Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending October 31, 2015; Rep. Maxine Waters Issues Report on Diversity at Fed. Financial Agencies, Incl. the Board

[Update 8-March-16: Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and the Tri-Caucus issued a press release (dated 8-Jan-16) discussing the receipt of letters from the federal financial regulatory agencies.]

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending October 31, 2015, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Regulations and Policies Margin and Capital Requirements for Covered Swap Entities — (1) interagency final rule to establish minimum margin and capital requirements for swaps and security-based swaps that are not cleared through a clearinghouse, in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act, and (2) request for comment on interim final rule to exempt from margin requirements certain non-cleared swaps, such as those used for hedging purposes by commercial end-user counterparties.

-Approved, October 30, 2015

Regulations Q and YY — publication for comment of proposed rule to require U.S. global systemically important banking organizations and the U.S. operations of systemically important foreign banks to meet a new long-term debt requirement and a new total loss-absorbing capacity requirement.

-Approved, October 30, 2015

In addition, on November 5, 2015, the Board permanently barred Mr. Rohit Bansal, former investment banker at Goldman Sachs & Co. from participating in the banking industry.

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Separately, and also on November 5, 2015, Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, and the Tri-Caucus, issued a report, “The Dodd-Frank Act Five Years Later: Diversity in the Financial Services Agencies.” In addition, the Committee Democrats issued a letter, with the report, to the agency heads, requesting a response by December 7, 2015.

Notably, but sadly unsurprisingly, the report found that across the federal financial agencies, black/African American employees, overall, received lower performance management scores than white employees (see graphs on page 12 of the report, especially the one for the Board at the bottom of the page).

In addition, the report had specific comments for each agency. I will quote the portion of the report relating to the Board below.

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB)

Empirically, the FRB workforce was among the most diverse of all the Agencies, both generally and with respect to the senior management. In racial, ethnic, and gender categories, its workforce diversity was found to exceed the CLF. However, the OIG found several areas where the FRB has failed to adhere to statutory requirements.

Procedurally, the FRB did not follow the statutory instructions to name the newly-established diversity office, “the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion,” and instead opted to call it the “Office of Diversity and Inclusion” (“OD&I”).

Substantively, the OIG also recommended that the OD&I Director ensure that No-FEAR Act training is offered on a regular basis, is tailored to the FRB, and includes EEO and diversity and inclusion topics in accordance with the Board’s No-FEAR Act Written Training Plan.[48. Federal Reserve Board, Office of Inspector General, THE BOARD CAN ENHANCE ITS DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION EFFORTS, (2015-MO-B006, Mar. 31, 2015), 54.] Further, the OIG suggested that such trainings be updated as necessary to address any deficiencies identified, and that attendance records be retained.[49. Id.] The OIG noted that the EEOC’s MD-715 “guidance advocates that all employees receive information about the EEO program through training on the EEO process and the protections afforded to employees, related policy statements, and reasonable accommodation procedures.”[50. Id. at 53.] Such diversity and inclusion training is critical to the proper functioning of the human resources office within the agency. Notably, the OIG found that the “data collected [for the OD&I’s MD-715 processes] were not validated against the employee electronic records stored in HR” during the audit period from FY 2011 through FY 2013. The lack of controls for diversity data found at the FRB by the OIG undermines the integrity of the agency’s diversity and inclusion programs, and may in fact be contrary to required EEOC reporting regulations.

Ultimately, the FRB’s implementation of the Section 342 requirements suggests to the Committee staff a tendency toward maintaining the status-quo with respect to workforce diversity efforts. “Although the FRB established the OD&I to include an OMWI function in response to the Dodd-Frank Act requirements, according to the OD&I official, the OD&I has not significantly modified its approach because these activities were already being covered prior to the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act.”[51. Id. at 55.] Also, like several other agencies, as of the date of the OIG’s report, the OD&I had not finalized a formal set of diversity and inclusion standards, as required by Section 342.

[Author’s note: This blog covered some parts of these audit reports from the Inspectors General, especially that for the Board.]

Federal Financial Agency Report Number Internet Link Comment
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Audit report 2015-MO-C-002 http://oig.federalreserve.gov/reports/cfpb-diversity-inclusion-mar2015.pdf American Banker article about racial disparities of CFPB staff evaluations.
Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency OIG-15-017 http://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/ig/Audit%20Reports%20and%20Testimonies/OIG-15-017.pdf
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Eval-15-001 http://www.fdicoig.gov/reports15/15-001EV.pdf
Federal Housing Finance Agency EVL-2015-003 http://fhfaoig.gov/Content/Files/EVL-2015-003.pdf
Federal Reserve Board Audit report 2015-MO-B-006 http://oig.federalreserve.gov/reports/board-diversity-inclusion-mar2015.pdf What is left out of the report is significant: Artis v. Bernanke (now Yellen). Also 12 U.S.C. 244 needs Congressional attention to ensure that Title 5 of the U.S. Code applies to the Board; the Board’s record-keeping on, and reporting of, its internal management is lax.
National Credit Union Administration OIG-14-09 http://www.ncua.gov/about/Leadership/CO/OIG/Documents/OIG201409EqualOpportunityDiversity.pdf Click for blog post on this report
Securities and Exchange Commission 528 http://www.sec.gov/oig/reportspubs/528.pdf Report is thorough, thoughtful, and well done.
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