Regulators don't want to give up power

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair


Steve Chiotakis: Government bank regulators will be on Capitol Hill today -- this morning as a matter of fact. They're set to offer their perspective on White House proposals to reform oversight of the financial services industry. They include Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair. But as Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports from Washington, none of them see eye to eye on the future of bank regulations.

John Dimsdale: The White House wants to make the Federal Reserve the top cop, and that means other regulators would have to give up some of their cherished authority.

Peter Wallison: There is a lot of rivalry among the regulators.

As a Treasury official in the 1980's, Peter Wallison helped deregulate the banking industry. He says regulators don't want to let go of any powers they already have.

Wallison: Because you are really only a temporary steward of that agency. And you don't want people in that agency to look back and say under so-and-so, we gave up this very important authority when we could have done it better than whoever is doing it now.

Regulators are also balking at the president's idea of creating a consumer watchdog. But Gail Hillebrand at Consumers Union says they have no right to be critical.

Gail Hillebrand: The regulators haven't done a very good job with consumer protection, and the current system isn't properly designed to deliver consumer protection.

Despite opposition from regulators and banks, Hillebrand hopes Congress will approve a consumer protection agency this fall.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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