Obama Urges Financial Regulators to Quickly Enact Rules for Wall St. Some Measures Still Not in Place to Prevent a Repeat of 2008 Recession

By Michael D Shear; Peter Eavis | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), August 20, 2013 | Go to article overview

Obama Urges Financial Regulators to Quickly Enact Rules for Wall St. Some Measures Still Not in Place to Prevent a Repeat of 2008 Recession


Michael D Shear; Peter Eavis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Monday urged the nation's top financial regulators to move faster on new rules for Wall Street, telling them in a private White House meeting that they must work to prevent a repeat of the 2008 recession.

Aides said Mr. Obama also told the regulators that the United States needed a more simplified and certain system of financing housing. The president recently endorsed proposals to reduce the government's role in providing mortgages.

Administration officials and some lawmakers have expressed frustration that critical parts of Mr. Obama's overhaul of the financial system, which was voted into law three years ago and is known as the Dodd-Frank act, remain unenforced, as an alphabet soup of federal agencies wrangle over how to adopt it.

In particular, top presidential aides have highlighted the failure in putting the Volcker Rule into effect. It would prohibit banks from risking institutional money in certain speculative investments.

Last month, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew complained in a speech that the regulators were moving too slowly to confront the dangers of banks so large that governments cannot allow them to fail, for fear of bringing down the economy. "If we get to the end of this year and cannot, with an honest straight face, say that we've ended 'too big to fail,' we're going to have to look at other options, because the policy of Dodd-Frank and the policy of the administration is to end 'too big to fail,' " he said.

The meeting Monday was an attempt to raise those concerns directly with the agencies that are responsible for turning the law into reality. Among those in attendance were Mr. Lew; Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke; and top officials at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the National Credit Union Administration.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Mr. Obama wanted to convey "the sense of urgency that he feels about getting these regulations under Wall Street reform implemented promptly. There are some important rules that have been put in place," he added. "More work needs to be done."

Congress in 2010 passed Dodd-Frank -- named for former House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., and former Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. - - in response to the financial crisis of 2008. Since then, regulators have been working to turn the mammoth law into workable regulations, often in the face of opposition from lobbyists for banks that opposed the law. …

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