CAPITAL PLANNING ISSUES
Here are several issues that will impact your capital planning as your look over the next five year planning horizon.
Regulatory agencies adopted a final rule to exclude community banks from the Volcker Rule, consistent with the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The Volcker Rule generally restricts banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading and from owning, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with hedge funds or private equity funds. Under the final rule, which is unchanged from the proposal, community banks with $10 billion or less in total consolidated assets and total trading assets and liabilities of 5 percent or less of total consolidated assets are excluded from the Volcker Rule.
Agencies simplify regulatory capital rules (7/9/2019)
Regulatory agencies issued a final rule that reduces regulatory burden by simplifying several requirements in the agencies' regulatory capital rules. The final rule simplifies the capital treatment for mortgage servicing assets, certain deferred tax assets, investments in the capital instruments of unconsolidated financial institutions, and minority interest. Under current rule, mortgage-servicing assets, deferred tax assets, and investments in financial institutions are in aggregate limited to 15 percent of CET1 and 10 percent of CET1 individually. Under the final rule, the aggregate “15 percent of CET1” limit is eliminated and the individual thresholds are increased to 25 percent of CET1. The final rule also would allow bank holding companies and savings and loan holding companies to redeem common stock without prior approval unless otherwise required. Proposed revisions to the definition of high-volatility commercial real estate exposure, which were made in the notice of proposed rulemaking, are being addressed in a separate rulemaking. The final rule will be effective as of April 1, 2020, for the amendments to simplify capital rules.
Impact to Community Banks: Additional data on impact to Community Banks (i.e., less than $10 billion in Total Assets):
67% of Community Banks reported no MSRs in Q1 2019;
Additional 21% of Community Banks fell under the original 10% of CET1 threshold; and
An additional 10% of Community Banks will fall under the new 25% of CET1 threshold.
In total, 98% of Community Banks will fall under the 25% of CET1 threshold.
Final Rulemaking modifying their regulatory capital rules and providing an option to phase in the new accounting standard for credit losses, known as "Current Expected Credit Losses" (CECL) methodology. The final rule allows banking organizations to phase in the day-one regulatory capital effects of CECL adoption throughout three years. The final rule also revises the agencies' regulatory capital rule and other rules to reflect the new accounting standard.
Regulatory agencies invited public comment on a proposal that would simplify regulatory capital requirements for qualifying community banking organizations, as required by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The proposal would provide regulatory burden relief to qualifying community banking organizations by giving them an option to calculate a simple leverage ratio, rather than multiple measures of capital adequacy. Under the proposal, a community banking organization would be eligible to elect the community bank leverage ratio framework if it has less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets, limited amounts of certain assets and off-balance sheet exposures, and a community bank leverage ratio greater than 9 percent. A qualifying community banking organization that has chosen the proposed framework would not be required to calculate the existing risk-based and leverage capital requirements. Such a community banking organization would be considered to have met the capital ratio requirements to be well capitalized for the agencies’ prompt corrective action rules provided it has a community bank leverage ratio greater than 9 percent.
Recent Regulatory Developments:
Updated to add final Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and final due date - April 9, 2019 - for comments.
Community bank leverage ratio proposal:
The federal banking regulators have issued a proposal for comment on implementing the new Community Bank Leverage Ratio as required under Section 201 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (May 2018).
Under the proposal, a community banking organization would be eligible to elect the community bank leverage ratio framework if:
Less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets
Total off-balance sheet exposures < 25% of total assets
Total trading assets and liabilities < 5% of total assets
Limited amounts of certain assets such as deferred tax assets, and
Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR) greater than 9 percent.
A qualifying community banking organization that has chosen the proposed framework would not be required to calculate the existing risk-based and leverage capital requirements. Such a community banking organization would be considered to have met the capital ratio requirements to be well capitalized for the agencies’ prompt corrective action rules provided it has a CBLR greater than 9 percent.
CBLR Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Note: NPR finally issued 2/2/2019)
Due date for comments: April 9, 2019
Calculation of the CBLR:
CBLR = Tangible Equity Capital divided by Average Total Consolidated Assets
Key considerations by federal banking regulators in designing CBLR framework:
CBLR framework is intended to be available to a meaningful number of well capitalized banking organizations with less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets.
CBLR should be calibrated to not reduce the amount of capital currently held by qualifying community banking organizations.
Federal bank regulatory agencies intend for banking organizations with higher risk profiles to remain subject to the generally applicable capital requirements to ensure that such banking organizations hold capital commensurate with the risk of their exposures and activities.
Federal bank regulatory agencies would maintain the supervisory actions applicable under the PCA (Prompt Corrective Action) framework and other statutes and regulations based on the capital ratios and risk profile of a banking organization.
CBLR framework is intended to provide meaningful regulatory compliance burden relief and be relatively simple for banking organizations to implement.
Today many Community Banks hold capital at levels that will meet or exceed the requirements under this proposal while also exceeding the current capital regulations significantly. However, under the CBLR proposal, a Community Bank will be committing to holding this higher level of capital.
If a Community Bank already exceeds this minimum, why not simply designate that you will operate under this new proposal?
Key questions or issues for consideration before you make this election:
What is the cost burden of complying with the current risk-based capital rules?
Will you need any of the excess levels of capital (i.e., above current capital rule requirements) in the future for balance sheet growth, acquisitions or returning capital to shareholders?
How difficult or costly will it be to opt back out of the CBLR framework at a later date?
The proposal commits community banks to carry 2 to 3 percentage points of higher capital levels. While the simplicity of this approach may be beneficial, an important consideration is whether this CBLR proposal becomes a constraint on your capital management flexibility.
Analytical Comparison: While simplistic, a quick means to assess whether a Community Bank should take advantage of the CBLR election is to compare the cost burden of risk-based capital compliance to returning capital to shareholders (or another alternative is to leverage the additional CBLR capital with earning assets).
If a Community Bank were to dividend excess capital to shareholders, there would be a loss of interest income from the earning assets that are liquidated. Let’s assume that this yield = 3.50%. And let’s assume that the Community Bank can dividend up capital equal to 2% of total assets rather than committing to hold that extra capital under the CBLR proposal. For a $25 million total asset Community Bank, this results in lost income of approximately $18 thousand ($500 thousand in excess capital times opportunity cost of 3.50%). Does a $25 million Community Bank spend over $18 thousand annually in compliance of risk-based capital reporting? As the size of the Community Bank increases, this opportunity cost rises. For a $500 million total asset Community Bank, the opportunity cost increases to $350 thousand. Does a Community Bank of this size spend that much on risk-based capital compliance and reporting?
Final Phase-in of Capital Rules Occurs January 1, 2019.
How does your 2019 or Long Term Planning Scenarios stack up against the Fed's Capital Stress Testing Scenarios?