Washington Watch: 5 issues bankers should monitor in 2024

Regulatory issues are building in the nation's capital, thanks to continuing ripples from the 2023 banking crisis and more recent credit troubles. M&A activity, all but ice-bound for many institutions, could thaw in later 2024. The definition of 'banking' will come under scrutiny as risks converge. Fintech will face more growing pains. Fair-lending scrutiny will play to election politics. And a sleeper issue could undermine the power of national bank charters.

Handicapping Congress and worrying about issues like “Will there ever be a Biden Comptroller of the Currency who isn’t an ‘acting’ one?” can simply spin your wheels. Nonetheless, many real-world initiatives affecting financial services may come together in 2024 in Washington.

Here are five to watch as the year begins, based on interviews with experienced Washington hands and additional research. This is a companion article to “2024 Trends: Prepare for Disruptive Activism from a Politicized CFPB.”

1. M&A policies may ease, as 2024 progresses, out of necessity

During the banking crisis in the first quarter of 2023, all the rules seemed to be paused for a time and damage control was the goal. In time, the hubbub over the crisis seemed to die down, the hearings were over, the agency reports were issued.


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