IndyStar: Out of the Casino, Into the Open
Ronnetta Spalding, of AFR’s Indianapolis, Indiana field office, had this Op-Ed placed in the IndyStar recently. Click here to go to the IndyStar website.
House-Senate conferees have agreed on a Wall Street reform bill that is a clear victory for the people and a defeat for those who defended the status quo. It has been more than two years since the collapse of the economy. Eight million American jobs and more than 300,000 Hoosier jobs later, it is long past time to act.
This bill does not get us all the way there. It does not close off all avenues for risky gambling, and it does not provide the bedrock assurance we need that we will never again face financial institutions deemed too big to fail. But it does offer many important reforms that are a huge step in restoring economic stability.
It puts common-sense rules in place such as “No gambling for your account with our money” and, “You have to tell the truth about the mortgage you are giving someone.”
Specifically, the bill provides:
Landmark consumer protection to prevent tricks and traps related to mortgages, payday loans, credit cards and checking accounts. It will also offer help for those abused by predatory lenders and limit banks from charging businesses hefty fees for debit-card purchases.
The $600 trillion derivatives market will now operate in the open, so regulators can catch problems — like the credit default swaps that brought down the economy — before they happen. Most deals will have to be backed up by a separate clearinghouse and traded on public exchanges. Participants will have to prove they have the money to cover their bets.
Elimination of taxpayer bailouts: The government will now have the authority to step in and safely shut down any failing financial firm, not just banks.
Prevention of lenders from making loans that borrowers cannot repay, and banning lenders from receiving kickbacks for steering people into high rate loans when they qualify for lower rates. Consumers are protected from abusive loan fees and penalties for prepaying.
Other provisions include strong investor protections, holding credit rating agencies accountable, opening the Federal Reserve’s books and stipulating banks keep 5 percent of the credit risk on their balance sheets for packaged loans.
For those who doubt the reach of this package, consider this: The financial industry has spent $1.4 million a day to keep it from passing. They were terrified that transparency would put an end to the days of billion-dollar bonuses and bailouts. This legislation creates that transparency. It forces the industry out of the casino and into the open.
We urge Sens. Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar to support this bill on behalf of all Hoosiers, their families, local businesses and communities around the state.Tags: Indiana, Indianapolis Star