AFR Statement: S. 2155 Ignores Lessons of Financial Crisis, Flouts Will of Voters


May 22, 2018

Carter Dougherty, 251-6700

AFR Statement on House Passage of S. 2155

“This legislation ignores the lessons of the financial crisis that cost so many Americans their jobs and homes, and pays no heed to the overwhelming majority of voters who correctly understand the need for tougher, not weaker, oversight of the financial services industry,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. “By easing oversight of some of the largest institutions in the United States, lawmakers have paved the way for greater consolidation among banks and less attention from regulators just as industry friendly appointees are watering down the rules.”

“The whole point of requiring careful supervision of the country’s largest banks was to force regulators to do their job in the face of industry pressure, and not ignore problems in an unsafe financial system,” said Marcus Stanley, AFR’s policy director. “Now Congress has bowed to the bank lobby and has effectively told regulators appointed by President Trump that they have permission to look away.”

The marquee provision of S. 2155, for all the talk of community banks, is the elimination of enhanced oversight for banks with assets between $50 and $250 billion in assets, banks like SunTrust, American Express, and Fifth Third. That’s 25 of the 38 largest banks in the United States, which got almost $50 billion in bailout money amid the 2008 financial crisis.

“By curbing access to data, this legislation will make it much harder to tell whether some borrowers are being denied credit or are getting more expensive or more risky mortgages on account of where they live or the color of their skin,” said Rion Dennis, financial reform advocate at AFR. “At a time when we know discrimination in lending is a continuing problem, lawmakers have chosen to weaken a crucial tool for identifying and addressing it.”

S. 2155 will enable discrimination in mortgage lending. It exempts 85 percent of U.S. banks from full reporting of data on mortgages under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the information that authorities (and journalists) use to identify patterns of racial injustice.

Further details on the bill can be found here.