Democratic lawmakers, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Katie Porter, released legislation Tuesday to repeal a set of Trump-era policies that relaxed regulation on small and medium-sized banks, according to an NBC News report, after the collapse of three regional banks in less than a week. However, the pressure for stricter rules faces long odds in a GOP-controlled House.
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The Warren-Porter Bill was introduced to repeal a Trump-era law that rolled back parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to safeguard consumers from abusive banking behavior.
The bill would restore the threshold established in 2010 for enhanced capital requirements and stress tests in an attempt to prevent future failures similar to SVB and Signature Bank.
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Under Dodd-Frank, the tighter capital and liquidity requirements, known as “enhanced prudential standards” applied to any bank with consolidated assets of $50 billion or more.
Right away, mid-sized banks such as Silicon Valley Bank started lobbying Congress for an exemption from the tighter oversight rule. In 2018, the lobbying paid off, when Republican majorities in the house and Senate voted to increase the bank asset threshold to $250 billion, and then-President Donald Trump signed it into law.
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On Tuesday, Warren drew a straight line from the 2018 deregulation effort to the 2023 failure of SVB and Signature.
The weakened rules allowed banks like SVB and Signature to load up on risks, run up their profits, pay their executives, giant bonuses, and eventually blow the banks to pieces, said Warren.
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Silicon Valley Bank has around $209 billion in assets when the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation closed it on Friday while Signature Bank had assets worth $110.4 when the New York Department of Financial Services took it over Sunday.
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Warren is a longtime critic of the banking industry. She is one of the chief sponsors of the new legislation, which would never lower the asset threshold for enhanced prudential measures back to its original $50 billion level.