A senior Federal Reserve official on Monday sought to assuage financial industry concerns that the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law will lead to an excess of supervisors from multiple regulators.
Dodd-Frank eliminated many of the existing restrictions on the Fed's power to examine, impose rules on or take enforcement action against bank holding company subsidiaries that are supervised by other regulators.
But the central bank will try to coordinate that activity with the other agencies better than it has in the past, Arthur Lindo, chief accountant for the Fed, said at a conference in Washington held by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
"I see a lot more collaboration in this space, not less, and not 'the Fed's way or the highway' " — a concern the industry has brought up, Lindo said.
Dodd-Frank expands the Fed's jurisdiction to include thrift holding companies. Lindo said that means the central bank faces a steep learning curve. He pointed to MetLife Inc. as an example of a large thrift holding company that will move under the Fed's watch. It is primarily an insurance company, so the Fed now has to gain expertise in insurance.
Thrift holding companies will be incorporated into the Fed's normal supervisory process, Lindo said. "We will recognize the differences between the activities of bank holding companies and thrift holding companies, but we plan to treat them as holding companies of financial institutions," he said.
The Fed also gained supervision of nonbank financial companies that regulators deem "systemically important," a label that, broadly, will be applied to companies so large or interconnected that their failure would impair the entire financial system.
For systemically important banks, which the Fed also supervises, the central bank has already created a "cross-disciplinary" team to monitor these institutions, including economists, accountants and supervisors, Lindo said.
The Fed plans to develop a similar process for systemically important nonbanks, he said.