WASHINGTON Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., are prodding the biggest banks for information about how they will respond to changes to a controversial Dodd-Frank Act swaps provision signed into law last month.
The move comes after Congress approved the rollback of a provision that required banks to "push out" certain derivatives from depository institutions and into subsidiaries as part of a larger, must-pass spending package. The change in the spending package is outlined in Section 630 of the legislation.
The lawmakers sent letters Thursday to Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, asking them for details about the kinds of swaps transactions that can now be made, as well as the total amount of the derivatives contracts the companies hold "to aid in our oversight" of the new standard, according to the letter.
"Experts state that Section 630 'neuters the swaps push-out rule, since it effectively lets in nearly all swaps activities,' and economist Paul Krugman argues that Section 630 is a 'significant blow' to financial reform and amounts to 'letting Wall Street play games with government-guaranteed funds," the lawmakers write.
The two Democrats also requested copies of the banks' applications to regulators previously asking for a delay of the swaps pushout rule, along with information about the value and riskiness of the swaps that would have been pushed out to affiliates before the provision was rolled back.
Warren and Cummings said they want a response from the banks by February 26, and asked for a separate briefing from the institutions by Feb. 19. They note in the letter that the four banks hold 93% of all derivatives contracts.