved markets, it believes a “robust duty to serve process will further access credit initiatives by promoting and incentivizing responsible and sustainable lending to lower wealth households.” However, the CRL also raised several issues over the Proposed Evaluation Guidance, specifically in terms of the proposed scoring system. Under current FHFA guidance, Enterprises’ plans are scored on three factors: progress, impact, and effort/implementation. Conversely, under the proposed scoring system, failure only occurs due to a lack of progress because the impact and effort criteria are assessed only after the Enterprise receives a pass/fail determination. In reaction, CRL raised the following concerns: (i) “What guards against Enterprises putting only low impact objectives in the plan?” (ii) “What incentives do Enterprises have to score highly (above minimally passing)?” and (iii) “What guards against only proposing easily achievable objectives?” In addition to scoring methodology changes, CRL recommended that the FHFA implement a more rigorous loan product and loan purchase evaluation process and increase transparency.

    Lending Mortgages FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Stress Test Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Affordable Housing

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  • Fannie, Freddie and FHLBs Ordered to Report Results of Annual Stress Tests

    Federal Issues

    On March 3, FHFA Director Melvin Watt issued orders directing FHFA regulated government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)—Fannie Mae (Order No. 2017-OR-FNMA-01), Freddie Mac (Order No. 2017-OR-FHLMC-01), and the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks collectively (Order No. 2017-OR-B-01)—to report the results of their stress tests so that the financial regulators may determine whether the GSEs “have the capital necessary to absorb losses as a result of adverse economic conditions.” The orders were issued pursuant to the requirement under the Dodd-Frank Act that covered financial institutions with total consolidated assets of more than $10 billion conduct an annual stress test to determine whether they have sufficient capital to support operations in adverse economic conditions. Accompanying each order was a copy of the “2017 Report Cycle Dodd-Frank Stress Tests Summary Instructions and Guidance.”

    On April 14, the FHFA order was officially published in the Federal Register.

    Federal Issues Lending Mortgages Fannie Mae Freddie Mac FHLB Stress Test Dodd-Frank FHFA

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  • FDIC Issues Revised Scenarios for 2017 Stress Tests

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On February 13, the FDIC released revised economic scenarios for use by certain financial institutions with total consolidated assets of more than $10 billion for 2017 stress tests. According to a statement from the agency, the previously released scenarios contained incorrect historical values for the BBB corporate yield in 2016. The Fed and OCC, with whom the FDIC works develop and distribute the scenarios, also issued revised data.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Federal Reserve OCC Stress Test

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