The Bank Slate


Acting FDIC chair puts M&A, crypto at top of agenda

The acting chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. wasted no time indicating a new direction for the agency following the resignation of his predecessor. 

Martin Gruenberg made it clear in a Monday release that the FDIC’s priorities include taking a closer look at cryptocurrency and climate change, reviewing how it vets large bank mergers and finalizing a series of capital rules. 

Gruenberg, who stepped in after the Feb. 4 departure of Jelena McWilliams, also included updates to the Community Reinvestment Act to his list of priorities. 

“The FDIC’s core mission is to maintain stability and public confidence in the U.S. financial system,” he said in the release. “Banking supervision encompasses safety and soundness and consumer protection, both of which are essential to this important mission.” 

Regarding climate change, Gruenberg said the agency will seek public comment on guidance designed to help banks “prudently manage” risks tied to climate change. He also outlined a plan to create an FDIC interdivisional, interdisciplinary working group on climate-related financial risks. 

Gruenberg said “a careful interagency review of the bank merger process is warranted,” while noting that the review process hasn’t been “comprehensively reviewed in 25 years.” 

Banking regulators need to “carefully consider” the risks posed by digital assets before determining “the extent to which banking organizations can safely engage in crypto-asset-related activities,” Gruenberg said. 

Finally, he said federal banking agencies will prioritize implementing the final agreement on capital requirements tied to Basel III.

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