Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DODD-FRANK | House Bill Takes Aim, by Dana Chasin

Dodd-Frank applied CPR to the 1933 Glass-
Steagall Act, which gave banks deposit insurance
in return for bank and securities regulation.
Hensarling wants a GOP-branded Act...
The following is slightly abbreviated from a summary by Dana Chasin of the new Hensarling bill:

Jeb Hensarling (R, TX-5), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, has announced a beefed-up Financial Choice Act to eliminate some key Dodd-Frank provisions.

It would reduce Sarbanes-Oxley and JOBS Act regulations.

The bill, Hensarling 2.0 (H2O), proposes major structural changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) and the SEC. Hensarling has said he would get H2O through his Committee to the House floor by the end of April.

The Major Changes

Major Dodd-Frank-related provisions in Hensarling's H2O bill include:
• weakening of provisions protecting against systemic risk, increasing the threat of “too big to fail” financial institutions, holding up taxpayers for another bailout
• rolling back safeguards protecting ordinary investors and consumers on financial transactions involving everything from derivatives trading to retail banking
• repealing restrictions on the kind of subprime mortgages that caused the 2008 financial crisis.
Jeb Hensaring (R, TX-5).
Chair, Financial Services
[Hensarling says on his website that H2O will do what Dodd-Frank failed to accomplish after the 2008 financial crisis. “It would end bank bailouts,” he says. “It would give regulatory relief for community financial institutions, and we would also have the strongest penalties for Wall Street wrongdoers that have ever been on the books.” Though Republicans want to roll back Dodd-Frank, Hensarling says they don't want a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis and so his bill would require banks to hold on to more loss-absorbing capital than is currently required. “We’re not trying to save any individual institution,” says Hensarling. “We’re trying to save the entire financial apparatus and our whole financial system.”]

Hensarling Needs Votes

Hensarling believes that his Financial Choice approach should replace Dodd-Frank entirely. But if Dodd-Frank reforms were passed in present form, they would undermine the 2010 financial regulation law. The skeleton will still exist, and the new bill would act as a disable-and-disregard "remedy" to Dodd-Frank.

With that in mind, the bill will most probably not make it to the floor until the summertime, per Rep. Patrick McHenry, vice chair of House Financial Services. Although passing the Senate would require a Herculean legislative effort to create a bipartisan measure, some Republicans are still looking for ways to roll back Dodd-Frank while avoiding working with Democrats. GOP Senator Pat Toomey suggested last week that the reconciliation process to repeal regulations on a simple majority vote basis is still available.

The Role of Capital Requirements

What is interesting is the Republican interest in capital regimes, which monetize regulations. Another way of looking at these is effectively as a corporate tax. So instead of ducking a regulation by imposing a corporate tax, the GOP could weigh that out during their tax reform efforts as a means to compromise with Democrats.

Hensarling’s new plan also includes reducing the frequency of bank stress tests performed by the Federal Reserve (once every two years as opposed to annually). The plan would also give the president the authority to fire the directors of the CFPB and restrict its oversight, as well as changing the code of conduct between the SEC and private companies.

Republican Strategy vs. Street Sense

Seeking to learn from the health-care-reform failure, the Congressional leadership may be of the view that H2O provides a strongly conservative approach to repealing and replacing Dodd-Frank, bridging the gap in the GOP between the Freedom Caucus and House leadership. It’s hard to see it get through the House without compromise, though. All the while, Dodd-Frank has quietly been picking up support in the last couple of months from the banks and their main news source: the Wall Street Journal, featuring masthead editorials opposing repeal of Dodd-Frank. [Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has expressed interest in restoring aspects of the Banking (Glass-Steagall) Act of 1933.]

With some banks backing key portions of the 2010 law, such as the need to preserve the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Orderly Liquidation Authority from Titles I and II, the bill's road to the President's desk will not be an easy one. If it passes the House, the Senate will almost certainly reject it.

Related Posts: Economic Hotspots Banking (Glass-Steagall) Act of 1933 . Dodd-Frank Act .