On December 9, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) posted a request for comment by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) regarding an overarching review on the bank merger process. (How Should Regulators Review Bank Mergers? blog post, request for information and joint statement from FDIC Director Martin J. Gruenberg and Director Rohit Chopra)

During the best of times, the process by which banks are allowed to acquire or merge with other institutions has made it unnecessarily difficult and complicated for consumer protection organizations to assess, comment and engage in the process.

The ease at which the federal bank regulatory agencies approve such transactions has created an unprecedented level of consolidation in the industry, which has disproportionately hurt access to financial services in low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color.

The two most recent mergers studied by Woodstock have shown fair lending and CRA concerns. This review is in alignment with the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

With concerns such as these in mind, Woodstock welcomes the FDIC’s proposed action to review the bank merger process.