House Committee on Financial Services

Chair: Maxine Waters

A

Grade for the 116th Congress*

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

10 Investigative Oversight Hearings

69 Policy/Legislative Hearings

116 Total Hearings

Last updated: Dec. 6, 2020, 9:38 a.m.

Often known as the banking committee, House Financial Services has sway over the vast banking, credit card, securities and insurance industries, as well as federal housing policy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. With a reputation for being a lucrative source of campaign contributions for its Wall Street-friendly members, it also attracts liberals and populists interested in consumer protection against predatory and deceptive practices and in curbing the power of the big banks. The post-Great Recession financial reform bill known as Dodd-Frank came through this committee. It monitors the Federal Reserve, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as such housing and consumer protection laws as the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Housing and Community Development Act. With some 60 members, it is one of the largest committees in the House. It has six subcommittees: consumer protection and financial institutions; diversity and exclusion; housing, community development and insurance; investor protection, entrepreneurship and capital markets; national security, international development and monetary policy; and oversight and investigations.

Its large membership and responsibilities for such a major swath of the American economy have not, however, led to particularly ambitious hearing schedule during the past few Congresses. From 2013 to 2018 under chair Jeb Hensarling (R, Tex.), the committee averaged about 119 hearings per Congress, fewer than many other broad-based House committees. During that same period, it averaged six investigative oversight hearings per Congress, a figure roughly on par with many other large committees that don’t have a special commitment to investigations. In the 116th Congress (2019-20) under California Democrat Maxine Waters, the committee held hearings at a considerably faster pace than in the previous three Congresses, although the absolute numbers were about average due to the pandemic-shortened schedule.

In the 116th Congress, the committee held nine investigative oversight hearings, the second most in the period and considerably more than the average for the three previous Congresses. In March of 2019 it held the first of three hearings over the next year into Wells Fargo bank’s repeated consumer abuses, in April it looked into the status of the giant banks 10 years after they helped trigger the Great Recession, and in June it challenged the SunTrust-BB&T bank merger. In July it looked at the implications and impact of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, and in October on Facebook’s impact on the housing and banking sectors. In February 2020 it held a hearing entitled, “Fake It Till They Make It: How Bad Actors Use Astroturfing to Manipulate Regulators, Disenfranchise Consumers and Subvert the Rulemaking Process.” And in September 2020 it held a virtual hearing to examine whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency's pandemic policies were hurting renters and homebuyers for the benefit of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant government-backed mortgage bund


Chairs

111th Congress: Barney Frank (D-MA)

112th Congress: Spencer Bachus (R-AL)

113th Congress: Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

114th Congress: Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

115th Congress: Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

116th Congress: Maxine Waters (D-CA)


Current Congress

We are 100% of the way through the 116th Congress

House Committee on Financial Services

10 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 100% historical maximum
69 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 100% historical maximum
116 Total Hearings; 92% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 6 86 144 91% A-
112th Congress 10 84 156 100% A
113th Congress 4 69 103 68% D+
114th Congress 7 76 126 83% B
115th Congress 7 65 127 78% C+
116th Congress* 10 69 116 102% A
Historical average 7.3 74.8 128.7

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

Number of Hearings

--- Historical Average

Hearings held by the
House Committee on Financial Services

Date Hearing Title Committee Category