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House Financial Services Committee Chair Waters Challenges Decision to Block Review of Bank Merger Act

House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) challenged FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams' efforts to block a Request for Information ("RFI") on potential revisions to the FDIC's Bank Merger Act regulations.

In a letter to Ms. McWilliams, Rep. Waters stated that the FDIC's bank merger review procedures are outdated and do not reflect current law, emphasizing that bank regulators are now required to consider "the risk to the stability of the United States banking or financial system" associated with a potential bank merger. She noted that pursuant to a July 2021 Executive Order, a majority of the FDIC board members drafted and voted to approve an RFI that would seek public feedback on how to improve the bank merger review process.

Rep. Waters challenged Ms. McWilliams legal ability to unilaterally block attempts to publish the RFI. She argued that a majority of the FDIC Board may legally act on a matter, including the issuance of an RFI, without an affirmative vote from the FDIC Chair. Rep. Waters called on Ms. McWilliams to respond to various inquires, including as to her legal authority to block the FDIC Board from carrying out its responsibilities. Rep. Waters also requested that Ms. McWilliams reconsider her position and work with the other Board members to improve the bank merger review process.

Primary Sources

  1. Letter from House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters to FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams on the Decision to Block the Review of the Bank Merger Act Rules

© Copyright 2022 Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 357
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