Press Releases

Wexton Introduces Legislation to Ensure Pandemic Preparedness and Safeguard U.S. Financial Security

Washington, D.C. -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) introduced legislation that would improve coordination and communication among financial regulators in order to better protect U.S. economic and financial systems in the event of a global pandemic. The Interagency Pandemic Guidance for Consumers Act would require swift interagency regulatory guidance for financial institutions, as well as require regulators to convene joint public-private exercises every five years to simulate a severe global pandemic. 

“The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need for increased coordination and communication between regulators and financial institutions,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “We need to have plans in place that address operational issues like absenteeism and telework availability. Taking these simple, but important, steps will help safeguard the financial well-being of our families and ensure the financial security of the U.S.”

The legislation would improve interagency coordination by requiring prudential regulators to issue guidance encouraging financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers affected by pandemics and major disasters. 

The bill also requires regulators to carry out joint simulations with financial institutions in order to test the resiliency of the financial sector in the event of a pandemic or major disaster. Joint global pandemic exercises have not been done since 2007, when more than 2,700 U.S. financial services organizations participated in a 3-week simulation. 

The full text of the bill can be found here.