House Bill Would Provide Regulatory Relief to 'Traditional Banks'

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WASHINGTON — A bank regulatory relief plan put forward by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig is getting support in the House.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., introduced legislation on Friday that would implement Hoenig's plan by providing regulatory relief to "traditional banks" that hold no trading assets; hold only interest rate and foreign exchange derivatives positions with exposure of less than $3 billion; and maintain a simple leverage ratio of at least 10%.

Banks that meet the criteria would be exempt from Basel risk-based capital standards and company-run stress testing requirements. These banks would also be eligible for an 18-month examination cycle.

"This legislation will help ease the regulatory burden for the vast majority of banks who engage in traditional banking activities and conduct their activities in a safe and sound manner," Perlmutter said in a statement. "Providing targeted relief for our nation's Main Street banks enables them to focus more resources on lending to small businesses, financing mortgages and promoting economic activity in our communities."

This isn't the first time Hoenig's plan has garnered support on Capitol Hill, but the legislation is another push for bank regulation that is tailored to a bank's activities rather than size.

"Vice Chairman Hoenig is pleased Congress is considering the model ‎he has been advocating for to give meaningful regulatory relief to well capitalized banks that operate a traditional commercial banking business model," Michele Heller, a spokeswoman for Hoenig, said Monday.

Reps. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., Juan Vargas, D-Calif., Danny Heck. D-Wash., and Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas, are co-sponsoring the Traditional Banking Regulatory Relief Act.

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