The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every part of our daily lives, from restaurant closures and school cancellations, to the suspension of professional sports and the delay of movie releases. The financial markets are seeing unprecedented volatility and there is a real concern for the wider economy. This is driving U.S. lawmakers to focus only on policy that is related to the impact of COVID-19 and slow decisions on everything else, including regulatory policy.
In a recent article in Law360, the Senate Banking Committee’s ranking member Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, called for federal financial regulators to shelve all rulemaking projects that aren’t directly related to “protecting the financial system and mitigating economic fallout from the outbreak.” The article also stated that Brown made similar requests in letters addressed to the heads of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, National Credit Union Administration and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Federal financial rule makers have many initiatives underway that were set to come to conclusions in the coming weeks and months, but these are likely to be put on hold as there will be a lack of bandwidth to provide useful feedback on anything other than COVID-19 related proposals. Clearly this is a hot-button issue that is already receiving the usual party-political responses and criticisms, but it is clear there will be consequences from the pandemic. We are currently working on a piece that gives our thoughts on potential impacts COVID-19 will have on the regulatory agenda. In the meantime, if you have any questions on regulatory reform, drop us a line here.