Can the “Single Point of Entry” strategy be used to recapitalize a systemically important failing bank?
The Single Point of Entry (SPOE)—the FDIC strategy to implement its new Dodd–Frank Orderly Liquidation Authority (OLA)—promises to reduce the financial market turmoil caused by the failure of a large complex financial institution by using parent holding company resources to recapitalize its large failing subsidiary banks. We identify legal and financial impediments that may prevent the use of a SPOE strategy for this purpose. Dodd–Frank does not authorize bank recapitalizations through SPOE or otherwise, and the OLA cannot be invoked unless the failure of a subsidiary puts the parent in danger of default. The imprecise legislative language that authorizes OLA creates a new source of systemic risk. Regulations required to operationalize SPOE will require bank holding companies to issue a substantial volume of new subordinated debt, increasing these institutions’ leverage and financial fragility. Unless the Dodd–Frank Act is amended, OLA could well magnify and not reduce market instability in the next financial crisis.