Bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate chose to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression by handing the bank lobby a package of deregulatory gifts, increasing the risks to financial stability and the likelihood of consumer abuse, including racial discrimination in lending. This legislation, signed into law on May 24, won’t serve families or communities, nor is it policy that most people support. But Wall Street and its friends in Congress had a tougher time than they ever expected because Americans who know better refused to let the bill pass without a fight.
“Under current law, banks with more than $50 billion in assets are considered ‘systemically important financial institutions’ and therefore are subject to extra scrutiny. The Senate bill would lift that threshold to $250 billion, relaxing oversight of 25 of the 38 largest banks in the country. According to Americans for Financial Reform, those banks are collectively responsible for $3.5 trillion in assets and received nearly $50 billion in bailout money during the financial crisis.”
AFR sent a letter urging Senators to reject S 2155, which contains some two dozen deregulatory gifts to bank lobbyists and only minimal consumer benefits AFR Opposition Letter to S 2155
“This bill would undermine already vulnerable homeowners by stripping away protections created by Congress and implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). These protections were put in place for a reason: to give manufactured-homeowners the same protections as traditional homeowners.”
“The package includes legislation that would release the nation’s largest banks from measures to prevent a financial crisis, saving them billions of dollars in expenses,” AFR’s Lisa Donner said. “It would also allow banks and fintech firms to cooperate in new forms of payday lending, and make investment products riskier for mom-and-pop savers. And it’s all happening against the backdrop of a big proposed tax cut for Wall Street.”
AFR in the News: After Virginia Sweep, Democrats Join Republicans for More Bank Deregulation (The Intercept)
“[T]he Senate cabal has masked their handout by claiming to focus on relief for small community banks… [But] the proposal ‘includes over a dozen measures that would ease rules on banks, and a few minor changes for consumers that ought to be a given,’ said Marcus Stanley, policy director at Americans for Financial Reform, the main pro-regulatory advocacy group in D.C.”
“FHFA made a great decision,” said Amanda Jackson, AFR’s Organizing and Outreach Manager. “Knowing homeowners’ preferred language will help Fannie, Freddie, and mortgage servicers better communicate with their customers and avoid unnecessary – and sometimes devastating – confusion.”
AFR Report: The Same Old Song – Wall Street’s repeatedly discredited but endlessly repeated arguments against common-sense financial regulation
A look back at the financial lobby’s robotic opposition to one proposed reform after another, and how Wall Street’s claims have squared with real-world events. This new AFR report homes in on three pre-financial-crisis case studies, involving credit cards, mortgages, and derivatives.