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Elizabeth Warren calls for investigation over SVB

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
March 23, 2023

The finger pointing over the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse has been flying fast and furious as various leaders in Washington speculate about what happened, and in some cases, demand an investigation.

Warren expects results from investigation within 30 days

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is calling for an independent investigation into the Federal Reserve in response to the collapse of SVB and Signature reserve, according to the Daily Mail.

Warren composed a letter to the inspectors general of the Treasury Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve in which she said she believed there should be an investigation into the management and oversight of the banks prior to their collapses this month, according to WSJ.

Preliminary results from the investigation are expected to be available within 30 days.

“The bank’s executives, who took unnecessary risks or failed to hedge against entirely foreseeable threats, must be held accountable for these failures. But this mismanagement was allowed to occur because of a series of failures by lawmakers and regulators,” Warren, who sits on the Senate Banking Committee told WSJ.

Warren, who was rather outspoken about the 2008 bank collapse that ushered in the Obama-era Dodd-Frank act, is taking a similar stance on this recent collapse. She is blaming it on a 2018 rewrite of those regulations called the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.

The Dodd-Frank act verses The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act

The Dodd-Frank bill was passed primarily by Democrats, which allowed for the tightening of restrictions on investments considered as risky, and also implemented a "stress" test imposed on banks to test their ability to survive a financial crisis.

Institutions that are considered to be the cause of that 2008 crash included insurance companies, investment banking firms, mortgage lenders and credit rating agencies, according to Investopedia.

Dodd-Frank implemented regulations on financial firms that were considered "too big to fail," meaning if they collapsed, it would have a massive impact on the U.S. economy.

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act is aimed at mid-sized and regional banks

The bill that Trump signed into law dealt with regulations for mid-level and regional banks, such as SVB, and eased stringent oversight, according to PolitiFact.

"This is nothing more than a sad attempt to gaslight the public to evade responsibility," Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told Fox News. "The fact is that Biden has presided over a catastrophic economy that has devastated everyday Americans and has caused misery across the country due to his anti-America policies."

Under the Obama-era Dodd-Frank act, strict capital and liquidity standards were imposed on banks with $50 billion in assets.

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act changed that requirement to at least $250 billion in assets.

That bill passed with the support of most of the Republicans and 33 Democrats in the House, and all Republicans and 17 Democrats in the Senate.

SVB started out with about $40 billion in assets, but had grown to $212 billion by the time that bank collapsed.

SVB CEO Greg Becker is one of several who had pushed for a rewrite of Dodd-Frank and an easing of restrictions.

Those who have been opposed to Frank-Dodd believe that it is harmful to the ability of U.S. firms to compete with foreign competition. They feel the regulatory compliance requirements place too intense of a burden on community banks and smaller institutions, which weren't responsible for the financial crisis, according to Investopedia.