The recent closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, the second and third largest bank failures in U.S. history, have sparked intense discussions pertaining to banking regulations and resulted in both statements and ongoing investigations by the Biden administration, members of Congress, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Founded in 1983, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is a midsize California-based lender that shook the foundation of the entire global financial system. Regulators closed SVB on March 10, making it the largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis and the second largest in U.S. history. While SVB offered various services from standard checking accounts to loans, it was primarily home to venture capitalists in the tech industry. Therefore, the majority of the corporate deposits were larger than the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) $250,000 insurance limit, leaving over $150 billion in uninsured deposits at the end of 2022. The sudden collapse caused a frenzy leaving companies and investors vulnerable having already experienced mass layoffs in the tech industry.
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the 16th-largest bank in the United States, in early March of this year is considered the biggest bank failure since the fall of Washington Mutual during the 2008 global financial crisis. After 40 years of success, the bank collapsed swiftly and unexpectedly. The collapse has ricocheted through the industry, provoking bank closures, rattling the global markets, and threatening the livelihood of startups. The Federal government has not only intervened and taken over the bank, but prosecutors and regulators from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have initiated preliminary investigations. Inevitably the collapse will cause regulators to revise the current banking rules and pursue stricter regulation in order to prevent the demise of other banks and a financial crisis.
On May 25th, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a proposal to the Investment Company Act of 1940 Rule 35d-1 which expands on a rule that mostly regulates fund names. The SEC has decided to take these measures to combat “greenwashing”; a marketing ploy used by fund investors to draw in socially conscious investors for investments that are anything but sustainable. The SEC believes investors lack comparable, consistent, reliable information on ESG products. This article will discuss these new proposals and what they mean for important stakeholders.
Cryptocurrency is a relatively new form of currency that has risen in popularity worldwide. Since the pandemic struck, many small businesses have begun to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for their goods and services. There is much debate regarding taxation and auditing of cryptocurrency transactions in small businesses, along with weighing the cost and benefit of providing this alternative payment method.
On October 31, 2018 the Federal Reserve (the “Fed”) announced a proposal for looser capital and liquidity requirements for some U.S. banks. This announcement is in line with the latest moves to reduce regulatory burdens on community and regional financial institutions, but marks one of the most significant rollbacks of bank regulations since the Trump administration took office. The proposed changes will divide big banks into four categories based on their size and other risk factors. The proposal will generally affect large U.S. lenders, yet leave some of the largest banks untouched.
In a recent effort to strengthen the money-laundering defenses across the U.S. financial system, small banks and credit unions are being given the option to pool their resources. In a statement issued by the federal depository institutions regulators and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) the federal regulators detail that certain banks and credit unions can enter into collaborative agreements to pool resources for anti-money-laundering compliance purposes. The new regulation will help smaller community banks address the risk of financial crime while keeping the costs low and ultimately help prevent money-laundering.
Regulation in the financial sector is critical to preventing crimes that include fraud, money laundering tax evasion, human trafficking, aiding drug trafficking, and even financing terrorism. Despite the importance of regulation and banking institutions’ compliance with such regulations, many laws regarding money laundering are outdated and prevent efficient prevention of such crimes. Additionally, enforcement against large financial institutions is a difficult matter because of the harm that penalizing them could have on the economy.
In July of 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) Director, Richard Cordray, implemented a rule regulating the ability of banks to prohibit class-action lawsuits from being placed within the fine print of their consumer contracts. By the end of July, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to overturn any recently issued regulation by an executive agency. The Senate subsequently voted to repeal the rule after a 50-51 vote, where Mike Pence cast his vote to break the 50-50 tie. On November 1st, 2017, President Trump signed the bill repealing the regulation.