Reining in Wall Street

"In 2010, the President and Congress rejected the self-serving efforts of some two thousand Wall Street lobbyists who spent hundreds of millions of dollars over 18 months to weaken reforms targeting the practices that sparked the financial mess they caused for consumers and taxpayers. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act establishes a landmark Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, gives small investors and homeowners new protections, reins in risky bank derivatives practices, toughens regulation of financial firms and, when necessary, sets up procedures to shut them down instead of bailing them out.

“Without a doubt, the centerpiece of reform is the establishment of the new, independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with only one job: protecting consumers who buy financial products at banks and non-bank lenders, from mortgage companies to payday lenders. While the Bureau will not regulate predatory car dealer practices, a last-minute compromise gives the Federal Trade Commission new authority over car dealers who initiate loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is certainly the biggest consumer protection bill since deposit insurance after the 1929 crash.

“But the CFPB – passed despite the public efforts of all the banks and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to kill it – is not the only grand achievement of the Congress. The bill’s new regulation of the shadow markets for derivatives, for example, was strengthened in conference committee, and that is something that rarely happens.

“Last minute changes to the conference report’s budgetary mechanism appeased several Senators who had opposed an earlier conference report. We thank Majority Leader Reid, Senator Dodd and the Senate leadership for their commitment to meaningful reform that puts consumers and taxpayers ahead of the self-interest of the banks.  We thank Senators Brown (MA), Snowe and Collins for rising above Washington’s partisan divide, standing with the American people in making possible an open and more secure financial future for all Americans.

“Final passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will help consumers and the economy recover from the financial meltdown that cost millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in home and retirement fund value.

“We look forward to working with the President and the Congress to implement these reforms and to continue to seek additional protections for consumers, taxpayers and investors.”

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