WASHINGTON--House Banking Committee Chairman HEnry B. Gonzalez on Friday called for a full examination of the risks involved in the banking industry's derivatives activities.
The Texas Democrat has called top regulators and industry, members to Capitol Hill on Oct. 28 for a hearing on the issue. In addition, he has asked bank regulators to answer 46 specific questions about derivatives use.
"The banking committee and the regulatory agencies must unwind this mystery called the derivatives market, because the ultimate bank insurers - the American taxpayers - deserve to know what they are underwriting", Mr. Gonzalez said.
Witnesses at the hearing will include Federal Reserve governor Susan M. Phillips; Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig; Sheila Bair, acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Clifford Griep, executive director of Standard & Poor's Ratings Group; and Charles R. Taylor, executive director of the Group of Thirty.
Mr. Gonzalez said he wants to know whether regulators are adequately identifying and addressing derivatives risk; Whether banks are using derivatives to engage in "casino-like gambling;" whether banks are being required to set aside adequate capital; and whether the deposit insurance fund would be better protected by moving derivatives out banks and into subsidiaries.