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Ranking Member Waters Delivers Opening Statement During Full Committee Hearing on Oversight of Prudential Regulators: “Committee Democrats Are the Only Ones Working Around the Clock to Get Answers for the American People and Hold the Bank CEOs to Task”

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following statement at a full Committee hearing entitled, “Oversight of Prudential Regulators.”

Good morning, everyone. First, I’d like to welcome our banking and credit union regulators who are here to testify before our Committee today. On the heels of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and most recently, First Republic, it has been the swift action by regulators in conjunction with the Biden Administration that have not only protected depositors from harm, but ensured the safety of the U.S. banking system. Americans can continue to rest assured that despite the recent events, their money is safe, and that none of the actions taken by our regulators will cost U.S. taxpayers a single dime.

Recently released reports from our nation’s regulators confirm what Democrats have long been sounding the alarm on. A toxic combination of Trump era deregulation and mismanagement by irresponsible bank executives and board members caused the recent bank failures. While regulators must be more aggressive in their supervision of banks, it is the responsibility of bank executives, first and foremost, to take corrective action when regulators identify deficiencies. Since 2018, executives from both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature received multiple warnings, but they ignored those warnings and did not take action. These bank CEOs didn’t just run their banks into the ground, they also put our nation’s depositors and entire economy in jeopardy.

Unfortunately, rather than take action to hold these bank CEOs accountable, and working in good faith to get to the bottom of the recent failures, Republicans are using this hearing as an opportunity to point the finger at regulators. Republicans do not appear interested in crafting legislation that would address the regulatory gaps and weaknesses exposed by these recent failures. Instead, they have proposed a slew of bills focused on so-called “transparency” – completely and willfully ignoring the fact that regulators have published extensive reports and shared other materials that take a deep dive into the failures and the emergency response. In addition, several of the Republican bills could limit emergency tools regulators just used to stabilize the situation, making it harder for them to respond to future emergencies.

Moreover, our Committee will finally hold its first hearing with the Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank executives tomorrow after Democrats’ repeated pleas to Republicans, but I remain deeply disappointed that we are holding such an important hearing at the subcommittee level. This means fewer members will be there to get answers for their constituents, fewer questions, and a shorter hearing. Unfortunately, my request to Chair McHenry to hold this at the full committee has not been fulfilled. 

This is a stark difference from the leadership Democrats have demonstrated during this time. Through briefings, letters, and policy solutions, Committee Democrats are the only ones working around the clock to get answers for the American people and hold the bank CEOs to task. I urge my Republican colleagues to finally join us in this effort.

So, I look forward to this hearing. Thank you. I yield back the balance of my time.


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