Financial Services Committee Chair Seeks Moratorium on Large Bank Mergers and Acquisitions
Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, called on the Federal Reserve Board ("FRB"), the FDIC and the OCC to "impose a moratorium on approving any large merger and acquisition application resulting in a banking entity that would have more than $100 billion in total assets."
In a letter addressed to the regulators, Chair Waters urged the agencies to require public hearings be held for all large bank mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, Ms. Waters requested that the bank merger and acquisition applications be reviewed by other regulatory agencies, such as the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the CFPB to ensure that each transaction does not enhance the risk to consumers or jeopardize the stability of the financial system.
Ms. Waters stated that the current regulations contribute to lax oversight by both the DOJ and the Federal Reserve, which has not denied a transaction since 2003. Ms. Waters called for several policy changes, including:
lowering the concentration thresholds for enhanced scrutiny of mergers;
more rigorous evaluation of financial stability risks; and
stronger consideration of potential conflicts of interest.
Ms. Waters stated that a temporary withholding of approvals, until such review is completed, "will help ensure that a regulatory landscape that promotes . . . 'healthy, vibrant, and competitive banking markets' . . . is put in place."