Bank Regulators Face the House and Senate

November 20, 2023

On November 14 and 15, the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees, respectively, heard testimony from the nation’s top financial regulators:

  • Michael Barr, Vice Chair for Supervision, Federal Reserve Board of Governors (Fed)
  • Martin Gruenberg, Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  • Michael Hsu, Acting Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  • Todd Harper, Chair, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)

Why it matters: The hearings highlighted, in some cases, bipartisan lawmakers’ increasing frustration with the rapid pace of proposed rulemaking from the financial regulatory agencies.

The proposed bank capital requirements were a particular target, with Democratic senators, including Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Jon Tester (D-MT), stating their concerns regarding the impact on mortgage and small business lending.

  • Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed concerns about more stringent bank capital requirements pushing more activity into the less regulated non-bank sector.

What they’re saying: In both hearings, lawmakers expressed concern as to the economic analyses accompanying the proposed regulations, as they were unconvinced as the cost-benefit. Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) stated:

“We are in a world of confusion here [as lawmakers are] struggling to see the clear need for additional capital.”


In a somewhat surprising turn of events, following the publication of a scathing Wall Street Journal article highlighting a toxic work culture at the FDIC, Chair Gruenberg came under significant fire by Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

On November 17, Republican lawmakers, led by House Financial Services Chair Patrick McHenry, launched an investigation into the FDIC’s culture and Chair Gruenberg’s “personal conduct and whether it conformed to the standards expected of our banking regulators.”

The bottom line: The FDIC crisis has put the Biden Administration into a bit of a bind as calls for Gruenberg’s resignation steadily increased over the week.

  • If Gruenberg resigns, the FDIC Board will be split between two Democratic and two Republican members, which could stall a vote on the bank capital proposal until a new chair can be confirmed.
CREFC is working on a response to the Bank Capital Proposal and will continue to closely monitor related developments. Please contact Sairah Burki at or David McCarthy at


Sairah Burki
Managing Director, Regulatory Affairs

David McCarthy
Managing Director, Head of Policy

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The information provided herein is general in nature and for educational purposes only. CRE Finance Council makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, validity, usefulness, or suitability of the information provided. The information should not be relied upon or interpreted as legal, financial, tax, accounting, investment, commercial or other advice, and CRE Finance Council disclaims all liability for any such reliance. © 2023 CRE Finance Council. All rights reserved.

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