Bowman: Fed reforms need to concentrate on guidance and liquidity, not capital

Michelle Bowman, guv of the U.S. Federal Reserve, stated any regulative modifications that come out of the reserve bank this year need to be concentrated on guidance and liquidity, not capital.

Zach Gibson/Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Gov. Michelle Bowman stated guidance and liquidity, not capital requirements, need to be at the heart of any regulative reforms that come out of the reserve bank this year.

In a speech provided Sunday in Austria, Bowman stated the rash of bank failures this spring suggests the requirement for some regulative modifications. But she likewise revealed issue that modifications now under factor to consider are based upon “faulty assumptions or incomplete information.”

Crafting policy treatments around elements not appropriate to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank or the occurring crisis might have sweeping effects, she stated.

“Misperceptions and misunderstandings about the root causes and related issues could result in changes that are not only unnecessary but result in real harm to banks and their customers, to the financial system, and to the broader economy,” Bowman stated.

Bowman stated greater capital requirements might require banks to desert particular activities or put them at a competitive drawback to non-bank companies that deal with less regulative examination. She likewise kept in mind that moving far from a risk-based technique to policy in favor of a more consistent one might make it harder for smaller sized and local banks to take on big banks.

As an outcome, she stated, such a method might cause a wave of combination developing a “barbell” result on the banking market, with a handful of big count on one side and a collection of little organizations on the other. This vibrant, she stated, would leave customers with less options while sealing the positions of the biggest banks.

“My intuition is that this type of approach could become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as banks regulated like [global systemically important banks] would have strong incentives to grow or merge, to help develop economies of scale that come with larger size,” she stated. “Instead of addressing the problem of too-big-to-fail banks, regulation could become a tool that insulates too-big-to-fail banks from competition from smaller competitors.”

Bowman’s remarks come as the Fed prepares to present a set of regulative modifications this summertime. The reforms are the outcome of numerous efforts, consisting of a “holistic capital review” started by the Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr prior to this spring’s bank failures in addition to the last execution of the Basel III global regulative structure, called the Basel III endgame. 

Bowman stated there was space to enhance oversight for some banks, indicating so-called Category IV organizations  — those with in between $100 billion and $250 billion of properties — however, she stated, the focus must be ensuring managers have the ability to find problems on bank balance sheets and resolve them successfully.

“We need to consider whether examiners have the appropriate tools and support to identify important issues and demand prompt remediation,” Bowman stated. “Increasing capital requirements simply does not get at this underlying concern about the effectiveness of supervision.”

Barr, who supervised a six-week evaluation of the problems that added to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, has required various modifications for how Category IV banks are monitored and controlled. He has actually likewise kept in mind that the total level of capital in the banking system might be greater. 

Bowman has actually been a singing doubter of Barr’s findings. She has actually likewise been vital of the truth that no other board members had the ability to weigh in on the report prior to it was launched to the general public.

She restated these issues Sunday and duplicated her require an outdoors examination into the episode.

“There is a genuine question whether these efforts provide a sufficient accounting of what occurred,” she stated. “A supplemental, independent review would help overcome the limitations of scope and timing of these initial efforts, and address concerns about the impartiality and independence of the reviews.”

Bowman likewise required a public hearing on any regulative modifications considered this year. 

“A key element of the rulemaking process is openness and transparency,” she stated. “In the past, the Board has held public meetings to consider rules of significance. During the pandemic, the Board largely departed from this practice. I believe we should return to having more public, open meetings on matters of importance.”


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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