With Democrats now firmly in control of the FDIC, Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg released a list of the FDIC’s priorities for 2022. His list of priorities included the following:
- Community Reinvestment Act (CRA): The FDIC, Federal Reserve, and OCC plan to act jointly on a notice of proposed rulemaking in the near future that would strengthen and enhance CRA. CRA reform will be the FDIC’s top priority. (In December 2021, the OCC issued a final rule that rescinded its June 2020 CRA final rule and replaced it with a rule that is largely based on the OCC’s 1995 CRA rule that was adopted jointly with the Federal Reserve and FDIC.)
- Financial Risks Posed by Climate Change: In addressing the financial risks that climate change poses to banking organizations and the financial system, the FDIC’s work will include seeking public comment on guidance designed to help banks prudently manage these risks, establishing an FDIC interdivisional, interdisciplinary working group on climate-related financial risks, and joining the international Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System.
- Crypto-Asset Risks: The FDIC and other federal banking agencies must carefully consider the significant safety and soundness and financial system risks a variety of crypto-asset or digital asset products could pose and determine the extent to which banking organizations can safely engage in crypto-asset-related activities. To the extent such activities can be conducted in a safe and sound manner, the agencies will need to provide robust guidance to the banking industry on the management of prudential and consumer protection risks raised by crypto-asset activities.
- Review of Bank Merger Process: The FDIC and other federal banking agencies intend to review bank merger standards given implications of bank mergers for competition, safety and soundness, financial stability, and meeting the financial services needs of communities. This review of bank merger standards was previously announced in December 2021 by Acting Director Gruenberg and CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, a move that appeared to create friction within the agency between then-Chair Jelena McWilliams and the other FDIC directors.