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February 26, 2021

Elias Alsbergas

Blog Post

BankingExecutive BranchFinancial Regulation

Mark Zandi: The Worst Potential FHFA Regulator You’ve Never Heard Of

Almost every homeowner and most of the American mortgage-backed securities financial system is subject to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) regulation. It oversees and guarantees the vast majority of mortgages bought and sold in the United States. The FHFA does this through quasi-public agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy mortgages from local banks that they bundle, chop up, and sell to investors. This arrangement ideally allows local banks to provide more and cheaper loans to potential homeowners by letting them sell their mortgage liabilities to the government, and gives investors access to relatively stable investment returns.

February 17, 2021

Dorothy Slater

Report

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial Regulation

The Industry Agenda: Fossil Fuel

The fossil fuel industry is one of the most notoriously profit-hungry and planet-destroying sets of corporations to exist today. The “fossil fuel industry” includes oil, gas, (yes, even the “natural” kind), and coal companies, as well as subsidiary companies involved in the extraction processes for these materials: land and off-shore drilling, fracking, and underground and surface mining.

February 16, 2021

Dorothy Slater Sion Bell

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial Regulation

How A Little-Known Treasury Position Could Move Mountains For Climate Action

President Biden has promised to take a “whole-of-government” approach to tackling the climate crisis, and so far his appointees appear to be following suit. The National Climate Task Force met for the first time in a crowded zoom room last week, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and International Climate Envoy John Kerry met earlier this month to discuss their “climate finance plan” to shift capital towards investments in line with a low-carbon economy.

February 11, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Financial RegulationIndependent Agencies

The Trump Holdovers Biden Still Needs to Fire

Throughout several decades in the Senate, Joe Biden earned a reputation as an institutionalist. Extraordinary circumstances, however, are pushing the new president to cast aside many of his beloved norms when they fail to account for these exceptional times. In just a few short weeks, Biden has removed officials whose predecessors had never before been fired. And faced with predictable Republican obstruction on his signature pandemic response bill, he’s eschewed endless waiting for compromise in favor of budget reconciliation.

February 04, 2021 | American Prospect

Dorothy Slater Max Moran Timi Iwayemi

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionClimateDepartment of JusticeFinancial RegulationFintech

Even After The Cabinet Selections, Personnel Is Policy

As grinding as the cabinet fights have been, they’re only the first wave of the Biden administration’s personnel. Now comes a new stage of the transition, in which the newly-named secretaries choose their own undersecretaries and senior advisers. Although occupants of these positions typically operate outside the national spotlight, they still wield enormous power.

February 04, 2021

Sion Bell Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial Regulation

Biden's Newest Treasury Tax Appointees Delight and Disappoint

Some mixed news for progressive tax enthusiasts: Joe Biden’s administration has chosen both a committed progressive tax advocate and a Republican career expert in corporate tax avoidance for its first two appointees to the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy. We’re now in a strange situation where experts who testified on opposite sides of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will now serve shoulder-to-shoulder.

February 01, 2021 | The Intercept

Max Moran Timi Iwayemi

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial RegulationFintech

Robinhood Is A Perfect Example Of Fintech's Insidious Power

Fintech is neither inherently good nor bad; rather, like any technology, its potential impact on society is closely tied to the policy decisions guiding its use — and the next four years could define how much the fintech industry is able to shape the financial system. Left to their own devices, fintech firms could swindle average people through ill-advised day-trading or high-interest loans, usher new systemic risks into the financial system, and develop traceable, privately owned currencies with the potential to replace cash.

January 26, 2021

Dorothy Slater Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Why The Next CFTC Chairperson Must Prioritize Climate Action Over Market Fads

Initially created to regulate futures derivatives on crops that had yet to be harvested, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) holds newfound possibility in the coming decade. It is absolutely crucial that a modern-day CFTC taps into the power it already holds to lead on climate action. Naturally, this necessitates a leader with a proven record of taking on corporate power. Any appointee should be prepared to advocate for the public interest, acknowledge the current reality of climate decay we find ourselves in, and creatively apply tools of the government to take immediate action.

January 22, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial Regulation

Potential Comptroller of the Currency Mehrsa Baradaran’s Background

Baradaran seems committed to challenging the status quo of our financial system that sidelines poor and marginalized communities. The OCC has long been part of a banking system that reinforces racial injustice rather than addresses it — and that remained largely true even after Dodd-Frank was passed and implemented by Obama’s regulatory team. Voices like Baradaran’s are valuable in reconsidering financial regulation and helping raise the bar for who is and who is not an adequately zealous regulator.

January 21, 2021

Dorothy Slater

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial Regulation

Why the Comptroller of the Currency Must Be a Climate Leader

The OCC could also update the Comptroller’s Handbook to guide bank examiners to measure climate risk in their assessments, which would force banks to measure climate risk in their own internal stress tests. This would also push banks to make environmentally sound decisions, because they would be recontextualized as financially savvy decisions.

January 12, 2021

Dorothy Slater Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Gary Gensler Would Lead An Un-Captured SEC To New Climate Regs

Gensler’s first order of business at the SEC will be to reverse Trump’s deregulatory agenda and rebuild the agency’s capacity to police American stock-trading. But this should only be a starting point: SEC activity was insufficient even under Obama, and issues linked to the financial system, from climate change to inequality, have worsened in the four intervening years.