Obama Proposes Sweeping Financial Overhaul
President Barack Obama on June 17 announced a sweeping financial reform plan that is intended to restore confidence in the integrity of the U.S. and global financial system.
When unveiling the proposal, Obama emphasized that the proposed reforms seek to build a new foundation for financial regulation and supervision that is simpler and more effectively enforced, protect consumers and investors, reward innovation and adapt and evolve with changes in the financial market.
The plan, which the President wants to complete this year, centers on expanding the power of the Federal Reserve to police large, systemically important institutions and on allowing the government to break firms apart, implement new rules for complex financial instruments and create a new federal agency to oversee consumer products such as mortgages and credit cards.
NAHB is currently reviewing the far-ranging proposal — which would touch almost every corner of financial markets, from tougher consumer-protection policies to stricter rules over exotic financial products such as credit derivatives.
The proposed reform also would bring many of the products and companies that previously operated outside of the banking system under federal scrutiny.
The Administration's blueprint would give the government the power to take over and wind down a large financial company — a power that government officials lacked last year when the financial crisis was intensifying.
The plan would also give the central bank more power over the payments and settlements systems in U.S. financial markets to prevent a breakdown that officials fear could destabilize the economy.
The plan proposes reforms to meet the following five key objectives:
- Promote robust supervision and regulation of financial firms
- Establish comprehensive regulation of financial markets
- Protect consumers and investors from financial abuse
- Provide the government with the tools it needs to manage financial crises
- Raise international regulatory standards and improve international cooperation
The Administration has not submitted legislative language and significant changes to such a plan will probably be made as it works its way through Congress.
While the President would like a reform plan to be enacted this year, the congressional agenda is already full and that timing appears unlikely.
A delay until next year should give NAHB enough time and ample opportunities to weigh in during the debate.
Details of the Administration’s proposal are outlined in an 80-plus page white paper. The white paper and fact sheets on the five major components of the plan are posted on the Treasury’s Web site at www.ustreas.gov/news/index1.html.
For more information, e-mail David Ledford at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8265.