On September 8, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a report (Report) that they were required to prepare pursuant to section 620 of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd–Frank). The primary purpose of the Report is to inform Congress concerning the investment and other activities that a banking entity may engage in under federal and state law, so it provides a useful summary of current regulatory framework for banks. The Report is also required to include recommendations as to (1) whether each activity or investment has or could have a negative effect on the safety and soundness of the banking entity or the US financial system; (2) the appropriateness of the conduct of each activity or type of investment by banking entities; and (3) additional restrictions as may be necessary to address risks to safety and soundness arising from the activities or types of investments.

Among the more noteworthy recommendations in the Report are a recommendation by the Board that Congress should repeal the authority of financial holding companies to engage in merchant banking activities, and a statement by the OCC that it will be soliciting comment on whether the OCC should treat copper as a base metal rather than a precious metal, define “coin and bullion” in a manner that excludes copper cathodes, and conclude that buying and selling copper is generally not part of or incidental to the business of banking.

The text of the Report is available here.