Congresswoman Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, convened a full committee hearing yesterday entitled, “Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness, Diversity, and Accountability of Depository Institutions.”
As it stands, America’s workers, small businesses, and communities are feeling the impacts of persistent inflation, an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine. On top of that, our financial system is rapidly evolving with new technologies that pose dangers to consumers and create opportunities for corrupt practices.
During this hearing, Democrats continued their oversight efforts to ensure that America’s banking system is working for all people and explored a number of issues impacting communities.
They examined regulators’ efforts to ensure that crypto failures, like the most recent collapse of FTX, never happen again and announced plans to hold a bipartisan hearing next month to investigate the exchange’s collapse.
Waters wants to promote diversity and inclusion in the banking system, both by ensuring workforce diversity within the agencies and supporting MDIs & CDFIs, which play a significant role in driving resources to Black, brown and low-income communities – who are often left behind by our nation’s major banks.
They examined regulators’ efforts to end modern-day redlining by further strengthening and modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and strengthening fair housing and lending enforcement.
Democrats continued their oversight efforts to monitor the explosion of megabank mergers and acquisitions to ensure that vulnerable communities are not faced with fewer options at jacked up prices.
Waters wants to hold repeat offender banks that continue to violate the law and harm consumers accountable for their actions, calling for “No more slaps on the wrist.”
Democrats continued taking aggressive action against the threat of climate change by ensuring our nation’s financial services institutions understand their exposure to climate-related risks and have the tools to monitor and manage them.
The panel plans to keep a close eye on the impact of emerging financial technologies and artificial intelligence, and promote responsible innovation while protecting customers and investors who are engaging with these products.
“Our financial system is rapidly evolving, as banks and credit unions utilize new technologies to serve customers while we also witness the real danger to customers when entities, like cryptocurrency exchange FTX, operate in the shadows outside of robust federal oversight and clear rules of the road,” said Waters. “This hearing continues this Committee’s oversight efforts to ensure that America’s banking system is working for all people.”
“I am pleased that during the Biden presidency, the agencies testifying before us have rejected a harmful Trump-era rule to undermine the Community Reinvestment Act, and jointly launched a new rulemaking to combat modern-day redlining,” said Waters. “In addition, they are taking steps to address climate-related financial risks, and considering ways to strengthen bank merger reviews that for far too long have been rubber-stamped. Mergers, in particular, deserve strong scrutiny from regulators, and I urge our panelists to give consumers, workers, and communities affected by mergers a real chance to share their concerns at public hearings. Moreover, any mergers that fail to serve the convenience and needs of affected communities or undermine financial stability should be thoroughly rejected.”