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Regulators making 'good progress' on Volcker Rule 2.0: Fed's Powell

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WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said banking regulators are making headway on efforts to streamline Volcker Rule compliance, but he declined to offer any specifics.

The agencies proposed revisions a year ago meant to simplify how firms comply with the trading ban, but the plan met fierce pushback from financial institutions that opposed the idea of a new accounting standard to determine which trades are prohibited.

Officials have discussed a number of possible steps to address the concerns, including implementing less controversial reforms or submitting a new proposal. Last month, Bloomberg News reported the agencies were considering dropping the so-called "accounting prong."

Powell said the agencies were making "good progress" but did not give a time frame for the next step.

“We put out a proposal on Volcker some time ago and we got a lot of comments and we’re reviewing them carefully,” Powell said at a press conference held after the Federal Open Market Committee’s regular meeting Wednesday. “I know they’re making good progress, but I don’t really have a date though.”

The 2018 proposed revamp was intended to simplify compliance with the crisis-era regulations outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act, but was met with fierce pushback from financial institutions who argued that a new accounting standard to designate certain trades as proprietary would be even more burdensome.

In March, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Jelena McWilliams floated the idea of extending certain exemptions from the trading ban for banks with foreign funds that were not considered a covered fund, which would give the regulators more time to work on a broader re-proposal of the more substantive changes.

Powell was also asked about Stephen Moore, the commentator whom President Trump has backed for a seat on the Fed board. Moore has since become the subject of intense scrutiny over reports that he owed back taxes and had made detrimental comments about women and cities in the Midwest.

In an interview Tuesday with CNBC, Moore said the biggest problem he sees in the economy is “what has happened to male earnings.”

“They've been declining and that is, I think, a big problem," he said.

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Volcker Rule Regulatory relief Regulatory reform Jerome Powell Federal Reserve FDIC