Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Latest on US financial reform bill

The Financial Times reports that the financial reform bill is nearing a final vote in Senate:

US reform of financial regulation will go to a final vote in the Senate as early as Wednesday as big banks engaged in a last-ditch effort to change it.

Senators argued in public over a broad range of measures, including an attempt to prevent California getting federal bail-out money, while aides worked in private to hammer out a single “manager’s amendment” that will be the last opportunity for changes.

The legislation, which would be the second major new law of President Barack Obama’s tenure after healthcare reform, provides for a sweeping overhaul of US finance that would force the largest institutions to spin off their riskier operations..."

The FT goes on to note that an attempt by New Hampshire Republican senator, Judd Gregg, to place limits on federal bailouts to states was voted down by Senators who opposed the proposal. You'll also find details on measures in the bill that the financial industry is fighting to keep out or limit.

Forbes opines, "Wall Street Overhaul Not Bad for Wall Street", noting that the FIRE sector of the economy (finance, insurance, and real estate) has spent $123 million so far in 2010 to "influence policy makers", and that their push has helped Wall St. shape certain aspects of the reform bill to their liking.

This, "Financial Reform Amendment Scorecard" is also a very handy resource and overview of the major areas of proposed legislation including consumer protection, card fees, a spin off of FDIC-insured banks' derivatives trading activities, and the "Volcker rule" on proprietary trading at big banks.

Also: The Atlantic asks, "Will Financial Reform Pass This Week?"; Nouriel Roubini talks to Channel 4 about banking reform and breaking up "too big to fail" banks; Points and Figures explains why the Dodd bill will be a major drag on the economy; and Ron Paul discusses the financial reform bill on MSNBC.