Public Citizen Applauds House of Representatives for Passing Wall Street Reform, Urges Senate to Follow Suit

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Public Citizen Applauds House of Representatives for Passing Wall Street Reform, Urges Senate to Follow Suit

Statement of David Arkush, Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives took a welcome step late Wednesday
when it passed the conference report on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street
Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Senate is expected to take up
the conference report soon, likely sending the legislation to President
Barack Obama the week of July 12.

Enactment of this bill would be a significant, initial victory for
Main Street over Wall Street - and one that Congress should expand on
soon. It contains several important elements. The two most notable are
substantially stronger consumer financial protections and curbs on some
of the worst practices in the derivatives markets.

Consumer Protection. The bill consolidates and streamlines existing
consumer financial protection by creating a Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau (CFPB). This bureau will have the authority to crack
down on unfair, deceptive and abusive practices in connection with
consumer products such as payday loans, credit cards and mortgages by
using new rules and enforcement powers. It also will have authority to
ban particularly harmful practices such as forced arbitration. The CFPB
is critical to preventing predatory mortgage lending and other abusive
practices that formed the basis of the financial crisis.

Transparency, Oversight and Stability in the Over-the-Counter (OTC)
Derivatives Market.  The bill also makes major progress on reining in
reckless and unfair derivatives practices. It restricts the most
egregious practices, such as federally insured banks engaging in risky
proprietary trading and financial institutions making bets against their
own clients. It requires the vast majority of previously unregulated
OTC derivatives to be cleared and traded on regulated exchanges.
Derivatives were a critical cause of the financial crisis; new clearing
and exchange rules should go a long way toward stabilizing the system.

These are only two of many areas in which the bill makes substantial
improvements for the American people. The bill establishes a strong base
of financial reform that can and should be built upon in the near
future.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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