Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Obama Signs Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act

At a press conference moments ago, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. See Conference Report version prior to signing of Act; see also FEI summary of highlights of the Act by Cady North, manager of Government Affairs, FEI.

The White House Blog has a post by Jesse Lee linking to White House summaries of the Act and a related 3 minute video, What Wall Street Reform Means To You.

The President's signing of the Act was shown via live-stream video on earlier today, and an archived video will be availalble later today. (I assume the written text of his remarks will be posted in the White House Briefing Room later today as well.)

Obama opened his remarks noting that we faced the greatest recession since the Great Depression, and that "Although the economy is growing again, too many people are still feeling the pain of the downturn."

In listening to Obama's remarks earlier today, here are some things I noted as highlights:

While a number of factors led to such a recession, the primary cause was a breakdown in the financial system, a breakdown in responsibility, from the halls ...corners of wall street, to ...Washington, DC ... ...antiquated rules... unscrupulous lenders... firms like AIG placed massive, risky bets with borrowed money. While the rules left abuse unchecked, they also left taxpayers on the hook.

Obama reminded people numerous times during his remarks that, "Ultimately, there's no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street." (I believe he was trying to demonstrate there is mutual reliance or a symbiotic relationship, so to speak, between the two, and the two should not view each other as 'opponents.') For example, Obama said: "The fact is, the financial industry is central to our nation's ability to grow, prosper, compete."

Bill Will Foster, Not Hamper, Innovation; Nothing To Fear From Reform
He added, "There are a lot of banks who understand this, a whole lot of bankers who want to do right.. this bill will help foster, not hamper, innovation, so firms compete based on price and quality, not on tricks, not on traps... provides certainty ... unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking customers, you've got nothing to fear from reform."

Among the things the President listed under the topic of "what Wall Street Reform Means to you," were:

  • making credit contracts "fine print" more understandable
  • looking out for people: companies will have to seek out customers by better products, not abusive practices
  • reform will finally bring transparency
  • shareholders will have greater say on pay of exec's, so they can reward success, instead of failure

No More Tax Funded Bailouts
Obama emphasized: "There will be no more tax funded bailouts, period.... If a large financial institution should ever fail, this bill gives us [a way] to wind it down... [no more] too big to fail, so we won't have another AIG."

Regulators' Role
"Regulators will have to be vigilant," noted Obama, adding, "we may need to make adjustments along the way." As noted further above, he also referenced 'antiquated rules' that will have to be addressed.

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V. McHargue said...

And the cost of compliance with all of this fabulous, reactive regulation will be passed along to customers in the form of higher prices, while our global competitiveness continues to nose dive. The best risk mitigation these days is to vote Congress out. Wake up business leaders!

jane said...

I recently came across your article about FEI Financial Reporting and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make readers read from the beginning to the end. I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.