The doomed Grayson/Clay/Miller CFPA amendment

By Felix Salmon
October 20, 2009
Mike Konczal has discovered an interesting amendment to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency bill, which would force the new agency to do an annual "financial autopsy" on a year's worth of bankruptcies and foreclosures, to see whether any financial products turn out to have been particularly to blame. If there are, the CFPA would then be authorized to ban such products going forwards.

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Mike Konczal has discovered an interesting amendment to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency bill, which would force the new agency to do an annual “financial autopsy” on a year’s worth of bankruptcies and foreclosures, to see whether any financial products turn out to have been particularly to blame. If there are, the CFPA would then be authorized to ban such products going forwards.

It’s a great idea, so long as the team of forensic accountants and financial experts is genuinely independent and is well schooled in the use and misuse of statistical data. But as Mike points out, the existence of such a team would make the relationship between the CFPA and financial institutions even more adversarial than it already looks set to be. And as TED points out, that’s both necessary and impossible.

The current administration’s plans for regulatory reform started out weak, in an attempt to make their passage politically palatable. Since then, they’ve only got weaker. Which means that the Grayson/Clay/Miller amendment simply ain’t gonna happen, essential as it might be to preclude evil and predatory new products from being introduced in a manner designed to circumvent the CFPA.

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