House, Senate forge ahead to merge versions of financial reform bill

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep Barney Frank (D-MA), left, and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), right, speak to the press about financial reform from outside the West Wing of the White House.

Senators and House representatives are continuing to work this week on combining two versions of the financial reform bill ahead of a July 4 deadline for President Obama. Banks are working to protect their interests as the final bill will represent monumental change to financial regulation.

One reform would cap the fees banks can charge retailers for each swipe of a credit card. Another requires banks to spin off their derivatives trading. There's also a ban on banks trading for themselves in the stock market.

Banks say the profits lost will hurt lending. But former FDIC chairman William Isaac, the author of a book on the financial crisis called Senseless Panic, doesn't think so. "It is going to hit the earnings of some of the very largest banks to some degree," he says. "I don't think its pain they can't find a way to deal with."

Banks also face a tax to pay for the unwinding of failing institutions. David Nason with Promontory Financial asks why hit up banks for something that may not be needed? "If its truly supposed to be extraordinary relief," he asks, "it seems odd you would want to fund that in advance because how could you predict what would be provided?"

Nason says better to borrow the money to dismantle a sick bank and than require healthy banks to pay back the loan.

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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