Financial Regulatory Forum

ANALYSIS – Obama tackles Wall Street reform in next big push

By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON, March 25 (Reuters) – Fresh from his victory on landmark healthcare legislation, U.S. President Barack Obama is ready to take on Wall Street.

In the same week Obama signed into law his sweeping healthcare plan, his administration began a publicity blitz to sell his proposal to reshape the financial regulatory system.

Obama held a strategy session on Wednesday with two Democrats, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd and House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, who are leading the effort to pass the plan in Congress.

Democrats hope the healthcare win will lend momentum to the push on financial reform, an issue the White House hopes will be a political winner as the party seeks to stave off potential losses in the November congressional elections.

“The good news is that, whereas the Republican message machine managed to convince a lot of Americans that the healthcare bill was bad for them, I think they will have a harder time with the financial reform,” said Princeton University professor Alan Blinder. “Rightly or wrongly everybody hates Wall Street and the banks right now.”

ANALYSIS-Deck chairs secure aboard USS Financial Regulation

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) – The big U.S. government agencies in charge of policing banks and markets, despite being excoriated over the severe 2008-2009 financial crisis, have successfully dodged a major structural shake-up.

While Congress may yet clamp down on the financial industry from Wall Street to Main Street, a top-to-bottom overhaul of the nation’s regulatory apparatus — which seemed like a certainty a year and a half ago — is not going to happen.

As political reality has tempered reform proposals, plans to reconfigure a patchwork bureaucracy stitched together over decades have faded from view, with just one agency closure still on the negotiating table.

SCENARIOS-Three routes to swaps reform in U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) – The path to government regulation of the $450 trillion market in over-the-counter derivatives must wind through the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees futures markets.

The journey began in the House of Representatives in December with the passage of a bill that would bring OTC derivatives under government regulation for the first time.

The Senate Banking Committee is also involved. A bill unveiled on Monday by its chairman calls for new rules for the market, which is dominated by a handful of Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

COLUMN-Volcker Rule unexpectedly revived by Dodd bill: John Kemp

– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

By John Kemp

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) – Paul Volcker’s proposed ban on banks’ proprietary trading or owning hedge funds or private equity funds has been unexpectedly revived in the financial regulation bill published by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd yesterday.

The Volcker Rule’s surprise survival comes despite fierce opposition from the banking industry and after many commentators had written it off as a short-term political gimmick in the wake of the shock election defeat in Massachusetts. Dodd himself had appeared lukewarm.

Bipartisan US financial reform deal uncertain – Sen. Dodd

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) – Senator Christopher Dodd, chief negotiator for the Democrats in U.S. Senate talks on financial regulation reform, said on Friday he was uncertain whether bipartisan support for a compromise bill could be achieved.

With one of the Obama administration’s top domestic policy priorities in the balance, Dodd sounded wary but hopeful following weeks of discussions that have snagged on a proposal to create a new financial consumer watchdog.

“While we do not have a bipartisan agreement yet at all, we’re getting there, we’re trying. I don’t know if it will happen or not,” Dodd said in remarks on the Senate floor.

U.S. Senator Shelby counters on financial consumer watchdog

By Kevin Drawbaugh and Rachelle Younglai

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) – A senior Republican U.S. senator has made at least two counter-offers to Democrats on creating a new government watchdog for financial consumers, Reuters learned on Monday from aides and documents.

Senator Richard Shelby proposed making the watchdog a division of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, with some rule-writing power and a director who is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, documents showed.

Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, also has proposed setting up a three-member consumer protection council, said a congressional aide.

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,

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.

Republican Gregg sees common ground in U.S. Senate on financial regulation

 WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – The top Republican on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee said on Friday there is common ground with Democrats on financial regulation legislation but the White House stance on consumer protection remains an obstacle.

“There’s a lot of common ground here. This really isn’t a partisan issue. This is an extremely complex exercise in getting governance right and the only really big philosophical difference here is how you protect consumers,” Senator Judd Gregg said in an interview with CNBC.

Judd was speaking a day after Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, a Democrat, said he was discussing legislation with Senator Bob Corker, a first-term Republican member of the panel.

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.

  •