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Financial Overhaul: The Tough Questions

Source: WSJ

Posted on 21 Jun 2010

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Democrats are aiming this week to reconcile all of the differences between separate financial overhaul bills that passed the House and Senate, giving President Barack Obama a comprehensive package of financial regulations to present to the G-20 in Canada over the weekend.

If it all goes without a hitch, the House and Senate could vote on the package next week and the whole thing could be signed into law by the July 4 holiday weekend.

But that’s a tall order. Here’s a list of thorny questions that must be resolved, and a rough timetable for doing so – courtesy of congressional aides.


1. Will it be a Consumer Financial Protection Agency or a bureau of Consumer Financial Protection at the Federal Reserve?

2. How big of an exemption will small businesses get from the new rules

3. Will auto dealers be exempted from new consumer protection rules?

4. Will lenders really have to retain a slice of risk from each loan they originate?

5. Will banks be forced to charge companies like Wal-Mart and Home Depot less for the debit card transactions they process?


1. How tough will the “Volcker Rule” actually be?

2. How much time will banks be given to comply, and will they be allowed to continue doing a small amount of proprietary trading?

3. Will mutual fund and asset management be protected from new limits on trading, as Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) has said must be the case for him to support the bill?

4. How will private equity and hedge funds be treated by any “Volcker Rule”?

Thursday (derivatives day):

1. Under what conditions will banking companies be allowed to retain derivatives trading operations?

2. Will the “end-users” of derivatives be exempted from new rules?