WASHINGTON — The House and Senate banking panels are hosting several eagerly anticipated hearings this week, including a regulatory showdown over "too big to fail" and a confirmation hearing for Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The Senate Banking Committee kicks off the week with a hearing Tuesday on the private student loan market with officials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The hearing is likely to tackle the CFPB’s recent call for lenders to modify student loan debt, arguing that it is a systemic threat similar to the mortgage market prior to the financial crisis.

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee renews its ongoing look at the Dodd-Frank Act’s provisions for winding down failing institutions with a blockbuster lineup of regulators. Witnesses include FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig; Richard Fisher, president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Jeffery Lacker, president and CEO of the Federal Bank of Richmond; and Sheila Bair, chairwoman of the Systemic Risk Council at the Pew Charitable Trusts and former head of the FDIC. The hearing will likely provide a forum for lawmakers and regulators to air their concerns over whether some institutions remain "too big to fail."

The Senate banking panel will also consider several nominations to a variety of government positions on Thursday, including Watt’s bid to lead the FHFA, which is likely to be the focus of the hearing. The committee will also consider Jason Furman to be a member and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Kara Stein and Michael Piwowar to be members of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Richard Metsger to join of the National Credit Union Administration Board.

 

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