Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be making the rounds in Congress this week to discuss the state of the economy while the other banking regulators prepare to voice their views on regulatory restructuring. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency´s underwriting survey is due out early in the week, and the Treasury department is expecting by Thursday letters from the largest 25 banks detailing their progress on loan modifications.
The House Financial Services Committee will hear testimony from Bernanke starting at 10am as mandated by the Humphrey-Hawkins Act, which requires the Fed chairman to report to Congress twice-yearly. Some predict the testimony will focus on how-and possibly when-the Fed plans to extract itself from its quantitative easing policies. Later, the committee will hold a "too-big-to-fail" hearing starting at 2pm. Witnesses have yet to be announced.
The House Oversight Committee will hear from the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Neil Barofsky for a 10am hearing called "Following the Money."
Bernanke will appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 10am. Meanwhile, House Financial Services will hear from regulators in the morning in a hearing focusing on regulators´ perspectives on the Obama administration´s regulatory restructuring proposals. There are two similar hearings scheduled with regulators this week, and the committee has not released witness lists for either one yet. At 2pm, the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on Tarp oversight.
And House Oversight´s Domestic Policy subcommittee is looking at "the misuse of mandatory arbitration to collect consumer debts" in a hearing starting at 2pm.
At 10:30am the Fed will hold an open meeting to discuss proposed changes to Regulation Z under the Truth in Lending Act. The changes deal with mortgage loans and home equity lines of credit.
Senate Banking will tackle systemic risk regulation at a 9:30am hearing whose witnesses include Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair; Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro. Witnesses for a second panel will be announced soon.
House Financial Services will hold another hearing on regulators´ views of the new regulatory restructuring proposals. The difference, so BankThink is told, is that the regulators testifying today will not be the same people who testified Wednesday.