5 things to know about bill rolling back Dodd-Frank

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he’ll soon sign “big legislation” that rolls back part of Dodd-Frank, the Obama-era financial reform law passed following the 2008 housing crash.

Early in his presidency, Mr. Trump had vowed to “do a big number” on Dodd-Frank, a goal supported by many Republicans and the financial industry, which claims the regulations are onerous and burdensome. 

While the bill — called the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act — received overwhelming backing from Republican lawmakers, it also drew support from some Democrats, making it a rare bipartisan effort. On Tuesday, the House voted 258-159 in favor of the bill, with 33 Democrats voting in favor. 

The bill, which President Trump is expected to sign within days, raises the threshold at which banks are deemed so big and important to the financial system that an institution’s collapse would cause major havoc, as the meltdown of investment bank Lehman Brothers did in 2008. Those banks are subject to stricter capital and planning requirements. 

Opponents of the bill and financial industry watchdog say the measure is “unnecessary and poorly timed.”

“It’s like pouring a little gasoline on a smoldering fire,” said Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, a financial reform advocacy group, in a statement. “With bank revenue, profits, bonuses and lending all on the rise, if not breaking records, the claimed basis for deregulation has been objectively proved without merit.”

Here are five things to know about the bill. 

It eases regulations for some big banks

Under Dodd-Frank, banks that are considered a “systemically important financial institution” are subject to more stringent regulation, including undergoing the Federal Reserve’s annual stress tests. That kicked in for banks with more than $50 billion in assets.

The new bill boosts that threshold $250 billion in assets, which means that many of the country’s largest banks will fall below that limit. The number of banks facing the tougher tests will drop from 38 to 12, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Financial firms that will be exempted include Charles Schwab, Suntrust Banks and American Express, among others, according to Height Securities. 

Much of Dodd-Frank is preserved

Even though the bill rolls back parts of the Dodd-Frank Act, it doesn’t completely undo the 2010 measures. For instance, it doesn’t touch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the consumer watchdog that’s unpopular with some Republicans that was created by Dodd-Frank. 

Former congressman Barney Frank, who co-authored the bill, told the Washington Post, “This is not a ‘big number’ on the bill. It’s a small number.”

Smaller banks get relief from the “Volcker rule”

The bill also provides smaller banks with relief from the so-called Volcker Rule, which sought to discourage banks from reckless trading by barring depository institutions from investing in hedge funds and private equity funds, as well as from engaging in proprietary trading. The new bill exempts banks with less than $10 billion in assets from the rule.

Why some Democrats supported it

Some Democrats said they supported the bill because of the relief it offers to smaller banks, such as the rollback of the Volcker Rule for institutions with less than $10 billion in assets. 

But most Democrats voted against the deregulatory measure. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, is one of the bill’s more outspoken critics, calling it the #BankLobbyistAct on Twitter. On Tuesday, she tweeted that she “won’t give up the fight” for more stringent financial industry regulation.

The right to a free credit freeze

The bill includes a provision that will give consumers the right to free credit freezes, an issue that arose after the massive Equifax data breach last year. In many states, consumers had to pay $10 to each credit-reporting agency to protect their personal information after the hack. 

— The Associated Press contributed to the report 

Categories: Business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *