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Daily Financial Regulation Update -- Tuesday, February 23, 2021

February 23, 2021

By FedACTion Task Force

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Major Developments

SBA Prioritizes Smallest of Small Businesses in the Paycheck Protection Program

February 22, 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is taking steps with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to further promote equitable relief for small businesses. The SBA will:

(i) establish a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 20 employees;

(ii) allow sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for those applicants;

(iii) eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions;

(iv) eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make federal student loan payments by eliminating federal student loan debt delinquency and default as disqualifiers to participating in the PPP; and

(v) ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply for the PPP.

The 14-day exclusivity period will start on February 24, 2021, while the other four changes will be implemented by the first week of March. 

Administration Changes

Appointments/Confirmation Hearings

Department of the Treasury – Janet Yellen (effective January 26, 2021)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Rohit Chopra (Nominee)

Securities and Exchange Commission – Gary Gensler (Nominee)

Small Business Administration – Isabel Guzman (Nominee)

Commodity Futures Trade Commission

National Credit Union Administration – Todd M. Harper

Department of Housing and Urban Development – Marcia Fudge (Nominee)

Department of Education – Miguel Cardona (Nominee)

Congress

Click here to view the full text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), Enacted March 27, 2020.

Click here to view the full text of the Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act of 2020, Enacted April 24, 2020.

Click here to view the full text of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, Enacted June 5, 2020.

Click here to view the full text of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Enacted December 27, 2020.  

Click here to view a running list of proposed legislation from the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, House Committee on Financial Services, and House Committee on Small Business.

U.S. Senate

Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Chairman Cardin Lauds SBA Actions to Increase Relief to Underserved and Underbanked Small Businesses

February 22, 2021

U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-MD) issued a statement lauding the SBA for making changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to further target relief to the smallest businesses, including many Black- and Latino-owned small businesses, as well as small businesses in low-income communities.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Small Business

Chairwoman Velázquez Applauds SBA and Biden-Harris Administration for Reforms to Paycheck Protection Program

February 22, 2021

U.S. House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) issued a statement after the SBA announced reforms intended to ensure that the smallest of small businesses can access the Paycheck Protection Program.

Federal Agencies

Federal Reserve Board

Speech: Economic Inclusion in Lower-Income Communities

February 22, 2021

Governor Michelle W. Bowman, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, gave a speech at the “Advance Together” Celebration titled “Economic Inclusion in Lower-Income Communities.”

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Blog: Measuring the Forest through the Trees: The Corporate Bond Market Distress Index      

February 22, 2021

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Liberty Street Economics blog released a post titled “Measuring the Forest through the Trees: The Corporate Bond Market Distress Index.” In the post, the authors describe the U.S. Corporate Bond Market Distress Index, which offers a single measure to quantify joint dislocations in the primary and secondary corporate bond markets. 

New York Fed to Host Third Web Event in Series on Culture

February 22, 2021

On March 1, 2021, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will host its third web event in a series on culture. The event will focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. It will feature panelists from academia and financial services and will explore questions related to how and why norms and biases change, the role of leaders and institutions in driving that change, and why motivations matter.

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Racial and Socioeconomic Test-Score Gaps in New England Metropolitan Areas: State School Aid and Poverty Segregation

February 22, 2021

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released a report titled “Racial and Socioeconomic Test-Score Gaps in New England Metropolitan Areas: State School Aid and Poverty Segregation.” The report explores the relationship between racial and socioeconomic test-score gaps in New England metropolitan areas and two aspects of unequal opportunity: state equalizing school-aid formulas and geographic segregation of low-income students.

The Roles of State Aid and Local Conditions in Elementary School Test-Score Gaps

February 22, 2021

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released a paper titled “The Roles of State Aid and Local Conditions in Elementary School Test-Score Gaps.” The paper builds on earlier research to investigate the roles of state school aid, geographic segregation by race or income, and other school, parental and community characteristics in public-school outcomes.

Conference of State Bank Supervisors

Blog: CSBS Takes an Early Look at Q4 2020 Bank Performance

February 22, 2021

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) issued a blog post titled “CSBS Takes an Early Look at Q4 2020 Bank Performance.” According to the post, while the industry spent much of 2020 helping customers navigate the economic shutdown, industry observers are waiting to see how the effects will show in quarterly results. Early indications from the fourth quarter call report filings show performance is holding up, at least for now, according to CSBS findings.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

FDIC Publishes its 2020 Annual Report

February 22, 2021

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released its 2020 Annual Report. The report provides details on developments in each of the FDIC’s primary functional areas – deposit insurance, supervision, research and analysis, depositor and consumer protection, and resolutions and receiverships – and includes performance results, audited financial statements, and the Government Accountability Office’s auditor’s report.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB FinEx Webinar: CFPB Resources for Working with Servicemembers and Veterans

February 22, 2021

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is hosting a webinar on February 25, 2021 titled “CFPB Resources for Working with Servicemembers and Veterans.” The webinar will provide an introduction to education and empowerment materials from the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs.

International

European Banking Authority

EBA calls on National Authorities to Take Supervisory Actions for the Removal of Obstacles to Account Access under the Payment Services Directive

February 22, 2021

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published an opinion on supervisory actions national competent authorities should take to ensure banks remove any remaining obstacles that prevent third party providers from accessing payment accounts, which restrict European Union consumers’ choice of payment services. The opinion will contribute to a consistent application and supervision of relevant requirements under the Payment Services Directive and the EBA Regulatory Technical Standards on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication.

Bank of England

How Has COVID Affected the Performance of Machine Learning Models used by UK Banks?

February 22, 2021

The Bank of England (BoE) issued a release titled “How Has COVID Affected the Performance of Machine Learning Models used by UK Banks?” Over a third of banks surveyed in August 2020 by the BoE reported a negative impact on model performance as a result of the COVID pandemic.