New FDIC Chairman: Crypto a Top Priority for 2022

On Monday, Feb. 7, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Acting Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg included cryptocurrency risk assessment as a top priority for the agency to consider in 2022 — and probably beyond.

The FDIC will also work to strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act, address financial risks caused by climate change, review the bank merger process, and finalize the Basel III capital rule.

“The primary mission of the FDIC is to maintain stability and public confidence in the U.S. financial system,” Gruenberg said in his statement. “The FDIC fulfills this mission through its responsibilities for deposit insurance, banking supervision, and the orderly resolution of failing banks, including systemically important financial institutions.

“Banking supervision encompasses safety and soundness and consumer protection, both of which are essential to this important mission,” he said. “While there are many pressing issues the FDIC will need to address this year, the top priorities are: the Community Reinvestment Act; climate change; the Bank Mergers Act; crypto-assets; and the Basel III capital rule.

All of these priorities “will require close collaboration among federal banking agencies,” Gruenberg said.

Related: Report: Federal financial regulators should ensure the protection of personal data

In January, a review of five U.S. financial regulators tasked with protecting consumers’ personally identifiable information (PII) found that four failed to follow key practices, such as documenting how they minimized collection and use of this data by computer systems.

In the report “Federal Financial Regulators Should Take Additional Actions to Enhance Their Protection of Personal Information”, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), a congressional watchdog, recommended that financial regulators better ensure the protection of PII they collect, use and share.

The GAO commended the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for having an internal team that reviews each new PII collected to better ensure that the use of this data is minimized.

A review of practices by the FDIC, Federal Reserve, National Credit Union Administration, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency found that while these regulators have established practices to protect privacy, provide staff training, and implement incident response procedures, they did not apply essential procedures in other areas of privacy protection.

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