The Inner
        City Reporter's Federal Reserve Beat


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September 25, 2023

Fed wants to hear more from bankers: Governor Michelle W. Bowman to the Independent Community Bankers of Colorado: "I strongly encourage your participation to inform the rulemaking process. This audience is uniquely positioned to provide real-world feedback about the intended and unintended consequences of agency rulemakings."

September 18, 2023

In SDNY, Fed trial moved: "    Gardner-Alfred et al v. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Case Number:    1:22-cv-01585-LJL Filer:     Document Number:    187(No document attached) Docket Text: ORDER granting [186] Letter Motion to Continue Trial Date addressed to Judge Lewis J. Liman from Alex Leonard dated September 14, 2023 filed by Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Court adjourns the previously set trial and pretrial deadlines and adopts the following trial schedule. The joint pretrial order, requests to charge, proposed voir dire, and in limine motions are due by October 6, 2023. Oppositions to motions in limine and objections to requests to charge and voir dire are due by October 13, 2023. The Final Pretrial Conference is rescheduled to December 6, 2023 at 3:30PM in Courtroom 15C at the 500 Pearl Street Courthouse. The Jury Trial is rescheduled to December 11, 2023 at 9:00AM in Courtroom 15C at the 500 Pearl Street Courthouse"

September 11, 2023

Here's a strange headline from the Fed's website: "

September 05, 2023

Federal Reserve Board announces approval of application by R. Dean Phillips Bank Trust Dated 11-19-2004, and its subsidiary, HNB Bancorp, Inc.


September 4, 2023

What has the Fed done about JPM Chase's enabling of Jeffrey Epstein? Nothing. Even the NYSDFS acted on Deutsche Banks... In Epstein Case JPM Chase Says Congress Did Not Envision USVI Suit as Oct 23 Trial Looms In Epstein Case JPM Chase Says Congress Did Not Envision USVI Suit as Oct 23 Trial Looms

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Aug 31 – J.P. Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank were sued for their enabling of Jeffrey Epstein, in lawsuits filed on Thanksgiving 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where Inner City Press found them in the docket. Then the US Virgin Islands joined in against Chase

On August 31, Judge Rakoff heard oral argument from USVI and JPMorgan Chase, Inner City Press was there, thread:

USVI's lawyer: We seek to enjoin JPMorgan --

Judge Rakoff: From banking Jeffrey Epstein? He's...

USVI: From violating the law. Absent Jeffrey Epstein's death, Chase would still be violating the TVPA.

 Judge Rakoff: Maybe this would not be a jury trial... Only in my nightmares do I see this as a bench trial.

 JPM Chase lawyer: This was not the intent of Congress. All have are some snippets of floor statements

Judge Rakoff: If the trial goes forward, it'll start Oct 23. I'll rule on these motions by the end of September, if not before. Adjourned

More on Substack here

August 28, 2023

It's on: "Banc of California, Inc., Santa Ana, California;    to acquire PacWest Bancorp, and thereby indirectly acquire Pacific Western Bank, both of Beverly Hills, California.    3    San Francisco    09/29/2023" - so how will the Fed treat this application? On greased skids? And mightn't JPM Chase need to apply? It's another litmus test...

August 21, 2023

Farmington Bank Belatedly Shut By Fed as SBF Jailed FOIA Appeal for Crypto Creeps Sequel

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Aug 17 – Alongside the larger flame-out of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank too failed.

  The Federal Reserve in belated response to Inner City Press' FOIA request says it has no record of reviewing Signature and crypto, nor any "record reflecting any  review by the FRS of Silvergate’s (and Provident Bancorp Inc.,  Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Signature Bank, Customers  Bancorp Inc.) of the banks’ connections with crypto-currency firms."

  Federal Reserve letter to Inner City Press here

 The Fed did, however, belatedly give Inner City Press the Farmington State Bank application it approved, with 100% ownership by Bahamas based Jean Chalopin. It's now on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

  Now on August 17, after FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried has been remanded to prison pending trial (Inner City Press "Crypto Creeps" book here), the Federal Reserve has belatedly taken action on Farmington, the horse decidedly out of (and in the case of SBF back in) the barn: "The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced an enforcement action against Farmington State Bank, of Farmington, Washington, and its holding company, FBH Corporation. In 2022, Farmington improperly changed its business plan without notifying the bank's supervisors and obtaining prior approval for those changes. Farmington has previously announced that it will voluntarily sell its loans and deposits to the Bank of Eastern Oregon."

On April 8, Inner City Press filed a FOIA appeal with the Fed: "This is an appeal of the FRB's denial and delayed and untransparent processing of and determinations on Inner City Press' December 22, 2022 FOIA request... After more than three months, all the FRB provided was the public portion of Farmington State Bank's application - this while FRB Governor Barr just told Congress that the Fed wants to be transparent, including to outside reviews.     Most cynically, the Denial claims that "confidential information is not responsive" - basing that on its interpretation of a first request for clarification, a misinterpretation that all Inner City Press was request was previously public information - information which even then the Fed did not provide for eleven weeks.  We wanted and want the records reflecting the FRS' review of Farmington State Bank's application, and the records about the Fed's review of crypto and the names firms: Silvergate with its FTX connections, record reflecting any review by the FRS of Silvergate's (and Provident Bancorp Inc., Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Signature Bank, Customers Bancorp Inc).

   Does the Fed as Governor Barr said want to be transparent or not?

We'll have more on this.

August 14, 2023

"The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday provided additional information on its program to supervise novel activities in the banks it oversees. Novel activities include complex, technology-driven partnerships with non-banks to provide banking services to customers; and activities that involve crypto-assets and distributed ledger or "blockchain" technology" - let's see what comes out of the SBF trial, now that he's detained....

August 7, 2023

Link Bank Bid To Buy Partners Bancorp On the Ocean Rebound has Belated Fed CRA Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SOUTH BRONX, Aug 1 –  Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia are portrayed as diverse and ever progressive places. But their banks, not so much. 

 Consider for example the proposed merger on the rebound between New York-based Link Bank and Partners Bancorp, which recently broke off its proposed deal with OceanFirst.

Inner City Press and Fair Finance Watch have long exposed redlining - and in this vein, on May 6 they filed a Community Reinvestment Act challenge with the Federal Reserve.

On August 1, the Fed belated asked: "ased on staff’s review of Applicant’s letter to Mr. William T. Wisser, dated July  24, 2023, the following additional information is requested. Supporting documentation should be  provided, as appropriate.

1. Describe in detail how LinkBank will adjust its fair lending program to accommodate the  expanded market area acquired from VPB, particularly the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria  VA-MD MMSA. 2. Clarify whether, and to what extent, LinkBank intends to integrate the consumer  compliance and fair lending programs of TBOD and VPB into the resultant institution’s  consumer compliance and fair lending programs.

3. Provide a list of organizations and community groups, if any, with which LinkBank has  engaged since 2021 to help reach African American borrowers in Pennsylvania. In your  response, provide detailed information about any partnerships that LinkBank has engaged in  with these organizations and community groups since 2021. 4. Provide a list of organizations and community groups, if any, with which VPB has  engaged since 2021 to help reach African American borrowers in the Washington-ArlingtonAlexandria VA-MD MMSA. In your response, provide detailed information about any  partnerships that VPB has engaged in with these organizations and community groups since  2021.

5. Discuss in detail LinkBank’s and VPB’s efforts to reach African American borrowers in  any area, including any specialized products and marketing campaigns targeting such  borrowers, since 2021.6. Provide further information on LinkBank’s recent CRA activities since 2021, following  the latest CRA performance evaluation of The Gratz Bank on March 22, 2021 (which  preceded the acquisition of LinkBank by The Gratz Bank and the resulting institution’s name  change to “LinkBank”). In particular, provide further information regarding LinkBank’s  activities to improve its geographical distribution of loans throughout its assessment areas  since the March 22, 2021, performance evaluation of The Gratz Bank. 7. Provide further information on VPB’s CRA activities since its October 2, 2017,  performance evaluation."

  Fair Finance Watch has been reviewing LinkBank including its 2021 HMDA data not taken into account in any CRA exam and finds it troubling.

July 31, 2023

From the Fed last week: "The Federal Reserve Board on Monday announced a consent order and a $268.5 million fine with UBS Group AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, for misconduct by Credit Suisse, which UBS subsequently acquired in June 2023. The misconduct involved Credit Suisse's unsafe and unsound counterparty credit risk management practices with its former counterparty, Archegos Capital Management LP" - but what now about the Hwang subpoenas reported in this week's Inner City Press Bank Beat report?

July 24, 2023

Bowman watch, safe harbor bid edition: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman says the Board  "should improve its approach to processing applications in cases where a member of the public has made an adverse comment, particularly when the recent supervisory record addresses the concerns raised and is consistent with approval."  Vantage Bank Texas President and CEO Jeff Sinnott agrees with Bowman - not surprising. But what about Quontic, which the Reserve Bank approved, before the enforcement action?

July 17, 2023

Kids gloves, from Link Bank to BofA to... "The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday announced the termination of the enforcement action listed below: Capital One Financial Corporation, McLean, Virginia Cease and Desist Order dated August 4, 2020"

July 10, 2023

Earlier this year Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch wrote to the Federal Reserve with complaints about Quontic Banks. In a new low, after the Board in DC denied any extension of the comment period, it was the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia which wrote back and rubber-stamp approved on a delegated basis - no HMDA data, no Board. Now this: "Quontic Bank Acquisition Corp., Astoria, New York, and Quontic Bank Holdings Corp., Astoria, New York Written Agreement dated July 5, 2023." A corrective action notice...

July 3, 2023

Stress test shorts: The decline in Truist's and U.S. Bancorp's stressed CET1 ratio looks rather poorly compared to the median (-230 and -180 basis points, respectively, Figure 3), and USB saw its ratio drop to the second lowest in the group, surpassed only by Citizens Financial Group (CFG) with a stressed CET1 ratio of 6.4%.

June 26, 2023

Since Kugler has pledged to recuse herself from participating in any matter involving a former employer or client for four years — beyond what’s required under the Biden administration’s ethics pledge — and to refrain from signing on to a financial services firm within four years of leaving government - why can't and don't the other Fed governors?

June 19, 2023

Look who has requested access to Reserve Bank master accounts and financial services

COMMERCIUM FINANCIAL    CHEYENNE    WY    5/23/2022    Pending        Tier 3    Kansas City    Not Federally Insured CUSTODIA BANK, INC    CHEYENNE    WY    10/29/2020    Rejected    1/27/2023    Tier 3    Kansas City    Not Federally Insured KRAKEN FINANCIAL    CHEYENNE    WY    10/6/2020    Pending        Tier 3    Kansas City    Not Federally Insured MORNING STAR FCU    LAME DEER    MT    1/26/2023    Approved    4/28/2023    Tier 1    Minneapolis    NCUA NORTH STAR COMMUNITY CU    MADDOCK    ND    1/6/2023    Approved    5/10/2023    Tier 1    Minneapolis    NCUA GS&L MUNICIPAL BANK    GOUVERNEUR    NY    10/27/2022    Approved    2/28/2023    Tier 1    New York    FDIC FNALITY    LONDON        10/17/2022    Pending        TBD    New York    Not Federally Insured

June 12, 2023

Gov Jefferson: "the staffs of the U.S. federal banking agencies are diligently working on a Basel III endgame proposal that should be issued for public comment soon. At the same time, the Federal Reserve staff is considering ways to enhance the ability of stress tests to capture a wider range of risks and identify vulnerabilities at the largest banking organizations."

June 5, 2023

Bowman Watch II: "This local perspective is one of the great advantages of the Federal Reserve System's regional structure, and of the Fed Listens initiative, which complements the Board's efforts to understand national economic conditions.  In 2019, the Board launched Fed Listens with a year of listening sessions with the public focused on monetary policy"

May 29, 2029

Waller watch: "There is a little over a month between the June and July FOMC meetings, and during that time we will learn more about how credit conditions are evolving. Over four months will have passed between the Silicon Valley Bank failure and the July meeting. By then we will have a much clearer idea about credit conditions. If banking conditions do not appear to have tightened excessively, then hiking in July could well be the appropriate policy."

May 22, 2023

Bowman watch: "I see one of my many functions and roles as a Member of the Board of Governors as providing that open door and opportunity for direct engagement with a policymaker for our regional and smaller banks, as well. Your Texas ABA executive, Chris Furlow, who is a long time friend and colleague, can put you directly in touch with me should you desire to do so. "

May 15, 2023

  Governor Michelle W. Bowman gave a speech about bank failures - and nary a word about the exclusion of the public from any review of those being handed the failed banks, like JPM Chase...

May 8, 2023