OCC’s Hsu at CBA LIVE: ‘Level Playing Field’ Requires Interagency Coordination

August 16, 2021
Billy Rielly

WASHINGTON – Hundreds of the nation’s top bankers, policymakers, and industry thought leaders joined CBA LIVE 2021 virtually for Day One of retail banking’s top annual event. Today’s programming featured a conversation with Acting Comptroller of the Currency, 7 Deep Dive sessions and 25 forums covering a wide array of topics and issues facing banks today, including:

  • “Under New Management: CFPB & Debt Collection”
  • “Justice for All: Achieving Racial Equity Through Fair Lending”
  • “On the Horizon for CRA Modernization”
  • “Moving Heaven & Earth: Lenders Response to Pandemic Crisis & PPP”

After moderating a discussion with Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael J. Hsu, during Monday’s General Session, Consumer Bankers Association President and CEO Richard Hunt today released the following statement:

“Thank you to OCC Acting Comptroller Hsu for addressing attendees of CBA LIVE 2021 and providing thoughtful insights on issues ranging from CRA reform and digitization to financial inclusion and expanding access to credit. I am pleased Mr. Hsu reiterated his commitment to creating a level playing field for all market participants through interagency collaboration, ensuring the highest level of protections for consumers regardless of where they go to meet their financial needs. America’s leading banks stand ready and willing to assist the OCC as it seeks to modernize its regulatory framework to reflect the rapidly evolving financial marketplace. I look forward to another jam-packed day of programming tomorrow as we discuss DEI initiatives, cybersecurity, and much more.”

You can watch the full conversation HERE or by clicking the image above. See below for Hsu’s comments on some of the pressing issues facing the industry today:

Hsu on efforts to modernize CRA through interagency reform:

“People are meeting a lot on an interagency basis. […] We aren’t doing things in parallel and then hoping to reconcile it. We’re doing it together, each step of the way. […] Everyone is incentivized to get to the finish line together.”

Hsu on improving short-term liquidity options for consumers:

“There are too many people today living paycheck to paycheck. […] What do those users need? They need flexibility and tools to manage those cashflows. What I’m heartened by […] we are seeing some good reforms, I think we’re seeing some banks taking some very active steps to reform and modify their overdraft programs."

Hsu on applying a level-playing field for all market participants:

“Level playing field is very important. No one agency can level the playing field, so we can do our part for the things we control. What it really requires is coordination across the agencies. […] We need to do this together so we’re not getting picked off […] by [market participants] who want to find the path of least resistance to a particular product.”

Hsu on stablecoins and the future of cryptocurrencies:

“I think that there is a reason the [President’s Working Group] is looking at stablecoins. I think the fact that you’ve got the Treasury Department, The Federal Reserve, all the banking regulators, SEC, FTC, all looking at that, is a signal. […] We don’t have a choice. The growth of that activity and what’s happening is forcing us to move fast. We are doing what we can.”

Hsu on what he hopes to accomplish in his role:

“I see my job as addressing key problems. I’m in an acting position and I see there are four key problems that can’t wait. Waiting is a choice and I think they have to be addressed. The first has to do with complacency. […] I think a lot of the industry is poised for growth, […] that is fantastic, except I think that can lead to very short-term memories and that can put risk-management in the back seat. Part of my job is to make sure risk-management is co-pilot on everything. […] Second, inequality.  […] I think there really is this problem we have to grapple with where being poor is increasingly expensive. […] Third, digitalization, how do we adapt to this new environment? […] Our regulatory structure was not built for this type of environment, and we’ve got to make it work. […] The last is climate change. […] Banks need to understand their exposure and the need to adjust.”

Previewing Day Two

As CBA LIVE 2021 wraps up tomorrow, attendees will have access to programming centered on stablecoins, ESG, home equity, student lending and much more.  At 1:00PM attendees also will choose from two super sessions entitled:

  • “Financial Inclusion & Consumer Credit”
  • “Everything CFPB: The New Regime”

Be sure to follow all the action by tweeting at @ConsumerBankers using #CBALIVE.