U.S. Bancorp promised federal regulators it would shrink its balance sheet and reduce its risk profile, a move that frees it from more stringent regulations.
(Bloomberg) — U.S. Bancorp promised federal regulators it would shrink its balance sheet and reduce its risk profile, a move that frees it from more stringent regulations.
The nation’s largest regional lender won approval from the Federal Reserve to retain its designation as a Category III bank, it said in a regulatory filing. That means it faces less costly and time-consuming regulations.
The promises to shrink itself came after the lender, which had $665 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, spent months preparing to comply with the rules associated with becoming a so-called Category II bank, a designation given to lenders with more than $700 billion in assets.
“U.S. Bancorp represents that it anticipates taking further actions to reduce its projected risk profile, including further net reductions in assets and increases in regulatory capital,” Ann Misback, secretary for the Federal Reserve Board, said in a letter to U.S. Bancorp’s lawyer. Based on the fact’s the company presented, she said, the board “has approved U.S. Bancorp’s request for complete relief from the commitments.”
A spokesman for U.S. Bancorp declined to comment on the letter. Shares of the Minneapolis-based lender surged 7% to close Tuesday at $34.89, the biggest gain since March.
A Category II designation would have brought stricter liquidity requirements, an annual rather than biennial company-run stress test, and a more complex methodology for determining its capital requirements.
U.S. Bancorp has already taken steps to decrease risk, according to the Fed. That includes reducing its investment portfolio by about $30 billion and completing loan sales and securitizations worth roughly $7 billion, while reducing short-term borrowing on its balance sheet, the Fed said.
In its decision, the central bank also cited a series of proposals it has made that will tighten rules for Category III lenders, such as one that will require such lenders to include unrealized losses on their balance sheet investments in their capital ratios.
U.S. Bancorp agreed to submit to a stricter regulatory regime as part of its deal for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s Union Bank. It has previously said it would be able to comply with the more stringent rules by the end of 2024.
“The regulatory change is very positive for U.S. Bancorp,” Gerard Cassidy, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note to clients. “It will give the company greater flexibility in managing its balance sheet over the next two years.”
–With assistance from Jenny Surane.
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