5 Stocks To Buy As House Votes To Soften Bank Regulations

Late on May 22, the House of Representatives voted to pass a bill loosening Obama-era regulations on the banking industry. The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act not only eases rules for banks, it sets the stage for further deregulation by multiple agencies. President Trump is widely expected to sign the bill into law before Memorial Day. 

According to House Speaker Paul Ryan, the new bill is likely to significantly benefit community banks. However, apart from suburban and rural banks, the bill is also expected to benefit regional and medium-sized institutions. With additional rate hikes also around the corner, investing in select bank stocks looks like a smart option.   

House Approves Bill Easing Bank Rules

On Tuesday, the House voted 258 to 159 to approve the bipartisan Senate-drafted legislation which significantly deregulates the banking industry. The bill raised the assets threshold for banks which are considered too important to fail from $50 billion to $250 billion. In doing so, it excluded all banks except the largest from stringent regulatory supervision.

As a result, the likes of SunTrust Banks, Inc. (STI - Free Report) and BB&T Corporation (BBT - Free Report) will no longer have to submit themselves to periodic stress tests or submit plans known as living wills. These plans outline how a bank proposes to be wound up in case it faces bankruptcy.

The bill also cuts down mortgage loan data reporting requirements for most banks. New measures have been introduced for those taking student loans. Additionally, credit reporting agencies will now be required to offer credit monitoring services at no charge. 

Further Deregulation on the Anvil

The new legislation also gives regulators greater discretion to decide at what point banks holding $100 billion to $250 billion in assets would have to undergo stress tests for capital adequacy. Such a need would, of course, only arise in case another financial crisis takes place.

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