Mnuchin Clarifies, Expounds Views on Volcker, GSEs

As reported by Bloomberg, Secretary Nominee Steve Mnuchin offered written responses to questions posed by members of the Senate Finance Committee on topics including the Volcker Rule and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). Mnuchin's nomination was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, moving forward his nomination to be voted on by the full Senate. The committee's vote of approval was held under a controversial suspension of committee rules, prompted by a boycott of the vote by Democrats on the committee. In those written responses, Mnuchin clarified that even banks lacking a government backstop should be prohibited from making risky bets on the market with their own capital. "A legal distinction between the insured and non-insured entity is an important factor in eliminating risky activities within the institution that has insured deposits," Mnuchin said. "I do not believe that the uninsured entity should be able to perform proprietary trading."

Additionally, Mnuchin offered further details on his thoughts regarding housing finance reform, including the role of GSEs. Mnuchin wrote in response to questions from Senator Sherrod Brown that "any solution will be dependent upon the GSEs being capitalized properly and other such controls that eliminate risk to taxpayers." His response indicates that there may be a role for GSEs under the Trump administration, though it is unclear what form that role may take.

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