FDIC includes evaluating crypto risks on 2022 priorities list

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has included evaluating crypto-asset risks on its list of priorities for the year.

Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg announced the regulator's 2022 priorities in a statement, saying each will require close collaboration among the federal banking agencies. The priorities include strengthening the Community Reinvestment Act, addressing financial risks posed by climate change, reviewing the bank merger process and finalizing the Basel III Capital Rule in addition to evaluating risks related to crypto.

The rapid integration of digital assets with the current financial system could pose significant risks to its safety and soundness, according to the FDIC. 

"To the extent such activities can be conducted in a safe and sound manner, the agencies will need to provide robust guidance to the banking industry on the management of prudential and consumer protection risks raised by crypto-asset activities," said the statement.

In October of last year, previous FDIC chair Jelena McWilliams said the agency was focused on creating "clear guidance" for the intersection of crypto and banking. She touted the collaboration among US bank regulators, including a so-called "sprint" on crypto regulation between the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve.

McWilliams has since left her post as chair of the FDIC. In the lead up to her departure, she had significant disagreements with her colleagues over the FDIC's merger review process. Though, her departure statement made no mention of the issue. Gruenberg stepped in to fill the post as of February 5.