Oh my. Sen. Warren has written a 15-page letter to Fed Chair Jerome Powell about the SVB bank failure and surrounding issues, and you can see where protege Katie Porter learned her moves. Whew! And footnotes, lots and lots of footnotes! You can read the entire thing here.
The banks’ executives – who took too many risks, and failed to protect their customers – are the primary agents responsible for their failure. But the greed and incompetence of these officials was allowed to happen under your watch. It was allowed to happen because of Congress and President Trump’s weakening of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) that you supported.2 It was allowed to happen because of regulatory rollbacks that you initiated.3 And it was allowed to happen because of supervisory failures by officials that worked for you.4 This is an astonishing list of failures and you owe the public an explanation for your actions.[…] Over the course of your tenure as Fed Chair, which began in 2018 under President Trump, you have taken aggressive steps to weaken these rules, which were designed to curb greed-driven risk-taking on Wall Street and protect American consumers.17 The failures of SVB and Signature represent the consequences of your actions.
Tell us more, Senator!
“Your Support for Rolling Back Dodd-Frank Laws in 2018”
“Your Decision to Eliminate Liquidity Requirements”
“Supervisory Failures Under Your Leadership”
During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (BHUA) in 2021 – after the Fed lowered the amount of high-quality liquid assets big banks would have to hold by $201 billion36 – I asked you, “do you regret slashing liquidity requirements designed to protect markets from crashing like they did in 2008?”37 You replied, “I don’t, I don’t see that there has been any evidence that that was a bad idea.”38 Though you either ignored or did not see ‘any evidence that it was a bad idea,’ regulators on both sides of the aisle warned in 2019 that we needed only look to the financial crisis to understand why the Fed’s decision to strip away LCR requirements for some of the nation’s largest banks was a bad idea.39 Now, due in no small part to your apparent inability to recognize the serious risks of discarding critical prudential safeguards like the modified LCR requirement, the nation has experienced the second- and third largest bank failures in its history within a three day span.
She asks if former SVB CEO Gregory Becker’s role on the Board of Directors played a role in the SF Fed’s lax supervision of SVB. VERY GOOD QUESTION, LIZZIE!!!
She ends with a list of questions, including “Have you acted to limit conflicts of interest like those posed by Mr. Becker’s dual role as SVB CEO and SF Fed board member?”
She also asks Powell to recuse himself from the Fed’s internal review of the whole mess.
As George Carlin would say, the Fed is a good ol’ boys insiders club, and we ain’t in it.