- Source: federalregister.gov
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Executive Order Highlights:
On July 9, 2021, the Biden administration released an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy (EO). Among other actions, the EO directed the federal banking agencies and the Department of Justice to examine competition and merger and acquisition activity in the financial services sector. The EO directs federal agencies to:
- Revitalize merger oversight and antitrust enforcement under the Bank Merger Act and the Bank Holding Company Act, with a specific focus on effects on minority and low- or moderate-income communities;
- Develop rules under Section 1033 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act to facilitate consumer financial transaction data portability;
- Enforce the prohibitions on Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts and Practices (UDAAPs) in financial services so that unlawful actions do not suppress competition; and
- Curtail the use of non-compete clauses that may inhibit worker mobility.
Last fall, the Department of Justice requested public comment on revising the 1995 Bank Merger Competitive Review guidelines. It is unclear whether the EO will affect the issuance of updates to the guidelines, which were drafted long before the rise of digital banking and discount the impact of thrift and nonbank competitors on competition in local banking markets.
 For additional information on analysis of mergers under the Bank Holding Company Act, the Bank Merger Act, or the Home Owners’ Loan Act, please see https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/atr/legacy/2014/10/09/308893.pdf.