20090724 geithner congress 18
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither prepares to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill on July 24, 2009. - 


BILL RADKE: Everybody wants to avoid the next financial meltdown but, boy, is that hard to actually do. This morning three of the big players are testifying to Congress, and they do not agree on how to better regulate the financial services industry. The three bigwig regulators are Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, SEC Chair Sheila Bair and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Marketplace's Alisa Roth joins us live to tell us what they're disagreeing about. Good morning, Alisa.

ALISA ROTH: Good morning.

RADKE: So what are some of the ideas, first, that are on the table?

ROTH: Well, there are a whole slew of things being discussed: Who's watching out for the consumer? Who's in charge of the banks? Who should oversee all this? One of the key issues is whether to give the Federal Reserve more power. Right now the Fed oversees bank holding companies. So, those are companies that own more than one commercial bank. But the new regulations would give the central bank power over not just holding companies but also one big firm that, if they failed, could put the whole economy at risk.

RADKE: And who is against the idea of the Federal Reserve taking the lead on this?

ROTH: There are people who say the Fed really messed up by not preventing the current crisis, and so it should just stick with its main mandate of dealing with monetary policy. The other issue is that by giving the Fed more power that would mean some other agencies have to give up some of their authority and, not surprisingly, those agencies aren't so excited about that option.

RADKE: And what would be an alternative?

ROTH: Some people say there should be a new interagency oversight council. The Fed would be part of that council, but so would the Treasury Department and the SEC and the FDIC.

RADKE: OK. Alisa Roth joining us live. Thank you, very much.

ROTH: You're welcome.