Category Archives: Banks

DeMint Introduces Legislation to Repeal Financial Reform

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has introduced legislation today that would “repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill that President Obama signed into law on July 21, 2010,” according to a press release from his office.

Current Republican co-sponsors, which include several members of the leadership team:

Eighteen Republicans cosponsored the bill including U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), John Thune (R-South Dakota), and David Vitter (R-Louisiana).

It’s called the Financial Takeover Repeal Act (S. 712).

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Senators Seek to Delay Debit Swipe Fee Regulations

A bipartisan group “of senators introduced a bill on Tuesday that would delay a new federal regulation to lower the swipe fees that banks could charge merchants for processing debit card transactions,” the New York Times reports.

Although there is growing uneasiness with the regulation, it is not at all clear the senators will succeed in upending the law, which easily passed the Senate last year and was a cause championed by a leading Democrat.

The latest bill, introduced Tuesday by nine senators led by Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, calls for a two-year delay and a one-year study during that period of the effect of the proposed limits on debit fees.

The Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, which became law last summer, directed the Federal Reserve Bank to determine the limits in April and put them into effect in July.

The proposed rules have faced complaints and heavy lobbying from banks, credit unions and credit card companies, which say that cutting and capping fees mean that the fees will fail to cover the cost of processing the transactions and accounting for fraud.

The Federal Reserve proposed cutting the fees to 12 cents a transaction, down from the current average of 44 cents a transaction.

Processing fees on debit and prepaid cards totaled $20.5 billion last year, according to the Nilson Report, a research firm.

A press release announcing the Debit Interchange Fee Study Act notes that Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Tom Carper (D-DE), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) joined Tester in introducing the measure.

According to the New York Times, five of the “senators who co-sponsored Tuesday’s legislation opposed the debit fee limits when Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois pushed the original legislation through the Senate last year.”

However, Mr. Durbin’s support, along with the fact that his measure passed on a lopsided 64-33 vote last May, means that the nine senators could face an uphill battle to win enough votes to pass. Only one co-sponsor voted in favor of the amendment, and the other three co-sponsors were not Senate members at the time.

Wonk Room says Senator Ben Nelson is the member who originally supported the Durbin measure.

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Banking Committee Will Work to Protect Financial Reform Law

The steep uphill climb “faced by Republicans in trying to roll back last year’s Dodd-Frank law was made clear on Monday by a memo from the Senate Banking Committee pledging to protect financial reforms,” Reuters reports.

The agenda memo, obtained by Reuters, showed the Senate committee, still under the control of Democrats, will examine much the same issues being targeted by its counterpart panel in the Republican-controlled House — but with different goals.

Oversight of Dodd-Frank by the Senate panel will focus on assuring that "the letter and the spirit of the law are being implemented by the regulatory agencies," the memo said.

The Senate panel will seek to ensure that public comment is being considered; that the new law is being enforced; that legitimate concerns regarding the act are considered; and that "regulators have adequate resources to perform their work and are using the resources efficiently," it said.

The other top items “on the to-do list of the Senate committee, under its Democratic Chairman Tim Johnson, are housing finance reform and oversight of the 2008-2009 federal bailouts, said the memo dated February 2.”

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Shelby Anticipates Changes in Financial Reform Law

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) speaks at the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington September 20, 2010.

The ranking member “of the Senate Banking Committee told the nation’s top financial officials Thursday that changes in the new financial regulation law are ‘inevitable,’” POLITICO reports.

Republicans have not been shy about their dislike of the sweeping financial overhaul, But Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby’s definitive statements in a congressional hearing exploring the law’s future seemed like a firm warning to a Democratic Party they believe strong-armed the bill and likely will lose seats in this fall’s midterm elections.

“Under the current law, the responsibility rests largely with the regulators to avoid future difficulties,” Shelby said. “Congress, however, can continue to exercise its oversight authority by having hearings such as this one and also, when necessary, visit the law and make changes consistent with our findings and the demands of the electorate.”

“In this particular instance,” he added, “change is not only a good thing, I believe that it is inevitable.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Shapiro, Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin and other administration officials, testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday on the implementation of the regulatory reform law crafted in response to the 2008 global financial crisis.

(credit image – daylife/reuters)

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Shelby Says Republican Majority Might Revisit Financial Reform Bill

A Republican majority “in the Senate would ‘revisit’ the Wall Street reform bill passed earlier this year, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Tuesday,” The Hill reports.

Shelby, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee who might become chairman under a GOP majority, suggested that Republicans might strip out elements of the bill most favored by President Obama and congressional Democrats if Republicans win control of Congress.

“The bill is so sweeping and such a game-changer in many ways that it’s incumbent upon us to revisit it,” Shelby said at the Reuters Washington Summit.

In particular, Shelby named the “new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as one of the most distasteful parts of the law.”

Shelby said a GOP majority would look to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises supporting the mortgage market. Tackling those would be a “very high priority” for a Republican-controlled Banking Committee, Shelby asserted.

(credit image – daylife/reuters)

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