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U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on "Addressing the Need for Comprehensive Regulatory Reform" on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. -- March 26, 2009. - 


Renita Jablonski: Treasury secretary Tim Geithner says regulation of the nation's financial system needs a total overhaul -- not just a makeover. He's testifying this morning before the House Financial Services Committee. He says a long list of changes will be needed to avoid future meltdowns. From our Washington Bureau, Tamara Keith has the latest.

Tamara Keith: Geithner says existing regulation, market dicipline and sophisticated risk models all failed to prevent heavy leveraging and complicated financial instruments from bringing the nation's financial system to its knees.

Timothy Geithner: To address this will require comprehensive reform. Not modest repairs at the margain, but new rules of the game.

In fact, the Treasury Secretary has a six-point plan to limit what he describes as systemic risk:

Geithner: And the new rules must be simpler and more effectively enforced. They must produce a more stable system -- one that protects consumers and investors, rewards innovation and is able to adapt and evolve with changes in the structure of our financial system.

Hedge funds, insurance companies, money market funds and exotic financial instruments would all see new scrutiny. New regulations would require congressional approval, and a set of changes this sweeping will no doubt generate heated debate.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.