Big List for Financials, Crypto, Housing & Cannabis Policy

Insight by

The Cowen Insight

Typical of year two in an administration as the president installs his regulators, policy risk is rising across the board for banks, consumer finance, cryptocurrency, housing markets and cannabis.

This raises the cost of doing business while ending government stimulus that limits losses and boosts the economy. Our Big List, which Cowen has been publishing since the Financial Crises struck 13 years ago, tackles more than 60 policies that Team Biden is promoting.

Financial & Industry Implications 

Banks

Rising interest rates are a plus, but fiscal stimulus that limited credit losses is over while Biden’s regulators are looking to raise capital requirements, limit M&A, and boost oversight. Biden’s regulators will also push up big bank capital levels via changes to the annual stress testing regime. We would not be surprised if this was as much as 200 to 300 basis points.

Consumer Finance

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra is blaming collusion for a lack of price competition and targeting any fee that a financial firm charges a customer. Financial fees are then likely to cut fees that the CFPB spotlights. We see him using enforcement to set policy with banks, servicers, credit bureaus, and BNPL in his sights.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is here to stay, though Washington wants it regulated. Stable coins are the priority while the Federal Reserve weighs a digital dollar. The SEC is well along in its plan to treat most tokens as securities, which means most cryptocurrency trading platforms will need to also register with the agency. Expect enforcement and headlines.

Housing

Housing policy is focused on boosting homeownership, which means flattening risk-based prices. We expect the FHA to cut premiums, which is a risk to mortgage insurers. Little focus on supply. We see Fannie and Freddie reform back in the spotlight in 2023.

Cannabis

The Senate remains a roadblock to legalization, though we expect the SAFE Act on cannabis banking will become law this year. The issue is whether it is limited to commercial banking or is expanded to include capital markets access and a fix for the 280E tax treatment.

For the top five policy risks the market is talking about, the top five policy risks not getting enough attention, and more from our Big List, reach out to us directly for information, or if you’re already a member of our Research portal log in.

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