Senate Releases Long-Awaited Regulatory Reform Bill

March 16, 2010 — On March 15, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, released his revised regulatory reform legislation, a comprehensive package addressing consumer protection, systemic risk and "too big to fail."

Unlike the House regulatory reform package, the Senate bill does not create a stand-alone independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), but instead would institute a consumer bureau at the Federal Reserve. The consumer bureau would have rule writing and enforcement powers and a director appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Like the House bill, credit unions under $10 billion in assets will continue to be examined by the NCUA or the state regulator for consumer protection.

An executive session of the Senate Banking Committee to mark-up the new legislation is scheduled for March 22. Chairman Dodd stated in a March 15 press conference that as the bill stands, the legislation does not "yet enjoy bipartisan support" but was developed from bipartisan ideas. In November 2009, Chairman Dodd released his first regulatory reform discussion draft, which received little support from the Committee.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) released a statement March 15 explaining, "There are some differences between the House-passed bill and Senator Dodd's version, but they are more alike than they are different. I believe that we will be able to work constructively together to meet the public need for a tough, comprehensive bill."

NASCUS is studying the bill and its impact on state regulators, preemption and state-chartered credit unions. You can view the full bill at this link on the Senate Banking Committee's website.