Dodd-Frank at 2: New Analysis Shows Big Banks Dominate Meetings with Financial Regulators

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Dodd-Frank at 2: New Analysis Shows Big Banks Dominate Meetings with Financial Regulators

Federal agencies met with reform groups 15 percent of the time

WASHINGTON - The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protect Act turns two years old on Saturday. In the 24 months since President Obama signed the bill into law, federal regulators have heard overwhelmingly from the biggest banks, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of financial regulatory agency meeting logs.

Sunlight conducted the analysis to review the groups who were chiming in on the more than 350 new financial rules and infrastructure changes mandated by Dodd-Frank.

Looking at public meeting log records for the three major federal financial agencies—Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission—the top 20 banks and banking associations met with regulators on average a combined 12.5 times per week for the last two years, for a total of 1,298 meetings. The same regulators only had 242 meetings (about 2.5 per week) with reform-oriented groups.

Detailed charts and data downloads are available at the Sunlight blog.

Please note that due to concerns about data quality and comprehensiveness, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) were excluded in our review.

Sunlight Foundation Senior Fellow Lee Drutman writes: "While the meetings do not prove influence, they do highlight both the intensity and resources the big banks are devoting to rule making around Dodd-Frank. If there’s one thing that this analysis shows, it’s that the banks are doing everything they can to make sure that their voice is being heard – much more so than groups that want tighter regulations."

Overall Visits

Top 5 Big Banks
Goldman Sachs — 181
JPMorgan Chase — 175
Morgan Stanley — 150
Bank of America — 122
Citigroup — 102

Reform Groups
Consumer Federation of America — 34
Americans for Financial Reform — 32

By Agency
1. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) — 683 meetings
2. Treasury Department — 447 meetings
3. Federal Reserve — 410 meetings

The Fed Meetings

The Federal Reserve received visits from big banks the most. Fed officials met bank representatives 393 times, and JPMorgan Chase led the list with 70 meetings. The top meeting topics included: interchange fees (110), derivatives (100) and the Volcker Rule (83).

Treasury Meetings

For reform groups, they met Treasury Department officials the most: 145 times. Yet, big banks and their associations still had the most overall meetings at 302, and JPMorgan Chase once again led the list with 52 meetings. Conversations around the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dominated the meetings, with 194 mentions in meeting logs for all parties.

CFTC Meetings

Meetings at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission for big banks were 603, including 105 by Goldman Sachs, compared to 80 for all reform-oriented groups. The most discussed topics were: swap execution facilities registration (231), position limits (210) and real-time reporting (141).

Data and Methodology

This analysis uses agency meeting logs data pulled from Sunlight’s Dodd-Frank tracker. The raw data is available on Scraperwiki.

To conduct this analysis, we first gathered a list of the 20 banks and banking associations that spent the most money on federal lobbying between 2009 and 2011. Of these 20 banks and associations, 18 had at least one meeting with one of the three regulators we examined.

We also took a very broad sample of reform-oriented groups. We counted meetings for every national group that was a member of the Americans for Financial Reform coalition, plus the reform group Better Markets, in an attempt to be as comprehensive as possible. A total of 28 groups met with regulators.

Read the full analysis and see all the charts at the Sunlight Foundation blog.

Additional coverage of Dodd-Frank rules and activities by big banks is available from the Sunlight Reporting Group.

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The Sunlight Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by Washington, DC businessman and lawyer Michael Klein and longtime Washington public interest advocate Ellen Miller with the non-partisan mission of using the revolutionary power of the Internet to make information about Congress and the federal government more meaningfully accessible to citizens.

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