Financial Regulatory Forum

ANALYSIS – Democrats bet politics favor US financial reforms

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – The next round of betting is near in a high-stakes game to tighten U.S. financial regulation and Democrats are wagering heavily on a hunch — that some Republicans cannot afford politically to block reform.

The view is strongly held at the White House, where officials remain confident, despite setbacks, that reforms will be approved by Congress this year, said congressional aides.

President Barack Obama and the Democrats need a boost as they head into November’s midterm congressional elections after disappointing outcomes on healthcare and climate change,

Financial regulation reform — an issue that has been working its way slowly through Congress — could provide that, said some policy analysts, especially with Wall Street’s recent success at making itself more unpopular every day among voters angry over massive bailouts and resurgent bonuses.

By the time a financial regulation bill moves to the Senate floor for a final vote, possibly in April, Democrats will be able to paint Republicans who oppose it as tools of the banks who have been trying for months to squash reforms.

Consumer watchdog debate threatens U.S. financial reform

    By Kevin Drawbaugh

  WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – A  fight over how sharp to make the teeth of a new U.S. watchdog for financial consumers threatened on Friday to derail progress toward tighter bank and capital market regulation, amid much posturing on both sides.

Democrats want an independent agency that can clamp down hard on abusive mortgages and credit cards, but Republicans and bank lobbyists want a tamer beast that won’t threaten profits too much and that answers to a higher master.

The Obama administration’s proposal to create a U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) has emerged as the main impediment to bipartisan agreement on financial regulation reform, one of the White House’s major priorities for 2010.

Talks resume in U.S. Senate on financial reform

WASHINGTON, Feb 11 (Reuters) – In an unusual move that cuts a senior Republican out of the loop, bipartisan U.S. Senate negotiations have resumed on financial regulation reform, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee said on Thursday.

Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, a Democrat, said in a statement that he has begun talks on legislation with Bob Corker, a first-term Republican member of the panel handling a sweeping regulatory overhaul package.

Just six days ago, Dodd said he had hit an impasse with Senator Richard Shelby, the committee’s top Republican, in talks under way for more than a year.

INTERVIEW-Watchdog’s fate in U.S. Senate key to financial reform

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – The tag on U.S. financial regulation reform may as well say “Made on Wall Street” if bank lobbyists manage to gut the Obama administration’s proposed consumer watchdog agency,  Elizabeth Warren said.

The head of a panel monitoring the government’s bank bailout program, Warren is a Harvard Law School professor and a fierce critic of the banking industry. She is also rumored to be front-runner to become the first chief of President Barack Obama’s proposed U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

The CFPA would be a new government regulator devoted to shielding Americans from financial rip-offs like the abusive subprime mortgages at the core of the 2008 financial crisis, and the prolonged recession and bank bailouts that followed.

U.S. Senate banking panel moves to muzzle consumer watchdog

By Kevin Drawbaugh and Rachelle Younglai

WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – The Obama administration’s proposal to create a new U.S. agency to protect financial consumers is fast losing support in the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, said lobbyists and analysts on Tuesday.

In a potential setback for the White House, committee members were said to be talking about reducing the proposed agency’s status, possibly making it instead a division of a new systemic risk regulator or a new super-cop for banks.

Stripped of independent agency status, the watchdog would be less formidable than President Barack Obama’s proposal for a new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency, or CFPA.

U.S. House approves sweeping financial regulation overhaul

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives approved the biggest changes in financial regulation since the Great Depression on Friday, marking a win for the Obama administration and top Democrats in Congress.

The sweeping bill, which will have to be reconciled with any measure the slower-moving Senate might eventually approve, aims to safeguard the financial system and ward off future crises of the type that punished the nation in the past year with its deepest recession since the 1930s.

The House voted 223-202 to pass the 1,279-page bill, which was hammered out in the months since last year’s crisis convinced Democrats of an urgent need for reform. All of the chamber’s Republicans and 27 Democrats voted against bill.

U.S. House poised to back financial rules overhaul

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives was expected to approve the biggest changes in financial regulation since the Great Depression on Friday, marking a win for the Obama administration.

With the Senate due to debate reforms well into next year, the House could complete its legislative work by passing a 1,279-page bill that has been hammered out in the months since 2008′s financial crisis.

The bill still faces potential amendments on the House floor, including one that would gut a key provision — the proposed creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) — and another to change mortgage bankruptcy law.

Financial reforms win procedural vote in US House

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives approved a procedural rule on Wednesday that cleared the way for floor debate to begin on legislation that would give the government broad new powers over large financial firms and tighten bank and capital market regulation.

In a 235-177 vote, Democrats pushed through the rule, with only a handful from their own ranks voting in opposition, after settling differences among themselves over more than 200 proposed amendments. All Republicans voting opposed the rule.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats see financial regulation reform as crucial to preventing a repeat of last year’s financial crisis and the taxpayer bailouts that followed of companies such as AIG and Citigroup.

U.S. industry sharpens attack on financial reforms

By Karey Wutkowski and Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – U.S. industry is freshening its attack on financial reform, pledging more cash to defeat a new consumer agency and raising concerns over a provision that could force secured creditors to shoulder losses.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday unveiled a new radio and television advertising campaign that portrays the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency as a threat to small business and economic growth.

The push comes just one day before the full U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to start debating a massive legislative package that would overhaul financial regulation.

Sen Dodd seeks more muscle in US financial reforms

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd listens to testimony at the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 23, 2009.      REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES POLITICS BUSINESS) By Kevin Drawbaugh
WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Pushing for tougher changes in U.S. financial regulations, the Senate’s top banking legislator on Tuesday proposed a new super-cop to police banks, a systemic risk agency and strong consumer protections.