It’s been a rough few months for Wells Fargo, but the megabank got a rare bit of good news on Monday when the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced that the bank successfully remedied the issues in its 2015 “living will,” which will remove a series of sanctions from the bank.
Back in December, the Federal Reserve and FDIC stated that Wells Fargo’s 2015 living will, the plan for the bank’s “rapid and orderly resolution under bankruptcy in the event of material financial distress or failure of the company, a requirement under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, was not sufficient.
According to the FDIC and the Federal Reserve, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, JP Morgan Chase, and State Street each had “deficiencies” in the living will plans they submitted in 2015.
The FDIC and the Federal Reserve in December that the other four banks remedied their issues, but Wells Fargo still had two outstanding issues, and will therefore be sanctioned.
The sanctions involved restrictions on the growth of international and non-bank activities of Wells Fargo and its subsidiaries. In particular, Wells Fargo was prohibited from establishing international bank entities or acquiring any non-bank subsidiary.
But now, those sanctions are being removed.
According to the FDIC and the Federal Reserve, Wells Fargo “adequately remediated” the deficiencies in its 2015 resolution plan, and will now no longer be subject to the growth restrictions imposed by the agencies last year.
The agencies said that Wells Fargo submitted a revised plan in March 2017 that “adequately remediated” the two remaining deficiencies in its living will plan.
Here’s how the agencies describe the issues:
Legal Entity Rationalization: WFC's Revised Submission reflects that WFC has adequately remedied the legal entity rationalization deficiency identified in the December Letter. WFC has demonstrated that its legal entity rationalization criteria are clear, actionable, and promote the best alignment of legal entities and business lines to improve the firm's resolvability given the film's bridge bank strategy. In particular, the firm provided examples demonstrating how application of the criteria has caused the firm to take action to optimize its organizational structure and also provided an analysis of how the resolvability risks of a bridge bank strategy are addressed by the criteria. The submission also includes formalized governance procedures to ensure the application of the criteria on an ongoing basis.
Operational (Shared Services): WFC's Revised Submission reflects that it has adequately remedied the operational deficiency related to shared services identified in the December Letter. In particular, WFC has incorporated the mapping of critical services into its legal entity rationalization criteria and implementation efforts. The firm has identified areas of potential misalignment between its criteria and its existing servicing model, and the Revised Submission indicates that the firm is taking appropriate action to address these areas.
But the bank is not totally out of the woods yet.
According to the agencies, Wells Fargo is now required to file a new resolution plan by July 1, 2017, which addresses “vulnerabilities to orderly resolution as noted in guidance issued by the agencies last year.”
The agencies add that if the vulnerabilities are not “satisfactorily addressed,” the agencies may determine that the plan is not credible or would not facilitate an orderly resolution under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.