Banking & Finance

CFPB asks Congress for authority to sniff out predatory military lenders
Previous director piqued Democrats when he said the bureau doesn’t yet have legal standing to audit firms

Kathy Kraninger, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, submitted a legislative proposal to “clarify” the bureau’s authority to supervise compliance with a military lending law. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The leader of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is asking Congress to give the agency explicit authority to examine financial services companies for compliance with a law that caps how much a creditor can charge military servicemembers for loans.

In letters sent Thursday to Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger submitted a legislative proposal to “clarify” the bureau’s authority to supervise compliance with a military lending law designed to protect servicemembers from certain lending practices that may be considered predatory.

Elizabeth Warren wants big banks to give details of assistance to furloughed federal workers as shutdown continues
Democratic senator highlights more transparency from credit unions about help for the workers who are not being paid

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wants details of what large banks are doing to help customers affected by the partial government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants specifics from big banks about what they are doing to help federal workers who haven’t received paychecks due to the partial government shutdown.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who is often an adversary of large financial institutions, actually praised some of them for public statements expressing support for the furloughed federal employees (and those required to report to work without pay).

Push intensifies for cryptocurrency industry to police itself
Group is working to establish an industry-sponsored regulator

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are legally considered commodities and occupy the same category as gold or oil, which are considered “exempt.” (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

BY CHRIS MARQUETTE

Proponents who tout the revolutionary potential for digital assets may turn to a more traditional model to protect investors and pre-empt additional scrutiny: self-regulation.

Fintech sector hurt by shutdown
Federal government’s influence more expansive than expected

The government shutdown is starting to create serious problems for financial technology firms and has put some policy development on hold. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — The consequences of the partial government shutdown for the poor, the environment, federal employees and those relying on government services or benefits have become painfully evident, and are getting worse. The shutdown is also starting to create serious problems for financial technology firms — slowing dealmaking, impairing supervision and casting a pall over the presumed pre-eminence of the U.S. as a fintech superpower.

It’s coming as quite a surprise for many Silicon Valley investors and Wall Street firms that have long viewed the federal government as a drag on innovation rather than a facilitator of it.

EU reports on cryptoasset regulation could have global reverberations
Watchdogs urge EU-wide rules

A sign in a Berlin pub signals the owner’s acceptance of bitcoin. Reports on cryptoasset regulation in the European Union could have global reverberations. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images file photo)

 

ANALYSIS — Two leading financial regulatory authorities are preparing to release pivotal reports on cryptoasset regulation throughout the European Union with recommendations that set the stage to create a separate “bespoke” regime for cryptoassets that are not currently subject to regulation in the bloc.

US relies on old rules to police cryptoassets
Europe appears to be on different fintech track

Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who is part of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, has called on the U.S. government to lightly regulate the emerging technology. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite calls for international unity on financial regulations following the 2008 financial crisis, the United States is unlikely to follow Europe in exploring a unique regulatory regime for “cryptoassets,” whether for payment models like bitcoin or utility tokens that have been touted by celebrities as can’t-miss investments.

The U.S. approach, which has been reaffirmed several times by regulators, is to apply standard rules and tests dating back to the 1930s to fintech, or financial technology, products when determining whether agencies have authority over them.

Divided government will pose an obstacle to lawmaking in 2019
Congress was most dysfunctional from 2011 to 2014 when control of House and Senate was split

The partial government shutdown is already casting a dark shadow for prospects of what Congress might accomplish in 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Washington tends to work best when one party controls both Congress and the White House. It’s most gridlocked, usually, when control of Congress is split.

The Congress of the past two years demonstrated the first principle. By any honest measure, President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate got a lot done in 2017 and 2018.

Marijuana States Rights Amendment Blocked, But Cory Gardner Will Be Back
Colorado GOP senator said he will be offering the legislation again

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said he will be back to try to protect states' rights with respect to marijuana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Cory Gardner failed to add language to the Senate’s criminal justice bill that would ensure the federal government respects Colorado’s marijuana legalization. But neither the Republican senator, who is running for re-election in 2020, nor the issue will be going away.

Gardner tried to line up as part of the floor debate on the criminal justice overhaul an amendment based on legislation he introduced with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Senate Narrowly Votes to Reject IRS Donor Disclosure Rule

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has been a proponent of disclosure requirements for nonprofits spending money on elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate voted 50-49 to repeal a rule that shields donors to many nonprofit groups from disclosure to IRS officials.

The dramatic vote was tied at 49-49 with 49 Democrats voting in favor and 49 Republicans against, when Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, cast the deciding vote to repeal the rule. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. was absent.

Baseball Legend Larry Doby Tapped for Congressional Gold Medal
Civil rights icon broke color barrier in the American League

Larry Doby in his days with the Chicago White Sox. (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby is getting the Congressional Gold Medal.

The move drew praise from lawmakers not only from his home state of New Jersey, but also from Ohio, where Doby debuted and starred for the Cleveland Indians. After the Senate passed legislation last week to authorize the award, the next step is a signature from President Donald Trump.