Senate Banking Committee Hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Powell

February 12, 2020

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified today before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee for his semiannual monetary policy report to Congress.

 

Key Takeaways:

 

  • Republicans and Democrats alike stressed the importance of Fed independence and encouraged Chairman Powell to maintain that posture in all matters. On economic issues, several Republican Senators lauded the impacts of the 2017 tax reforms on the strong state of the economy, while Democrats pointed to lagging wage growth and high levels of growing income disparity as encouragement for the Fed to take more proactive steps to foster broader growth.

 

  • Senators asking about CRA modernization again asked Chairman Powell for insight into the Fed’s process and reasons for not joining the OCC and FDIC proposal. He again declined to comment significantly on the details of the proposal itself, other than to say he shares the other regulators’ goals in updating CRA and sees merit in much of what they have produced. He emphasized that he and the Fed’s top leadership remain in communication with their counterparts in other agencies and are very interested in reviewing incoming comments pertaining to issues such as loan metrics, community impacts, and branch access for underserved areas. 

 

A full hearing summary prepared by the CBA Team is available here.