In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Reps. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have spearheaded a bipartisan effort demanding that the agency “better coordinate and streamline oversight of bank holding companies, savings and loan holding companies, and their affiliates.”
“We urge you to prioritize policies that address the current lack of coordination of supervisory examinations and other supervisory activities that unnecessarily drain resources from both regulated institutions and the government, hey wrote in a letter co-signed by 25 legislators. “We have concerns that this lack of coordination has the potential to negatively impact, rather than bolster, the risk profile of a supervised firm.”
“As part of your ongoing effort to examine the regulatory structure of the U.S. financial system, more concrete steps are needed to require greater examination coordination and/or consolidation among the varied regulatory agencies,” the letter adds. “Under existing practices, firms are too often subjected to multiple examinations each year on a number of different topics, with what appears to be little to no coordination between the various regulators.”
Consideration “should include a requirement for joint examinations, investigations or other supervisory activities where there are common areas or activities subject to supervisory regulation, as well as a requirement that during joint examinations a lead agency is established to avoid duplication of efforts, unnecessary burdens and consistent application of supervisory policy,” the letter says. “Additionally, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council should play a greater role in promoting uniformity and consistency in the examination of financial institutions.”
The leter concludes by noting that: “Financial holding companies and their affiliates are annually subject to a number of different examinations, including capital adequacy, liquidity, cyber-security, vendor management, the Volcker Rule, Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering requirements, and business continuity planning.”
“Institutions subject to multiple exams on the same issue results in a never-ending cycle of examinations, which diverts critical resources and detracts from the real work of the institution to serve its customers, develop innovative ideas and defend against cyber-attacks,” the authors added.
Rep. Tipton has previously pushed for common sense reforms to the bank examination system that would allow financial institutions to better serve their members. His bill allowing well-managed banks with under $1 billion in total assets to be eligible for an 18-month bank examination cycle, the Small Bank Exam Cycle Reform Act, was signed into law in 2015.