Council of Federal Home Loan Banks Applauds GAO Report Findings

WASHINGTON, April 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Council of Federal Home Loan Banks, the public voice of the Federal Home Loan Bank System (FHLBank System), today applauded the findings of a recently published report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the actions of the FHLBanks during the spring 2023 bank failures that disrupted financial markets.

The GAO report provides a fact-based account of the role of the FHLBanks in the period up to and during the failures of Silicon Valley Bank (“SVB”), Signature Bank (“Signature”), and First Republic Bank (“First Republic”) between March and May of 2023. The report further notes that the FHLBanks of San Francisco and New York followed established procedures and worked closely with the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (which regulates the FHLBank System), and the state banking regulators of SVB, Signature, and First Republic as the three banks’ conditions deteriorated.

Additional highlights from the GAO report include:

  • Federal financial regulators did not identify FHLBank advances as a factor of concern in any of the three banks’ safety and soundness.

  • FHLBank New York, FHLBank San Francisco, FDIC, and the Federal Reserve communicated regularly during the period of unprecedented market stress to share supervisory or other information prior to and during the bank failures.

  • Starting on March 9, 2023, the FHLBanks and the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and San Francisco made several efforts, in accordance with their policies and procedures, to help the failing banks pledge collateral to obtain liquidity from the Federal Reserve Banks. The lines of communication were wide open during this period.

  • In cases where FDIC retains outstanding FHLBank advances as the receiver of a failed institution, repayment of advances does not have a direct cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund.

“We appreciate the findings in the GAO’s report, and we believe they validate what we have been saying for a year: that the FHLBanks acted as a critical shock absorber for the financial system during a period of unprecedented turbulence in the spring of 2023,” said Ryan Donovan, president and CEO of the Council of Federal Home Loan Banks. “The two most important takeaways from this report are that the FHLBanks provided crucial liquidity to their members in direct accordance with the structure and role laid out for them by Congress and that the FHLBanks worked tirelessly in a coordinated fashion with primary financial regulators to ensure the safety and soundness of the U.S. banking system. It is also worth noting that the GAO report affirms that advances provided to the failed banks had a very limited, if any, direct impact on the Deposit Insurance Fund.”

About: The FHLBanks are 11 regionally based, wholesale suppliers of lendable funds to financial institutions of all sizes and many types, including community banks, credit unions, commercial and savings banks, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions. The FHLBanks are cooperatively owned by member financial institutions in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The steady supply of lendable funds from FHLBanks helps U.S. lenders invest in local needs including housing, jobs, and economic growth. The Council of FHLBanks represents all 11 FHLBanks.

Council of FHLBanks
Peter E. Garuccio
202-955-0002 ext. 14