Financial services group outlines policies to stimulate national economy

The Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) has let Senate lawmakers know what federal policies are needed to spur economic growth.

In a letter submitted April 14 answering a request from the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, FSR members outlined specific policy proposals under the committee’s jurisdiction to examine as congressional members focus on this area. FSR is comprised of 100 of the 150 largest U.S financial institutions, garnering more than $1 trillion in revenue providing services in the banking, finance, insurance, and payment sectors.

“We are hopeful that Republicans and Democrats on the committee and in the Senate can work together this year to make significant progress and overcome some of the more partisan attitudes dominant in today’s political environment,” Francis Creighton, executive vice president of government affairs for FSR, said. “Improving economic growth will help all of our citizens; there shouldn’t be any controversy about that.”

Meant “to encourage the conversation,” the letter includes several suggestions to bolster the nation’s
economy, such as basing targeted regulatory approaches on better measures of enterprise risk.

“Institutions that are subject to enhanced regulation … devote countless resources to complying with regulations that should not reasonably apply to them,” Creighton said. “This takes capital away from small business loans, home purchases and other productive uses” because the institutions have to hire compliance attorneys.

The broken housing finance system also needs to be fixed, Creighton said, who advocates for transitioning from government conservatorship to a system that features more private capital.

FSR is also calling for exploring new and innovative financing options that could harness the liquidity that exists now in the global system so that it can be used to finance economically viable infrastructure projects.

“The committee has significant jurisdiction over infrastructure spending, particularly mass transit spending. The ‘wishlist’ for new infrastructure investments will far outstrip the government’s ability to finance them,” Creighton said.

FSR also supports protecting the financial system by increasing the oversight of federal, state and local agencies, which at times pass overlapping and conflicting cybersecurity rules. FSR “strongly supports rigorous cybersecurity standards,” specifically the framework designed by the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

In the area of payments, FSR wants to see the repeal of federal price controls on debit interchange rates that have not saved customers money on their debit-card transactions.