Gruenberg Becomes Acting FDIC Chairman, Outlines Priorities

Feb 14, 2022Federal Regulation, News

Earlier this month, Martin Gruenberg, a longtime board member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), became the acting chair of the agency after Jelena McWilliams’ resignation. Upon assuming the Acting Chairman role, Gruenberg released a statement outlining the agency’s priorities which include addressing the financial risks brought by digital assets and climate change, rethinking bank-merger applications, and finalizing post-crisis capital rules.

“The FDIC’s core mission is to maintain stability and public confidence in the U.S. financial system,” Gruenberg said in a statement. “The FDIC carries out this mission through its responsibilities for deposit insurance, banking supervision and the orderly resolution of failed banks, including systemically important financial institutions. Banking supervision encompasses safety and soundness and consumer protection, both of which are essential to this important mission.”

The FDIC plans to complete reforms tied to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which was already a focus of the agency under McWilliams, and identified action on a CRA revision as one of the FDIC’s top priorities. The agency said the federal banking agencies would issue a joint rulemaking on CRA reform “in the near future.”

The rest of Gruenberg’s plans mark a shift for the FDIC. He plans to establish an interdivisional group on climate-related financial risks. The FDIC will also pursue bank-merger policy reforms to ensure they meet the needs of communities, as well as rework crypto-related policy to “determine the extent to which banking organizations can safely engage in crypto-asset-related activities.”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC), said that Gruenberg’s leadership “will help ensure the safety and soundness of the banking system while making progress on critical issues of our time” in a statement released after he became acting chair.

“With experienced leadership at the helm, the agency can return to addressing risks to our financial system, increasing access or affordable financial services to consumers, and ensuring that banks honor their commitment to communities across the country through the Community Reinvestment Act,” said Democrats on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in a joint statement. “We look forward to working with Acting Chair Gruenberg to get the FDIC back to business.”

Pin It on Pinterest