banking-and-finance

Regulators warn Congress not to pre-empt state fintech rules
“Investor protections must not be diminished at the state or federal levels”

The North American Securities Administrators Association is calling on lawmakers to be cautious when implementing fintech laws. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

State securities regulators are concerned Congress could pre-empt state laws governing financial technology such as blockchain and cryptocurrency that are designed to protect consumers.

The North American Securities Administrators Association on Wednesday issued its legislative priorities for the 116th Congress, calling on lawmakers to be cautious when implementing fintech laws.

Democrats hammer CFPB head for being soft on lenders
Democrats grilled Director Kathy Kraninger and GOP lawmakers for supporting recent agency changes

Kathy Kraninger, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is seen before testifying at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in the Rayburn Building on March 7. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats sharply criticized on Thursday the head of America’s consumer finance watchdog for decisions Republicans say are entirely under her purview.

In the first Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight hearing, Financial Services Democrats repeatedly hammered Director Kathy Kraninger and GOP lawmakers for supporting recent changes at the agency.

Financial transaction tax will be a test for Democratic presidential candidates
Questions will be asked about whether others will join New York’s Gillibrand in support

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., is leading the House version of a proposed trading tax. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The many congressional Democrats making runs for the White House will have to decide whether to support a new tax on traders and investors.

With Democrats on both sides of the Capitol unveiling proposed taxes on financial transactions that they say would target high frequency trading while providing new revenue for Democratic priorities, the issue could put several candidates on the record. 

European regulatory chief wants new cryptocurrency rules
Aim is to prevent ‘substantial risk’ to consumers

The chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority reportedly supports applying financial instrument regulation to cryptocurrencies. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

The chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority has indicated he supports applying financial instrument regulation to assets such as bitcoin to help protect investors.

Without new rules, Steven Maijoor said, digital assets will likely fall outside of the regulation of Europe’s securities laws.

Treasury official doubts fintech needs payment system overhaul
Analysis appeared in blog

Matt Swinehart, a senior counsel at the Treasury Department, says a massive “regulatory rethink” for financial technology won’t be required. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior Treasury Department official is challenging the idea that rapidly evolving financial technology will require a sweeping overhaul of rules governing payment services and the electronic transfer of funds between consumers, banks, merchants and others.

In a recent analysis, Matt Swinehart, a senior counsel at Treasury, said a massive “regulatory rethink” of payment services won’t be required because many rules and standards governing payments are what he called technology neutral. The analysis appeared on a blog about the intersection between financial technology and government policy. Swinehart and the Treasury Department declined an interview request about his statements.

Green New Deal: Some Democrats on the fence
Top Democrats who would oversee legislation in the House are reluctant to endorse plan that would remake economy

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have championed the Green New Deal on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A resolution outlining the goals of the Green New Deal capped off its first week of a somewhat messy rollout with mixed reviews, even from typically Democratic strongholds like labor unions.

In the House, the top two Democrats who would oversee any legislation that comes out of the plan have remained reluctant to fully endorse it, stopping at lauding the goals and the enthusiasm behind them. And Republicans quickly branded the Green New Deal as an extreme, socialist plan with unrealistic proposals to eliminate air travel and cows.

Elizabeth Warren keeps pressure on big banks to help workers during government shutdowns
In letters shared first with Roll Call, Warren said inquiries could be particularly important if ‘agreement in principle’ falls apart

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is keeping up the pressure on big banks. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As lawmakers work to avoid another partial government shutdown, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is keeping up pressure on big banks to make sure they help federal employees and contractors, especially if the “agreement in principle” falls apart.

“We are now less than a week away from the February 15 deadline to fund the government, and President Trump has threatened to drag the American public through a shutdown for a second time,” the Democrat from Massachusetts wrote in a series of new letters shared first with Roll Call.

House passes cryptocurrency, insider trading bills
Measures were delayed by debate over spending proposals

The House has passed three bills related to cryptocurrency and insider trading. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

After a week of shutdown-related delays, the House has passed three financial services bills that had been expected to receive floor votes early last week, but were delayed as the House debated spending proposals.

Lawmakers agreed by voice vote Monday to pass under suspension of the rules a bill  co-sponsored by Reps. Ted Budd, a North Carolina Republican, and Stephen F. Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, that would create an interagency task force led by the Treasury secretary to research how new financial technology, or fintech, is being used in financial crimes and terrorism, and develop regulatory and legislative responses. The bill would also establish a grant fund for programs and ideas for preventing terrorists and other bad actors from using cryptocurrencies for nefarious ends.

House to take up three bills to curb cryptocurrency abuses
One measure would create interagency task force

Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., is cosponsoring a bill that would create an interagency task force led by the Treasury secretary to research financial crimes and terrorism, including those using cryptocurrency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is expected to take up and pass a trio of bills that focus on cryptocurrency’s ability to facilitate illicit activities.

The three bills were introduced in the last Congress and easily passed the full House with bipartisan support before stalling in the Senate. Two of the bills center on how new financial technology, or fintech, could be used by terrorists, and the third looks at fintech’s use in sex and drug trafficking.

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).