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Sen. Corker: Consumer Protection Agency may have to wait

Consumer protection agency may wait


Last week talks between Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) broke down, ostensibly over the question of whether to create a free-standing consumer agency. Senator Dodd indicated he would take up some form of a bill anyway, but the blizzard that shut down Washington the week of Feb. 7 also postponed his plans.

While the snow piled up last week Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) who also serves on the Banking Committee began his own negotiations with Doddon regulatory reform. Based on news reports, it's possible something resembling a bi-partisan plan may break soon.

Corker is optimistic a deal can be reached and that Dodd may be willing to postpone consideration of the consumer protection issue until a later date. He pointed out there are a number of issues on which there is agreement, including resolution authority, ending “too-big-to-fail” as a matter of national policy, and stronger regulation of derivatives.

The ultimate question about the proposed new giant consumer agency is how much power it will ultimately have. It's a top priority for the Obama administration and consumer groups, as well as many Democrat senators.

The reason for banker opposition is primarily focused on the question of who gets to make the rules that will be imposed on traditional community banks.

In commenting on that opposition, OBA President Roger Beverage said. “There's a world of difference in whether the rules are written with safety and soundness ideas in mind or by Elizabeth Warren.”


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