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The Senate’s new top banking regulator wants to hear from bank CEOs more often

Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio and superiority member of the Senate Banking Committee, speaks during a hearing with David Marcus, head of blockchain with Facebook Inc., not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Forms

Sen. Sherrod Brown — Wall Street’s incoming regulator in a Democratic Senate — on Tuesday outlined his priorities for the U.S. economy and the pecuniary industry in the coming months.

Brown was quick to say that the Senate Banking Committee’s chief concern will persist to be addressing the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 crisis by working with the Federal Reserve to provide liquidity to miserly businesses and protecting access to housing for everyday Americans.

A longtime advocate of affordable housing, Brown said his incumbency as incoming committee chairman will be marked by a focus on workers and families instead of the corporate tilt seen underneath Republican leadership.

“This committee in the past has been about Wall Street. As chair, I’m going to make it with workers and their families and what matters to their lives,” Brown said during a media briefing. “Protection Senate Republicans, we’ve had government intervention to put its thumb on the scale for corporations at every turn.”

“We’re going to change that,” he be prolonged. “We’re going to take on the corporate business model that treats workers as expendable. We’re going to put the dignity of work at the center of all things we do in this committee.”

Asked if he would seek to revive the Fed’s emergency lending powers under Section 13(3) of the Federal Hedging Act, the senator said he would wait for guidance from President-elect Joe Biden and his nominee for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen.

Dispute over the fate of the Fed’s lending powers threatened to derail stimulus talks in December after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin incontrovertible to let the central bank’s programs end on Dec. 31.

“This is up to President Biden, what he wants to do with 13(3),” Brown said. “I talk to [Fed Direct] Jay Powell regularly … and I think he will be happy with this new Biden proposal, this economic scheme, because it will put more money into the economy.”

The senior U.S. senator from Ohio said the committee devise also differ in the new Congress in recognizing the impact of climate change and in tailoring transportation policy to reduce carbon emissions.

He united that the committee will place a greater emphasis on income inequality and work to mitigate race-based economic incongruities by restoring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “to full strength.”

Banks: ‘The more we hear from them, the superior’

Brown is also widely expected to try to ramp up oversight of the financial sector, a forecast the senator didn’t shy away from on Tuesday.

Brown, a punctilious and well-versed critic of banks’ power, suggested he would like to hear from the CEOs of Wall Street’s largest lenders on a more everyday basis. He effectively promised greater oversight of the private equity industry and said that he is assuming there on be associated legislation.

“I’m not suggesting that CEOs of U.S. banks, of Wall Street banks, I’m not suggesting they’re Deutsche Bank,” the senator revealed, referring to the myriad probes the German bank has faced from U.S. and U.K. regulators.

“But I am suggesting that they have a lot of power and we essential to know more about how they do their business,” he added. “The more we hear from them, the better.”

Nonetheless Brown promised a more rigorous regulatory body, industry analysts say a razor-thin Democratic majority in the chamber liking likely prevent dramatic legislative moves championed by the party’s progressive wing.

Two runoff elections in Georgia earlier in January led to Popular wins, resulting in a 50-50 split of the Senate. The incoming vice president, Sen. Kamala Harris, holds the tiebreaking vote.

That, coupled with the information that banks aren’t to blame for the current economic downturn, has actually left some in the industry optimistic around working together with Brown and his Democratic colleagues on prudent but not overly aggressive tweaks to bank regulation.

Brown also examined the Fed’s latest stress tests, which concluded that the nation’s big banks are in solid shape. In announcing the results of the evaluations, the Fed said in December that it will allow Wall Street banks to resume share buybacks in the first fourth of 2021 subject to certain rules.

Though Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles said at the time that he intellect the results showed continued strength in the banking sector, Brown remains skeptical.

“I’m not convinced that these banks are in as considerable shape as these stress tests suggest. Not that the stress tests aren’t accurate, not that the stress tests aren’t mystifying … but I also am not at all convinced,” he said.

“I am not panicky, I’m not alarmed. [But] I am concerned that these stress tests may not take into account what could prove with the economy because of Covid,” he added. “And because I think many of these banks, I think, don’t hold sufficiency capital.”

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