Dante Dallavalle: The Senate recently passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act or S.2115 with bipartisan support. Essentially the bill rewrites parts of the 2010 Dodd Frank Act. The piece of legislation whose purpose was to create a framework for oversight of the banking system responsible for the 2008 financial crisis and the economic downturn that resulted from basically the behavior of unscrupulous speculators.
The bill S.2115 was purportedly passed to exempt smaller banks from oversight and requirements for loans, mortgages, and trading. It would change the size at which banks are subjected to regulatory scrutiny. The bill has been called the Crapo bill, after its main author Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo. Crapo touts the bill as one that aims to help consumers gain easier access to credit and as a boon to regional banks by freeing them from burdensome regulations. Seen as the most significant portion of the legislation is the increase in the level at which a financial institution is considered a systemically important financial institution or SIFI – which subjects institutions to more oversight than other banks not given this designation. It would drop the number of SIFI designated institutions from 38 to just 12. The problem opponents cite is that many of the institutions that contributed to the downturn were capitalized at significantly less than the SIFI threshold–namely 250 billion dollars.
Professor, what are your thoughts on this bill?
Michael Hudson: They are using a lot of euphemisms as a cover for dismantling the fairly modest regulation that was put in by Dodd Frank. They want to work at the weakest link, which is the local community banks – and after starting with them, then proceeding to the larger banks.
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